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Old 09-12-2018, 03:31 PM   #1
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Drives: 2015 Black rs/ss/1le
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AutoX Advice for a first timer?

Hi.
Do you have any last minute advice for my first AutoX (on Sunday).

Car:
-2015 1LE
-BFGoodrich tires (19/20")
-Brake pads (factory)
-Brake fluid (blue DOT 4 stuff)

I would appreciate any tips on the following:

Car Prep Tips

Car Setting Tips

Driving Tips

Thanks!
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:42 PM   #2
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Are the tires a softer tire? Low tread wear rating 220'ish.
SRF is probably the best fluid.
Factory pads are pretty good.
Change all your fluids including anti freeze and PS fluid.
If you have time install a oil cooler.
Take everything out of the car.
A performance alignment.
Take it slow at first and build yourself up.
Stay hydrated!!! Food/snacks. A pop up awning if no garage stall.
Probably start with 28-30 psi cold tire pressure.
Take extra fluids and paper towels/shop towels, Tq wrench to check lug nuts between runs, quality tire pressure gauge, and laser thermometer to check tire temp to adjust pressure.
Clean windshield.
Look for track prep threads there's good general tech that applies to both road course and auto X.
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:03 AM   #3
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"tire pressure gauge, and laser thermometer to check tire temp to adjust pressure."
Please explain, are you comparing outer tire temp and center of tire temp to adjust pressure???
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olblue75 View Post
Are the tires a softer tire? Low tread wear rating 220'ish.
SRF is probably the best fluid.
Factory pads are pretty good.
Change all your fluids including anti freeze and PS fluid.
If you have time install a oil cooler.
Take everything out of the car.
A performance alignment.
Take it slow at first and build yourself up.
Stay hydrated!!! Food/snacks. A pop up awning if no garage stall.
Probably start with 28-30 psi cold tire pressure.
Take extra fluids and paper towels/shop towels, Tq wrench to check lug nuts between runs, quality tire pressure gauge, and laser thermometer to check tire temp to adjust pressure.
Clean windshield.
Look for track prep threads there's good general tech that applies to both road course and auto X.
Thanks!
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete G View Post
"tire pressure gauge, and laser thermometer to check tire temp to adjust pressure."
Please explain, are you comparing outer tire temp and center of tire temp to adjust pressure???
Yes to ensure you get bite across the entire tread surface and tread wear.
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:25 AM   #6
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What you really NEED for your first autocross ever isn't very extensive at all. Your car will need to pass tech, which nearly any reasonably late model car should be capable of.

Tech inspection typically looks for the following:
No loose items inside the car. This includes floor mats.
Any cameras must be securely mounted (a tether separate from the camera mount itself may be required).
No hubcaps.
All wheel studs and lug nuts must be present.
No cord showing in any tire. There may be a visible tread depth requirement.
Proper seat belts.
Positive throttle return.
Adequate brake pedal
No apparent fluid leaks (fuel, oil, coolant, lube/transmission fluid, brake fluid).
No excessive play in the steering or suspension.
Solidly mounted battery - no bungee cords or similar.

You'll need a helmet of acceptable spec (this will be checked in tech) and probably your driver's license.


Get there early; give yourself plenty of time to get registered/checked in/empty your car/apply car numbers and class letters/get it teched/get to the drivers' meeting/etc. Although wheel lugnut torque probably won't be checked in tech, you should do this anyway. Make sure that tire inflation pressures are adequate and equal at least side to side.

Walk the course more than once. If there is a guided novice walk-through, take it.

Bring fluids, a snack, maybe even lunch, something to sit on, maybe an umbrella for either rain or as shade on a sunny day, sunscreen, maybe rain gear.


Better brake fluid might be nice, but not necessary (speeds aren't that high and you won't be doing all that much stopping in the roughly one minute duration of any single run).

Do have fluid levels full. There may or may not be some benefit in overfilling the oil by perhaps half a quart. Clean your windshield (inside and out).


Part of the point in getting there early is that by giving yourself lots of time to do all these things, you'll go into the competition part more ready to have the fun that's the big reason you're out there in the first place. To have fun driving your car as hard as your comfort level permits.


It's been a while since I last autocrossed; I hope I didn't omit anything important.


Norm
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:05 AM   #7
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Everything Norm said is spot on. Just bring blue painters tape as well to put number and class on your car!
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Old 09-14-2018, 10:06 AM   #8
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I agree with Norm on everything, but I generally do a lot of the stuff the week before so I don't have to stress about it the morning of the event at the track, if you find a issue you could be out the whole day but if you catch it the week before you have to time to fix it.

Also plenty of rest the day prior to the event, start your prep early in the week if not a daily driver. Make your self a checklist and go over at least twice.
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1LE Front sway bar with DSE Links, Splitter, 3.91 Gears and Axles, 14/15 Heat extractor, shocks and struts, Suede Flat bottom Steering wheel, short throw shifter with the Pegasus rear poly shifter mount, diffuser with dual mode mufflers, ZL1 Rockers, Belly Pan and pedals, Z/28 Intake, Headers, Cats,Toe Rods and UCA Bushings, 1 piece DSS Drive Shaft, C7 Z06 Vented Piston Calipers with CTS-V Rotors, PAFDT Solid Cradle bushing, 32mm JPSS Rear Bar, and Skip Shift eliminator. ASC race spec splitter and wicker. 6th Gen M017 Wheels.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:44 PM   #9
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I'd say just drive it, and don't worry about anything other than enjoying the first time, and see if it's something you enjoy. You aren't going to overheat your brakes or anything else in the sub-1 minute time that most auto-x courses are.

Our local chapter is pretty basic in terms of requirements. If your car is road safe and you have a helmet, you're good. Auto-x is fun, but you will definitely feel the weight and visibility working against you. I enjoyed it well enough (nice people there, certainly), but not enough to do it on a regular basis.
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Old 09-17-2018, 01:34 PM   #10
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UPDATE:

This was my first time driving a car with this much HP. It was a blast. Everything happens SO fast! I DNF on my first run, i missed 2 gates because I got confused with the cones.

The rest of my runs resulted in clean runs with no cone penalties. I droppped 5 seconds on my second run and remained consistent with times as I got used to the cones and speed. It's hard to gauge where and when to brake without lines nor shoulders as in a road course. This event was held at a landing strip.

My last run, i put the car in Comp mode. The rear end spun around me at the back end of the course but I saved it and finished. That cost me one second. In hindsight I should have left traction control on and see if I would have gotten a faster time. Without the spin, I would have tied my best time (at worst case).

There was another 2018 Camaro SS I was trying to catch (best time 49s). I know I would have came close to him had I had another 3 laps or so to work out the turn around apex. My best was a 52s and change.

I had instructors in my car 2x. They were good but they only seemed to help me "see" the gates and not so much with braking/turn-in. Once I figured out the gates/cones, they didn't seem to be much help because things were happening so fast and it was hard to drive AND listen at those speeds (for me).

Some follow up questions:

1. How are you guys finding the proper places to brake/turn in? Is there a trick to this? I'm hugging the cones but at some places, hugging the cones doesn't make a difference.

2. Also, are you competitive guys running with TC, Comp Mode or no nanny mode?

3. Where do you guys look to reduce "seconds"?

4. How do you know you can't go any faster unless you make a mechanical change (tires, suspension, etc.)?

5. Was it even possible to catch that 2018 Camaro? I know they are lighter then the gen 5 (given all things being equal).

Thanks for all the replies!!!!!

Man! That was a lot of FUN!!!!!
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Level300 View Post
UPDATE:

This was my first time driving a car with this much HP. It was a blast. Everything happens SO fast! I DNF on my first run, i missed 2 gates because I got confused with the cones.

The rest of my runs resulted in clean runs with no cone penalties. I droppped 5 seconds on my second run and remained consistent with times as I got used to the cones and speed. It's hard to gauge where and when to brake without lines nor shoulders as in a road course. This event was held at a landing strip.
I'd call that a major success for the first time ever. (I'm guessing you were running with Philly Region at Warminster Community Park).


Quote:
I had instructors in my car 2x. They were good but they only seemed to help me "see" the gates and not so much with braking/turn-in. Once I figured out the gates/cones, they didn't seem to be much help because things were happening so fast and it was hard to drive AND listen at those speeds (for me).
Even this takes practice, and I'm going to suggest getting instructors who drive cars similar to yours (heavy, front engine, RWD) if at all possible.


Quote:
1. How are you guys finding the proper places to brake/turn in? Is there a trick to this? I'm hugging the cones but at some places, hugging the cones doesn't make a difference.

3. Where do you guys look to reduce "seconds"?
Seat time. Learning how to make the best use of your course walks. Sometimes looking back helps you figure out where you needed the car to be back there in order to get it to the right place here, if that makes any sense.


One thing I used to do was draw my own course map during one of my walks. Always seemed that the harder sections to draw with any accuracy ended up being the more difficult sections to drive, and it never hurt to look at it between runs.


Quote:
Man! That was a lot of FUN!!!!!
That's the real trophy.


Norm
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm Peterson View Post
I'd call that a major success for the first time ever. (I'm guessing you were running with Philly Region at Warminster Community Park).


Even this takes practice, and I'm going to suggest getting instructors who drive cars similar to yours (heavy, front engine, RWD) if at all possible.


Seat time. Learning how to make the best use of your course walks. Sometimes looking back helps you figure out where you needed the car to be back there in order to get it to the right place here, if that makes any sense.


One thing I used to do was draw my own course map during one of my walks. Always seemed that the harder sections to draw with any accuracy ended up being the more difficult sections to drive, and it never hurt to look at it between runs.


That's the real trophy.


Norm
Thanks Norm!

I think all the instructors/smart ones drive FRS/Miatias LOL.

Strangly enough, I did/do look back (I hike alot). It's still hard to visualize at speed. I did realize early on while walking the course that I needed something like a gps view of the course. the Android Torque app has this feature. I'm going to use it during the next course walk to see if I can better determine places I need to brake and turn or at the very least, get a better visualization of the course.

Thanks for the tips! These were great Norm.
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Old 09-17-2018, 11:23 PM   #13
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I've never done an autocross but my biggest concern is making sense of the course.
Any in car video I have seen makes it seem like an endless sea of random cones.
I have to assume that once you are in it it must somewhat all come together but as mentioned above I see it gets confusing for others.
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Old 09-18-2018, 06:48 AM   #14
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That's why they have course walks - so you'll go into your runs with at least a general sense of where the course goes. And a good reason to draw a course map. Instructed runs, with an experienced autocrosser sitting right seat, takes that one step further and may include some hints about how to make each successive run better.

When you're just looking at somebody else's video, especially the first time, you have no mental picture of where the course even sort of goes. So the way you're watching it is reactionary rather than predictive. You react to the car changing its direction instead of predicting where it needs to go, and any mental driving you're trying to do is always going to be running a little late (out of step with what driving the course would require). Plus, perspective and resolution in video isn't as good as it is in "direct eyesight".

If you've never autocrossed before, you'd probably have to watch the same video a number of times before you stop being a little surprised by all the maneuvers. Your early views would basically be your course walks, greatly speeded up (not an advantage).


Norm
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