AutoCross Blog 2010

As we mentioned, we built this car for fun, without any specific end-use in mind such as drag racing or track. So after driving around for a while, we thought we would try the car in Autocross. Neither of us had ever done it before, but we had read about it and it sounded pretty cool. Drive your car around a bunch of tight turns as fast as you can go and try to beat the clock. We were a bit nervous and intimidated when we showed up at our first event which was the local New England Region SCCA club. Thank god we saw another CRX in the paddock and parked next to it. Alan and Josh Parker, another farther and son team were awsome in helping us learn the ropes. Long term autocrossers in their bone stock 1988 CRX SI, as well as experienced SCCA instructors, they helped us through every aspect of the event, including instruction. And boy did we stink! You really don't know how to drive until you have spent some time racing or Autocrossing. Some say that if road racing were any harder, it would be called Autocross. Yes you are not going 120 MPH, but the precision and technical aspects of it are overwelming. And it is all about the driver, I have seen many a great driver drive a stock sh%$ Box and beat the most well prepared, and/or expensive sports car on the course.

The point is, we got hooked, pretty badly. It is so much fun, and everyone there is a complete and utter gearhead, and it doesn't matter if you are driving a Z06 Corvette, Mustang, Honda, Mini or whatever junker, they all love cars. No muscle car vs ricer or Ford vs Chevy, everything is accepted and, after all, they are all cars. So now we have focused on trying to learn how to "suck less" driving, and continually tweaking the car to be more competitive in our class, SCCA SSM, or Super Street Modified. Our Build 2 efforts were aimed at getting the car more optimized for this class. SM and SSM classes are fun if you like to heavily modify cars, yet still (in theory) drive them on the street.

But lets stop blabbing, and review were we are in 2010 for events. This is still a work in progress, so we will be filling things in over the summer including some back dated events.


So far this year we have run 7 SCCA events (5 for points), 4 Renegade Miata including a test and tune, 3 New England SVT Ford Oweners and 1 Bay State Corvette Club. In addition we did 2 days (Phase I and II) of the Evolution Performance Driving School Autocross school and also went to the SCCA National Tour at Finger Lakes..

SCCA NER Event #7 8-22-2010

A sad day in our season. The event was run at NHMS in the parking lot, a quick, tite course. On my third run, powering into a brief straight, there was no connection between the engine and the ground, and a loud thunking noise. I aborted the run and cut across the lot to the grid thinking a blown axle (after blowing them earlier in the season and replaceing thing with heftier units. But on further analysis, second gear was blown out. Of course, we are running mainly in second, and the K-Series transmission is known for a weak second gear, so we are done for the season. We have already done some research and are looking to beef up the low end gears. Have not dropped the tranny yet, but we put the Beast up on jackstands at the back of the garage in preperation.

So, we will be doing a transmission rebuild and upgrade this winter along with some other tweaks. Inspite of the bad luck, Brian already clinched first place in our class (SSM) in the New England region SCCA Autocross. We are still learning, but continually improving our driving skill and tweaking the car. We will miss the Nationals this year, as Brian is off to college for his freshman year. But if thing go well next year, we shall see....


NESVT Event 7-24-2010

New England Ford SVT club provides a very long course (almost 2 miles) at Ft. Devens, a limited number of drivers (55), and lunch is included. Mark Stimpson and friends run this very well organized event (Bay State Corvette Club is a similar format and run by the same group). The nice thing is you get a lot of runs in, usually 10-11 ~100 second runs. It was a hot and humid day so we were glad for the R6's, the A6 kind of melt with hot days and long runs. Brian was absolutely on his game, he was killing the course and really pushing the car. Check out this run, and it wasn't even his fastest:

His best time was just about 97 flat beating everyone in raw time except Ralph Stankowski in his well driven supercharged Miata, but only by a couple of tenths, it was close. Ralph take BTD essentially every event in NEVST. In FWD class were we run he took the field by almost 4 seconds, with frustrated me sitting in second. Not bad for "Wrong Wheel Drive".

The amazing thing is, the car is really not setup correctly for the new rubber and power. We left the suspension from last year where is was pretty well optimized for the street tires we ran. We ordered some firmer springs from Hypercoil and are upgrading to the revalved Koni "Race" from our current Koni "Yellow". We should have it set up for the next SCCA event in mid-August. Should be interesting.

SCCA NER Event #5 7-18-2010

After gettin our heads handed to us at the SCCA Finger Lakes National Tour, it was nice to regroup and go to a regional event. We changed I tire setup going to R6 compound in the front instead of the normal A6 compound. The A6 compound is designe for low temperature and is almost like chewing gum. On our high powered front wheel drive car we eat through the tires at an alarming rate. The R6's are higher temp designed for road race, so we though we would get more life out of them. We were surprised that not only to they wear better, the actually make the car so much more controlable and much less prone to snap oversteer. We still have the A6 compound in the rear. We battled with Matt Nieman and his turbo Miata all day with Brian coming out on top and me just falling to Matt for third. I had an awsome last run, faster than any raw time in our class I coned, oh well, it felt good. Here is a video of that run:


Renegade Miata Event #2 June 20 Ft. Devens, MA

This is a great club, well designed courses, a limited number of drivers, and Fun Runs! Rain threatened, but never had a substantial impact. We got 4 runs in the morning and 3 in the afternoon plus Fun Runs. While the main focus and major attendance is Miatas and Mazda's, there is always a good showing for non-Mazda's and they are scored by SCCA PAX which is a handicap system. We both had a tough day with our best runs getting cones, but it was fun! Here are some videos from our new GoPro HD, vastley superior to the original GoPro, especially for sound!

Brian Run 3 Renegade Miata Club Ft. Devens, MA


Renegande Miata Club, Don on course

SCCA NER Event #4 6-6-2010 and 6-5-2010 charity event

Back to back Saturday and Sunday Autocross, great. Second run on Saturday the left axle broke and we were out of commission with the CRX for the weekend. We knew the Drive Shaft Shop Level 0 axle might not hold up to the boosted K20A so it wasn't a great surprise. It could of been a real bummer weekend but there are always opportunities. We quickly stepped into a loaner CRX from the Parkers' to finish up the morning runs. Then for the Saturday charity event they had a runoff at noon and we switched to our bone stock 2008 Honda Fit with bald tires. I actually made it to the second round when my opponent coned out. We ran the Fit in the afternoon, it is actually a really fun car to Autocross, it was a blast. On Sunday, Brian got an offer to Co-drive Marc Monnar's sweet RX-8. Check out Marc's autocross blog. Brian ran the car in SSM so he could get points and placed a respectable 3rd, rear wheel drive certainly is different!

I put the Volks with the Bridgestone RE-11's on the Fit borrowed from the CRX and ran in Street Touring (ST) for fun. I almost nailed second behind Roger Whipples EF Civic but got skunked in the afternoon run by his co-driver/girlfriend Steph! But it was a blast!

SCCA NER Event #4 2010, Don in the mighty Honda Fit, those Volks look nice? Click to see the large image. (Courtesy of Ed Savage)


SCCA NER Event #4 2010, Brian Driving Marc's sweet RX-8. Whoops, rear wheel drive!

SCCA NER Event #3 5-2-2010

Event #3 was held up at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. This is a more traditional autocross parking lot setup. The runs are shorter, but the sloping lot provides for some interesting terrain as compared to the totally flat but expansive Ft. Devens.

Brian heading upslope (courtesy of Ed Savage)

Whoops, Don boops one. (courtesy of Ed Savage)

Those Hoosiers sure do stick, perhaps we should now go to stiffer spring rates, next year. (courtesy of Ed Savage)

SCCA NER Event #2 4-25-2010

SCCA NER Event #2 2010, view from outside the car.

SCCA NER Event #2 2010, Brian finally gets awarded the long lost Bill Goodale Novice Trophy from 2009. Brian takes 1st in SSM as well and smiling Ben Wagstaff aces the STS class in his Miata.

SCCA NER Event #2 2010, Speaking of the Bill Goodale Trophy, here is Bill himself in his crazy A-Mod. Bill is a multi-time national champ. (Photo courtesy of Ed Savage)

SCCA NER Event #1 4-11-2010

First points event of the year. We had already run one event with the Renegade Miata club, a test and tune, so we were a bit famiar by now with the new setup. Our goal this season is to take the New England Region Championship in our class (SSM) (1st and 2nd). We could have also run the car in the new provisional SMF (Street Modified Front wheel drive) but there isn't enough people currently running in our region so we decided to run in the more competitive SSM. Brian started of smoking and easily took SSM as well as first overall in Street Mod (SSM + SM).

SCCA NER Event #1 2010, First SCCA event for 2010 with the new wheels, tires, and supercharger. The Hoosiers look mean.