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Discussion Starter #1
Did my very first ever SCCA Solo II event yesterday.. What a fantastic experience!!:bigthumbsup

Basically ran my Mustang in street trim. Factory springs, factory struts, factory swaybars, street tires. Pretty much factory everything suspension wise (control arm's not withstanding)

The only real modifications done would be the Supercharger, Gears, and Control Arms. Unfortunately that's enough to put me into Street Modified class.

I was prepared going in to get owned by cars I would flat out destroy in the 1/4. My only goal was just to improve my own times from where I started.

I've never run a turning race and never had to worry about picking a line to set up for the next gate and all of that.... It's sure a whole different world from going fast in a straight line!!! And to be honest.... I think it's the most fun I've ever had with my car, bar none, period. Everything just felt so involved.

Having to be in total tune with the car, what it's doing, the track, the brakes... managing body roll and weight transfer, keeping the car settled, vehicle placement, just the constant barrage of activity!!! I felt like I was herding cats! You gotta really be on point the whole time. Much more fun than just jamming the gas at the tree, and grabbing a few gears. I'll be I never got over 70 mph (hell I never had time to look down to check!!) and I know I never got out of 3rd gear, but wow it felt so much faster to me than that! Everything was just happening so quickly


My very first run I turned 104 seconds. The rest of the day I spent learning my car and learning my own tendencies and mostly what NOT to do. I crushed a few cones, had a couple of CDs for missing a gate, cooked off some corners, but ultimately had a blast! Fast time of the day was being put down by a heavily modded S2000 that was turning 64 and some change. We got 5 runs and the best I turned during that time was an 82-something, but I opted for some Time Onlys so I got 4 additional runs after the competition phase(?) was over.

Out of those four time only runs my second to last run was my quickest of the day. I turned a 76.2!
Not as fast as some of the other guys, and barely fast enough to claim a couple of stock Miata's, (my car pushes like a snow plow in the hairpins) but for me it was a huge improvement over my first run and that's what mattered most. That time felt even better when one of the seasoned pro's who used to race formula with a competition license took my car out and only 74.4. He did however overcook a couple of the turns coming into the finish which cost probably 2 to 3 seconds (of course that was his first and only time driving my car too).

Now that I've gotten a taste of this I know I'll be doing it often. What-a-RUSH!! Eventually I want to get into doing some NASA stuff, but for now I'm gonna cut my chops at Autocross for a couple of years and see how well that translates to the open track where speeds (and stakes) are much higher.

Anyway, at the end of the day it taught me a lot about my car and my own abilities as a driver as well. I've still got a lot to learn and I was grateful for all the awesome people there that gave me tips, rode along with me and told me what I was doing wrong, and really seemed genuinely interested in helping me improve.

I've got a long way to go and I know there is more I can do with/to the car to get the most out of it, but for now I'm going to just continue to race it the way it is and try to improve my own skills before spending any more $$$... I'm already the wrong guy with the wrong car in the wrong class because of the stuff I've already modified.

Just thought I'd share, :bigthumbsup

-HD
 

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Sounds awesome! I would love to get into any type of racing with my stang when I finally get it running strong again. Weather road racing or bracket drag I cant wait to get my first experience on an actual track!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I may, just a little advise from my own experience thus far (which isn't much so take it for what's its worth). Try them both in your factory stock car. Before you spend even a nickle on upgrades, give auto-x a go. take it down the strip, have fun with it.

Get as much seat time as you can and become the best driver you can be before you go modifying the car.. Then you'll be better prepared to know what it is you want to change and more importantly why! Then you can decide which direction interests you most and you can study the rules for what it is you want to do and what you can modify and remain legal in a class where you can be competitive.

I wish I had done that instead of just going for a big power-adder up front to make the car faster. Instead I should have been concentrating on making ME faster.

For example: After racing only once in the turns, I know my car wants to plow through a tight corner, and nose dive like a SOB when I brake hard. Should I get different struts to slow the weight transfer? Maybe eventually, but for now I need to get better at how I approach a turn, knowing when and how my weight is going to transfer, when to get off the brake and back on the throttle and doing it in such a way I can use the car's torque to my advantage to bring the back end around and nose me in the right direction..

At least that's gonna me my philosophy from here on - If I'm not doing everything I can as a driver to make use of 95-100% of the vehicle's abilities then I've got no business upgrading.
 

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If I may, just a little advise from my own experience thus far (which isn't much so take it for what's its worth). Try them both in your factory stock car. Before you spend even a nickle on upgrades, give auto-x a go. take it down the strip, have fun with it.

Get as much seat time as you can and become the best driver you can be before you go modifying the car.. Then you'll be better prepared to know what it is you want to change and more importantly why! Then you can decide which direction interests you most and you can study the rules for what it is you want to do and what you can modify and remain legal in a class where you can be competitive.

I wish I had done that instead of just going for a big power-adder up front to make the car faster. Instead I should have been concentrating on making ME faster.

For example: After racing only once in the turns, I know my car wants to plow through a tight corner, and nose dive like a SOB when I brake hard. Should I get different struts to slow the weight transfer? Maybe eventually, but for now I need to get better at how I approach a turn, knowing when and how my weight is going to transfer, when to get off the brake and back on the throttle and doing it in such a way I can use the car's torque to my advantage to bring the back end around and nose me in the right direction..

At least that's gonna me my philosophy from here on - If I'm not doing everything I can as a driver to make use of 95-100% of the vehicle's abilities then I've got no business upgrading.
Well I have never been to a drag strip but its set up to launch... And I already stroked the motor and done some pretty costly work. Lol thanks though I will just do it for fun I dont mind what class they put me in.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah that's pretty much the same boat I'm in. I'm not gonna try to compete on a national level. As long as I can beat myself:laugh: I'm happy:bigthumbsup

I gotta tell you though, it's a absolute blast to do
 

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@hammerdown: You seem to have a pretty good perspective on autocross in a "street" car. I'd add just one thing to think about: the really, really fast guys do it on a combination of driver skill and mechanical expertise.

Driver skill is the most important, once a decent level of equipment is at hand. It takes a moderate amount of learning and practice to get a "pretty good" skill set going, and careful discrimination to get a similar level of mechanical capability on the track. With those two adequately provided, autocross can be very, very enjoyable and rewarding.

To become a really, really fast autocrosser, you have to add a proportionally much greater investment of practice/skill and mechanical/physics tuning. Stated another way, anyone can do the first ninety percent with reasonable investment of personal energy and physical attributes; to get the last ten percent right requires at least another order of magnitude.

It is a great sport: I know people who have been at it for more than forty years, and still enjoy it as much now as when they started. And after all, that what is important: the enjoyment.
 

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Hi hammerdown, you have shared nice and wonderful article. Thanks for sharing it.:bigthumbsup
 
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