Learning Ideal Autocross Line Very Challenging

On Sunday, August 8th, 2010, SASCA had their 8th Autocross Event of the year.  It was good & hot, as would be expected for South Texas in the summer.  There were 71 registered competitors with official times.  Craig was the Eventmaster, for the 2nd month in a row.  He put together a very challenging course, with good input from others.

2010 SASCA AutoX #8 - Craig's rough course sketch

This time, we even got the “luxury” of “painted lines of baking flour, to help delineate the course flow.  It was interesting & different, sometimes helpful & at times a slight distraction.   Overall, though the lines added a cool touch to the course!  See the sweeper turn, before the finish, pictured below:

Example of autocross 'flour painted' lines, at 2010 SASCA #8, Blossom Athletic Center lot

This course was primarily counter-clockwise with times in the 40 to 50 second range, more or less.  There were some challenging sections of the course that I could not get a good line through a corner.  We all had 7 runs at the course, 4 in the morning & after lunch, 3 in the afternoon.  My times were not at all consistent.  My best to my worst only varied within just under 3 seconds.  (Click to enlarge)

2010 SASCA AutoX #8 - Dan's Miata times

Here’s a more complete graphic of the course as Craig designed it, on paper.  It did vary somewhat in reality – it ALWAYS does.  I know, having been an Eventmaster in the past

2010 SASCA AutoX #8 - Craig's refined course sketch

The area that almost always got me was that errant cone that always seemed to be in the wrong place every time I tried to make a good, clean run.  I was consistently stymied.  I did do 3 course walk-throughs in the morning & even had Kevin, the Novice Orientation Chief, do a ride-along  with me.  This was to try to help me get a better handle on the line & technique of this course.  Basically, Kevin told me that I was about right for most of the course, but that entry for that 1st tight hairpin corner needed to be taken differently, & I needed to brake earlier.

Below is how I approached it:

2010 SASCA AutoX #8 - Tight hairpin detail...my approach, not the best...

Below was a better way to take the corner, but I always seemed to come in too hot – too much speed & braking too late.

2010 SASCA AutoX #8 - Tight hairpin detail...better approach, earlier braking, faster & smoother exit...

If just maybe I had a couple of other runs…  I should have remembered the racer’s axion:

Slow in = Fast out!

Oh well, there will be time to learn more at next month’s SASCA autocross, on September 26, 2010.  Racing Ready & Karlino both plan to be there.

Ryan trying to inspire Karlino & me to autocross greatness at the start!

Reserve that date – it should be cooler.  Hope to see you challenge yourselves as well!

Dan

P.S. – Thanks for Oscar for the great pix!

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