CDC Autocross Event 5, 5.29.09

sandy

Since the BMW is still on jack-stands in the garage, I decided to take out the MINI for the Capital Driving Club autocross at Bowie Stadium this weekend. It was sunny and hot, but fortunately, not yet so humid. I was competitive with the other MINIs that were running, but I wasn’t up there with the top 15 this time. No grip on the dusty course (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it…)

behind

You can see from the photos above that the course was quite dusty. It started with a clockwise half-loop into half a figure-eight and another half-loop into a short slalom. Across the top of the parking lot through as series of tightly spaced off-set gates with a quick right-left-right-left, followed by a loop to the finish. You sort of get a feel for it from the video, but the camera mount is too low to see the cones. I’ll have to figure out another way to mount the camera in the future.

Thanks to the CDC group photo pool for the photos of my car. I also posted a bunch of photos from heats 1 and 3 to the pool as well.

CDC Autocross Event Four, 5.9.09

3Wheelin

On Saturday I finally made it to a CDC autocross event. This one was held at the Triple Skid Pad at Summit Point — same place as the BMW Club event, only this one wasn’t a sogfest. BSR has finally paved the aprons around the inside of each skid pad and cut-out, but the infield is still very soggy. The course was fairly simple, but because of the lack of grip, was actually quite challenging. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be wet so I took both the RA1s and the Hankook slicks. I ran the morning runs with the RA1s and then the slicks in the afternoon. Right off the bat, the slicks were 3 seconds faster and ended up being almost 5 seconds faster.

GeorgeCo

The video is from the last run. I still haven’t fixed the audio, so you want to turn down the volume.

The results aren’t posted yet, but I suspect the winner was in the low 47 second range. I’m hoping for a top ten finish. My best was in the high 48s. As a comparison, my best on the RA1s was in the low 53s. I probably should have heat-cycled the Hankooks before running them last month at the first SCCA event. They really had much more grip this time, even on the slick surface. I think they are going to work out well this year and seem to be wearing fairly evenly so far.

Triple Skid Pad

The only down side was the poor fellow driver in the Lotus Elise who went off into the mud only to turn up a 30-pound rock with his front splitter. With a large “whack”, bits of carbon-fiber were flying everywhere. I’ve been told the only way to make repairs is to buy a new clam shell for the front half of the car. That’s an expensive weekend.

First SCCA Autocross of 2009

GeorgeCo at speed

This past weekend featured the first SCCA Autocross event of the new season at FEDEX field. It was a chance to test out my new suspension and tires. During the winter, I picked up some Hankook Ventus Z214 competition tires from Frisby Race Tires. For a while, they had a special on the C50 (medium) compound in 205/50R16 for about the same price as a regular street tire. So I grabbed a set, repainted the white Kosei rims, and had them mounted up. (The new rim color is as close to “brake dust” as I could find, thus saving time from cleaning.)

Sunday turned out to be in the ’90s — very unseasonably warm for April around here. I was worried about overheating the new tires on their first use. They were not heat-cycled so I knew they would be a bit slippery anyway, but I’m very happy with them. I ran with 38-40 lbs in the front and 35-37 lbs in the rear. I can probably drop it down a pound and start off with 35/33 cold instead of 36/34 which I had. The new springs are also a bit softer than the old ones, but once I got used to them I could make them work for me. I dropped 2 seconds over the four runs, with the last two runs being exactly the same down to the thousandth of a second. Odd.

I came away from the event thinking I hadn’t done that well, but ended up placing 6th out of 16 in my class (street mod). I always compare myself to G Stock, which is where I probably should be running, where I would have placed second. One day, maybe I’ll bite the bullet and make my car eligible for that class again.

First Autocross of 2009

Sogfest

The autocross season got off to a soggy start on the Triple Skid Pad at Summit Point. The NCC had their first points event of the season on Saturday. I’m running a street-tire class in the BMW this year. The rain meant I had a good chance of scoring well.

I was fastest most of the morning session and ended up fourth in my class. The three ahead of me all ran in the afternoon when it was dryer. The course was partially under water. The surface is new and slick. The run off areas are muddy and deep.

tell tale signs

Sticker Tires

Sticker Tires

Spring is in the air. With less than a month to go before the first track weekend, it’s time to stock up on parts and make repairs. Nothing says Spring like new tires.

For SCCA autocross in the MINI, I’ll be running Hankook Ventus Z214 R-comp tires. This is the medium compound (C50) which should last me the whole season. They’re on special at Frisbyracetire for only $85 each in size 205/50R16. Stacked up next to my old Azenis in size 215/45R16 they’re almost the same width. The tire diameter is about 23 1/2 inches — half an inch taller than the Azenis, but still a decent size for my gearing.

I’m making progress on the BMW as well. I just got it back from Frederick Motorsports. I had Scott replace the guibo, drive shaft center support bearing, service the differential and replace seals, new axle shafts, and take the slop out of the shifter. No more fork-in-the-spaghetti shifting. I also got a new clutch. Next up: suspension work and finally stopping that pesky oil leak from the camshaft gear seal.