Race Car Tech Discuss anything related to road racing and auto X.

First time autoX, advice please

Old 06-14-06, 09:06 AM
  #1  
Card-carrying Rotorhead
Thread Starter
 
Unseen24-7's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 457
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
First time autoX, advice please

I'm going to autocross for my first time in a little over a week and i am looking for info on how to prep my car. Things like tire pressure, fuel, or anything else that i should know about with a 1987 RX-7 GXL. Any advice/help would be appreciated.
Unseen24-7 is offline  
Old 06-14-06, 10:50 AM
  #2  
Rotor Power Rules
iTrader: (5)
 
Bruceman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Rochester Hills, MI
Posts: 515
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Under the hood ensure:
you have no major oil or coolant leaks
the battery is well secured
oil level is at the recommended level

Wheel lug nuts are tight
No excessive free play in the wheel bearings
Remove any loose items from the interior
Ensure tire pressures are at least 5 psi above the recommended settings

Make it known you are a novice at the event
Do the novice course walk
Walk the course many times
Ask if someone is available to ride with you. Do this especially if you get a DNF during the first run.
Have fun
Bruceman is offline  
Old 06-14-06, 11:15 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
10 Year Member
 
clubber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: South Jordan UT
Posts: 447
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I ran the tire pressures on the turbo at 38 front 34 rear when it had stock sized wheels. The increased front pressure will help git rid of understeer and make the car more neutral. ALWAYS run higher tire pressures than on the street. If you have adjustable shocks stiffen the fronts a little more than the rears but back them off if you start sliding the rear out under brakeing. An explanation of what suspension mods, if any, you have would help those helping you. If you start autocrossing a lot, some rear steer eliminators would help handling in the rear end a lot. They are cheap and help on street too.
clubber is offline  
Old 06-14-06, 04:33 PM
  #4  
Card-carrying Rotorhead
Thread Starter
 
Unseen24-7's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 457
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I should have mentioned this earlier but my car is bone stock, no mods whatsoever.
Unseen24-7 is offline  
Old 06-15-06, 09:45 AM
  #5  
Happy Squirter
5 Year Member
 
dbgeek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Lyman, SC
Posts: 263
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bruceman hit it on the head. There are going to be 20-30 very experienced autocrossers there, all of whom will help you if you ask. I would encourage you to walk the course with one of them. Talk to him/her about what to look for, how to approach sections, etc. Ask them to ride along on your first run or two, then go solo.

When you get to the event, park your car and remove EVERYTHING that is loose, including floor mats, junk in compartments, spare tire, jack, tools, that CD holder on the visor - everything. Go to registration, when you get up there to pay, get a number, sign the waiver, sign up for E-Stock Novice, etc, tell the folks behind the table that you are a novice, this is your first time, and if they can point out someone who can walk you through the course and car setup. They should be able to pick an excellent candidate to help you - make him/her look over your car BEFORE you really go through tech so you can pass tech on your first try (they are REALLY busy, and don't really have time to argue and re-tech a car).

Ask your 'instrustor' if they mind walking the course with you. Usually the 'novice walkthrough' isn't really enough. Talk to them about how to approach the course, what the car is going to be doing, and how to determine the 'line'.

Work. Do not skip your work assignment. It will teach you a lot by watching how different drivers take the course.

When it comes time for your runs, try to relax. Talk to your instructor after the run - what was the car doing? how do the brakes feel? How close are you to the cones? Did you drive the line you thought you would? Did you hit your braking points?

Thank your instructor, even if he/she wasn't that great. They took the time to help you out, and hopefully gave you lotsa of good advice that will sink in sooner or later

Don't worry about being 'fast' your first time out. It takes a lot of practice to autocross well. There is a lot of learning to do about your car, the course, and yourself. Instincts are difficult to change, and you WILL have instincts kick in - now is the time to train them to do the correct thing. Don't worry about spinning, sliding, hitting cones - just keep on driving the course - and try to stay on course. If you go out of control, STOP. Do not endanger course workers or timing folks or equipment. Missing a gate isn't too bad, but cutting across the course is scary to workers.

Above all, have FUN. You will become addicted. There are several of us with 2nd gens that autocross and do well. Your region will have lots of friendly people willing to help you. They will ALL offer advice if asked - remember, they're all car people, and we all like to talk about our car

Last edited by dbgeek; 06-15-06 at 09:55 AM.
dbgeek is offline  
Old 06-15-06, 11:54 AM
  #6  
Moderator
iTrader: (7)
 
dgeesaman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Fort Kickass
Posts: 12,298
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
I'll chime in with my experience. I started autox this spring and I've really improved and enjoyed all of it.

First, make sure the car is in good condition. Free of leaks, good tires, solid suspension/mounts/bushings/chassis/brakes. Bleed the brakes if its never been done, but generally autox doesn't get the brakes very hot. Also the things the others mentioned (tire pressure, lugs, etc).

Arrive early (say, an hour or two before the driver's meeting), get your car ready, and walk the course as soon as it opens. Try to run in a later heat, since you'll have had more chance to watch others drive the course, there may be tire marks, and more of them will be available to ride along and instruct.

On the first time through, drive fast but controlled. It's actually harder to navigate the course and develop a feel when you're going too slow. It takes time to drive the course and not be lost in the sea of 'little orange people'. Each run, think back and try to find two places where you could have cornered better, stayed on the throttle longer, braked later, etc. Then do that on the next run. Don't overload yourself, and focus more on line and cornering technique than anything else.

You will finish near the bottom of the results, partly because you won't have the most grippy tires allowed in your class, but mostly because you're just learning. But I've found that I've been able to move up steadily with every run and every event. If there is a 'drivers school' event definitely put that on your calendar. An autox course tends to be very complex and you only get a few cracks at it. Our drivers school was many runs on a small, simple course that really allowed me focus on learning how to drive rather than how to navigate, so if you find about events like that I strongly recommend them.

You'll enjoy it a lot.

Dave

Last edited by dgeesaman; 06-15-06 at 11:56 AM.
dgeesaman is offline  
Old 06-15-06, 01:23 PM
  #7  
Lives on the Forum
15 Year Member
 
DamonB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Dallas
Posts: 9,617
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by dgeesaman
Each run, think back and try to find two places where you could have cornered better, stayed on the throttle longer, braked later, etc. Then do that on the next run. Don't overload yourself
Great advice.

Anyone with some experience can easily overwhelm a newb with a long list of what they are doing wrong and how to fix it (you should see me try to golf!). Get some advice about the two or three things that hurt you the most and worry about those.
DamonB is offline  
Old 06-15-06, 01:57 PM
  #8  
Eats, Sleeps, Dreams Rotary
10 Year Member
 
7racer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 3,737
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I got the biggest "bang for the buck" doing the driver's ed day that was held before one of the early events.

The second biggest gain was riding with Damon and having him ride with me on the day of the track event.

It was great to ride with someone explerienced first as you can get familiarity with the course and you can see the line that someone with more experience takes. Also, as each run goes by, you can see where and when they are putting down the power and brakes.

The first time I would just try to concentrate on the course and line...and MOST IMPORTANTLY, looking ahead. I thought I did a good job looking ahead until the most recent drivers ed course. Damon had me look so far ahead that I was amazed. I remember at the first autox when I was just entering the slalom toward the end of the course and he was telling me "spot the finish! spot the finish!" I was like WTF finish?! I'm trying to not cone here in the slalom! Where the hell is the finish!?!? HAHAHAHAHA Too cool.
7racer is offline  
Old 06-16-06, 12:39 AM
  #9  
pro-liberty
5 Year Member
 
SoontobeLS1'd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Corners: Slow in, fast out. I haven't autocrossed but I do some mountain driving in a very potent WRX here in the rockies. That little bit has helped a good amount.
SoontobeLS1'd is offline  
Old 06-18-06, 10:33 PM
  #10  
paradox
5 Year Member
 
RacerX7fb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,296
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Run the course alone first. Then have a novice instructor ride along with you. You will vastly see the difference. A stock car is the best place to begin with. Don't worry about how bad you might do, everybody isn't that great during their first few times. Just have fun and drive!

Other tips: Get a good nights sleep so you'll be fresh when you're out there.
To help you remain in your seat so you can focus on driving smoothly, twist the stock seat belt a couple of times when snug before latching it in. Also use the dead pedal with your left foot to press you into the seat instead of applying a death grip on the steering wheel.

Last edited by RacerX7fb; 06-18-06 at 10:43 PM.
RacerX7fb is offline  
Old 06-18-06, 10:43 PM
  #11  
Potato Love
10 Year Member
 
Larz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Normal, Illinois
Posts: 1,344
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
bleed your brakes! They probably need it bad. Don't get your boxers in a bunch if you screw up. You're there to have fun first and foremost.
Larz is offline  
Old 06-19-06, 09:10 AM
  #12  
Card-carrying Rotorhead
Thread Starter
 
Unseen24-7's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 457
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks this has been very helpful. But I have a bit of a technical question too. Since the redline is so high on my car (87 FC GXL) is it recommended/possible to stay in 1st gear for the coarse (depending on length of straighaways) or should i try to shift more often than not?
Unseen24-7 is offline  
Old 06-19-06, 09:38 AM
  #13  
Potato Love
10 Year Member
 
Larz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Normal, Illinois
Posts: 1,344
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I have never driven your car ( I have a 3rd gen). But I go into second and generally stay there. That range seems best suited for auto x courses. This weekend I had to downshift for the first time back into first. On one course my miata buddy had to upshift to third down an extremely fast slalom.
Larz is offline  
Old 06-19-06, 11:06 AM
  #14  
Rotor Power Rules
iTrader: (5)
 
Bruceman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Rochester Hills, MI
Posts: 515
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I try to get into 2nd gear as soon as possible, leave it there, and focus on driving. My brain can only handle so much!

I always try not to have to change gear during autocross because there is just a potential to screw it up. There have only been 2 events in 3 years that have needed 3rd gear (and both events I've hooked 5th instead of 3rd!). Never had to use 1st. I try to avoid events that like slow corners.
Bruceman is offline  
Old 06-19-06, 11:17 AM
  #15  
Moderator
iTrader: (7)
 
dgeesaman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Fort Kickass
Posts: 12,298
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
In my very limited experience as a beginner (which might apply better to another beginner), it pays to put it in 2nd and leave it there. Coming out of slow corners, you won't have as much torque, but you won't have to interrupt your corner exit with a shift. Also, since the rotary isn't too torquey down low, you won't be as prone to overjuicing it and getting the back end loose. Really, the quality of the corner and exit mean more than the power.

Some courses give you the option of hitting 3rd, but again it's usually only a fraction of a second in total time difference, and that's assuming you can make up the time you lost with a shift.

Dave
dgeesaman is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
The1Sun
New Member RX-7 Technical
9
03-18-18 11:08 PM
stickmantijuana
Engine Management Forum
11
11-09-15 01:15 PM
fastrx7man
3rd Generation Specific (1993-2002)
33
09-02-15 09:42 PM
stickmantijuana
20B Forum
10
08-19-15 01:47 PM
tridav3
3rd Generation Specific (1993-2002)
6
08-17-15 06:32 PM


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: First time autoX, advice please


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: