BimmerFest BMW Forum banner

My First Auto X, I'm 9th Out Of 23, Bone Stock........

2060 38
And that was in my bone stock 323i with its non sport package suspension and crummy (but long wearing) 205/16/55 all season Conti's.

Here are the results: http://www.fcscc.com/05results_rs.htm

I enrolled in rookie school and it was a lot of fun. I think I'm hooked.

New tires are needed, I'm going up a size to 225/50/16's, I'll stay with that change for now since I need new tires anyway.

Even at 40 psi all around, my tires were rolling over and understeering quite a bit.

I'll keep everything else stock for now till I improve my skills to the limit of what my car can handle.

The course was rough and we were allowed only one walk through, having never done an actual event, I didn't know how it all worked and was a bit apprehensive about memorizing the course.

However, not to worry, my Skippy School training came into play and I just put the thing together in my mind the same way I do a piece of music, a component at a time till the thing's solidly installed in my cortex: increasing radius turn here, slight downhill left there, slalom (the toughest part for me) here etc.

This was MUCH more difficult than my excursions on the track at Lime Rock, at autox, one is concentrating hard the whole time, there's never a let up for the entire course; I loved it.

I could've been faster, but I wanted to get a feel for the whole thing, figure out the limits of the car, etc. Three runs is limiting, but it's all everyone had, so I've got no excuse except to say I'll be a bit more aggressive next time.

None the less, I was pleased with my progress.

I'm joining the auotx parade here, hope to gain some insight and knowledge from some of you guys who regularly go at it, Clyde, Andy etc.

Ed
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Congratulations Ed on your 9th place finish, not too shabby. Sounds like you had a great time!! Keep us posted on your progress. :thumbup:


Andy
Yep! Sounds like you've caught the "Autocross Bug!" Keep up the good work, and contine to have fun.

You're off to a great start!!!
EdCT said:
I enrolled in rookie school and it was a lot of fun. I think I'm hooked.
Ed
WTG, Ed!

During the walk, were there instructors with you to point things out or were you all left to your own devices?

For most people, after doing a few, remembering the course becomes a lot easier and you don't have to spend as much effort remembering where the course goes. Of course, that's when someone throws a course like this one at you. :eek: Still, it gets easier if you stick with it. From your description of how you mentally split it into chunks with descriptive phrasing it sounds like you'll get to that point a lot faster than most people. :thumbup: When on the course, you really are focusing all of your mental energy, but even that becomes less intense with time (while becoming more methodical).

When I started, slaloms were difficult for me too. Quick slalom tips:
  • when walking the course, pace off the distance between slalom cones (sometimes they shorten them up just enough to trip you up when driving but not so much that it's readily apparent without measuring)
  • turn the wheel before you get to the cones (if you wait until you get to each cone before turning, you'll fall behind and wind up way out of shape or lose a lot of time...especially important in E46s)
  • look three cones ahead (you should be able to process the closer cones without much/any conscious effort while keeping your eyes up and your focus further down the course which will help you be smoother and pointed where you'll want to go)
  • when learning, it can be helpful to enter slower than you might want to and concentrating on your steering. Get the timing and amount of steering inputs correct and then start adding speed. This isn't the fast way through, but it's faster than coming in too fast and getting crossed up and exiting the slalom pointed in a direction that needs excessive correction. The secodn step of the process comes when adding speed. You'll start using the throttle more to help the steering by shifting weight front and rear, but like I said, that's the second step. :D

Sounds like you had fun, and that's what it's all about.
Clyde,

Yes, we walked through, ten at a time, with our instructor and the president of the chapter, who was generous with advice.

I understand, as a novice, I can request walk-throughs with an instructor at the normal events.

Your slalom tips are great, thanks, that's what I'm looking for. I had my instructor take me through in my car at the end of the day, he really got the car to take a set through each cone in the slalom and, as you correctly point out, early apexing. When I did my first run, I early apexed (in the slalom) just fine, but as I increased speed, I got a bit late, so that's going to be a trick for me, as my speed increases, turning, as you say, "before" the cones.

Also, getting the throttle just right through the slalom is going to take practice, I'll be thinking about what you said.

Re: slalom, you're quite right about the cumulative lateness, if you enter late, you get later and more sideways, I know first hand;)

Btw, I had tons of fun with the E46 in the increasing and decreasing radius turns, our 3's, if you get the braking and throttle just right, will do that little spin on axis and allow for a pretty high exit speed. I was fast there, but I'd lose speed in the slalom.

There was a lot of sand on the course (we've had a lot of snow this season), this made it difficult (but I kind of liked that), also, this particular lot is quite rough with a lot of elevation changes, another fun challenge.

There's another chapter that runs here in CT www.cartct.com, they run on a larger, smoother course, so I'm going to give them a try as well.

I think I found a good match for me in this, though. I never much cared for running my car out on the big track at Lime Rock, going around at high speeds with a bunch of aggressive and inexperienced guys always made me nervous, even though I was pretty fast myself.

With autox, there's a LOT of driver skill involved, but I like the strategy and precision elements of the sport, also, there was a MUCH more communal feel to the whole thing than there is at track days.

If you were me and looking for a tire good for summer daily driving and autox, what would you recommend?

Ed
·clyde· said:
WTG, Ed!

During the walk, were there instructors with you to point things out or were you all left to your own devices?
how enthusiastic do you want to go with the tire?

The Falken Azenis Sport/Azenis RT-615 is your ultimate street/autox tire, but you give up a fair bit of comfort.
Nick,

I think I have to be realistic with this.

The tire needs a lower profile, so I'm going to change from a 205/55/16 to a 225/50/16.

It'll need to be tread rated, I think, in the 150 to 200 range (wife would like some "value" as she sees it).

So, I need better "stick" and less propensity for rolling over, but decent mileage, comfort, and safety (good wet performance) since my car is our daily driver and not a race car. I have snows, so no need for winter worries.

It just needs to be better than OEM, but not all out.

I checked the Kumhos on Tire Rack, they've got a performance tire that meets my needs , the ECSTA MX. Since I'll probably burn through these after a season, I don't want to go too expensive, I'll save that for the next "phase" (if you're not married, you might not understand this concept of "phases";) )

Ed
Nick325xiT 5spd said:
how enthusiastic do you want to go with the tire?

The Falken Azenis Sport/Azenis RT-615 is your ultimate street/autox tire, but you give up a fair bit of comfort.
And probably be more prone to hydroplaning after they wear a bit. It would still be one of my top two tire choices (the other being one of the BF Goodrich TA KD or KDW tires (not sure which though)).

Re: slaloms...it's not early apexing, it's turning in earlier then you might think you need to so that you can slice between the cones in the right place. It's a lot easier to get up to speed at first if you can separate the steering from the throttle, which is why I suggest entering a little slower. Once you get the mechanices of steering at a pretty much constant speed, adding speed and using the throttle to assist the steering is a shorter path to getting through slaloms in a hurry.

FWIW, in a "standard" slalom (if there were such a thing), you know that you're placing the vehicle correctly when you wiggle each cone with the inside rear. Typically, you add about 1/10 of a second to your run for every 12" of distance between the edge of the cone base and your car at their closest point in a slalom...and that's 1/10 per 12" for each cone.
Nick325xiT 5spd said:
how enthusiastic do you want to go with the tire?

The Falken Azenis Sport/Azenis RT-615 is your ultimate street/autox tire, but you give up a fair bit of comfort.
Got it.

My instructor kept referring to it as an "early apex", but now that I think of it, he may have meant "turn earlier", hence my confusion.

I know what you mean, though.

Ed
·clyde· said:
Re: slaloms...it's not early apexing, it's turning in earlier then you might think you need to so that you can slice between the cones in the right place. It's a lot easier to get up to speed at first if you can separate the steering from the throttle, which is why I suggest entering a little slower.
One key to remember is that BMWs, even the M3, don't even turn until a LONG time after you turn the wheel. You have to get significantly ahead of the car itself to get goign well.
Nick, would you mind copying jv on that...I really don't want to have to tape up the front end of my car all year. :eeps:
Nick325xiT 5spd said:
One key to remember is that BMWs, even the M3, don't even turn until a LONG time after you turn the wheel. You have to get significantly ahead of the car itself to get goign well.
:( I figured it out by my third run.
·clyde· said:
Nick, would you mind copying jv on that...I really don't want to have to tape up the front end of my car all year. :eeps:
I need to clean the cone juice off of one of my SSRs.
:rofl:
Nick325xiT 5spd said:
cone juice
yup not early apexing, more like managing your slip angle.
EdCT said:
Got it.

My instructor kept referring to it as an "early apex", but now that I think of it, he may have meant "turn earlier", hence my confusion.

I know what you mean, though.

Ed
Rubber bushing slosh.
Elwood said:
yup not early apexing, more like managing your slip angle.
And when are you going to make an appearance!? :bareass:
Plaz said:
ok, control response time.
Nick325xiT 5spd said:
Rubber bushing slosh.
I was considering coming out to point and snicker yesterday, but, well, that didn't really work out, did it? :rofl:
Elwood said:
And when are you going to make an appearance!? :bareass:
bah
SoloII///M said:
:( I figured it out by my third run.
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top