Tuesday, March 27, 2012

(167) Hoping for rain

Last weekend it rained a bit. I was hoping for a monsoon, frankly, because I thought it would be cool to try the WRX at the limit in the rain to see how good the AWD system really is. But alas, it was done raining before we got there at about 7:30 am.

There was still enough water on the track to make it interesting, although it dried out pretty quickly. By the time we took our 4th runs it was almost all gone.

Coaxing the car into the first real corner on the track. Photo credit my friend Joshua Fine.

This course had a lot of slaloms in it, and they were giving me problems. I kept attacking them aggressively, and the car didn't like that too much as it would kind of wallow from side to side.

There were also a pair of very slow speed, decreasing radius turns that really required a lot of finesse to get right. Very easy to over-slow, and very easy to plow straight through. A lack of good reference cones on the second of the two cause a lot of people grief, and almost every car washed out wide in this corner. A very high speed approach )for autocross - top of 2nd gear) didn't help the toughness of the corner.

Pushing the car hard into this corner on my last run. Photo credit Joshua Fine.

 In my 2nd and 3rd runs I clipped cones, and that incurred a 2 second penalty on each. But I refocused and did my fastest run in my last run and got the win. Scott managed a sound 4th.

Helmet cam!

Round 3 helmet cam footage.

Monday, March 12, 2012

(166) Seriously, I have no clue what I'm doing

Continuing the autocross theme this week, we head to Marina, California for the second round of the San Francisco Region championship series.

At the first event there were a huge number of entrants - about 230. This time there were 100 less, so the parking lot was much less crowded.

My dad and I started out by working the 3rd run group. Every competitor has to work. Workers do really simple things like score and replace knocked cones, report the score to the timing chief over the radio, and display red flags to cars to get them to stop if there is a safety issue (spun car, workers out of place, etc). Working before you run is nice because you get to see a few of the corners and watch people go through them a few times.

The course was longer than last time, and more complex - lots of turns leading into slaloms. I liked the look of it.

Scott's runs went pretty well. He got faster and faster as the day went on, though the first run resulted in a DNF due to missing one of the slaloms. His best time ended up being a 54.166, and that works out to a 44.470 after the index was applied. Good for 4th in the novice class.

I set my fastest time on my second run, a 50.661 (41.593 indexed), and while my 3rd run was going to be a few tenths quicker (according to my stop watch), I DNF'd going through the final slalom, partly because I forgot where it was and partly because the car was understeering really bad at that point because I was adding too much throttle. The fourth and final run was 3 tenths quicker but I tipped a cone in a stupid spot. With my time from the second run I ended up winning the novice class again!

Round 2 helmet cam footage!

I'm enjoying autocross a lot and it's keeping me on top of my game driving wise. I just wish I knew what I was doing. That's why I'm in the novice class!