Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

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Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby Nsquared97 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:11 am

So here's how Saturday went for me in a nutshell:
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Lol. Alright lets back up for a minute and start this thread off from the beginning. You can find my thread from last season here: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=1777 So from last season, here's what has changed on the car:

-Now has a radio! haha.
-Lots of little maintanence items, rear wheel bearing, finally got the cooling system to stop leaking, etc.
-Picked up a set of legit magnetic numbers (finally)
-Ireland Engineering 25mm front sway kit, this is by far the biggest change to how the car performs.
-Got myself a good tire pressure gauge, portable air compressor, and pyrometer. The hope is that I can be significantly more scientific with the tires, make them work for me better, and wear better.

So the first event was at Grissom Air Force Base, in Peru IN. This had me very excited for 2 reasons. First, growing up I was here a LOT for events with my dad, it was like my home as far as autocross went and I love it/the area. Second, I haven't been here in a couple years, and have never actually run here myself. The site is huge, has tons of grip, and just an ideal place to autocross. The itself was a test 'n tune, meaning you sign up to work the course for an hour or so, then get the rest of the day to make as many runs as you want, changes to the car, destroy tires, etc etc.

I had been keeping an eye on the weather for a good week beforehand, West Michigan has been experiencing a monsoon season of sorts (half the city is underwater right now...) and it hasn't been too warm either. Forecast was high of 50 and mostly sunny. Acceptable, but I wanted warmer, slicks NEED heat. Well I get out of work Friday night to find this:
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Suffice to say I was not amused. The drive down was a bit sketchy at times, ~35 and a couple slick spots that my RE-11's did not care for in the least. Made it there, and only 14 of the 25 drivers registered showed up. No biggie, more course time for those of us that did ;) It was still cold, low 40's and a bit windy once we started running.

I decided to start off on my street tires because I knew the slicks would be garbage until the surface/ambiant temp rose a bit. Had a lot of fun, was awesome to be back on a course again. Really spent some time just trying to work on the loose nut behind the wheel, being smooth, looking ahead (something I have always struggled with, and is exagerated by a fast, open course like this), etc. Car was running great, only issue I was having was locking up the brakes, mainly the inside front tire when it was unloaded a bit. Other annoying bit was that I had to go back and forth between 2nd and 3rd quite a lot, which was very annoying. Fastest time I managed was a 45.7xx, pretty respectable I thought from what others there were running.

After lunch, I decided it was time to throw the slicks on, partially because my street tires had enough abuse and were basically slicks at this point anyway. Went out and of course the car felt a bit different, but what was puzzling was I was having a hard time even matching my times from earlier. Spent some more time, just taking runs back to back to keep heat in them, and finally laid down a pair of 45.5xx's. Only 0.2 seconds faster than my old worn out street tires... hmmm. I blame a lot of this on the lack of heat, it was just about 50 when I had the slicks on, still not nearly as hot as they like. Car definitely felt different, it honestly felt a bit LESS responsive on the slicks, mainly noticeable in the slalom. The street tires seemed to communicate a bit better, which may have given me a bit more confidence in the car resulting in the times being s close as they were. I am thinking that is just due to the different sizes, RE-11's are 205/50/15 on a 15x7, slicks are a 225/55/14 on a 14x6.5 wheel. Some other things I noticed:

-Feeling the front tire lift, and mainly set back down, through the steering wheel is a very interesting sensation.

-Car does a very odd oscilating motion going through long sweepers. Never experienced this before, and it seemed to upset the car, harder to keep it smooth and weight transfer under control. This was mainly aparent on the slicks, and seemed to be moreso the rear of the car than the front. Talked to some veterans there that have been doing this, and they said it was pretty common on stock suspension, not a whole lot you can do. I am wondering if I adjust the Koni's I have in the rear a bit if that would help, possibly stiffen them up a bit? They are only rebound adjustable.

-Still getting inside wheelspin quite a bit, and I know I'm losing time not being able to put the power to the ground because of it. Part of this was caused by the oscilating motion mentioned above.

-Brakes. I NEED to get the ABS working, flat spotted the street tires pretty badly (car is annoying as hell on the street now, ugh) and flat spotted the slicks a little. Part of this would be solved if I broke in a straight line a bit better, but there are some sections you just can't. ABS would save tires, and help avoid locking up and overshooting corners. Also, on the topic of brakes, I still hate the HPS pads. Pedal still feels atrociously mushy even with enough heat in them that you could smell them. Also, with the slicks heated up, I could not lock them up when I was braking in a straight line.

-Tires, found out something interesting using the pyrometer. Front tires need cambers as I figured, not much I could do there. Pressures were right in the ballpark from what I was guessing before. But what I found interesting, the rear tires aparently have more camber than they need, even on completely stock suspension with this level of grip/agressive driving. Inside of the tire was consistantly 10 degrees warmer than the middle, which was another 10 degrees warmer than the outside. I bumped up the rear pressures a bit just to get the car to rotate a bit better.

-Which leads me to balance. Last year I was fighting understeer quite a bit, and I was afraid adding a big front sway would exagerate this even more. But, honestly, the car felt better now. Would rotate when prodded, I would like a bit more, but still an improvement which makes me very happy. I am partially wondering if this has to do with being on a big, open course, we'll see how the car feels on tighter stuff.

-Big front sway definitely helps in transitions like I was hoping. Much quicker to respond (the slalom was infinitely better!) And overall the car felt more composed, and thus confidence inspiring at higher speeds where I would have been nervous before, and may not have pushed as hard.

At the end of the day, I had a blast. I probably put close to 50 runs on the car, flogged her mercilessly, and she took it and just asked for more. Destroyed my street tires, but hey I didn't buy them to last forever. Learned a lot about the car and my driving, which was really the ultimate goal for this event.

And here's what you've been waiting for, pics and videos!
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Remember what I said about the RE-11's being gone? Yeah...
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I may have attributed to a fair amount of the rubber laid down... You can tell my car apart from where it starts axle hopping lol.
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Fastest run on the street tires, 45.7xx

Fastest run on race tires, 45.5xx. I actually had two 45.5's back to back, aparently this is the only one I recorded. I don't really like the line I took at all in some parts of this run, so I may have left some time out there.
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby Yoshi » Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:01 pm

What were the tire temps/pressures like throughout the day? you said 50 but I wasn't sure if that was ambient outside temp or tire temp.

Never have felt the front tire lift through the wheel. Bet that's cool. Although lifting the tire means you are under sprung now and over sway bar(ed).

The oscillation is simply the slop you have left in the suspension. It's most likely from sidewall flex on those 225/55/14s too. Upping tire pressure would help and so would better bushings. Stiffening the shocks won't do anything for you sadly. The more you tighten things up, the more the untightened things will become more violent.

Lack of traction can also be attributed to you lifting the inside tire(s). You're overloading the outside rear tire but underloading the inside tire. Springs will help tons sir.

ABS is for losers. Learn to brake better :)

Your tire wear issues are very tell tale stock suspension. You're overloading and spinning the outside tire on full compression. You can tell by the pictures it's tucked up in there good. The car is flopping over so much, it's wearing the outside. Again, more spring will help this. Camber adjustments front/rear won't help much with that much suspension travel.

50 runs! holy crap that's a lot

Man you can FEEL the body roll on that slalom at the end. Your driving seems much smoother and better. Although I had no audio and wasn't there so it's hard to tell. <3
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby Yoshi » Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:31 pm

oh yea wtf is up with that flooding?!
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby ten2doyle102 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:55 pm

Awesome photos Nick! Looks like a heck of place to run. I can't believe you only had 14 competitors, how does the club that puts that on survive?

Yoshi has a lot of good insight in his post. I do agree most with his thought about the springs. You badly need some springs to match the sways you have now. :) I definitely suggest going with Ground Control when you do make that change.
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby Yoshi » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:01 pm

would def reclass him though. *shrugs* Suspensions are a hard balance to strike.
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby ten2doyle102 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:14 pm

Yeah, I believe he was heading to the STX classing anyway which I was in with my 318. You're allowed just about any suspension/brake mod is allowed short of moving the mounting locations.
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby M20_fever » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:38 pm

Looks like fun!

couple comments:
lifting the tire looks cool, but hurts lap times since your over loading your front outside tire. Not much you can do about ut with stock suspension.

oscillation is probably mostly due to stock suspension, but weight distribution plays a big role in this too. My car is rock solid in long sweepers with just ne in the car, but I get a pretty noticable oscillation with a passenger in the car. You may want to look into corner balancing. Could significantly improve the handling.

Fix your ABS, because there are very few amateur drivers that can out brake a properly functioning ABS system, even a simple 2 channel system like ours.

Most your issues stem from your suspension and you already know that so no need to go into it.
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby blasphemy101 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:28 pm

That is awesome. Lifting the tire that much looks crazy. I bet that's an interesting feeling.

A friend thought it looked like I was lifting my rear tire, but I think I'd feel it, given the LSD.
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby Nsquared97 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:18 am

Yoshi wrote:What were the tire temps/pressures like throughout the day? you said 50 but I wasn't sure if that was ambient outside temp or tire temp.
50 was the ambiant temp, surface was around 55. Tires when I checked them, which I admit I didn't do as much as I should have, but they were pretty consistent everytime I did. They were usually 100-120 depending on which part of the tire (inside/center/outside) I was checking.
Yoshi wrote:The oscillation is simply the slop you have left in the suspension. It's most likely from sidewall flex on those 225/55/14s too. Upping tire pressure would help and so would better bushings. Stiffening the shocks won't do anything for you sadly. The more you tighten things up, the more the untightened things will become more violent.
Makes sense, never really thought of that.
Yoshi wrote:Lack of traction can also be attributed to you lifting the inside tire(s). You're overloading the outside rear tire but underloading the inside tire. Springs will help tons sir.
Yep, exactly what I have been thinking.
Yoshi wrote:ABS is for losers. Learn to brake better :)
I've had that mindset before, and I'm still not a huge fan of ABS. But, you as a driver cannot control the brakes independantly, the ABS can. If I was on a road course where straight line braking is (generally speaking) easier to acomplish, then it wouldn't be such an issue. But when your constantly transitioning, it's harder to set yourself up. I could work on this and I should, but in the meantime getting the ABS working again will at the very least help save tires. Flat spots are annoying as hell!
Yoshi wrote:Man you can FEEL the body roll on that slalom at the end. Your driving seems much smoother and better. Although I had no audio and wasn't there so it's hard to tell. <3
Haha thanks man.
ten2doyle102 wrote:Awesome photos Nick! Looks like a heck of place to run. I can't believe you only had 14 competitors, how does the club that puts that on survive?
Thanks man! The event was limited to 25 drivers each day, and they did charge $50 per driver. But for me that came down to $1 per run, not too shabby IMO. They (Indy region SCCA) put on some pretty huge events, so even if they did lose money on this one (which I doubt) I'm sure they are still making up for it easily.
ten2doyle102 wrote:Yoshi has a lot of good insight in his post. I do agree most with his thought about the springs. You badly need some springs to match the sways you have now. :) I definitely suggest going with Ground Control when you do make that change.
Yep, I agree as well, and Ground Controls are the plan when I am ready to switch to STX. Right now that just comes down to a money thing. And also with my car being where it is right now, I was be very competitive on index in G-Stock, I am shooting for an overall event win this year. When I make the move to STX, it will be mainly just the coils and treehouse CAB's =, and that's about it. Still much more I can do within that class that won't happen right away, going to be another progression toward the upper limits of that class.
Yoshi wrote:would def reclass him though. *shrugs* Suspensions are a hard balance to strike.
ten2doyle102 wrote:Yeah, I believe he was heading to the STX classing anyway which I was in with my 318. You're allowed just about any suspension/brake mod is allowed short of moving the mounting locations.
This is exactly what it comes down to. I have done just about everything I can suspension wise in the class I am in, short of adjustable front shocks. Which, with stock springs I see very minimal gains. Like Matt said, I can do just about whatever I want once I move to STX suspension wise, so that won't be an issue.
M20_fever wrote:lifting the tire looks cool, but hurts lap times since your over loading your front outside tire. Not much you can do about it with stock suspension.
It's a game of give and take, the gains from better body motion control outweigh the negatives. And your right, really isn't much I can do.
M20_fever wrote:oscillation is probably mostly due to stock suspension, but weight distribution plays a big role in this too. My car is rock solid in long sweepers with just me in the car, but I get a pretty noticable oscillation with a passenger in the car. You may want to look into corner balancing. Could significantly improve the handling.
Interesting. Again not much I can do, except maybe play with stacking spring pads lol. Another thing to play with when I get coils, adjusting ride height at each wheel to get the car weighted properly.
M20_fever wrote:Fix your ABS, because there are very few amateur drivers that can out brake a properly functioning ABS system, even a simple 2 channel system like ours.
That is the plan. Like I said, in a straight line it isn't that terribly difficult, especially with these crap pads not being able to lock up the tires. But starting throwing in some weight transfer and it's a whole different ball game, and these slicks do not talk to you much at all in terms of brake feel. I think it's 3-channel though, isn't it?
M20_fever wrote:Most your issues stem from your suspension and you already know that so no need to go into it.
Bingo ;)
blasphemy101 wrote:That is awesome. Lifting the tire that much looks crazy. I bet that's an interesting feeling.
Definitely is. You don't feel it lift or even being in the air, but you feel it set down, it's crazy.
blasphemy101 wrote:A friend thought it looked like I was lifting my rear tire, but I think I'd feel it, given the LSD.
I was told that by someone last year too. I mean with stock suspension you definitely unload the inside rear quite a bit, but I doubt it's enough to pick it up off the ground. And you would definitely notice with the diff, a clutch type LSD is rendered useless when one wheel is in the air. And keep in mind stock is only 25% lock, so even if the wheel is on the ground, with very little weight it would still overcome that and spin.
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby Yoshi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:23 am

I'm still gonna say the oscillation was due to side wall flex in the tires. I had a similar issue with a ~195/65/14 over a 9 inch wheel. Even upped to 60psi. I'd turn in, then the rear would snap out, then settle. But if I turned in too hard, it would snap out, settle, snap out, settle, repeat. The moment I put on some smaller sidewalls, the issue went away immediately. Sadly, took my YEARS to figure that out.
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby Nsquared97 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:52 pm

Next event I think I'll have to stick the GoPro over the rear and see if I can see the sidewall at all. Could be that, I mean these sidewalls are incredibly stiff, but they do still flex.
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby Nsquared97 » Wed May 01, 2013 5:32 am

Took me a couple days to get this up, but here's my recap form this weekend. This event was with Saginaw Valley Region SCCA, at the Nexteer plant in Saginaw (place is huge!) Smaller lot, but bigger than I was expecting. Day turned out to be interesting for many reasons.

First off, the course sucked, and I'm not the only one who thought this. Way tighter than necessary, and it just did not flow at all. Only real fun part was the finish. But, because of this I was able to figure out how the car would behave on tighter courses, as that was a worry of mine with the new front sway. But, even in tighter stuff, the car still feels much better balanced, so I was very happy about that.

Weather played a huge role in the event. We were divided into 2 run groups, and I was rather annoyed I was placed in the first one. Mainly because I was hoping it would get warmer through the day, and being in the 2nd heat would mean that 1st heat would clean the course off for us a bit, my slicks hate dirty parking lots. Alas, I was very happy I got to run first, it started sprinking just before my last run, and continued to do so for the rest of the day. 2nd heat had maybe one run on a damp course before it was truely wet and slick. Sucked working in the rain, but did give those of us in the 1st heat a huge advantage.

I did have fun, but my driving wasn't all that great. Never really got the line I wanted nailed down, and didn't carry near as much speed as I felt the car was capable of in some areas. We only got 4 runs, and one thing I do need to work on is being fast right out of the gate, I have a tendancy to use multiple runs to my advantage to work up to speed. I also didn't have a chance to fix the ABS over the past week, and that would have been beneficial. In the end, I took 8th overall out of 65 which isn't terrible. What is terrible though, is the only other car in my class, a Neon, destroyed me to the tune of 2.6 seconds... Yeah I was rather humbled by that. To my defense, he did take the overall win, beating everyone on PAX by over half a second. And I left a lot of time out there, brakes were acting up, the course preferred his car... hahaha jk.

Some pics from the event:
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A couple beautiful 911's in attendance:
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I may or may not have beat this one...
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ESP Cobra that eventually took FTD and 2nd overall on PAX:
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Still can't believe I got this shot. He's a friend of mine, and kept mentioning how rough the course was for how stiff/low his car is. Especially the finish, where this was shot. Aparently it was rough enough to send both passanger wheels in the air!
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Interesting GoPro view of my first run. The run itself was garbage, but I figured I would try this camera view after what Yoshi has said. Realize now I was supposed to have it on the rear wheel, not the front, but oh well. Still a very cool view IMO.

Last and fastest run, but watching it now I made all sorts of mistakes, definitely a good second or more left I could have easily made up. Oh well, there's plenty more events left.


Results, by class:
http://www.svr-scca.com/e107/e107_files ... esults.pdf
PAX:
http://www.svr-scca.com/e107/e107_files ... esults.pdf

I am happy that I did beat a lot of significantly faster cars, and I was the fastest BMW there (raw time) Next event is a 2 day event this weekend, actually the same event that I did my first autoX in Sabine with a year ago. Should be fun.
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby M20_fever » Wed May 01, 2013 2:20 pm

some Sweet cars there!
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby blasphemy101 » Mon May 06, 2013 1:39 pm

That must have been a seriously rough surface to put that camaro up on two wheels like that...
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Re: Nick's 2013 Autocross Thread

Postby ten2doyle102 » Mon May 06, 2013 2:43 pm

I love the finish for that track! Looks like you could just about stay full on power all the way through!
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