Race Date: 8/20/2016
Class: Rookie – A Street Prepared
– Class: 6th/7
– Overall: 95/151
– My FTD: 72.318 (PAX:62.555)
– Class FTD: 70.772 (PAX: 59.165) 2015 Scion FRS
– Class Win: 71.505 (PAX: 57.061) 2015 Ford Fiesta ST
– The FTD: 61.575 – 1987 Nissan 300ZX
Today’s autocross was held on another classic Carolina summer day. The morning was muggy and the afternoon was broiling, but fortunately it wasn’t as hot as the USCA race at the end of July. Some cloud cover kept the morning and early afternoon at a bearable temperature. The afternoon was a scorcher, but luckily I was driving with the last run group so the heat was easy to ignore. This event was also my first entry in the CCR Rookie class, which started at the previous event (that I didn’t attend) and runs through the remainder of the season. Anyone who’s entered three autocrosses as a Novice this year is eligible and the times are PAX’d to rectify any major discrepancies in the entrants’ vehicle performance. Of course, this rectification was not one that fell in my favor, and I quickly learned the pain of the PAX.
With a smaller field than normal, today’s event featured three run groups instead of the typical four. I sat out first, worked second, and ran third with the rest of the Rookie drivers. Seven Rookies were entered at today’s event, and they came in everything from a Ford Fiesta to a Scion FRS. I was entered in A-Street Prepared (ASP) because that is the lowest class for which I am eligible. I installed an ACT Streetlite flywheel in my car before I knew the implications of such a modification. With the suspension adjustments I made before the USCA event, the handling of the car has come to life. The increased front negative camber and reduced rear negative camber installed by the camber bolts kept the contact patches evenly distributed on the tread. The toe changes (approximately 0 front and 1/8″ out on the rears) has turned the car from a pushy, numb log to a responsive and free racecar that’s a blast to drive. The fresh brake rotors and pads have so much more stopping power that I’m still getting used to how much deeper I can drive into the corners. All in all, I was very happy with the car, and there weren’t any mishaps. However, it was very clear that ASP is not the proper place for my car. I need a lot more power and a lot more tire in order to make up the difference. For example, a Scion FRS in STX class beat my raw time by a little over 1.5 seconds. With the PAX factored in, the deficit is increased to approximately 3.4 seconds, because ASP is a more open rule set than STX. I go to these autocrosses to have fun and keep up my skills behind the wheel, but it sure would be nice to know I am in contention for a win or even a podium finish. Did I get everything out of the car? Definitely not. Are there four more seconds to be found behind the steering wheel? I don’t think so, but I believe that with more practice and more work on the car I can find my way to the top! On to the next one!