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Things to do... Things to do... - Equiraptor's Journal
Things to do... Things to do...
I learned today, a little after noon, that the first autocross meet of the year is this Sunday. THIS Sunday?!?!?! That's less than a week away and my trunk is FULL! My car is dirty, my passenger seat is full of stuff, my engine bay is dirty, my tires are a little worn, I don't know how to even launch properly for an autocross run...

I am woefully unprepared. And nugget's mom, dmasy, is visiting. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy to have her here. It's just that, between preparing for the autocross, going to John's open house at the shop, and autocross on Sunday, I'm not going to have much time to spend with her. She'll just have to come back again soon.

So much to do. I've never been to an autocross meet before, and am feeling somewhat confused and unsure. Dan, one of the mechanics and an experienced crosser, will be there to help me all the way, but I'm still having a brief period of "OMGWTFBBQ" while everything sinks in.

One of the things on my mind is my tires. They're far from new... Toyo Proxes T1-S, and they were put on in spring, and are getting somewhat worn. I thought the back tires were worn noticeably more than the front, and I mentioned it to Dan in passing. He said that it wasn't a problem. I could stop by on lunch one day and he could rotate them for me. Well, I checked, and the difference in treadwear is minute - a few millimeters at most (I tried using a penny and a nickel to measure. Not the most precise tools, but they can still give me an idea). That makes me think it's not really worth the effort to rotate the tires. But, an autocross meet could take a good deal more tread off of those tires, especially the back ones, since I'm likely to slip when I start each run. So, with the soft compound on the tires and the apparent ease of rotating them, does it become worth it again? I'm sure Dan can tell me. :)

And I get to act as translator for my mother when one of her cars goes into the shop... She won't take the cars in, so Dad does, but Dad gives only a very brief description of the problem, and it can be really helpful to have a more thorough description, so I end up giving it. Then, Dad picks up the car and gives Mom an abbreviated version of what was wrong, so I get to give her the extended story. In case you're wondering, a car went in last night, and came home tonight.

So much to do, so much to worry about. Good thing most of it is fun stuff. :)

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11 comments | Leave a comment
nrubenstein From: nrubenstein Date: February 15th, 2005 10:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, first things first, all you need to do is get the crap out of your car. A clean engine bay should be the LAST thing on your list.

Given that this is your first autox, I'd make a few suggestions:

1) Don't launch the car. It's just one more thing you have to focus on when you are NOT going to be competitive anyway. When you're ready to start competing, you'll probably want to find some place where you can practice launching beforehand. Basically, you want to rev the car up around the torque peak and slip the clutch as quickly as you can without bogging the engine or spinnging tht tires too much. It sounds a LOT simpler than it is. For this event, just launch like you would aggressivel on the street. the less you need to change, the better for now.
2) Don't try to be fast. Try to learn how to find and follow the course. This takes a few events before it starts to feel natural. Walk the course as many times as you can, and then try to visualize driving it. I can run a course without walking it and do pretty well these days, but at my third autox, I DNF'd EVERY run.
3) Don't worry about rotating the tires. Unless you've got gobs of camber, you're going to burn off your FRONT tread. Newbie autoxers always understeer (and oldsters, too, but when you start out you'll REALLY burn them). My M3 on the stock suspension was so poorly set up that no matter how well you drove, you'd kill the front tires twice as quickly. Because of my transmission, I did BURN OUT launches, smoking the tires EVERY run, and the fronts still wore at more than twice the rate of the rears.
4) This is the most important: Relax! The more stressed you are, the more you'll screw up because you're nervous about screwing up. ;)

Hope this is somewhat helpful.
busychild424 From: busychild424 Date: February 16th, 2005 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)
That's all good advice.

I only got to AutoX once last year, and it was my first run, so I still remember it clearly. My advice: Learn everything you can, apply what you feel skilled enough to apply, but let your first priority be having fun. Like nrubenstein said, worry about being competitive later on, when you're... uh... competitive. :-)
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: February 16th, 2005 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not worried about being competitive, I'm worried about looking like an idiot! I'm sure if I just relax, I'll avoid that, but I'm not that good at "just relaxing." C'est la vive.

Nugget told me, as long as I don't knock over a porta-potty, I'll be fine.
busychild424 From: busychild424 Date: February 16th, 2005 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I would agree with that assessment.

Also, getting sideways or spinning out, while not the fastest way around the course, always provides a good show for the guys (and girls) watching, and even experienced guys get lost sometimes. Fun fun!
penpenpenpen From: penpenpenpen Date: April 12th, 2005 08:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not worried about being competitive, I'm worried about looking like an idiot!

behehee.. .that is always my concern... lol...

i always get lost on the autox courses too. hahahaha. too many orange thingies ^_~
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: February 16th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Part of me is just looking for more things to worry about. I've been wanting to do this for quite a while, and this feels like really short notice for an event actually happening, so I've got myself in "worry" mode. I think part of it is the more I worry now, the less I'll worry on the day. Get my worrying done ahead of time.

2 and 4 are things I've read online. 1 is probably what I'd do anyway... I know I'd be nervous if I tried, and that I'd end up spinning the tires if I tried to launch. 3... I had no idea. No one ever mentioned that I'm likely to wear the front tires more.

Thanks for the help. I'm sure I'll be a nervous wreck they day of the event, just because that's the way I am. But, hopefully the drive to San Antonio and being around good people will help me relax.
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equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: February 16th, 2005 12:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't worry about your tires. You simply arn't going to do that much harm to them in a single event unless you go crazy.
It wasn't just for this event that I was thinking of rotating them. If I was wearing the backs a good deal faster than the front, then it would make sense to switch them at some point. Dan made it sound like it would be easy for them to do, especially since I work closeby. Since the difference is so minor, it doesn't seem like they'll really need switching unless the autox has a much larger effect that expected.

For example riding with Dan and Dani is great fun but you're never going to go that fast in a CS miata.
So don't consider a ride with Dan a learning experience until after I've mimicked his supercharger setup? ;)

That ACT clutch will put me out of CS, won't it?
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: February 16th, 2005 01:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and the '94-'97 Miata is in ES now, right?
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equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: February 16th, 2005 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! I can read! Maybe I will be able to do this! ;)
peppermintrose From: peppermintrose Date: February 16th, 2005 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, the only thing about rotating the tires is that the car might ride a little differently and throw you off, which you wouldn't want to deal with right now. It wouldn't make a lot of (if any) difference, but just to be on the safe side...
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: February 16th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's so little difference between the tires on the car right now, that changing the tire pressure would have a larger effect. And one typically changes the pressure for autocross, if everything I've read has been right. So... *shrug*

Whatever the case, the tires aren't getting rotated before the event. :-)
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