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Old 06-29-2005, 06:21 AM   #1
GmG
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Cool first autocross on sunday

I finally got to go to a Solo II event last Sunday, something I've been wanting to do for a couple years now.

There were about 40 attendees, most of which seemed to be "imports," with a strong percentage of European models.

I don't remember all the cars in my class, but I do remember a Mini Cooper S convertible, a Beetle turbo and a Golf 1.8T.

I was able to walk the course four times before they called a novice drivers walkthrough. I was pleased to find out I had chosen a decent line on my own.

Times listed are minus the thousandths. Hey, my memory ain't perfect!

1st run: I went at a pretty slow pace, more or less "spirited" road driving, and I finished in 48 seconds. Another first-timer, in a 1.8T Golf, ran a 49. Both of us felt good about the starting procedures, that we'd made it through without going off-course, and didn't commit any safety no-nos.

2nd run: 42 seconds, accomplished only by being considerably more aggressive, and lowering my tire pressure a little.

3rd run: I braked too late going into a hairpin turn and encountered some serious understeer, unlike anything I'd felt before, but saved it without going totally sideways or hitting any cones. After that, one of the trim panels by my right leg came loose and went under my leg, seriously distracting me. Went off course in the second slalom, 44 seconds.

Then we had some time in the shade shagging cones. I worked the radio.

4th run: I felt things were a lot more controlled. Even though I ran a 43 + 1 cone, I felt much more confident.

5th run: Focusing on executing the slaloms with a more rhythmic feel, plus accelerating earlier in the corners, I ran a 40.

6th run: Trying even harder to get on the gas earlier in faster corners, plus braking later and harder, I was very pleased to hear a 38 announced on "5 GS, the Saturn"

All in all, it was an excellent experience. I've got a good feel for where my tire pressures need to be for next time. I'm really glad I got out and did it and I'm looking forward to next month!

Sorry, no action photos this time, too much going on. I did get a couple shots in the pits:
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...21243/size/big

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I'd like to look at getting my own numbers and helmet. Has anyone used the static cling numbers from solotime? Are the reusable sticky ones better? Would the HJC open face helmet from solotime be acceptable: http://www.solotime.com/default.asp?page=1692

Thanks for reading!
...
George
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98 SC2m 131k

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Old 06-29-2005, 10:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: first autocross on sunday

Way to go! Normally people on street tires actually increase their air pressure though.

As far as the helmet goes- yes it will work fine. BUT, I strongly urge you to buy one locally so you can try it on unless your club uses the exact HJC helmet you are considering.

I haven't used the static cling numbers. I just use window chalk.

--Tom
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: first autocross on sunday

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom92SCm
Way to go! Normally people on street tires actually increase their air pressure though.
Thanks! I should say that I started out with 40psi front/rear and bled to 37/36. I think the sweet spot with these is going to be around 39/38, maybe a pound less. They're a set of Bridgestone Potenza G009's that I basically got for free.
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: first autocross on sunday

OK. As long as you were above street pressures you are OK. If you go too low you run the risk of running the tire right off the wheel.

As far as "the line" goes, try to put your inside rear wheel just on the back side of all your key cones.

That's great that you were able to experience understeer to that degree. Few people ever push their car to the limit like that in a controlled environment so when they are faced with it on the street bad things happen. I'm strongly in favor of increasing our driver education standards to include autox-like conditions.

Keep it up!

--Tom
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Old 06-30-2005, 12:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: first autocross on sunday

Quote:
I'd like to look at getting my own numbers and helmet. Has anyone used the static cling numbers from solotime? Are the reusable sticky ones better? Would the HJC open face helmet from solotime be acceptable:
I've been using SoloTime reuseable vinyl letters and numbers for years and they work great. Keep them clean and they are good for at least two or three seasons. They lose stickyness when they get dirty. Keep your car clean and waxed for best results. I've never tryed the static cling numbers. I'd hate to lose one in the rain. Supposedly they can fall off when wet? That helmet should be fine. See if you can locate one to try on before you buy.
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