: SCCA Autocross? FS class novice



Driftwood420
08-06-11, 11:11 PM
Gents, I am thinking about running some local SCCA "cone cornering" events here at Turner Field parking lot in Atlanta. It will be my first time doing such so I will be a novice for the rest of this season and be running points next season starting in the spring. My car is bone stock and will probably stay that way for some time. Anybody running in solo events? FS class? How are you doing against the competitors? What kind of tire wear can I expect (I will keep the drifting to a minimum, these things love to step out)?

BTW still love my new car.

Dan_Gurney
08-06-11, 11:19 PM
Just go out and have a good time. as a novice it is not the car that is going to set you apart, don't worry about putting more money intot he car to make it faster either, talk to other people otu there, and get some "pros" to ride along with you to give you pointers.

You will add have some additional tire wear, it seems like it can cut tire life in half (but i don't have a whole lot of basis on that, the stock tires on my car lasted for ~22,000 miles, my new softer tires will probably onlye make it to 13-14,000 miles with autocrossing every month (currently runnign Hankook evo V12) but don't worry about that.

Also worht getting, is a camera mount, amazon.com has a good one for ~$22 (panavise 809), it makes it fun to go back and watch your laps afterwards (one to learn where you are slow, two, well it is just fun...
http://www.amazon.com/Panavise-809-Camera-Window-Suction-Cup/dp/B000246ST6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312683538&sr=8-1

Driftwood420
08-07-11, 10:13 AM
Dan thanks for the wise words and encouragement. Just tried sitting in the drivers seat wearing a Simpson helmet I was given by a friend and tight is an understatement . At 6 feet with a sunroof there is little head room with no helmet. looks like i will be racing laying down in the back seat. Maybe I can find a more compact helmet. I don't think I can lower the seat anymore but I will look ( it is already adjusted all the way down).

Dan_Gurney
08-07-11, 10:06 PM
This is actually what i use my memory seats for, one is daily driving, 2 is w/helmet. I am not as tall as you, and it can be annoying, use the tilt feature on the bottom of the seat as well to help buy some more headroom

Make sure you pull the seat forward a little for autocross, you want to ensure that you can easily push the brakes and clutch all the way to the floor, but more importantly you want the ability to really get on the wheel and drive (no gangsta lean...)

It helps to push the headrest all the way towards the back of the car as well.


At minimum put the car into competition mode when out there, i prefer just to shut stability control off though, as autocross has minimal damage if you do lose control, i would rather learn how to save the car/keep it from spinning myself.

General autocross advise i have learned -
Make sure to look ahead of where you are at you will end up going where you are looking, so you should be looking ahead to the next turn.

Take the first lap on the new course slow enough to learn the course, if you don't you will be looking for the fastest way around the whole time and never find it, nobody has their fastest lap on the first one, don't try to.

shift into 2nd and keep it there, there are few turns where you would need to put it back into 1st (and most of the time if you do, it makes the back end way to easy to come around

Put more air in your tires before heading out, 40 psi seems to work good (but i have not been able to experiment enough to find the preferred pressure)

On slaloms drive like you are trying to slap the back end of the car into the cone, you have to turn in earlier then you would think to really make it through.

But go out, have a good time if you can't do that you are doing it wrong..., and you will learn as you go, this is just the stuff i have picked up over the last few months, it has become addicting

DDS rollin a CTS
08-08-11, 10:33 AM
Wow, a lot of excellent advice has been shared already. I have been autocrossing for about 3-4 years and LOVE it. I started out in my 03 CTS (auto) and this year upgraded to my 07 V. You really do have to think ahead and be gentle with the V if you want to go fast, but sometimes its fun to just fling her around and put on a good show. A few other tips:

I agree on the 40psi recommendation for tire pressure as a starting point as thats what I run. Put some chalk on the sidewalls where the tread and the sidewall come together. This will give you an idea of how much your tire is rolling and if you need to add or let out some air. I have the Hankook Ventus V12 tires as well and they have been a good auto-x tire, but have worn quickly (thats expected). Right now the right tire isnt all that important since you're just getting started but if you get hooked and decide to make this a regular hobby a really good set of summer performance tires on a spare set of rims is the one equipment investment I highly recommend.

Figure out who the great drivers are in your club and get to know them. Ask them to ride along with you, and be sure to ride along with them. Even riding along with a not-so-good driver can be beneficial as it helps you to see how NOT to drive the course. Ask the experienced drivers if you can join them on a course walk. Some people prefer at least one walk alone so they can really evaluate the course and plan thier line, but most are more than willing to do this evaluation out loud to help you identify the proper line as well.

You mentioned having issues with head room, I'm 6'3" so I brought my helmet with me when I went to look at the first V I considered buying. It had a moonroof and I quickly figured out that wasnt going to work. The salesman did look a bit puzzled when I walked in, put on my helmet, sat in the car, fiddled with the seat, got out and said "nope" then walked away. At this point your best bet is the "ghetto lean" but obviously thats not the best driving position. I'm not sure if you can find any "thinner" helmets but its worth trying.

Traction control - turn it off completely (hold the t/c button until "stability system disabled" or whatever it says pops up on the nav screen). Who cares if you spin out, getting to know how the car reacts to your inputs is more important in getting faster the long run.

Cameras - someone else posted a windshield mount, that looks like it would work well. I also recommend the CruiseCam mount (http://www.cruisecam.com/products.html) as it moves the camera behind you and you can then see what youre doing while your driving and work on things such as hand positions on the wheel, bracing, etc. Another great product is the GoPro. Its compact and waterproof so its easy to mount outside the car for some interesting shots even in the rain (the underside of the bumper above the lower grill is a nice mounting spot for a down low shot of the course). Be sure to post your videos on youtube and links on here so we can see how youre doing.

Youre never going to set any autocross records with the V except for maybe "Most Body Roll" but thats ok. Go out there and have fun!!!

JimmyH
08-08-11, 02:05 PM
fwiw, I have done a few, and I don't worry about lap times, tire pressure, or any of the technical stuff. I just go out and go as fast as I can without spinning, drifting, or DNFing. The V is not going to be competitive on tight autocross courses anyway, so just go out and have fun.

Best advice is to always be looking ahead to the next turn. You will be smoother, and if you are smooth, you have more fun.

Bob Judd said it best "some people think if they run at the ragged edge of control, they are going fast; when actually, all they are doing is demonstrating they are capable of hitting a lamp post at very low speeds"

garrettg
08-08-11, 02:26 PM
I am 6'3" and able to do trackdays using a motorcycle helmet, don't have a auto helmet so not sure on the thickness difference. I also don't have the seat all the way down either but I do sit close to the wheel(thanks gm, would a telescoping wheel really been that hard to fit on a 50k+ car) as my legs are much longer than my arms. My helmet probably rubs on the headliner but doesn't cause me any issues, 07 with the sunroof.

DDS rollin a CTS
08-08-11, 05:16 PM
...I don't worry about lap times, tire pressure, or any of the technical stuff. I just go out and go as fast as I can without spinning, drifting, or DNFing...

That must be why I beat you so handily at the auto-x after the Indy V-Meet. :zing:

JimmyH
08-08-11, 05:37 PM
you mean how you, the guy with 3-4 years under his belt, beat me, in his very first autox? lulz

JimmyH
08-08-11, 05:38 PM
btw, at my last autox, camaros, mustangs, corvettes (most Z06) were all getting our arses handed to us by the miatas

mberisha
08-08-11, 05:41 PM
Mia-who?

JimmyH
08-08-11, 05:49 PM
they are those little buzzing things; have two chairs in them, sound like a sewing machine on steroids, have highly-unfair tight-cornering ability...

Junior1
08-08-11, 06:14 PM
they are those little buzzing things; have two chairs in them, sound like a sewing machine on steroids, have highly-unfair tight-cornering ability...

You're not kidding, the lap times @ Monticello Motorclub are very close between a Miata and a V2...Not to mention a blast to drive

Driftwood420
08-08-11, 10:30 PM
Thanks guys, looks like I will be registering as a novice for the September run. We are currently looking for a kart for my son so we can turn this into a good family day. My wife can kill the battery in a Kindle anywhere. I have spent some more time in the car with the helmet and I think I can hunch/gangsta lean for 50 seconds. I am really looking forward to an outlet and a legal place to throw this thing around some. Thanks for all of the advice, I will let you guys know how it goes.

DDS rollin a CTS
08-09-11, 12:48 PM
you mean how you, the guy with 3-4 years under his belt, beat me, in his very first autox? lulz

My bad, for some reason I thought you'd been doing it a while too...

...oh and f*** miatas.

JimmyH
08-09-11, 01:42 PM
the last autox I was at, those miatas would be eating you for breakfast. to be fair, there were three really tight hairpins that a 4000lb car just can't take like a 2000lb car can.

repenttokyo
08-12-11, 02:16 PM
btw, at my last autox, camaros, mustangs, corvettes (most Z06) were all getting our arses handed to us by the miatas

i've got a 95 R-Package parked beside my V in the garage.


You're not kidding, the lap times @ Monticello Motorclub are very close between a Miata and a V2...Not to mention a blast to drive

I'm far from an expert driver, but here's a vid of me taking my Miata around Monticello, full course:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7iaCpHvHUk

pjm10626
08-15-11, 09:33 AM
I'm located near atl just west in carrollton and have been wanting to make it out to the autox at turner field. I have not been able to make it out yet. Where are you located in Ga?

Driftwood420
08-15-11, 09:09 PM
PJM I am in Grant Park so right here at the Zoo, downtown. Sept 18th is the next race. Be cool to have another Caddy there.