I raced my Swift today at the last round of the San Francisco regions autocross. This event was held down in Marina at marina airport. This is one of my favorite places to run because we use a large concrete paddock to set up the courses. The surface has a very consistent grip, and the weather is usually nice, although it was a bit foggy in the morning.
The course was pretty good, easy for my rock hard tires, and no seat time in a new car. I still have the road racing gears in the transmission, so I never shifted out of 1st gear. 1st gear is currently setup for a maximum speed of around 78mph, which is faster than most courses that I race on.
I wasn’t expecting much today. I really wanted to find out what the car was like to drive, and to get an idea of what the car needs to be competitive in CM.
The results of the first drive are easily itemized in a bullet list.
- dont’ wear sneakers when driving a Formula Ford. Yeah sure I can climb in the car, but I could not operate the pedals properly. Every time I went to hit the brakes, I would also hit about 1/4 throttle which would cause me to blow right through my braking zone.
- Brake bias is important. I had too much front bias and basically the car would not turn through the corners at all… Once I got the bias sorted out, I was still mashing the pedals. Eventually I switch to left foot braking, and this really helped a lot. In the mean time, I need a dedicated set of racing shoes.
- I need tires. These rocks that I call tires are the hardest road racing compound you can get and still call them race tires. The tires I am used to you can peel the tread surface off with your fingernail, it’s that soft. On my last run, I actually got a little bit of heat into the tires and I was attacking the slaloms more aggressively than I could in my old Evo.
- The car is a bitch to maneuver at slow speeds, but get your foot in it, and the car comes alive with very dynamic responses to your steering inputs. This car is going to be so much fun to drive…
This will be the last shot you see of me wearing an open face helmet driving this car. It’s technically not allowed, but the safety steward let it slide for this event. I just ran out of time to go off and buy one.
the car ran awesome. Even with a terrible alignment, the car felt very good. My driving kind of sucks now because I am out of practice, but over all, I will be challenged to drive this car to its limits.
hitting the brakes and the gas at the same time doesn’t work. I can’t right foot brake in this car (brake like you would in a normal street car). At least not with sneakers on.
I need to fix a few problems in the drive line. I will post more details on that repair later after I get more information on what I need to do.