1st Autocross Observations, Final Details

OK – yesterday you saw the video.  Today, here are the hard, official numbers & results of what happened at my first participating autocross (at the 10/19/2008 SASCA event).

I have talked about tire pressure adjustments previously.  Here’s what I did with my 2000 Nissan Maxima SE, on ‘BF Goodrich g-Force Sport’ tires.  Since I knew that SASCA Air Compressor Parts provides compressed air right next to the starting grid on site, I drove there on my standard 36 PSI in all 4 tires.

I got different cautionary measure suggestions throughout the day.  In general, you want to increase your tire pressures much higher than you would ordinarily drive on daily.  Here’s a table with the pressures I ran on with their associated runs.

The changes & adjustments were based on what the car was doing, handling wise.  I asked a number of co-competitors for advice based on what I had experienced from the previous run.  It felt relatively balanced on those last runs – tha’t probably where I” start at next time.  I also had to borrow somebody’s water spray bottle to assist in cooling down my overworked front tires – they got very hot.  I couldn’t leave my hand on them.  In contrast, the rear tires just seemed along for the ride – they were hardly warm.

BTW, while letting air out of my tires in preparation to drive home, I noted that my tires’ sidewalls stated that the maximum tire pressure should not exceed 44 PSI…whoops!  Hmmm?

In the afternoon, during the 2nd heat, I started to experiment, in an awkward fashion, with left foot braking.  It sure seemed weird, but after a few runs I sort of understood what it could do to negate my car’s whale-like tendency to understeer.  It also brought back memories of riding, then driving with Bob Bondurant in another parking lot, here in San Antonio years ago – but that’s another story, for another post here.

My run times went from ho-hum, to atrocious to finally, sort of, a little better.  Overall, I did improve my initial time that I started with Ricky, the SASCA Vice President.  He rode along to make sure I knew what I was doing doing my first autocross out in 15 years.  Here’s a table of my 8 runs and the associated times – not exactly the story of consistency…

I have gotten over the initial disappointment I had & will take myself & the next event (this Sunday, 11/9) much less seriously.  I’ve got to realize, I’m with friends, working on the racing dream, having a good time.  I think going to something rear wheel drive in the future will increase my fun factor.

The final results?  I was 5th out of 7 entries in the Novice (Pax) class.  I’m happy I wasn’t last!  Pax is a formula based system of handicapping to compare times of cars which are not in the same class.  If you’re really interested, here are all the times from the 10/19/2008 SASCA autocross.

Racing Ready wants to acknowledge & thank Wei for giving great & sensible advice during the day.  He tries to help anyone who ventures to ask for help, and he’s a great guy, too!

As to my car’s improvements for this coming Sunday’s SASCA autocross?  Nothing in the performance arena, I’m afraid.  I spent it all a month ago on replacing all 6 ignition coils & new plugs (but it’s still acting likes it’s misfiring on the same cylinder).  I replaced both fog light bulbs last weekend, and I found out 3 out of 4 side marker lights are out.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any good ‘Net information as to how to get access to them yet.  I’ll be damned if I’ll pay the local Nissan dealership $65 plus tax just to replace 3 little bulbs.  If you can point me to a forum or other site that can help, I’d really appreciate it.

Till the next time…

Dan

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