Tadpole Jumping to Froggy at AutoX, by Eric: Part 1

Over the past few months Eric has been starting to get a handle on his new Froggy (a sweet, in-your-face Gotta Have It Green 2013 Ford Mustang 5.0 GT model).  Below is Part 1 of the process.  Eric has nicely documented his getting familiar with the Mustang’s autocross abilities & what he is modifying to improve its capabilities.

It’s been a long time since my promised update to Froggy’s autocross adventures.  So, to make up for it, here’s my quad event report, with a bit of the Mustang’s first track day thrown in for good measure.

ATE Super Blue high temp brake fluid

As mentioned in my last post, I decided that a swap to high temp brake fluid was in order, so I broke out my trusty vacuum pump and replaced the OEM stuff with ATE Super Blue.  My car, being a track pack, came with Performance Friction pads from the factory, which I felt would work well for autocross.  On went the MBRP axle back exhaust I’d ordered earlier, saving some 20lb of weight over the stockers.

MBRP axle back exhaust

With fresh Hoosiers mounted, I attended SASCA’s 11th event of 2012 at Retama Park, which was a fair sized event with 104 entries.  F-Stock was in the first run group, and my first ever pass was a tentative 34.19, with announcer, “douchebag,” and all around good guy John making fun of me the whole way.  Watch videos in 720p for better quality.

Fortunately the car, even with stock alignment, had good balance and put power down well, and I learned to trust her after just a few runs.  My fifth pass, below, was a much better 32.64.

Later, while helping to load the timing trailer at the end of the day, I read the timesheet.  My time held up for 15th in raw time and eighth in pax, tying my best ever pax result in four years of autocrossing the Corvette.  Once double entries were filtered out, I received fifth place pax points.  As a bonus, FR-S driver Nathan was on hand and came up with some great action shots.

Froggy's debut at SASCA's 11th AutoX of 2012 (photo courtesy of FR-S driver Nathan)

Unfortunately, the heavy Mustang has brutal tire edge wear, wearing some of the sidewall lettering right off!  Immediately I had them flipped by my local Discount Tire, hence the outside edge of my right front is shown on the inside of the rim.

Worn right front Hoosier on Froggy after AutoX

Fortunately, there is an SCCA stock class legal procedure for gaining more negative camber using Ford crash bolts.  So, it was off to Federico’s shop to get them installed.

More negative camber using Ford crash bolts on Froggy

We ended up with -1.8* left and -2.4* right camber once the bolts were maxed out.  Since I’m planning on replacing the shocks anyway, I left the camber as it was and had the toe set to zero, and it was in this state that we attended the last Spokes event of 2012.  After working registration and getting tire changing help from John K., Froggy was ready to run.

Froggy ready for 12th SASCA AutoX of 2012

D-prepared national champion Drew set up a tight, challenging course in the low-50 second range in a lot where most layouts are in the 40s.  The alignment change netted an immediate improvement in turn-in but I found myself struggling, often late and not getting on the power soon enough.  I wasn’t using all the track, nor all the capabilities of the car.  As a result, my best run, a 55.08, was only good for 23rd raw and 19th pax time out of 72 entries.

After the disappointment, I didn’t have to wait long to try and improve, as SASCA event #12 of 2012 was the very next weekend.  84 cars were in attendance, and this time F-stock was in the last run group.  Due to a mishap involving an S2K, we were limited to five runs, but as you could see, the course was an open layout my car loved.  This time I saved the best for last, a 42.06.  I’d wanted 41s so bad, but it wasn’t to be.

What surprised me the most was that the time was not only good enough for 9th in raw time, but 3rd in pax, less than five tenths away from multi-time national champion Dr. Erik in his 3-rotor RX7, seen in this awesome pic by Perry Bennett at Nationals last year.

Dr. Erik in his 3-rotor RX7 at 2012 Nationals (photo courtesy of Perry Bennett)

In Part 2 of Eric’s Froggy adventures, Racing Ready follows his green Mustang’s exploits of autocross with some rewarding on-track action.  Sometime this year I will experience a ride-along in Froggy to truly enjoy Eric’s Ford Mustang’s capabilities.

Dan