Co-Driven Mazdaspeed Miata in Autocross!

Wow, This past Sunday what a good, long & busy day!  I attended the SASCA Autocross # 5 of 2009.  What made this day long & busy, you ask?  I changed hats…, that is, I was not in blogger mode.  I was able to participate in the autocross as a co-driver of a friend’s nice condition 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5/Miata.

Tom, one of the co-VP’s of SASCA, has been campaigning his 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5/Miata for the past few years.  It’s also his daily driver with about 67K miles.  It is completely stock, except for the tires & rims.  For autocross competition Tom has Kuhmo racing compound (R-comps) mounted on lighter aftermarket wheels.

Since I wasn’t in blogging mode, I actually got there early (just after 8am) signed the liability waiver & parked.  I paid for my registration (& Tom’s) that I had previously signed up for online at AXWareSystems the previous Friday night.  There were just over 100 (!) people registered – quite a turnout.

Tom & I were driving in the first heat of the 2 heat morning run group.  Both of used our water sprayers so we could quickly cool down his R-comps (stickier!) after each run.  And about those tires – their limit of adhesion was higher than my willingness to push them hard.  Street tires pale in comparison!!!

I suffered from some “cone carnage” & in the afternoon I hit 1 cone because of the Runnerclick shoes for high arches I was wearing.  The combination of wide, comfortable running shoes & the narrow Miata footwell, did not assist in great “shiftage”.  I think I actually had my right foot over both the accelerator & brake – obviously that didn’t work!  Somebody said these wider than average soles would be great for heel & toe.  Maybe on a road course, but in this case it was counter-productive.  You simply put it in 2nd gear & run!

I may have been slower than Tom (driving an unfamiliar car is always a challenge), but I WAS reducing my times compared to the initial run.  Here’s a table of my morning times, versus Tom’s times.  Click to enlarge for clearer image.

For tire carrying duties before & after the event, Tom makes use of a Tire Tail, which I’ve written about previously last summer.

Another observation, especially when co-driving with someone.  My friend Craig made the comment that it’s like a Chinese fire drill.  In other words, you finish your run, you jump out, spray down the tires, then your partnering co-driver jumps in & goes on his run.  This makes for a busy time with little time to do any bench racing with others on the grid.  This, in combination with standing around in the hot sun to keep up with possibly hit cones, wears you out.  I don’t mind saying it’s taken me a couple of days to get my energy level back up – but it WAS worth it!

Racing Ready is still learning, about autocross & blogging…

Dan

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3 thoughts on “Co-Driven Mazdaspeed Miata in Autocross!”

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_fire_drill

    “……when a car is stopped at a traffic light, at which point all of the car’s occupants get out, run around the car, and return to the car (not necessarily their original seat).”

    “Thus the expression “Chinese Fire Drill” is the act of a group of individuals accomplishing nothing. The term is also used as a figure of speech to mean any large, ineffective, and chaotic exercise.”

  2. Hey hey hey!

    Sounds like fun. I love the wheels on that one, too. I’m probably going to look for a set of similar wheels in a 15 x 8 in the future.

    First things first, though. Got to get the cooling system sorted.

    Glad you got to have some serious fun!

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