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93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
3/25/13 10:43 a.m.

Ok so I ran my first real autocross this past weekend and I got beat by my co-driver by 2 seconds and that isn't acceptable. So other then obviously seat time, what can I do to get faster?

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
3/25/13 10:44 a.m.

Look ahead look ahead look ahead.

And slow is fast.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH UltimaDork
3/25/13 10:45 a.m.

Instructional vids, simulator...

Watch this if you haven't already seen it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRhTUf9iaG4

Edit: Also did you take any vids so maybe we could watch them and give you some tips?

JohnInKansas
JohnInKansas Dork
3/25/13 10:50 a.m.

Ride along's.

Co-drive someone else's car, get tips from them.

e_pie
e_pie HalfDork
3/25/13 10:52 a.m.

Get an experienced person to ride with you to give you feedback, not so much while you're driving, but afterwards when you're in the pits you can discuss the run.

Get a camera you can put in the car with a wide enough angle lens to be able to see out of the windshield as well as your hands on the wheel. Put them on youtube and post them on the internets (like here) to get feedback from other people. I've probably learned the most from my videos and feedback I've gotten on them.

Check your ego at the door, always know there is someone faster than you, even if you're faster than everyone you know, there is ALWAYS something to improve on.

Also what I've seen people do constantly: Don't blame the car (unless it's something painfully obvious/broken) and start throwing aftermarket parts at it to "fix" it. Get the most you can out of what you have. Systematically figure out what to upgrade on it as you get more experience/seat time and can understand the weaknesses and what genuinely needs improvements. Otherwise you'll just be chasing your tail and constantly trying to figure out how the upgrades you've done have changed the car.

nocones
nocones Dork
3/25/13 10:55 a.m.

Ride along with your co-driver learning why he beat you. Ride along with as many fast drivers as you can.

Not kowing anything about your driving however I'll give you the advice I've given most during out Autox schools to "newbs".

Slow down in the fast stuff for now. You're probably pushing to hard where you shouldn't. Concentrate on running proper lines smoothly the speed will come.
Most people I've instructed and followed up on tend to follow this curve.. They start out pushing way to hard in corners and not being able to stay on line. Then they finally learn to slow down and start running decent lines but then they need to learn to push harder without going off line. Concentrate on the fundamentals for now. Good hand placement, good vision (Eyes up and out looking through corners), Firm braking, smooth throttle application, and GOOD LINES. Get these correct and then pick a few sustained sweepers to plan to push the car hard and get comfortable with it on the edge of control. Autox is about being the right amount of agressive to have every input you make take the car to the absolute limit of traction without exceeding it while staying on the fastest line. You need to learn how to be comfortable there and what that feels like, you also have to learn to be able to predict where that point will be and have the skill/comfort to react if you where wrong in your estimate. If you have a good base of fundamentals you will be very successful.

nocones
nocones Dork
3/25/13 10:58 a.m.
e_pie wrote: Check your ego at the door, always know there is someone faster than you, even if you're faster than everyone you know, there is ALWAYS something to improve on. Also what I've seen people do constantly: Don't blame the car (unless it's something painfully obvious/broken)

E_pie speaks the truth here. I enjoy the opportunities I have to ride along with the faster drivers in the area. I learn a lot from them that I can apply to my driving. I've taken on a co-driver this season who will very likely beat me and crush my ego and that's great. If he can take my car and go faster than me that shows me that faster is possible and maybe I can go faster than him.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce Dork
3/25/13 11:06 a.m.

All of the above, plus remember that it's fun. Also, you can't walk the course too many times. Walk with someone who's good and let them explain lines and why a certain line is faster.

e_pie
e_pie HalfDork
3/25/13 11:21 a.m.
mazdeuce wrote: All of the above, plus remember that it's fun. Also, you can't walk the course too many times. Walk with someone who's good and let them explain lines and why a certain line is faster.

Good point, I always forget about this. If it stops being fun and you're getting frustrated TAKE A BREAK, you'll just start making more small mistakes and getting more and more frustrated.

Also this applies more to HPDEs but still has some relevance here: If you have an off course excursion, near off course, or swap ends, head for the pits and take a breather, reflect on what happened and why (in car video helps a lot with the why) you'll also likely be a bit shaken up and not able to focus on driving well. Remember it's not a race, you're just out there for fun.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey SuperDork
3/25/13 11:26 a.m.

Walk the course. Walk the course.Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course. Walk the course.

And make sure you walk the course.

ransom
ransom UltraDork
3/25/13 11:47 a.m.

I'm not sure whether anybody's mentioned walking the course yet, but I consider that a vital part of preparation.

I also enjoy a good book now and again. Per's got one specifically about autocross, as does Andy Howe. I also got a lot out of Paul Frere's book. There are many others, and who writes best for you and who covers what you most need to learn (autocross-specific stuff, views on general car control or racing, etc...) will affect which one. I enjoy reading, re-reading, and obsessing over descriptions of this stuff, and as a result I got a lot out of them by the time I ever started driving. I also got a lot out of book like Carrol Smith's "Tune to Win" and stuff like that for helping to understand what the car wants and how your driving interacts with that...

Beer Baron
Beer Baron PowerDork
3/25/13 12:18 p.m.

Read books in your down time. Speed Secrets and Secrets of Solo Racing both helped me (the later is more focused to auto-x).

Walk the course. Learn to read a track/course layout. Learn where the most important turns are (the ones that lead onto the longest straits). Learn to maximize exit speed from those. Walk the course. Walk the course. Pause in the middle of complicated or important sections and walk it backwards. Don't just stand at a point and say "Where do I want to go from here?" Find where you want to be on the important sections look backwards and ask yourself, "What do I need to do to set myself up to place the car here?" Draw your mental line backwards from where you want to be for the important corners. Then walk the course again.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
3/25/13 12:38 p.m.
e_pie wrote: Also what I've seen people do constantly: Don't blame the car (unless it's something painfully obvious/broken) and start throwing aftermarket parts at it to "fix" it. Get the most you can out of what you have. Systematically figure out what to upgrade on it as you get more experience/seat time and can understand the weaknesses and what genuinely needs improvements. Otherwise you'll just be chasing your tail and constantly trying to figure out how the upgrades you've done have changed the car.

The car is not changing at all just getting wailed on. Heck we are running Falken all seasons.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
3/25/13 12:42 p.m.
ransom wrote: I also enjoy a good book now and again. Per's got one specifically about autocross, as does Andy Howe. I also got a lot out of Paul Frere's book. There are many others, and who writes best for you and who covers what you most need to learn (autocross-specific stuff, views on general car control or racing, etc...) will affect which one. I enjoy reading, re-reading, and obsessing over descriptions of this stuff, and as a result I got a lot out of them by the time I ever started driving. I also got a lot out of book like Carrol Smith's "Tune to Win" and stuff like that for helping to understand what the car wants and how your driving interacts with that...

I have all the Carrol Smith's books including Drive to Win (but it is the only one I haven't read). I will take a look at getting some of those other books.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
3/25/13 12:45 p.m.
nocones wrote: Ride along with your co-driver learning why he beat you. Ride along with as many fast drivers as you can.

I rode along with the co-driver. He has the same level experience I do (basically none) and I was able to point out an area that he could improve but I was struggling to find where I was slower.

Somewhat related question, how can I measure my improvement over a season? I mean the course time is going to change every event and FSP is a very thin class locally.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron PowerDork
3/25/13 1:10 p.m.
93EXCivic wrote: Somewhat related question, how can I measure my improvement over a season? I mean the course time is going to change every event and FSP is a very thin class locally.

Find an experienced driver in a similar car. See what your gap is in timing from him. See how much that changes over the course of a season.

Bonus points because you can also use him as a mentor while you're at it.

Moparman
Moparman Dork
3/25/13 1:47 p.m.

I am going to look at an 87 AW11 later this week. They car is supposed to be in good condition, but the owner says that the "cam gasket" is leaking. How difficult is it to replace this?

Oops, wrong thread!

kb58
kb58 HalfDork
3/25/13 2:01 p.m.

If you are asking for how to tighten your nuts, just go into a turn about 10 mph too fast. Works everytime.

whenry
whenry HalfDork
3/25/13 2:03 p.m.

Two seconds seems like a lot of time on an autocross course(and it is) but you arent giving away huge chunks of time to your co-driver; just tenths here and there. Walk the course a lot and try to listen to the fast guys but realize that every driver is different and what works for one guy may not work for you. Emphasis learning how to read a course and make yourself as consistent as possible. Time will really slow down once you get some seat time and you can evaluate your own drives. Just remember that all time sideways is wasted time. You want to drive the shortest possible distance in the quickest possible manner. I am a big fan of video so that you can record every run and then tear it apart to find that extra time.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron PowerDork
3/25/13 2:13 p.m.

A small trick for looking farther ahead: place a piece of blue masking tape on the windshield directly in front and 1" below your site line. It won't get in your way, but it will be irritating if you are focused dead ahead and a bit low. Helps remind you to keep your eyes up and head on a swivel. More useful for open track than auto-x though.

Also, cross train your driving skills. Do HPDE and drift along with your auto-x. Learn the different skills each venue has to teach.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
3/25/13 2:22 p.m.
Beer Baron wrote: Also, cross train your driving skills. Do HPDE and drift along with your auto-x. Learn the different skills each venue has to teach.

I am planning on doing some rallycross this year.

JohnInKansas
JohnInKansas Dork
3/25/13 2:32 p.m.

If you're racing your primary vehicle, its pretty easy to hold back just a little to try to preserve the car. IMO, YMMV, of course.

Mmadness
Mmadness Reader
3/25/13 2:58 p.m.

As a disclaimer I don't have any autocross experience, but I think video recording would be helpful. If you have a smart phone, buy a cheap Bluetooth OBDII transponder off eBay (the ELM327) and download "alaprecorder" so you can see your throttle inputs as well. Be sure to watch Dick Turner's auto cross videos on YouTube as well.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
3/25/13 3:03 p.m.
Mmadness wrote: If you have a smart phone, buy a cheap Bluetooth OBDII transponder off eBay (the ELM327)

OBDII transponder may not work too well on a '84 VW.

Mmadness
Mmadness Reader
3/25/13 3:12 p.m.
93EXCivic wrote:
Mmadness wrote: If you have a smart phone, buy a cheap Bluetooth OBDII transponder off eBay (the ELM327)

OBDII transponder may not work too well on a '84 VW.

No, definately not.

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