Last weekend was series event #6 of the UFO (United Five Ten Owners) autocross put on by Dennis & Peggy Hale in Marina, CA.
I have been building the car to be more track oriented over the past couple years and so the car has strayed from its CSP trim of a few years back. With the turbo I now loosely fit into the SM class, though not technically. Autocross is where my love for performance driving sprouted, so of course no matter how far my car strays from the little CSP car it once was, I'll continue to attend events and have a blast.
This last event was no exception; beautiful weather, lots of well prepped cars making an appearance (we are lucky to be so close to the SF region and many of the regional guys use UFO events for test-n-tune time) and lots of fun.
I just got a new set of Goodyear Eagle sports car special take-offs mounted and was looking forward to experimenting with tire pressures. My experiences thus far with these tires had been less than ideal but I realized I was running the same tire pressures in them as I did my Hoosiers, and later learned that the Goodyears like low 20's. Ran them in the 23 psi range this time and boy what a difference! I was extremely happy with the grip. Even with my open 1.8 differential wheelspin was manageable and the lateral grip is just inspiring.
I was lucky enough to have my buddy with me who co-drove my miata for the day to keep the tire temps up. He brought his Lightning as a support truck, so I didn't have to pack the race wheels into the miata! Here he is also demonstrating the benefits of having a tailgate plus my passenger seat:
I took all these pictures with my GoPro HD, and when I got home was really surprised by how wide angle the shots are. It turned out to create some cool pictures though:
From the eye of the enjoyer. Yes, it's still got speakers - I daily drive this car!
The run group 1, lots of Mod class cars in the group too:
And here is my fastest lap. It looks smoother than it was, from that perspective it's hard to identify the areas where there were errors and room for more time to be shaved off. Even on this lap, there were two spots in slaloms where I had to adjust to clear the inside cone, but all in all I was happy with the run. You also can't tell too much when I have wheelspin. Even with the Goodyears I was spinning throughout quite a bit of the run, but it was manageable and I was able to reign it in well enough to post a pretty good lap. Each of the runs got successively quicker. Before running I knew the fastest car was a fully prepped and highly skilled mod class guy at about 38.5 seconds, so when my first run was a 44 I knew there was room for improvement but on my last run when I got a 40.6 I was really pleased. Official results aren't out yet but I believe I'm in the top 15% of cars - there are a LOT of fast and well prepped cars here and we have about 150-180 entries per event. I would say this is a personal best in terms of how deep into the very quick cars' times category I got.
UPDATE: Official results just came out - first place in SM by almost 3 seconds, and 7th overall out of 141!
p.s. You will notice that the Hales own a LOT of cones! and as for the course design, when I asked Dennis about it, he said that someone had complained that there weren't enough slaloms in his courses... so this is what we got! Surprisingly, it was quite challenging, each slalom was a different spacing apart and were connected with individually unique 180's and 90* turns so there was actually a lot of variety of what appeared to be the same thing, which could really throw you off if you weren't on your game...