After 5 months of my autocross inactivity & a set of new street Falken (M+S) tires for Karlino, it was good to get back into SASCA autocross competition at Retama Park, last Sunday, January 29th!.
There were quite a number of new faces, which was good to see. In my CS class, I had 4 competitors, a father/son team sharing driving duties in James’ 2006 Nissan 350Z, a ’99 Miata that looked like mine (but with the factory Hard S suspension package, 15″ wheels & R-compound tires), & Tom’s 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 (Miata). I had co-driven this car with Tom back in the summer of 2009.
The SCCA car classification rules do their best to equalize competition between dissimilar cars. Although I am in a stock class, there are a number of items that can be changed to optimize your competition capability. In my case, I can:
- upgrade from 14″ to 15″ wheels with certain rim width restrictions
- change tire width & go to R-compounds within a certain limit of the stock width
- install a larger front (not rear) sway bar (up to 1.25″)
- upgrade & replace the exhaust from the cat (catalytic converter) back, with a higher flow (& more aggressive sounding) muffler
All it takes is money! None of these are in consideration for Karlino except for a possible wheel/tire change – and only for autocross/track events, not daily driving.
For this autocross I went with a cheap & easy “upgrade”. I got a full tank of premium gas a couple days prior. Karlino normally runs fine on 87 octane, but I decided to try 93 premium for the first time. It took about 30 miles to notice the improvement in throttle response – nice! I expect to do this again before the next autocross, but my next tank will be back to 87.
In some ways, I equate autocrossing to playing golf. Say what? Well, I’m not a golfer, but I have some buddies that enjoy duffing the ball. They say golf is a very personal game – you are actually competing against yourself. So, in autocross, since my car is still factory stock & not as “equal” to others in my stock class, I take solace is getting a better time with each subsequent run.
The SASCA 2012 AutoX #1 was that kind of event for me. Being the course designer gave me a bit of an pre-emptive heads up of how the course would go. But as always, at speed the course is very different. This time round I was pretty satisfied with most of my 6 runs, clinching my best time on my last run. To me that was very satisfying. I placed 3rd out of the five of in the CS class. That’s okay with me. I did the best with the abilities & equipment I had…
Racing Ready is looking forward to see what February’s SASCA autocross course will be like. I hear rumors it will be filled with slaloms… The date of the next event is February 19, 2012. It will again be at Retama Park…