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What is the key to autox?

Old 07-28-03, 10:58 AM
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What is the key to autox?

What is the key to auto x? slow in fast out? or try to scrub off speed going into a tight turn by sliding through it?
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Old 07-28-03, 11:03 AM
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Practice, and no definetly not sliding.
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Old 07-28-03, 11:21 AM
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The concepts are no different than circuit racing. Slow in, fast out .... that's the proven method. In theory, you could gain time my carrying more speed and drifting out of a corner; however, it's very hard to do and very hard to do consistently. Sliding is different though ... a 4-wheel slide is the slow way around. Although, you do get pimpin' points.
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Old 07-28-03, 12:35 PM
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pimping points and several dead cones


the NA guys seem so much faster... i can't use my boost at all. and i'm running an apex-i boost controller.
I fully spool to 8 psi in 2nd at 2500 rpm... but hte amount of time in 2nd gear is only a few seconds.

btw i'm talking about Fcs
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Old 07-28-03, 12:48 PM
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seat time.
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Old 07-28-03, 01:15 PM
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Originally posted by Cheers!
the NA guys seem so much faster... i can't use my boost at all. and i'm running an apex-i boost controller.
I fully spool to 8 psi in 2nd at 2500 rpm... but hte amount of time in 2nd gear is only a few seconds.
On most local courses, you'll probably never get to fully take advantage of full boost for more than a couple seconds. But, at National Tour, ProSolo, and Divisional events, you usually get to really exploit the boost advantage ... bigger courses with a lot faster transitions. Otherwise .. you're turning too late.
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Old 07-28-03, 02:19 PM
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Here are the keys to autox (for free!):

Never lift off the gas.
Never turn the steering wheel.
Never touch the brakes.

The less often you break these rules the faster you will go (there's more truth here than you think). Well obviously you can never make that work 100% so hear's the real key:

Drive the course correctly (IMO the hardest part to master).

Make each of the four tires on the car work at their traction limit all the time.

Do not slide the car (see above. If you're sliding you didn't do that one right.)

Practice. Practice. Practice. Go practice some more.

Find a guy faster than you (faster driver, not necessarily faster car) and ask thoughtful questions. There is never any one thing that makes you fast, it's a combination of many smaller ones.

As with any sport fix your worst problems first, and then spend the rest of your life fixing the ones you didn't know you had
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Old 07-28-03, 03:43 PM
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There are exceptions to the rule, but they do not change the rule. That being said, my friend drives a 914 at autocross with a stock engine ('76 2.0) and a very well setup suspension. Last year he was still running a set of these old Dunlop D60's that had a lot of tread left but next to no stick. They were pretty old. In order to get around the course quickly he had to four wheel drift the bejeezus out of that car. Why? That engine is pretty darn weak at around 100hp and if he let off the gas it's be tough to get his momentum back up as well as get the RPMs back to the sweet spot. So he'd scrub off speed by sliding a bit instead of lifting off the throttle.

This year he got a set of sticky set of Kuhmo's and the engine is tuned as well as you probably can tune those 2.0 fuel injected 914 engines. It has about 120rwhp now. These days he drives the car without sliding it. Good tires make a big difference. So does driving a 2000# go-kart. Don't believe it when people say stuff such as "autocross is 80% driver, 20% car". It has a lot more to do with the car than most let on. Damn those pesky 914's!

That's another thing. Tire pressure. Ever notice how so many people are dinking around with their tires? The pressure goes up as they heat up. Once you find the best pressure for your tires and all the other factors that you might consider, stick to that pressure. As the pressure changes, so does that handling of your car. If that is always changing on you it is hard to be consistant.

Just get out there and keep at it. As long as you do better than your friends then it's all good.
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Old 07-28-03, 03:55 PM
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Originally posted by Jerk_Racer
Don't believe it when people say stuff such as "autocross is 80% driver, 20% car".
I for one believe it. You can verify this very easily: go get 10 different people and stick them in the same car. The good drivers will absolutely run away from the other people.
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Old 07-28-03, 06:25 PM
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It's 85% car, once you get past a minimum compentency level.
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Old 07-28-03, 09:57 PM
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Originally posted by nickj
It's 85% car, once you get past a minimum compentency level.
Couldn't agree more. Once you attain a certain level it's almost all driver. Keep an eye on someone driving faster than you, watch their line, stick around at the end of an event if they're doing fun runs and see if they'll give you a ride.

It completely changed the way I looked at a course (it can also be very humbling . . .)

Tomas
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Old 07-29-03, 07:39 AM
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Originally posted by nickj
It's 85% car, once you get past a minimum compentency level.
I disagree wholeheartedly with this.
I am by no means an expert autocrosser but I've seen many good drivers in bad cars kick serious booty. How does one explain that given your assertion?

Cory
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Old 07-29-03, 07:41 AM
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Originally posted by nickj
It's 85% car, once you get past a minimum compentency level.
You have it backwards. Once you get past a minimum competancy level it's all driver. See my above post: "go get 10 different people and stick them in the same car. The good drivers will absolutely run away from the other people."

Last edited by DamonB; 07-29-03 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 07-29-03, 08:05 AM
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yup DamonB is right. I watched two drivers drive the same 88 GXL at the event.

The 1st driver got 51 secs (won the class)
the 2nd driver got 54 secs (placed 2nd)

they drove the same car


btw i got 61 secs
=)
hahaha i got lost 2 times
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Old 07-29-03, 08:55 AM
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Don't sweat getting lost when you'e a novice. It's hard to make sense of that sea of cones sometimes. And your brain takes a while to become fimiliar with the speed in such close confines.
Fun though, wasn't it?

CW
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Old 07-29-03, 09:28 AM
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Originally posted by Cwaters
Don't sweat getting lost when you'e a novice. It's hard to make sense of that sea of cones sometimes
My first event it was raining. The course was huge; about 90 seconds (I was more like 110+). With the rain the course wasn't chalked. I think I DNF'd my first four runs and got the last two right

FWIW I found after a half dozen events or so your mind figures out what it sees and doesn't confuse you so much.
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Old 07-29-03, 09:36 AM
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the first time i went out... i mashed the gas... then i was like... oh ****... where do i go now...

you can't be on full throttle and scanning for cones to make your turn... i walked the course 3 times... when i got out there i was like... OH NO. where do i go now...

=)

but damn was it fun after i figured out where to go...
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Old 07-29-03, 09:40 AM
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Same here. After about 5-6 events, I got used to the speed of the transitions and the ability to look ahead. It's a little difficult to understand the concept of turning BEFORE the cone ... until you do at least a few times.

But ..

It's 85% car, once you get past a minimum compentency level.
This is all sorts of wrong. Bill Buetow and Bob Tunnell are perfect examples against this ... both national champions in BSP and running 'under-prepared' cars. And possibly Chris Ramey this year ... running a basically stock Z06 with off-the-shelf Bilsteins (he's beaten Strelnieks twice this year).

Buying $5000 shocks does not make you a better driver. A good driver will know how to take advantage of the adjustability of the $5000 shocks ... or drive to the limit of $500 shocks and still beat the overly expensive ones.
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Old 07-29-03, 09:52 AM
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what I did notice at the auto x event was that my car understeers more hten oversteers.

When i'm out carving mountain roads the car will tend to oversteer or want to drift out.

At autox it was completely different... i didn't expect this.
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Old 07-29-03, 02:35 PM
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I stand by my 85%. We seem to be disagreeing on minimum level of competency. Of course two drivers of different ability will turn different times in the same car. On the other hand, two drivers of similar ability will turn similar times in the same car, but possibly much different times in different cars.

At autocrosses, and even amatuer road racing, driving abilities vary widely. In the pro ranks the differences are much smaller, and the car makes a much bigger difference (but not all of it).

As to my own definition of minimum competency, I don't consider anyone who goes two or three seconds slower in my car to be a competent driver. I'm barely competent myself.
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Old 07-29-03, 03:38 PM
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I think I see where you're going with this. There's a fairly common misconception that certain modifications (like shocks and springs) will lop off huge chunks of time off your runs. What many fail to realize is that your driving skill level changes with most mods and the benefit is two-fold. In realistic comparison, the difference between high-dollar equipment and budget racer stuff is tenths of seconds. Driver skill takes you the majority of the way.

Now, if you're gunning for a jacket in one of the high dollar classes (like ASP, SM, or SM2) ... well, yeah, it's all about the equipment.
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Old 07-29-03, 07:38 PM
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For the novice autocrossers reading this thread, try this simple method.

If you are not on the throttle, you better be on the brakes. Coasting IS NOT fast.

You have to be doing one or the other. A lot of people will throttle up, brake to slow down, then coast while making the turn. You really need to be back on the throttle as soon as possible. Note that I didn't say FULL throttle immediately, but get on it quickly and roll on to full guns as you exit the turn. If you are apexing correctly, you should be back on the hammer just before the apex. You have just as much control of the balance of the car with the throttle just as with the brakes.

Also, I can't believe no one has mentioned smooth steering, braking and throttle inputs. SMOOTH IS TRULY FAST! If you watch the guys knocking down the FTD's in your local events, I will bet you anything, they don't look fast. Clocks don't lie though. They aren't hammering and thrashing the car around. They just hit the apexes and keep momentum on their side.

As your skill increases, you will see points on the course in a differnt way. There will be places on the course you will see that there is a LOT of time to be lost done wrong, but the same place will not be an area where you can make up a lot of time. Solution, be clean and smooth on those areas so as to lose as little time as possible.

I favor the driver being a much larger part of any automotive competition. My 94 is always a contender (and frequent winner) when it comes to FTD. However, I can go from my 300 RWHP RX-7 and get in my wife's 125 FWHP Neon ACR and turn times within 2 seconds of FTD. I'm talking about back to back runs too, not different cars on different days. Yes, I realize 2 seconds is a lifetime in autocrossing, but consider the cars are from opposite ends of the spectrum.

I'm sure as heck not the fastest guy around or any kind of authority in autocross, but three years of autocrossing have netted a bunch of FTD's, two regional titles and a divisional title. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!!!!

And to think, 3.5 years ago I couldn't even spell auto-x
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Old 07-30-03, 04:42 AM
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Steve doesn't look fast at all....the BASTARD!!!!

Steve: 43.303
John: 51.498 (I SUCK!)
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Old 07-31-03, 02:34 AM
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I stand by my position. I just don't feel like going into a 1000 word explanation. But I also wrote that without taking into account for different classes. I personally don't care about classing as I only go to autocross to drive and not compete.

Well, that's not all together true. As long as I do better than my buddies I'm happy.
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Old 08-05-03, 06:20 PM
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Originally posted by Cheers!
the NA guys seem so much faster... i can't use my boost at all. and i'm running an apex-i boost controller.
I fully spool to 8 psi in 2nd at 2500 rpm... but hte amount of time in 2nd gear is only a few seconds.

btw i'm talking about Fcs

Getting back to your original question - running a Turbo II or turbo FC in general in autocross is a bit tough b/c of the turbo lag. The extra time it takes for the boost to come on on a small autox course is rough.
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