I’m behind in my writing but I want to get my experiences from today while they are still fresh in my head. Today was the 1st autocross since attending Evolution Performance Driving School. I was excited about applying my new knowlege but I was trying to keep my feet grounded. Like so many other things I have done in this sport the school may not have made as much difference as I thought it would and I may be disappointed. I’m not disappointed, but I am not jumping for joy either. The school left me with a very positive feeling. It was great to feel and see the improvement. But out here at a regular autocross with little to benchmark myself against it was hard to judge if I had applied what I learned and got faster. Maybe it was because my usual yardsticks, Scott and Cy, were not at this event. Maybe it was b/c the handling balance was weird today. Or did my new driving style expose a weakness in the suspension setup. I’m sure I’ll be pondering that one for a while and never coming to an answer.
So let me just tell you how the day went. I forgot that someone from PreludeOnline was coming to this autocross, thier first time, and had PM’d me about a few questions. So I talked to him a little while getting the car ready for tech, registering, etc. At tech I forgot to put my numbers on. they seemed crabby about it. I obviously wasn’t a rookie, I have Pro stickers all over my car. Then they said my battery was too loose. So I had to fix that and get re-inspected. I walked the course three or was it four times. Mostly by myself. That gave me time to pick out spots where I could apply lessons learned from Evo school. Look ahead is always a given. I tried to identify spots where I could make arcs in between features instead of linking them with straight lines. I also picked out a few objects off the course to aim at in spots where I needed an exit reference or needed something to aim at while setting up for a turn. I think I did an OK job at this, but I wish I had someone to confirm or deny my ideas. I guess it’s a case of the student being unsure of himself with out the re-assurance of the teacher. The rest of the day pretty much followed this theme.
Once I got out on course I thought I was, for the most part, doing what I should have been. The lot at E-town must be limited in what ashalt is usable b/c the course always seems to follow the same general path. The course was reversed from the norm of last year and this spring. The out part of the course was a lot of S-turns and transitions. This is where I tried to apply the linking with arcs vs. straights. The turn around at the back was pretty wide a small little straight built in. The in had two s-turns and then a 5 cone slolam leading into the finish. There was really no attempt to slow us down for the finish lights which was refreshing. So my first run I was a little too fast or a little to late in some of the out transitions as the car got a little loose when I tried to correct, and I was maybe too slow at the turnaround and on the way back in. The loose thing would be a trend all day.
The car was pushing on the usual spots, but on transitions if I was too hot and had to back off the car would go sideways. I did not like this at all. I spent the rest of the day chasing the problem. I hypothesized it was from cool tires. The moring was quite cool for a summer day though it did get hot in the afternoon. The tires were not getting hot in the moring and I kept dropping air pressures to get some heat in them. I’m pretty sure you can run as low as 38 psi on the fronts. I was keeping them at 40. I also turned up the front shocks a sinch and down on the rears. I still managed to go sideways at the end of the slolam on my 2nd to last run. The tires were really hot by now. So it wasn’t that. I don’t think it was shock settings either. I did this at Warmister at the end of a long slolam right after I put the new springs on. I think it is driver error or the setup is just a bit too loose. I wonder about the setup being a bit too loose b/c I have a mild setup compared to a lot of others. Most have higher rear springs, some have higher front and rears. Then add in bigger rear bars. 😮 So I’m kinda wondering if this is something I have to learn to drive around or should I try and take some of the oversteer out w/ a spring change. And if it is choice B should I soften the rear or stiffen the front. I’ll have to post around.