SASCA 2010 AutoX #9, Both Technical & Fun

It was a good autocross day, with only 71 competitors.  It had been about 6 weeks since our last SASCA autocross!  It seemed SO long ago since I plied an autocross venue.

2010 SASCA Autocross #9 - Morning grid

My runs in Karlino weren’t the best (on this course I designed as Eventmaster), but I got a LOT of great help from regular Club attendees & others.  Specifically I want to thank (in assistance order) Lee, Federico, Hubert & Ricky!  Thanks a LOT guys.  ;-D

Karlino at rest, in anticipation of pending autocross runs...

It is normal for the course layout to evolve when going from 2D to 3D, from paper to reality.  Unfortunately, the Northside Independent School District (who owns the lot we use) had placed a number of sawhorse barricades blocking off a key corner, on the last portion of the course.  So, the last third of the course was not as you see below.  We all pitched in to create it right then & there.  Also, we scrapped both optional slaloms.  It was busy enough without those additional choices.

2010 SASCA #9 Course map draft, 9-SEP-2010

One of my goals with this course was to use as much of the lot available, to maximize time out on course & have people work through the details, to get through it.  It seems everyone found it both challenging & actually fun.  The reaction of what the course seemed like as viewed via a walk-through, versus at speed was distinct.  Even though I had gone over the course a few times at 7/10’s with Federico, I was still caught out & DNF’d my fourth run (out of 7).  Here’s the series of skids toward the end of the long back straight kinks (Click to enlarge):

Run #4 DNF skid marks - 2010 SASCA AutoX #9

After lunch, before we started our second heat, I noted that the course really did have a LOT of cones out there.  Here’s a variety of pix to give you an idea…

Cone field - Blossom parking lot (2010 SASCA AutoX #9)

Back straight chicanes & more lot angle-tilt proof! (2010 SASCA AutoX #9)

SO many cones...the lead up to the finish. Yes, that is the tilt of this lot! (2010 SASCA AutoX #9)

Everyone enjoyed the cooler 84 degree weather & nice steady breeze.   But, even with the cooler weather, tires are still known to heat up.  Before my last run, I felt the heat of my tires & thought, “Why not!”  I asked Eric, my contributing blogger & autocross friend, if I could borrow his water sprayer.  I sprayed down my tires quite a bit & they cooled off significantly.  I was surprised as to how it improved the handling of my street tires.   Karlino felt more solid & I was in better control!  Also, it was my best & fastest run!

My CS times, showing steady improvement after DNF run #4! (2010 SASCA AutoX #9)

Racing Ready is satisfied with the role played as Eventmaster today.  In addition, no one dropped any oil, nor did any vehicle catch fire during the competition.  One of each of these mishaps occurred at the first 2 events I was Eventmaster (February 2010 & August 2009).

We’ll see you out there this coming October 10th, 2010 for the next event!


Spokes Post Divisional Autocross – Challenging!

Two weeks ago this message came across my Facebook page & I include my response:

Eric: Hey Dan, are you running spokes this weekend? If not, want a guest blogger? 😉

Dan: Nope, no SPOKES for me…
I would greatly appreciate your guest blogging!
Feel free to contribute what you like – it WILL get posted.

Eric: Woo hoo, you got it!

So here’s Eric’s latest guest blogger post.  Let me be the first to congratulate his upgrade to Contributing Blogger:

This past Sunday, I participated in the SPOKES autocross #9 at San Antonio Raceway. As Jerry was out of town for the weekend, I took his seat at the registration computer, a place I am familiar with since that is my typical morning seat with SASCA. As the first event post-nationals, there was no surprise that fewer than 80 participants pre-registered, and with the drizzles that morning, our final tally was 80 competitors.

Eric's autocrossing Corvette, Sunshine

Andy was our coursemaster, and he designed a tight and technical course befitting someone with years of national level competition experience. And of course, Super Stock drew the short straw and we were out with the first run group, drying off the line for everyone else. Ray and Peter were there with their familiar silver Lotus Elise, while as a Vin and Venkatesh arrived with this black beast:

The menacing Vitek Viper autocross debut!

They had purchased the car just a week ago and this would be their first time ever competing in a Viper, but equipped with Koni shocks and massive Hoosiers measuring 335/30 in the front and 345/30 in the rear, it would prove to be a force to reckon with.

There's some serious traction meat under that Vitek Viper!

Meanwhile, as you can see in the following video, I was busy overdriving. My “look” at the course from walking and from behind the wheel proved to be very different, and I managed to cone every single morning run, with this 57.5 being the best I could muster.

Vitek, meanwhile, was much smoother and more consistent. Though most of you know him as a Subaru wielding STU competitor, he has plenty of experience in other machinery as well, including a CP Camaro. His best run is the 55.9 seen below.

The course was dryer in the afternoon and I continued to work on my line, thanks to some advice from my co-driver. I finally got a clean run of 56.6, but halfway through the session my right front tire, with 70+ runs on it, started to cord!

A corded Hoosier - OUCH!  But it did go 70 runs...

Vitek graciously backed out of his last two runs (though not before an epic spin that sent several corner workers running for cover) and I managed to stick a much faster, but dirty, 55.3. Then, just as I thought I had the course somewhat figured out, I stepped in a puddle before climbing in for my final run and the water caused my foot to slip off the ZO6’s aluminum brake pedal as I was entering the first corner. I took out half a cone wall, and with frustration mounting on frustration, my day was done.

Remember what I said about the Viper being a force to reckon with? Take a look at this snippet from the raw times sheet, and notice how the only car above the Viper is a tube-framed, custom built modified car, also co-driven by my co-driver. (Click to enlarge)

AXWare Raw Times & Positions snippet - SPOKES Autocross 19-OCT-2010

See y’all next week at the SASCA registration desk!

Racing Ready always appreciates the contributions of informed others, like Eric.
Thanks again!


P.S. – I will be Eventmaster at the upcoming SASCA Autocross, this coming Sunday, 26-SEP-2010!

F1 USGP – Conceptual Master Plan Announced

Here’s the very latest in the progress of the VERY anticipated Formula 1 US Grand Prix – click the image below for more specific details:

Conceptual Master Plan - F1 US Grand Prix - Austin, Texas

This is more solid evidence that this WILL happen.  The local motor enthusiast & motorsports community in the Austin regional area will get a MAJOR shot in the arm as this develops.

Racing Ready wonders, what new businesses & entrepreneurial opportunities will come of all of this?


Free, Last Minute Autocross School!

Offensive Driving Course - bumper sticker

I just tripped across this on Facebook – I’m sure it would be of interest to many.
This is being put on by the Texas A & M Sports Car Club – Aggie Autocrossing!

Offensive Driving School 101 (OD101)
Next weekend, September 11th we will hold our FREE! OD101 Novice school, and our first Autocross of the new year the next day on September 12th!
OD101 (Saturday 9/11)

New to Autocross? Then our semesterly Offensive Driving school is for you!  The best part?  It’s FREE! It’s a great way to kickoff your Autocross habit, learn plenty of valuable performance driving techniques, car control skills, and do things with your car that you thought were never possible.  Come enjoy the opportunity to find the limits of your car in a safe, legal environment!

This free event will consist of a short classroom session (9:00am), a walk through of the course, a brief tech inspection of all cars, and ride-alongs with our drivers through our practice course.  Once you are cleared by an instructor, you are free to make as many runs as you want for the rest of the day… (WOW!)

You are free to leave whenever you want, but expect to stay until around 12:30-1:00.  The unlimited runs will probably last until about 2:30 pm.

When: 9:00am, Saturday, September 11th
Where: Riverside Campus

There is no registration required for OD101.  You are only required to show up and pass through the front gates by 9:00am.

The Riverside Campus gates will be open from 8:30 to 9:00am.  The classroom session will start as soon as the gates close (9:00am).

For experienced drivers wanting to come to the free practice the front gates will be open from 11am to 12:30pm.  We would like to keep the early session for beginners/novices only.  We will shut down and start setting up for the Sunday Auto-X at 3pm.

There will be a caravan from Lot 51 next to the Zachry building on campus.  Get there around 8:30.  The caravan leaves at 8:45 SHARP.

First time at a TAMSCC Event?  Please review the following links:

Maps to/of our event site:

Our required insurance form (.pdf file ~ 175k):

Racing Ready would almost go to this, but a 3 hour (!) drive to, & then from College Station, TX, plus my part-time job commitment in the late afternoon nulls & voids this cool opportunity.  Hope some of you can attend & let us know what you learned!


Revealed, Austin Formula 1 Track Layout

Finally, some long awaited US Grand Prix Austin Formula 1 information we can really sink our teeth into.

US Grand Prix Austin Formula 1 speeding toward South-Central Texas!

It’s here – the 3D, Tilke computer design of the track layout
Click the image below for a detailed PDF…

US Grand Prix Austin Formula 1 Tilke 3D computer track design course layout

Tavo Hellmund provided some general PR quotes today in announcing the US Grand Prix Austin Formula 1 track layout & design:

In the modern era of Grand Prix racing, I think this track layout and topography will be very special. It will have many of the elements of previous ‘classic’ circuits combined with the benefits of FIA-mandated safety for the competitors and spectators alike. Add in the amenities fans have come to expect, like rare, multiple-turn viewing opportunities for added value, and you have an ideal, world-class venue.

For the competitors, we’ll have all the ingredients necessary. You’ll see fast turns that require commitment from the drivers and technical turns that will test the engineers from a set-up point of view. We have a good deal of elevation to make it not only scenic but challenging also, and the view of downtown Austin is wonderful as well.

Here’s some good, hard & fast track specifications:

  • Taking advantage of the local topography, the track will have 133′ of elevations changes
  • The track length will be 3.4 miles, & can be divided into 2 separate tracks for different events
  • Top speed is calculated to be up to 200mph
  • There will be 20 turns, of every variety, with both uphill & downhill approaches
  • The track is designed to run counter-clockwise
  • And finally, something to counter some of the monotony of current F1 races: three “ideal” overtaking places…it would be great to see some real passing in the Formula 1 series again!

We shall see…!  Here’s a “10,000 foot view” rendering to give us a general idea of some more details of the layout. Click on the image below & you’ll be directed to a much higher quality, detailed PDF image!  You will even be able to see the correct racing line through the corners…

US Grand Prix Austin Formula 1 track design overvew - a "bird's eye" view...

Racing Ready is pleased to see these details finally revealed.  It has been stated that the graders should start breaking ground this coming December.  I think a series of pilgrimages should be organized & started up.  Who’s up for a road trip?