Autocrossing & Roadracing Suspension Setup for Track Corvettes, Camber/Caster Adjustments, R-Compound Tires, Race Slicks, Tips on Driving Technique, Events, Results
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NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here...

 
Old 10-18-2003, 03:07 AM
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VegasJen
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Default NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here...

o.k. guys and gals, we're going to try and get the admin to make this a sticky thread. the idea is for those of us who have a few (or more) track events under our belt to contribute some of the basics for the newcomers. let's keep these simple and try not to get all techincal with stuff like left foot braking or different tire pressures between hoosiers and kuhmos.
newcomers, welcome! this is meant to answer some of those questions most of you ask. we wanted to make this thread not because we're tired of answering your questions but because this section generally moves pretty slowly. i've seen instances where someone can ask a question and it can go a week without a post. i can't help you if your asking about c-5 gear ratios or something, but most of us can contribute some of those basics about what to do your first track day.
without further ado, i'll start it off:
for auto-x, get plenty of sleep. you'll be very surprised how tiring those 3 minutes of track time will make you!
eat decent food, save the micky-D's and taco hell for later.
walk the course as many times as you can and note every turn. you should be able to picture every turn of the course in your mind as your sitting in the staging lane (don't worry, you WILL NOT be able to do this the first few times, but it will come).
so that's three to start it off. there's plenty more, guys. don't be shy.
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Old 10-18-2003, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

here's some good reading for auto-x newbies: http://www.tirerack.com/features/solo2/handbook.htm
Here's a few books on autocross:
Secrets of Solo Racing - Henry Watts
Speed Secrets - Ross Bentley
Driving in Competition - Alan Johnson
Drive to Win - Carol Smith
A Twist of the Wrist - Lawson&Rainey
You should be able to order any of these books at your local Barnes & Noble or other bookstore.

Most all autocross events will have a Novice Class or some sort of program. Don't worry about trying to figure out what class your car will fall into espcecially if you have mods or are intending to make mods. The key to becoming a good autocrosser is seat time!. Ask questions and the experienced driver and ask questions? You will be suprised at the amount of help a newbie will get.
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Old 10-18-2003, 12:05 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

I'll add a few:

Don't worry about performance mods to your Vette. Your car (heck, any car) will have more performance than you can get out of it at first. You WON'T be competitive in the beginning, just worry about your gums splitting from the over-sized grin on your face!

Basic mechanicals: Full fuel, fresh brake fluid, at least 50% left on your brake pads, secure battery tie down, etc. Make sure you've got the engine oil topped off (continuous running track courses, add 1/2 Qt. over full).

Tire pressures: I like to start newbies out with high pressures, mainly to save the sidewalls of the tires. Start by adding 6 psi to each tire, COLD. Cold, like before you leave home in the morning cold. After each run (each run because you'll be picking up speed on each run) check to see that you're not running onto the sidewalls. Wear on the corner of the tread is OK, but not past that.

Interior: Get everything out of the interior that can move. Floor mats, radar detectors , CDs, etc. You'll be braking and turning harder than you ever have before, and you won't believe the stuff that'll come out from under the seats (I've found pens, coins, notepads, etc.)

Personal: Already mentioned above, but bears repeating: WATER, WATER, WATER! And eat light. Especially if you get some runs with an instructor, it's easy to get a queasy stomach (at least for me). We don't want to , now do we?

Let's see, sunscreen, did I mention WATER?

Finally, one tip for you C5 newbies: You can lock the lapbelt down tight by pulling it out all the way then letting it retract. Shoulder belt doesn't do this, however.

Well, that's all for now, enjoy the track time and have a good one,
Mike
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Old 10-18-2003, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (VetteDrmr)

Fred Puhn's book "How to make your car handle" is also very good. Its a bit complext at times, but he wrote it so even the most math/physics challenged person can understand.

Also my experiance when I started autoxing was to try to meet someone at the event that has done it before, it just makes registration, course walks and the such that much easier.

Also dont freak out...I got red-flagged my first run of my first event, I thought I had done something wrong, turns out someone ahead of me just took out the timing lights.

Have fun
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Old 10-18-2003, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

Here's some basics for autox and roadracing:

1. Slow in / fast out. If you start turning and the car keeps going straight (push/understeer) you are likely entering the turn too fast. In my experience this slows down lap times more than anything.

2. Look ahead. The proper line is key for fast times. Looking ahead allows you to keep the car on the proper line. This may mean looking at the next turn before you are out of the current turn. Often requires looking out the side windows rather than just through the windshield.

3. Use the whole track. This goes with the proper line. In general, you want to make the turn as gradual as possible to allow for greater speed. However, stick to the clean line. If your region has small cars, gravel & marbles will accumulate off the most used line and you will loose traction if you stray into it.

4. Try to brake hard and accelerate hard, minimizing coasting. Autox is more "violent" with slamming on the brakes, hard turns and flooring it out of turns. Roadracing is about smoothness and not upsetting the car.

5. When ever possible, ride with an experienced driver before your runs. Even better, co-drive your car with a good driver. This allows for great feedback on what your car can do for a particular course, and where you can pick up more time.

6. Try to get your hard braking done in a straight line and take a line that allows you to get the car straighter and on the gas earlier in the turn, particularly before a straight.

7. Unwind the wheel as you accelerate out of the turn. Getting on the throttle as you come out of the turn will generally cause the back end to step out (oversteer). Turning into this or unwinding the wheel allows you to control the oversteer and generate more speed. Again, use the whole track.

Secrets of Solo Racing as mentioned above is a great reference.

Pete
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Old 10-18-2003, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (Dr. Z)

Great thread, thanks for all the tips guys
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Old 10-18-2003, 07:39 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (Dr. Z)

Dr. Z is right on, this is what a beginner needs to know, remember little things like bring sun screen, lotsa water make sure your lugs are torqued and DON't put on your energency brake after a session, just keep it in gear.

Dr. Z where are you located? Have we ever shared a track (I had a black Viper)? In the process of securing another Viper, hope to meet you on the track one day.
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Old 10-18-2003, 09:28 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (Dr. Z)

a couple things i'd like to chime in on. not trying to tread on toes, just trying to help if someone is having a hard time with any of these concepts.
1. Slow in / fast out. If you start turning and the car keeps going straight (push/understeer) you are likely entering the turn too fast. In my experience this slows down lap times more than anything.
in laymens terms, never drive toward the cone, or corner, of a turn. later on, depending on the type of turn, this may be an advantage. but if you are driving directly toward the turn, that's called 'early apex'. this became extremely apparent one time while i was working at an HPDE. a guy in a '98 convertible was actually driving straight for a marker cone at the apex of a turn. he continually ran over the curbing, had to slam on the brakes and crank the wheel to keep from running off the asphalt. he was consistantly giving up 10mph+ through the turn, maybe more.
3. Use the whole track. This goes with the proper line. In general, you want to make the turn as gradual as possible to allow for greater speed. However, stick to the clean line. If your region has small cars, gravel & marbles will accumulate off the most used line and you will loose traction if you stray into it.
again, just saying the same thing in a slightly different way. if you ever find yourself driving straight down the middle of the track, your off line. you should always be on one side or the other, or crossing over. never right in the middle.
i don't think i could reword anything else any better than what pete already said. so far, excellent advise guys. i think we may be on to something here!
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Old 10-19-2003, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

There is some good basic info here: http://corvetteactioncenter.com/racing/autox.html
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Old 10-19-2003, 10:11 AM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

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Old 10-19-2003, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (Dr. Z)

with clutchdust, VetteDrmr and Dr. Z. If you follow everything these 3 mentioned, you will have a great, safe time.
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Old 10-19-2003, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (MNElectronBlue2002)

Auto-X first day out list
Sunscreen
Collapseable chair
lots of non-alcoholic drinks
Snacks/lunch
Tarp or large bag to store all the stuff that has to come out of your car.
Tire pressure gauge (dial type are much better than the stick type)
Some means to inflate tires (12v pump, air tank etc) -might be able to borrow this for your first event.
Dot approved helmet (M helmets are usually okay, but if you're buying a new one, might as well get a SA helmet. I preferr full faced helmets)
lug wrench (torque wrench preferred)

Track day list
All the above, but helmet must be SA
Spare set of brake pads(emergency get home pads- worn okay)
Means to jack the car (Might be able to borrow this, but put it on your list)
spare fluids Couple quarts of oil, brake fluids etc
tube and wrench to bleed the brakes (in case you boil your fluid badly)

Thats about all I can think of. Maybe others can chime in. Im far from an expert I think

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Old 10-19-2003, 09:55 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

Previous guys are dead on. Few small things to add:
1. Leave your EGO at the door, I canít stress that enough. I saw way too many guys wracking their cars just because they THOUGHT they are great drivers.
2. DO NOT FOLLOW THE GUY IN FRONT OF YOU BLINDLY!!! You will be surprised how many guys DO NOT take the correct line. A bad line will get you one of two, a bad lap time or an of track experience.
3. Last but definitely not least, BE SMOTH!!!! Do not force the car or yourself, be smooth, speed will come with that.

And most important HAVE FUN. Drive your Vettes as safe and as hard as you can, they were built for that.
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Old 10-20-2003, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (bully)

Previous guys are dead on. Few small things to add:
1. Leave your EGO at the door, I can’t stress that enough. I saw way too many guys wracking their cars just because they THOUGHT they are great drivers.
2. DO NOT FOLLOW THE GUY IN FRONT OF YOU BLINDLY!!! You will be surprised how many guys DO NOT take the correct line. A bad line will get you one of two, a bad lap time or an of track experience.
3. Last but definitely not least, BE SMOTH!!!! Do not force the car or yourself, be smooth, speed will come with that.

And most important HAVE FUN. Drive your Vettes as safe and as hard as you can, they were built for that.
Very important items above make sure you drive it home not tow it. If it doesn't feel comfortable don't do it NO MATTER who tell's you! They are not paying for it.
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Old 10-20-2003, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

And just so you'll have them...here's a link to the SCCA Solo II Classification Rules for autocross:

http://www.scca.com/contentpage.aspx?content=61

http://www.moutons.org/sccasolo/Rules/index.html

Have fun!!


Last edited by TedDBere; 02-23-2011 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 10-21-2003, 01:00 AM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (TedDBere)

thanks for all the info
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Old 10-23-2003, 07:28 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (WisconsinVETTE)

The one and only thing that I would suggest for a first timer is upgraded brake fluid. I boiled my brake fluid at my first track event with my stock Z06. Other than that, the car was perfectly fine. I did quite a few events with my car completely stock with just upgraded fluid. Now that I'm getting more into it, I've added things like better pads, stainless lines and DRM brake ducts.

Bob
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Old 10-24-2003, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

Here's a tip I find useful for autocrossing. Fold your rear view mirror up out of the way. This does two things. It clears your field of vision and makes it impossible for you to look back to check and see if you just hit that pylon. You need to keep your eyes beyond the next gate and this just removes another distraction.

Another tip is to use white shoe polish to check and see how far your tires are rolling over. A dab from the corner of the sidewall to the outside edge of your tread will do. After your run you will be able to tell how far you have "rolled" the tire by how much of the white has worn off. Play with your tire pressures throughout the day to get it right and check them often. More pressure will decrease "rollover," too much decreases your contact patch.

Last tip I can give is "work the course." Volunteer for corner duty out on the course and watch others. You can find potentially tricky spots on the course by watching others make mistakes. By watching you can find the fast line before you even get out there.

Have fun and remember to take it easy your first time, just concentrate on being smooth and not going off course.

Chet


[Modified by Ricestalker, 1:50 AM 10/25/2003]
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Old 10-29-2003, 06:22 PM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (clutchdust)

These are a couple of really good web sights for those who have been bitten.

Basics in road racing.
http://www.turnfast.com/tech_intro/intro.lasso


The Physics of racing; a great series of articles. Includes cool stuff like slip (grip) angle
http://phors.locost7.info/contents.htm

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Old 10-30-2003, 08:20 AM
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Default Re: NEW TO AUTO-X AND ROADRACING? look in here... (WOT99FRC)


Let's talk tire pressure, don't change it, run what you brung is my philosiphy. I'm not trying to win the nationals so I ran my car on the auto-x with the same setings I use on the street. And guess what, over time I got better and even came in 1st a few times
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