At the recent 2009 SPOKES Autocross #1 event, I chatted with Shellie & Martin, co-drivers of their unique car, a 2002 Ford Focus ZX3 model she calls Rudy. I had previously profiled their car here in October of last year.
To briefly review, over the past few months her husband Martin has “decontented” (AKA, gutted) the full interior of this Focus. All that was not necessary to be able to drive the car has been removed. Click on Purposeful Ford Focus to see the extent of the interior modifications. This has lightened the car by about 400 pounds (!) and changed the weight distribution significantly.
The last time I had seen their Focus, I had noticed that the car’s rear end was riding higher than stock. Martin had mentioned he had been trying to figure out a way to make the car less loose & more predictable around the quick transient turns of an autocross. Then I noticed something different under the rear bumper. I asked Shellie about it. She was quick to explain that Martin had securely installed a 90 pound slab of concrete back under there!
As odd as that seems, the results speak for themselves. The car sat a bit lower in back & the handling was more consistent around the course’s cones & in the lap times. Who would have thought that adding weight would IMPROVE a car’s timed performance – you heard it here, first!
Racing Ready is always trying to demonstrate the oxymoronic twists of amateur motorsport’s improvements – enjoy & learn!