Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Autocross weekend Renegade Miata 5-4-13 & SCCA NER 5-5-13

I had a busy weekend with a double header of autocrosses with Renegade Miata's first points event on Saturday and SCCA NER's second points event on Sunday.  I had previously decided to only run street tires with Renegade Miata to keep tire costs down and maybe to learn a thing or two about driving fast without relying on the R-comps to clean things up for me.  The car has been running and driving great, consuming no oil at all. Thanks to eveyone who had a hand in building the car over the winter (Motive Auto Works/BrenTuning/Clarks Auto Body/and a shout out to Grimmspeed) as well as my family for being so supportive.

Saturdays weather was perfect with enough sun/heat to get things warm but not so much that it gets uncomfortable.  I was very happy with how the Kumho XS's performed.  They seem very predictable at and above the limit of grip.  They give feedback but not so much that it gets distracting.  My fastest time of the day came on my first afternoon run that somehow came out to be ~1.5 seconds faster than any of my other runs.  I haven't had a chance to go over the videos to see what I did differently but it may have just been one of those hero runs that you usually can't reproduce.  Unfortunately this club averages your two best runs to get your final time.  While I normally like this method, because it weeds out those blazing fast one time runs and gives the upper hand to those who are consistant, when it happens to be you that gets that one fast run it's disappointing to know that your fastest run isn't going to hold it's place in the results list.  Thats OK, I had a blast and we ended up getting a total of 12 runs throughout the day including the 5 fun runs that we got to do.  I took a couple of other competitors that were eager to go for a ride in the car and let a fellow Subaru driver (LGT) take it out for a spin to see what it was like.  He posted a time a full 2 seconds faster than in his car and he was babying my car since it wasn't his and he was not used to it (much appreciated!).

Full results have yet to be posted but here is my fastest run:

On sunday the real test was to come.  SCCA NER has some amazing drivers in almost every class and the competition is very heated (in a good way).  There were three of us in ASP and the 295 Hoosiers were back on the car for the day.  The moring was once again cold but with 140 drivers we had three heats and we ended up running the third heat so the ambient temps had plenty of time to get up to a good level (high 60's).  After being off the first heat and working the second I could see the event getting behind schedule due to several timing errors and a lot of reruns.  I knew there was no way we could get the full 6 runs for the day and was worried that we would only get 4 runs.  I knew I had to bring out all that I had right from the get go.  We did end up managing 5 runs for the day because the afternoon went a bit quicker once the timing issues got worked out.

My first run out was clean and was under the 60 second mark that I had hoped for with a 57.978.  I knew right away that there was a TON more time out there.  The A Mod open wheel "cars" were running in the 53's at that point (not that I expected to catch them).

In grid between my runs I found out that my exhaust finally reached the maximum db at 75 feet.  I believe it only happened because at the spot on course that the sound meter was located I had run out of gearing and was bouncing off the rev limiter, making the car afterfire.  Technically 90 db is allowed but any higher and it's a violation that will require action to be taken to quiet the car down before going on the next run.  So I basically got a warning that I was about to break sound.  Thankfully I had both a silencer and a downturn on hand in the event that this ever happened.  I chose to try the downturn first to keep the restriction to a minimum.  I was told after my second run that I was down well into the 80's.  I am glad that the downturn alone is enough to keep it quiet.  I will be running it from now on even though I only got that loud due to the afterfiring.  If the sound limit for our site wasn't such a sore subject I am sure I could run without it but it is so easy to put on and off it will be better to just have it on there and not ever worry about being the target of a noise complaint.

My second run out I wasn't able to improve and ran a 58.199, and got back down to 57.104 for the third run but reducing my best so far by a few tenths.  I stayed clean all morning and that was able to keep myself well in the lead at this point because Josh, who was chasing me, was in the low  58's but was also carrying cones.  In the afternoon, for our last two runs, Josh was further up in the grid than I was so I heard his times just before going to the start line.  His first run out he put down a 57.273, putting some serious pressure on me.  I knew I had to step it up a bit more if I wanted to secure the lead.  On my first run out I put more trust in the car in some of the high speed elements (we had discussed this at lunch after reviewing some video) and it paid off.  Upon coming in from that run I saw/heard the time of 56.083!  I was very surprised at the time I dropped.  However, the announcer had said that I had a cone on the run.  I was disappointed that I conned away such a good run but I was still in the lead by less then 2/10ths.  Josh took his final run but ended up back in the 58's due to the car acting up.  My last run I pushed the car again but was more careful to keep it clean.  I managed out another fast run at 56.487.  This, of course, wasn't necessary but it was more about seeing what the car and I could do.  It wasn't until trophies were being handed out that I heard that they had my fastest time as the 56.083 run!  I double checked the sheet and that's what it said.  I first assumed the announcer was just incorrect on the call but I also knew that I had at least grazed the cone because I heard it when it happened.  After reviewing my video it was absolutely clear that I clobbered that cone (the camera was on the same side) but I suppose it is possible that I got lucky and the cone landed standing up touching the box.  If it wasn't that then it was just an error in the timing/scoring department.  Either way it doesn't affect the final class results but I wish I could find out for sure what happened with that cone.

Out of the 137 drivers I placed 14th in RAW times, 7 of which were open wheel Mod cars (so I don't really count them) and the other 6 remaining drivers are all some of the fastest drivers in our region who all run in our "Pro" class.  In PAX I was a little lower coming in at number 17.  According to PAX I should have run about 2 seconds faster.  I am sure as I get more comfortable with this setup I can get a little closer to that.  I am pretty excited overall about the results.  The full results can be found here.

My fastest run (that I question the lack of the cone call):

My second fastest run (that I know was clean for sure):

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