So i just ran my first autox yesterday and am now addicted. There is a local scca branch that runs many events within 2hrs of my house so I will most likely just be running Solo2 for a while. At this last event there were only 3 of us in our class STR but I was down by almost 2 seconds when it was all said and done (on a ~50sec track). The other miata in the class had slighly stickier tires and upgraded suspension.
I am basically looking for pointers in running a miata in Solo2. The driver of the other miata was a quieter guy so didn't offer much help in that realm. Currently I am on Fuzion ZRi's 205/15's with stock suspension. With my budget etc. upgrading suspension and changing tires are just currently not options.
Any tips anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated!
On a 50 second course a good sticky set of tyres is worth two seconds over street tyres - especially if it's a tight course. If you can't afford them now find a good alignment shop that knows how to set up a Miata for Solo2 and shave at least a second.
To Brain's point it's the loose nut behind the wheel that has to change most - I'm consistently top 5 to 10 FTD in my local events but if I loan my car to a better driver they get FTD with it, unchanged!
Driver skill is the biggest thing. Then tires, then suspension, then horsepower WAY out in back. Your best option is to get a good alignment and just keep practicing. Maybe read a book about it if you want.
not sure what to tell you. given the same car and driver abilities, the car with the sticky tires wins. although, if it is your first event, i'm sure there's 2 seconds your leaving on the track as is. maybe more. you might wanna look up some auto-x driving techniques books. at our local scca auto-x they have a driving school once or twice a year. something that could help you. lastly, there are things you can adjust like tire pressures to help with over/understeer. you can advance your timing fora few more hp. remove any unnecessary weight. i would hope you removed things like the spare and jack already, but theres all sorts of other things you can unbolt to remove weight. glovebox, pass. seat, useless visors, etc.
sometimes the littlest things can make a difference if your really focused on winning. i would pull up to the starting line at an angle if it helped getting through the first gate. i also would creep up so slowly to the line that the scca official would stop me a little short sometimes. that gives me another split second to gain speed before tripping the starting line beam for the timer. stuff like that helped me win my regional class championship and get ttod over the usual vettes and sti's.
i think this forum is mostly for trackday/hpde/road racing, but i'm sure some of these guys started in auto-x like alot of people do. when you get bored with those 6 mins a day of driving excitment, go check out a nasa or hpde group event at an actual track. it's a spiritual experience. prolly change your life. imagine the thrill your getting from auto-x times 1,000 and it starts to get close to describing a trackday event. you get 1hr 20mins or more of actual track time per day, and at the end you are exhausted, satisfied, and feel you need to smoke a cigarette! even if you don't smoke. lol... good luck
As far as tire pressure goes, what should I consider running? I was at 30psi for this weekend and after inspecting my tires it seems there is a little more wear around on the sidewalls than would be expected. Since they are a street tire should I run them higher and stiffen up the sidewall? As far as understeer and oversteer I couldn't really tell.
Tire pressure is hit or miss and depends on the tire construction, temperature and what handling characteristics you're trying to 'band-aid'... The thing to do when you're starting out is get some shoe polish (or whatever) and mark from the tread down to the sidewall to make sure you aren't rolling onto your sidewall too much. Don't worry about it, catch a lot of rides with other people to see what they're doing any what their cars can do.... you already have the right car for a beginner (and it can be upgraded to a FTD capable car in most regions), just practice practice practice
First off, if you have a stock suspension, what mods do you have that bump you into ST*?
If your region has a novice class, run there for a few events. If nothing else it lets the organizers (and novice chair if they have one) that you're a novice and may need some help.
Talk to the experienced drivers. If your region allows ride-alongs, ride with experienced drivers and get them to ride with you. Find someone to walk the course with you and explain how to drive it.
I've been doing this for about 11 years. Last year I started running STR against (behind) one of the top drivers/cars in the country. We found that I was driving the course wrong, my brakes sucked, and I was way down on power. My brakes are slightly better this year, hopefully my driving has improved, and I'm hoping to replace my 153k mile motor with a new one shortly (which will bump me to CSP). I still expect to get my butt kicked by him though.
Most regions offer schools of various sorts. We ran about 50 novices through a novice school last week here in Pac. Northwest Region. If you have the money the Evolution School is also excellent.
Again, do not be afraid to ask for help. It doesn't have to be other Miata folks either. The concepts are all the same, and many autocrossers have driven a Miata at one point or another anyway.
learn to drive the car, as is, without doing a damn thing. do that for a year. then ask us for suggestions.
Thats what I'm looking for tips on. Driving the car. What i'm hoping to do is avoid any bad habits or stupid mistakes that may cause more headache in my trying to learn. Do I approach a corner ***** out and slam the brakes right before I go into it and whip it around with the rear end sideways? Just basic pointers and tips from experienced veterans.
I figure driving is like golf, you may be able to hit the ball, but if your not swinging the club right you quickly reach a plateau and have to go back and relearn how to swing the club so you can get to the next level. I'm trying to avoid this. Trying to learn it the right way as I go.