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June 9th marked the first auto-x this year were I wouldn't be driving one of the faster cars in the club. My friend Charles decided to let me drive his 2002 M3. He has the SMG transmission (semi manual gearbox). Basically there is no clutch pedal in the car but there is still a pressure plate, and clutch, no torque converter like a regular automatic.
The course set up was a good balance of left and right hand turns. I helped design the course on July 9th. We had a different starting point than usual which made for an easier day of staging cars.
The course started out pulling the car to the left through the first gate then back right to a hard left that brought you down the opposite side of the parking lot. This was a mini straight with a quick kink to the right then a decreasing radius left hand turn leading into another straight. Then course then made a hard left and pulled into a skidpad which we did 2 3/4 of a lap around turning to the right. The course then went quick left followed by 3quick rights then into the stop garage.
My first run in the morning I rode with Charles to get a feel for the car. I went easy with the car and noticed the 225/19s up front understeered quite a bit, even when mid turn and romping on the gas. My first run was a paltry 50.55.
Charles had run a 47.51 just before I got my hands on it.
I picked up the pace on my 2nd run and created more understeer. My 3rd run I plowed through the skid pad worse than an top fuel dragster trying to turn. I still ran my fastest time for myself in the morning on this run with a 48.87.
I talked with Charles about the understeer. I convinced him to try and change the tire pressures. We decreased the rears by 4lbs and increased the fronts by 3lbs. I was hoping to keep the fronts more stable and allowing the rears to roll over and create oversteer.
Charles was again the first to drive the car in the afternoon. He actually went SLOWER. He said the rear end was very loose on the car. GOOD!! Thats exactly where I wanted it. If I was able to get the rear end to come around I would be able to steer with the throttle thus reducing my times.
My first run out the car still understeered on me but I went .1 seconds faster. 2nd afternoon run I was able to get the rear to come around a little bit. I had been carryign by buddy Jerry with me to show him what an auto-x was. I dropped him off and went out for my 3rd run. I pulled off a 48.36. Good enough to get me 18th on the day out of 70 cars.
There was one problem. My index is so high I only got 1pt on my indexed time and 33 on my overall time. I fell in the point standings. I had moved up to 6th but with this poor showing I dropped to 16th.
I need my car back with R compounds to start chipping away at the leaders. A couple of good showings and I'm right back in it.
 
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