Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Keep It On The Up

The WDCR points 5 event this past weekend was going to be hot and nasty. Fortunately, ESP was running first heat, so we could get out of there pretty quickly.

Except that I had three people signed up in my car, so one of us would have to run out of class. :(

I opted to be that person, and ran second heat while Gabe and Pat worked. This allowed me to work third heat while they changed tires and packed the car up. Score! Pat and I were home by 2 (with a stop at the store). I think Gabe was long home and deep into his nap by then. ;)

Pat at the line; photo by Danny Kao

First off, the course was another "meh" setup that Craig Garfield had described as "flowing" on the DC mailing list. Lots of offsets, and a three cone slalom into the finish. With part of the course being on the newly sealed section of the A lot, I was shocked to hear a lot of tire squeal from my Hoosiers on the opening turns, and then pretty much silence from them the rest of the way. Still , the course was okay until to the "yump" about three-fourths of the way through the course, where Gabe described the car as feeling "airborne" and I actually yelled "holy shit!" the first time through. My subsequent runs weren't nearly as hard through that section as they could have been for fear of breaking the car. :(

Gabe checks the tire pressures; photo by Danny Kao

So, Pat and Gabe ran first heat with about 17 karters (no exaggeration), and unfortunately the heat was a bit on the small side. This meant that they were fighting with keeping the tires and intercooler sprayed down enough, and there wasn't a lot of time to discuss runs or what the car was doing.

Pat was getting decent times, but was having cone issues, especially in the finishing slalom. I know his 42s were on par with the times Brian Burdette was turning in his Camaro.

Gabe wasn't feeling well, and his driving really showed it. In fact, by his last run, I was just happy he didn't lose his breakfast in the car.

Still, even unhappy with the conage on his runs, Pat found time to be silly.

The unfortunate thing about the above video is that when he put the camera back in the rear window, he mounted it just fractionally higher than before, so when we hit the inevitable bumps on course, the W/T switch rubbed against the roof. This resulted in both Pat's and Gabe's fourth runs being useless, and for some dynamic camera zooming during my runs.

The car leaving the line ahead of me is the CS Lotus 7 that a lot of people are yammering about online, as it will be in Lincoln. I overheard the car owner talking about his expectations of being protested. Reminds me of several years ago when a TVR ran stock class, and there was talk then of a "sunset rule" for stock cars. I saw a request for member comment on a sunset rule in a recent Fastrack, and I wonder if this Lotus was the impetus for the rule being put out there.

Like Pat, I was having cone issues. I knew I'd hit a cone on my second run (it's the second slalom cone heading into the finish, and pretty obvious even over the stereo), but it was news to me that I'd hit a cone on my first and last runs as well. The third run, being clean, stood as my best, and since Pat coned all of his runs, I was the "fastest" in the car. He had better raw times than mine (42.6 vs. my 43.4), and I know where I was losing some of the time (the "jump", for instance, I was taking easy, as I mentioned before).

Me, getting air under both right side tires over the bump; photo by Danny Kao

I was 17th on index, even with the poor showing (cones), so I guess I didn't drive too awfully, despite how I felt. Pat and Gabe were in the 30s on index. The off-camber offsets really exacerbated the lack of diffs, and it's nice to know that the new MFactory front helical is sitting at IAG right now (though it won't be installed until next week). I'm just waiting for the Cusco rear to arrive.

The fifth event in the Autocrossers, Inc. season is this coming Saturday, and then it's a Corner-Carvers DC Party on Sunday. Just unwinding a little before I go back to work next Monday. :(


  1. You were worried about breaking the car by catching air on an autocross course? C'mon now, it's a rally car, they run these things in WRC just like they come off the showroom floor ;)

    I've been told you'll start to mushroom the strut tops first, and that this is a compelling reason for a beefy camber plate to spread the load or a strut bar. Not so much the stiffening or lack thereof effect, but just a way of beefing up the strut mounting area.

    -Chris P.

  2. Are those A6's you're running on? They look like they hold like they're clawing into the tarmac!

    Working the track at Fed Ex while you have to go through cars and cars in a heat sucks horribly. Feels like it takes forever...

  3. Yep, they are 295/30R18 A6s. Greg McCance is on the 285s, but I'm on 9.5" wide rims and he's on 10" rims. He and I should stack our race tires next to each other's some time to see how they compare.