:. Racing .:. 2005/07/30 - Autocross
Experience Counts - And so do friends!
Coming off of a very productive day of testing on Friday, the Denver National Tour event came on Saturday. Jeff Brauch and I co-drove together, since Jeff's car is still receiving it's new Suzuki transplant.
Up in town for the event were a bunch of folks from the Texas region, which include most of the top B-Mod cars. I talked to a bunch of these guys last year while thinking about getting into a DSR. Among these guys are the national champs - Tommy Saunders and Stuart Lumpkin, who own the reigning B-Mod missle. These two, along with John, Eddie, and Keith made for a tremendously fun weekend. Pleased to meet you guys!
Based on our testing Friday, Jeff and I decided that the car ca.) could use more front stiffness for transitions b.) still had a bit of an understeer. So, we went up 50# to 400# in front, and went up 100# to 550# in rear. Who knew how that was going to work, if at all!
In short, the changes were quite good! The car was a bit loose my first run, where I DNF'd catching a slide that started when running into the downhill slalom. My fault. Jeff also felt it was a bit scary.
However, we learned two things on my second run. First, on warm tires, it wasn't so bad, in fact, fairly neutral. Second, John Garcia overheard us talking about tire pressures, and suggested that we lower them tremendously, from 18ish to closer to 13ish! Not wanting to go too far, we lowered them to 16psi to start, and the car was immediately much better. Still had the great response from the stiff springs, but much more predictable. I cut nearly four seconds off of my raw time from run #1.
For my last run, we dropped another pound, to 15psi, and the car felt even better still. I had a great run, and dropped another 1.3 seconds, good enough to finish 3rd, and in the trophies for the day! Jeff did his final run at 14psi, and reported that the car felt even better. I guess that'll be the starting points from here on out!
Despite the extremely stiff springs, the front of the car seemed to respond beautifully. It was not "darty", it was not hard to drive, nor was braking difficult. In fact, the car was as easy to drive as it has ever been. Balance-wise, the car was even closer to neutral, despite us raising the front of the car based on splitter rubbing. Rake got as low as about .25".
The only slight negative of the day is that it seems the 550# rears are upset perhaps a bit too much by bumps, as the rear gets "bounced" from time to time. However, I did not notice the bumps as bad as previously, when the car was set up with softer springs. Go figure. So, the thing to watch is going to be if I can get some compliance with the rears at 550# - perhaps softening the bump in the shocks will help take care of this when the shocks are rebuilt. Time will tell, but this baseline is a pretty goodone...finally!
Changes for Next Time
Nothing really is immediately to be done. As mentioned, the rear is a bit "lively" over bumps, so hopefully some revalving will take care of that. I am wondering if 450# fronts might help, or perhaps, even beyond? However, for the time being, the question is to see if I can get the compliance I need by fiddling with shock valving, before going stiffer still on springs.
Driving-wise, I felt like I drove very well. Good lines, good thinking about looking ahead. Always, having that overnight to think about the course helps me drive much better, by *quite* a lot.
Lastly, what a hoot to talk to all of the out-of-town B-Mod guys, quite a fun crowd! It's going to be fun at Nationals this year.