AAS round one

This past weekend I race at the first round of the American Autocross series down at Marina airport.  Marina is an awesome place to race with its large concrete paddock.  The grip is consistent, the weather is predictable for the south bay, windy, sunny and cold for this time of year.

photo: M Pozzi

AAS courses are always a fast flowing course style to suite the large american muscle cars.  There are some really well prepped race cars that come out, a few of the nicer CP cars have made their way into Sony’s Grand truismo console game!  AAS events are always fun.  This event with the turnout that we had, we got 5 runs for the event, perfect for tuning the car some after making a few alignment changes since the last event.

the alignment changes definitely worked.  The oversteer was getting under control, and my braking was greatly improved after I reduced the negative camber in the front.  What was really cool, was that I am able to balance the car with nothing but tire pressures at this point.  This tells me that the car setup is close to where I need it to be.  The driver on the other hand, will take more effort to improve.

On to the runs…

The first run was ok.  I had the totally wrong tire pressures, and they were cold.  But the wear showed that the pressures were close, but I was not getting heat in the tires yet.  It was a slow run, I got a little sloppy at the end with the back end stepping out.

Second run I dropped my tire pressures 1 psi in front, 2 psi in back.  The rear tire pressures were still higher than the front, but only by 1 or 2 psi.  The car felt better, but I still couldn’t take full advantage of the AWD because the back end still wanted to step out in the corners.

Third run I kept dropping the tire pressures.  On this run the tire pressures were the same front to rear.  The car felt better, and I actually got more heat into the rear tires than in the front.  That’s pretty rare in this car.  Normally the front tires are super hot with cold rears.  I  started to gain a good balance in the car on this run.  Tire wear looks good, these Yokohama a-048 tires have nice stiff side walls and perform pretty well so far. Their grip is consistent and I can knock out consistent times, albeit slower than if I had proper tires.

Fourth run of the day was the fastest.  I now have the tire pressures lower in the rear than in the front.  Car feels great. You can hear it in the video, the tire squealing is minimal compared to the rest of my runs.  With this run I felt that I could really push the limits, the first time since I brought the car back out of storage.

My fifth run of the day and I tried to push it.  And I manage to push it a little too far…  oops.  My bad habits come out and I drift the car through the final slalom under power.  Why?  because with the evo I can get away with it.  When the back end steps out, you floor it and steer into the slide.  This pulls the front end of the car out of the slide and when you straighten the wheel to where all 4 wheels are pulling in the same direction (forward) you launch like a rocket ship in what ever direction your pointed.  This can be really good if the happens to be pointed in the some what correct line to follow the course.

postmortem

  • The car feels pretty close.  It looks like I might have issues with grip once the tires are hot, but otherwise the car has a really good balance again.
  • My hand position sucks.  I am shuffling my hands.  I should not be moving my hands from the 9 and 3 position on the steering wheel.  The Evo had very quick steering and I do not have to move my hands.  I should know better.
  • I need tires.  I am only 2 seconds off my nearest competitor who runs the same year Evo as mine, and has similar modifications.  He is on Hoosiers, that’s the biggest difference.