We just completed event #5 yesterday up at Coors Field. After a week of winter-like weather, the crazy Colorado weather Gods decided to give us a beautiful, warm, clear day - perfect for autocrossing. In fact, due to my class not going until the final heat, I would actually consider it HOT by the time we went. My oil temps were up higher than normal, the tires were getting hotter than normal, and I could feel the loss of power due to the 80*+. Nonetheless, it was better to have a nice clear day instead of a crappy day.
Up to this point, I had done 3 of the 4 events. The max score is 1000 points, which is given to the person with the highest overall index. My scores were 922 (yuck), 972, and 979. The 922 was my first Summer Series event in X class, and I managed to NOT get a clean run in my first 3 - only the first 3 count in X. My 4th run was a full second faster than my 3rd AND it was clean (no cones), but it didn't count. Had I not hit the one cone on my 3rd run, it would have been 958 points. Had my 4th run counted, it would have been goodn for 980+, but ifs, ands, and buts aren't candy and nuts, so who cares?
Since that poor outing, I decided to stop worrying about only getting 3 runs and decided to just go all-out, balls-to-the-wall on every run. That's what I've always done and is what I do best, so why not? That led to my 972 (12th overall) and 979 (10th overall) point toals, which are very good in this region. Yesterday, the course was VERY LONG with a lot of offsets and a HUGE 10-cone slalom - something I've never dealt with. I didn't think the Evo would be well-suited for lots of transitions, because it's pretty heavy compared to most auto-x cars. Also, there was 180* hairpin, which isn't my car's favorite thing either.
Well, it turned out I was wrong, because despite the offsets, I was able to stay in boost in 2nd gear during most of the track, and there were 2 spots where I hit my 7800rpm rev limiter in 2nd for 4-5 pops - that's a long, damn time on the rev limiter. Since those spots weren't completely straight, I decided to avoid shifting to 3rd to minimize margin for error and to help me focus on threshold braking when entering the next feature.
My normal class is SM, and although most of SM is a hodge podge group of swapped 2.5 RS Subies and other miscellanous stuff, there is one car that is setup to the max. It's a '96 BMW 328i with a supercharger, coilovers, widebody kit, and huge tires - 315 rear/285 front Hoosiers. It's driven by a father/son duo who are serious about competing in SM and who are getting better at driving that beats each event. They were in 1st heat and completely dominated the rest of SM. The son put down a 66.xx, and that dad put down a 67.xx. No other SM car even got below 70.0, so that gives you an idea of how much they dominated. It also appeared that 66.xx would be a pretty stout time in terms of points at the end of the day. So, when X class began in heat 4, I was really hoping to hit a low 66.xx on my first run, since that would ensure that I'd start off better than the best SM car with a chance of opening the gap even further on my 2nd and 3rd runs. Well, surprisingly, my first time was a blistering 64.5!!! Right off the bat, I was over 2 seconds faster than the fastest SM time of the day. I had one cone, but I wasn't worried about it, because I was confident that I could go even faster AND stay clean.
My 2nd run wasn't perfect, but it was better, and the clock showed a 64.1 with no cones! That put me 2.5 seconds faster than the fastest SM car on my 2nd run, and it counted due to no cones or DNFs. It also put me in _4th_ in X class through 2 runs. I knew that my #4 standing wouldn't hold, so I needed to push even harder on run 3. I did push harder and went faster with a 64.0, but I barely nicked the first cone of the 10-cone slalom, so it didn't help me. I then watched 2 cars below me improve just enough to jump ahead of me by a few tenths. However, I did hold on for a 6th place finish, and since I wasn't that far from the 1000-pt winner for the day, I ended up with my highest points total ever in an SCCA auto-x: 986! Typically, I would not be so excited about finishging 6th, but it's important to realize that this is 6th out of over 200, and it's against the best of EVERY class, not just my class. I would have won my class by 2.5 seconds, which is a landslide, so it's quite alright to only be 6th overall. Also, the ilk of the people I lost to is that of national champions and national trophy winners. This is great company to be in, and I hope that bodes well for me at Nationals when I face the best SM cars in the country...
Tame daily driver mode before the race:
Aggressive race mode about to launch: