First Autocross Experience
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This is a discussion on First Autocross Experience within the Motorsports Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Well, technically it wasn't my first autocross, but the only two other events I participated in were over ten years ...

  1. #1
    Registered User RollTideRex's Avatar
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    Thumbs up First Autocross Experience

    Well, technically it wasn't my first autocross, but the only two other events I participated in were over ten years ago, and I used my uncle's rece-prepped car, so it may as well have been my first event. At the least, it was the first event for me using my own car. Anyway, I showed up to compete at a PCA autocross event this past weekend. I wasn't alone in not driving a Porsche, but I'd say a good 90% of cars participating were. Needless to say, my bone-stock '06 WRB WRX stood out like a sore thumb. There were jokes made, including the threat of making me disconnect my drivetrain before running, etc, but it was fun. PCA autocross rules placed me in the IO2 class. It's basically the faster of the non-Porsche categories. Also in that class were a red 350Z and a 4-door Integra. Being the only Subie at an (almost) all Porsche event, I felt like I had a little something to prove. I was in the first of two heats, and third in line overall. I ran my first lap and got in line for my second. Man, what a blast that was. I knew that I wasn't getting everything I could, but still felt like I was posting a decent time. The starter confirmed this for me when I lined up for my second run. I had posted a 70.9 the first time through. I aksed how that compared, and he said about mid-pack thus far. Not bad. Run two: 69.8. Over a second's improvement. I'll take that. Run three: 68.9. Another second. Not bad. Final run: 67.9. Yet another second off. I think I can live with that. We had lunch, then I went out and did my course work. It was really cool to see the Porsches flying through the slaloms in front of me. I can't wait to see my buddy's video so I can get an idea of how I looked. After heat 2 finished their four laps, we did some "fun runs". I took my 2 runs, but couldn't make any improvement on my times earlier in the day. Oh, well. It would've been nice, but wouldn't have counted anyway. Now for the important part: the awards. To be honest, I really had no idea how this would turn out. I knew that my times were decent, but wasn't sure how they'd hold up over two heats. I listened as they went through the classes. The fastest car in class IO2, with a time of 67.9..... the Subaru! Woah! Needless to say, I was happy. The shocker, though came next. My friend, who drives a '99 996 911, won his class with a 68.2. That means that I was faster than the 996's! w00t!

    After that, we did some cleanup and headed back home. My friend and I stopped to grab something to eat on the way back, and talked about how much fun it was. He'd been two at least one before in that same 996, but made improvements this time out. I was just excited that I took my class and managed to beat his as well.

    The next PCA autocross is coming up next weekend. I plan on attending that one as well. I'll make sure to post up letting y'all know how that goes. Also, they'll be printing the full results of this event in the next newsletter, so I'll link to that as soon as it's online.
    Hawk-Eye Alliance #127
    06 WRB WRX

    "I will say one thing. It is amazing how many drivers, even at the Formula One level, think that the brakes are for slowing the car down." -Mario Andretti

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    Registered User jcaputo's Avatar
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    Nice runs!

    Are 996's that bad at autocross events? Or are you just a great driver? I would never have expected a stock WRX to take down a 911, any generation. Helluva job!
    '05 silver WRX
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    Registered User RollTideRex's Avatar
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    I'm not going to claim that I'm a great driver. I think the real problem is that my friend is still a little scared of pushing the car too far, which limited him severly. The other thing to take into consideration is that those tracks are designed really tight so that it minimizes the horsepower advantage, and gives the benefit to cars that handle better and drivers with better lines.
    Hawk-Eye Alliance #127
    06 WRB WRX

    "I will say one thing. It is amazing how many drivers, even at the Formula One level, think that the brakes are for slowing the car down." -Mario Andretti

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    Registered User RollTideRex's Avatar
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    oh, and thanks!
    Hawk-Eye Alliance #127
    06 WRB WRX

    "I will say one thing. It is amazing how many drivers, even at the Formula One level, think that the brakes are for slowing the car down." -Mario Andretti

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    Registered User RollTideRex's Avatar
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    The Hurricane Region PCA had their second autocross event of the year yesterday. I attended and arrived early enough to help set up the course. The way the course was designed made me really nervous. It was basically the same course we had run the first time around, except in reverse. The part that made me nervous was the straights. They were significantly longer than the previous event. I looked at that and just knew that the Porsches were going to blow my doors off. I wasn't just going to let them have it, though. I at least had the benefit of being in the second heat. That meant I could pick the brains of everyone in the first heat to see where they were having difficulties. I'm not sure how much good this knowledge did me, though. I still came out of the first corner too hot to effectively make it into the opposite side slalom section. My first run was still effective, though. I figured out two very important things: 1) the chicago box at the end of the run was just wide enough to straight-shot, meaning I could hit the timing light in second gear, and 2) the AWD system gave me just enough grip to plant my foot really early in the sweeping right-hander that lead onto the straight section. Both of these proved extremely valuable lessons. I'm not really sure which lap produced my fastest time, but I know that I screwed up my last two runs trying to exit that first corner in second, only to lose boost. That wasn't good. Fortunately, I was fast enough in the other sections to make up for that. Either way, the results were more than pleasing: I managed to take fastest time of the day. Granted, there were only 12 drivers on the track, but I'll take FTD anytime I can get it. Especially against Porsches.
    Hawk-Eye Alliance #127
    06 WRB WRX

    "I will say one thing. It is amazing how many drivers, even at the Formula One level, think that the brakes are for slowing the car down." -Mario Andretti

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    Registered User jcaputo's Avatar
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    Nicely done again. Beating a bunch of porsches must be a very satisfying experience.
    '05 silver WRX
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    Registered User RollTideRex's Avatar
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    Beating Porsches definitely is rewarding to say the least. I have to wonder, though. If I'm able to go out there for my first two events and win my class both times, not to mention set fastest time overall in the second event, what does that say? Not being the type of guy that likes to brag, I'm hesitant to believe that I'm just that good. I guess I'll have a better idea of how close the results were once they publish them in the newsletter. If they look close, I'll actually feel better about it because I'll know I'm being pushed to drive my best. If it's not all that close, I may end up moving to SCCA or Tarheel Club. Both of those will have enough participation that I can get a more accurate idea of exactly where I stand.
    Hawk-Eye Alliance #127
    06 WRB WRX

    "I will say one thing. It is amazing how many drivers, even at the Formula One level, think that the brakes are for slowing the car down." -Mario Andretti

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollTideRex
    I may end up moving to SCCA
    I'd do SCCA events - this will put you with more than 12 cars, of all different types. You're enjoying Auto-X, and I think this would be even better experience for you.
    2005 WRX STi (Mods | Virtual Dyno)

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    Registered User RollTideRex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idipskoalmint View Post
    I'd do SCCA events - this will put you with more than 12 cars, of all different types. You're enjoying Auto-X, and I think this would be even better experience for you.
    The low turnout this weekend was most likely due to the fact that it was Mother's Day weekend and it had only been two weeks since the last event. I think 30 is a more typical number for that group. Both the SCCA and Tarheel Club typically have 100+ cars at their events, so either one is a good option. Given the money factor, it may be next season before I get involved with either one. I'll just have to see how things go at the next event and maybe decide based on that.
    Hawk-Eye Alliance #127
    06 WRB WRX

    "I will say one thing. It is amazing how many drivers, even at the Formula One level, think that the brakes are for slowing the car down." -Mario Andretti

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollTideRex
    The low turnout this weekend was most likely due to the fact that it was Mother's Day weekend and it had only been two weeks since the last event. I think 30 is a more typical number for that group. Both the SCCA and Tarheel Club typically have 100+ cars at their events, so either one is a good option. Given the money factor, it may be next season before I get involved with either one. I'll just have to see how things go at the next event and maybe decide based on that.
    SCCA has a $45 annual membership for newbies, and it then goes up to $60 each subsequent year. Each event is $20. If you don't have a membership, you have to buy a weekend pass ($15), which can be applied to your annual membership (I believe you can use 2 of them). We held an Auto-X yesterday and had a turnout of about 60-70 cars. Unfortunately, the local SCCA chapter doesn't have the best locations for runs, so I end up driving 2-3 hours to the CNY events.
    2005 WRX STi (Mods | Virtual Dyno)

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  12. #11
    Registered User RollTideRex's Avatar
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    I think depending on when the NC Region event is in June, I may show up and run that on a weekend pass. At this point, if it's the same weekend as the PCA event, I'll attend the PCA event. Mainly because I know the people involved and it's the last autocross they have scheduled for the year at this time. They may add some later, but they haven't yet. Assuming they don't add any more events, I can pick up the SCCA events in July. Now that I think about it, this seems the most logical course to take (no pun intended).

    EDIT: Do the 2.5L WRX's run in DS? Until I have the cash to really do it right, I want to run in a stock class. Also, do you happen to know where I can find the rules for what tires, etc. are allowed for the DS class (or whatever class 2.5L WRX's run in)?
    Last edited by RollTideRex; 05-13-2008 at 09:23 AM. Reason: additional questions

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    Coventry Commonwealth Games of Virginia

    You should check out the Commonwealth Games of Virginia being held in Danville, VA on July 19th and 20th. I was there last year as a novice 06 WRX driver and will be there again this year as a not so novice driver. Event is being hosted by the Blue Ridge Racing club who put on a really fun event last year.

    As far as the class of a 2.5RS - can't tell you that. Rules for stock cars are on page 61. I don't have enough posts to insert a proper link so go to scca . com click Solo at the top click Solo Cars and Rules on the left and find the rules and regs there.


    I also run DStock w\ Kumho Ecsta MX 245/40/17, Koni shocks, and Whiteline Front Sway Bar (26mm I believe). Oh, and get a CG Lock to keep ass in seat at all times unless you have the money to spend on a harness system.

    You will definitely find some competition at this event. Note that there is no street tire class at this event if that is what you've been running. I plan to have 710's w/ at least two events on them before I arrive. Last year I ran street tires and third place got me by .6 seconds for both days - not bad if I say so myself as the winners were all on R-Comps. I know one of the DStockers from last year got a new ride so the competition in that class may be less this year.

    The event is listed on myautoevents . com or you go to brr-scca . org.

    good luck - have fun

    I don't post here often as I haven't found much autox info here in the past but you can get me at dasherex @ gmail.com

  14. #13
    Registered User RollTideRex's Avatar
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    I just want to clarify a couple of things since I seem to have been misunderstood here and in the autocross group. By 2.5L I mean the WRX's with the 2.5 liter engine as opposed to the 2.5RS. Also, I did not mean to imply that the guys in the PCA are non competitive. There's one guy that showed up for the first event and beat me by roughly 10 seconds. It just seems unusual to me that I would be able to set FTD on my second event. Please don't take this personally, I just wanted to clarify what I guess I worded poorly in the first post.

    On a side note, the sheet I read said that you had to be running stock rims to be in a stock class. How in the world are you squeezing 245's onto the stock rims? Not to mention the rules I read said that stock AWD cards are limited to 225 width tires. Did I read that wrong or am I just missing something?
    Hawk-Eye Alliance #127
    06 WRB WRX

    "I will say one thing. It is amazing how many drivers, even at the Formula One level, think that the brakes are for slowing the car down." -Mario Andretti

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    I have been in autocross for about a year and a half and have never set FTD. I'm no slouch. I've taken the courses and read the books and done what I can to the car while staying in class. I took first place Novice in my first season and 3rd place street tires in my local league in my first year.

    I wasn't in to Subies until I got mine so I don't know all the specs on a 2.5RS - I just know my 06 WRX TR and it and the rest of them that year came with the 2.5 liter boxer engine.

    I am running stock sized rims - Kosei K1 TS. Stock tires are 215s, my first set after that were 225's, my third set are the 245s. I didn't believe it until I saw it in Danville last year. Your average firestone or Merchants may not mount them for you - but the 245's will fit without any modifications, not too mention how sweet the car looks with the beefy tires. The koseis sit about a 16th inch off my calipers but I've never had any problems. (everything I've gotten for my car so far aside from front sway bar was bought from tirerack)

    I never heard the rule about AWD and 225's being the largest allowed. It isn't in the SCCA handbook that I could find and you are the first person I've ever heard mention it. If you are restricted to 225's based on your local organization then go with the Azenis - otherwise Kumho Ecsta MX's at 245 will treat you right. I'm in the process of getting some V710's, 245/45/17, for Danville this year and the VA Championship later on in the year. I probably won't compete in street tires next year - but wanted time to figure out the car and the courses before making huge jumps.

    Our average turnout for our monthly event is about 125 lately - we blame the sagging economy. I think we had 160+ at one event last year.

  16. #15
    Registered User RollTideRex's Avatar
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    Ok, I see where my mistake was now. The 225 width limit comes into play when you get into classes that allow non-stock wheel width. I don't think I'm going to be able to get new tires anytime soon anyway, but it's good to know that the 245's will fit on stock width rims.

    As to that front swaybar you've got, I was looking at the same one since it's allowed for stock classes. My concern with buying it was that by upgrading the front by that much (I think stock is ~18mm) and leaving the rear, it would actually hurt the handling. How much difference did it make in the handling of your car? I'm guessing it was a positive change since it doesn't sound like you changed back.
    Hawk-Eye Alliance #127
    06 WRB WRX

    "I will say one thing. It is amazing how many drivers, even at the Formula One level, think that the brakes are for slowing the car down." -Mario Andretti

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