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NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here...

 
Old 11-03-2003, 09:52 PM
  #21  
Nitro-C5
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (CPT Z06)

A few quick questions:

First of all I used to race ATV and some club Street bikes when I was younger, however this has been about 15 years ago and these types of club racing don't exactly translate into my current car, but I do understand the basic concept of racing.

After a recent track day (my first in a long time) I turely realized for the first time that my cars potential is WAAAAAY above and beyond my current driving skill for this particular car. My car is a highly modified C5 with just about everything upgraded except the acutal frame. I have a custom forged "383" which dynoed at 465rwhp and 490rwtq off the Nitrous (which I can run up to an additional 250shot)...and yes I do realize that I don't run N20 in Auto-X. Car has been lowered 2 inches and running Bilstein Sport Shocks and Z51 bars. Brakes are Baer Eradispeed Plus 1 and ZO6 calipers and pads. Rear end is a 4:10 ratio. Car ran 10.9 sec @ 138 mph in the quarter on non-drag tires. Also adding a ATI DS-1 Super Charger this winter @ 10lbs. of boost which will bring my RWHP in the 625 neighborhood.

Questions: I know the car will well out-perform what I will ever do with it, but I'm looking for some good Auto-X events to attend for beginers (I have absolutely no ego so I don't mind starting at the bottom). What class would I run in? Would I need a roll bar? I have a full face motorcycle helmet, can I use this for Road Racing and Auto-X?

Thanks,
Rick
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Old 11-04-2003, 02:29 AM
  #22  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (Nitro-C5)

rick, first off, it's good to hear someone with their feet firmly planted on the ground. i've seen waaaay too many people come out with the latest and greatest four wheel wonder thinking they're mario and all too often pass them by as they drive it out of the dirt!
just from what you described, i would think your car would fall into the SCCA's SM2 class. it's kind of a 'catch-all' class for heavily modified street cars.
generally speaking, a DOT helmet less than 10 years old will get you through just about any auto-x out there and a few HPDE's. eventually though, people will start asking you where your SA helmet is, especially on the faster road courses.
don't forget about clothing either. auto-x's tend to be kind of laid back and on hot days most people drive in shorts and t-shirts. however, it's uncommon to find an HPDE that will allow you to wear anything less than long pants and long-sleeve shirt. make sure it's cotton though. the idea is if you have any type of car fire, you want the material to burn before it gets to your skin. and the requirement for a natural fiber like cotton is that it burns off whereas a synthetic material tends to melt and stick
most auto-x's won't require a roll bar. convertibles may be an exception though. however, almost all road track events would require a bar for convertibles. in most HPDE's, it's not required in an enclosed car because they already know the ability of the car to stay up-right is generally greater than the knucklehead trying to roll it. don't let that fool you though, if you try really hard you can roll just about anything!
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Old 11-04-2003, 11:15 AM
  #23  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

rick, first off, it's good to hear someone with their feet firmly planted on the ground. i've seen waaaay too many people come out with the latest and greatest four wheel wonder thinking they're mario and all too often pass them by as they drive it out of the dirt!
Believe me I learned quickly while taking turn 3 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Came in off the back stretch to hot (about 155) and not only did I throttle lift but actually quickly tapped the brakes. Big mistake to say the least...after sliding up (2) rails I quickly found god...to say the least


just from what you described, i would think your car would fall into the SCCA's SM2 class. it's kind of a 'catch-all' class for heavily modified street cars.
Thats kinda what I thought. Unfortunately I'll probably never get the opportunity to take this particular car to its limit. It is in fact a hard car to drive fast with as much power as it makes. Not trying to become a Pro driver just trying to safely find my limits and improve upon them. And your right I don't have an ego about it...when I race I realize that most people will be beating the driver and not the car, but hey I'm fine with that.

Any other tips. ie: Brake pads, operating temps, driving schools etc..

Thanks,
Rick
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Old 11-09-2003, 03:56 AM
  #24  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

just from what you described, i would think your car would fall into the SCCA's SM2 class. it's kind of a 'catch-all' class for heavily modified street cars.
This is interesting guess I need to check to see if SCCA will be having any events near me. Summer before last I went to a NCCC autoX held at Bunker Hill,Indiana and was told that I could not compete because of my supercharger so I left and have never tried to run at one since. I would like to do this but removing the blower is not an option.
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Old 11-09-2003, 08:50 AM
  #25  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (black bart)

Now you know why I don't attempt NCCC events, and our baby Corvette club isn't NCCC sanctioned.

Check out other clubs in your area. I ended up racing with the local Porsche and BMW clubs, because the courses they run are faster than typical auto-x events, and I'm not in it for the money, anyway!

Have a good one,
Mike
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Old 11-12-2003, 01:57 AM
  #26  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

m'k. guys. i'm going to throw in a tip that is a little more advanced now the tread has gotten this long. i figure if people are still reading this far down, they've already tried everything above. BTW, this is primarily for track events.
so here's the deal. this will save your @ss one day, the difference between looking like an idiot and someone who could have saved the titanic with a dixie cup and stick of chewing gum. i'm writing all this lead up so you'll really focus on the tip. ready?
get out of the brakes.
i know, i know. sounds strange but lemme 'splain.
when most people overshoot a corner and go in too hot they ask the tires to do two things. thing number 1) slow down. thing number 2) turn the damn car.
well skippy, tire only has 100% to give. if you ask for 80% braking and 70% turning, your 150% out of luck. when you go in too hot, trail brake as much as you can but just turn the wheel. don't let the brakes lock up, if they do, let off completely. asking for more turning force than the tire is capable of will generally only create a push. the push alone will slow you down pretty rapidly, but it keeps the tires turning and that's what will save you. adding brake generally locks the wheels up and then both your braking force AND your turning force is just a hair above nill.
this is one of those things that you have to experience to really believe it works. and to experience it, you need to be conscience of it when it happens and know what to do.
this is by no means the fast way around the track, rather it's intended as an azz-saving measure to keep you on track rather than in the rocks, grass, weeds or wall.
it also only really works if your just a little hot. enter a 60mph turn at 70-75, you have a good chance of making it. it's not going to save you if you enter the same turn at 110!
this is one of those tricks i learned kind of the scary way. i attempted a pass on a guy who was outside my line. just as i was even with his rear fender, he turned into the corner. i locked up the brakes and was in eminent danger of buying a late model mustang. the car stopped turning and really kind of stopped braking (if that makes any sense). i let off the brake and just held the wheel in the turn and the tires bit and pulled me out. it was very close, about 6' at ~90mph. i consider that close since these were our daily drivers and not dedicated race cars. had i not let off the brakes, i surely would have crunched that car.
i continued to practice it several times more that weekend (to the detriment of the tires) and i continued to see the same results. i do not recommend you practice this the same way i did. if you try it, make sure it's a session when no one is immediately around you.
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Old 11-12-2003, 08:27 AM
  #27  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

get out of the brakes...
Actually, that's probably the single most important thing I learned this year. I had an instructor with me, and he noticed that I was dragging the brakes going into the turns (not intentional trail braking, just going in a bit too deep). I was amazed at how much more speed I could carry through the corners once I let them do all the turning work. Kinda another perspective on the "slow-in, fast out" technique.

Have a good one,
Mike
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Old 11-13-2003, 09:27 AM
  #28  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

Lots of good info here. As an old timer with over 30 years experience running auto-x's, I would recommend that newbies try maximizing their seat time with qualified instructors. Many clubs/SCCA regions have novice driver schools that cater towards introducing new drivers to the sport.

IMHO the best value out there are the Evolution Performance Driving Schools: http://www.autocross.com/evolution/. Their Phase I and Phase II schools are each worth approximately one year's driving experience. I've seen non-auto-xers take just Phase I and learn enough to start winning their class at local auto-x's. To give you an idea of what the schools are about, check out this link to Evolution Instructor Andy Hollis's Top Ten Tips:
http://www.dmvrscca.org/topten.htm



(Let's see if I got the link to Evolution correct this time!)


[Modified by mr.beachcomber, 9:31 AM 11/13/2003]
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Old 11-13-2003, 08:09 PM
  #29  
Drew M
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

Thank you to everyone! This is helping me alot. I will be most likely be racing for the first time this summer. I am not sure which I will be doing, AutoX, or Road racing. I live about an hr from Lime Rock and will be going to Skip Barber. My first question, which should I start out in? I personally would rather start in road racing. A friend has a race ready RX-7 that he will let me use.
If I can make 2 reccomendations: 1) Gran Turismo 3 video game. This game is great for learning proper lines and basic car control which has actually helped me on the street. 2) Book: Going Faster. Its a great book that covers about every part of racing, including the physics which really helps me get an understanding of why certain thing happen. It actaully has also helped in physics class. I have also been applying what I read to the video game and it has helped alot. I really want to see how those improvements will help me on-track.
Well thanks again guys, I'll post again if I come up with any more questions.
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Old 11-25-2003, 04:51 PM
  #30  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (THawkbh)

Actually one things that better than getting off the brakes if you know you're going in too hot on a corner is simply go off straight if you know you're not going to make it. This applies only to courses with run off room of course, but driving off straight is much safer than sliding off sideways.
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Old 11-28-2003, 05:30 PM
  #31  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (Midwayman)

No one has mentioned this so I will... if you do come into a corner too hot you can ride it out and go off track a bit. Here's the kicker, if you accidentaly get two wheels off track RIDE IT OUT! Dont panic and try to yank the car back onto the pavement. The car will spin and when you regain traction you'll probably be pointed at a wall!
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Old 12-03-2003, 10:34 PM
  #32  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (Cobra4B)

Good Point.

I'll throw on a few more.

Your first performance upgrade should be a good SA helmet. Gotta protect your noggin'.
The second performance upgrade should be a set of 5 point or 6 point racing seat belts. It is hard to learn how to go fast when you are trying to hold yourself behind the wheel. Your belts should provide such firm support that the only thing that you are using your arms and legs for are peddeling and steering (not bracing and hanging on).

If you are looking for suspension alignment and/or setup and are in Northern California, give me a call. I have over 20 years experience setting up race cars and teaching road racing.
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Old 12-06-2003, 02:30 PM
  #33  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (C5stein)

Bring MONEY!!!
This sport is very addicting.
TIRES will make more difference in lap times than any other single suspension mod....or probably any combination.
SEAT TIME!!!
Did I mention, bring MONEY.
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Old 12-11-2003, 02:40 PM
  #34  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (63Corvette)

Coming from a road racing background, my first auto-X was a very educational experience (first five or six) I was walking track looking for momentum turns and passing areas ( habit). Harnesses were added after figuring out the bruses were from me supporting myself with my legs and elbows, took a second off at least. My advice is walk, walk, walk, and if you have time do it again. we even walk the track between heats when we run the midget on small ovals and dirt. Get good safety equipment, Knowing you are safe and comfortable takes that off your mind and lets you focus. Drive thru the corners with the gas. Odds are your car is set up or works better under acceloration than braking. Forget about every-one elses time and what thay are driving or doing to their cars. Focus on just improving yourself.
And of course HAVE FUN!
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Old 12-11-2003, 07:27 PM
  #35  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (63Corvette)

Great topic - appreciate the input!

Bring money and water - got it!

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Old 12-16-2003, 04:12 PM
  #36  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (63Corvette)

Bring MONEY!!!
This sport is very addicting.
TIRES will make more difference in lap times than any other single suspension mod....or probably any combination.
SEAT TIME!!!
Did I mention, bring MONEY.
Heehee, this reminds me of a saying I've heard:

How do you make a small fortune in road racing?

Start with a large fortune!



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Old 12-23-2003, 06:10 PM
  #37  
Jim 47
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

Thanks for starting this thread clutchdust. I was a great idea, and should benefit the beginners immensely. There are lots of good inputs so far, and rather than go over some of the same stuff, I thought I'd talk about a couple of items that are not mechanical or how-to items.

MENTAL AWARENESS is the first subject. This to me is the single most important element for safe and fast road course driving. YOU, the driver, are in control of your car, and hopefully your brain is in control of your approach to learning, your Ego, your attitude toward others, your courteousness and responsibility on the track, and your mechanical inputs to your car's controls.

The lack of mental awareness (or mental lapse) is the cause of most mistakes, mishaps, and accidents on the track. The driver should continuously be aware of: their abilities and limitations, the car's capabilities, their responsibilities for the safe and sane operation of their car on the track, the traffic in front, behind and around them, the grip of the track and tires, and changing conditions in the weather, track or equipment.

On the track the driver MUST concentrate on the IMMEDIATE. Things are changing fast out there and new challenges are coming at you rapidly, so if your mind is 100 yards behind where the car is, I will guarantee that you are going to screw up. Let's hope that it's not one of the really BIG screw ups. How do I know this? Cause I have screwed up, as has every experienced driver reading this thread.

Many beginners are initially overwelmed with all the mechanical thoughts about driving, the track, the rules, and develop a severe case of "brain lock" on the track. This is NOT A GOOD THING for them and those in their vicinity. A good instructor can simplify things somewhat by being an extra set of eyes for the student, removing one or more variables from the list of things the student is trying to remember and manage, and breaking down the learning process into elements that can be concentrated on seperately such as: LINE, ENTRY SPEED, SMOOTHNESS, VISION, BRAKING ZONE, etc. If a student can mentally set some realistic goals for each session, such as getting the entry speeds right for the corners, of driving the correct line, the driving elements will start falling into place and the student can progress logically and rapidly. Notice I did not list LAP TIMES or STRAIGHT SPEEDS as possible goals. These will come much later on the learning curve.

Your brain is your best friend BEFORE an event to properly prepare for it, DURING the event to focus on the elements important to you, and while on the track, concentrate on the HERE AND NOW and don't over load it with extraneous thoughts or what happened 2 turns ago, and AFTER the event to sit down and critically analyze your strengths and weaknesses and how you propose to improve and correct your weaknesses. Being MENTALLY AWARE takes self discipline and concentration. Everone of us have these abilities, so use them and become a better and safer driver.


The second subject is PRIMARY FUNCTION OF THE DRIVER: That's simple: to drive the car. Yes, but more specifically: The primary function of the driver is to make basic inputs of steering, braking and acceleration to the car's controls, which in turn manages the traction (or grip) of each tire patch with the track surface in an everchanging, dynamic environment of multiple variables. Sure, that's driving the car, but driving the car is what you do on the street. On the track it is much more complex and what you are really doing is MANAGING the dynamic attitude and balance of the car.

The driver's senses of sight, sound, smell, and expecially FEEL are critical to the proper and safe management of the car's traction on the track. Understanding the dynamics of track driving and the many variables that are in play during an "on track" session will give the foundation to become a better driver. If you learn how to FEEL, hear and see what the car is doing in a complex dynamic situation and translate these sensory inputs into changes to the steering , braking and acceleration to provied the maximum traction (or grip) for each tire patch, then you will become a great driver. Reading a good book on road course driving is a great place to start understanding the variables and how to MANAGE the balance and dynamic attitude of your car on the track. But, there is NO substitute for ON TRACK EXPERIENCE. If you're serious about learning, then get out on the track, get a good instructor, listen and learn, and put lots of laps under your belt.

The list of important track driving elements that I have developed over the years include: Entry speed to corners, Braking, Smoothness, Line, Arc, Vision, Momentum, and most important Mental Awareness. If any of you have any interest in these elements, let me know and I'll try to get something to you.

Jim Helm.............MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL


[Modified by Jim 47, 7:29 AM 12/24/2003]
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Old 12-24-2003, 05:56 PM
  #38  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (Nitro-C5)

For auto-Xing here are some I didn't see:

1. Do not come to Tech inspection with a car full of stuff. Empty it out as if it were race ready.
2. Have numbers and car class on before going to tech as well. Things move faster and you wont be rejected for it.
3. Walk with an experienced person and then walk alone. Don't walk with a group of friends or else you'll not likely learn anything.
4. Have fun, that is why you are there.
5. Remember to work or else you will be disqualified and not welcomed back the next time.
6. Water.
7. Make sure car is safe to operate. Don't bring it if it's missing lug nuts, tires show cording, battery moves on every turn, failing brakes etc....you may reach speeds in excess of 60mph and then hard on the brakes.
8. Have fun, that is why you are there.
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Old 01-03-2004, 10:18 AM
  #39  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

Every road racer must read and bring with them to the track the Skip Barber book, Going Faster. It is the the most involved book on the subject! Also the Roos book Winning, it is more basic but great for starting out.
Good Luck Mark
P.S SEAT TIME!!!!
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Old 01-14-2004, 04:20 PM
  #40  
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (VetteDrmr)

I'm still new but I just found this pretty neat basic-skills driving article. Hopefully someone will find it beneficial.
http://www.popsci.com/popsci/auto/ar...1872-2,00.html

By the way, great idea for This THREAD and making it a sticky!


[Modified by MARK's_C5TT, 4:23 PM 1/14/2004]
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