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      08-08-2011, 11:41 AM   #1
gobrigavitch
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Just did my first Autocross on Sunday. Great Time.

Just did my first Auto-x on Sunday in Saskatoon. I must say it was a great time. We did 4 timed runs and 2 fun runs after the official runs. We did the walk through and the course seemed reasonable enough. However, when I got out in the car I found I got mixed up about 1/2 way through and then I was lost. On my second run I had someone from our group ride along and then I had the course down. My last 2 timed runs I was able to push fairly hard, but still a long ways off from the best drivers. Of the 3 runs that I finished I had 92.xx then 67.xx then 65.xx. I think the fastest was a guy in a Cobra kit car with R comp tires that did it in 59.xx. So overall I was happy with my times.

After our first 2 runs our group Marshalled and the other group ran the course. Marshalling really helped me figure out the lines so I found it much easier for the second set. I had the car in M mode and I felt the MDM catch me once or twice on my last couple runs so I was getting near the limit on a couple occasions.

Overall I'm really glad I went and will definitely be doing this a few more times.
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      08-08-2011, 04:09 PM   #2
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That sounds like a good first outing. Compare yourself to the other M3s, not a Cobra.

Now that you fully understand the importance of knowing the course, you'll be faster more quickly. Being within 6-sec. of FTD isn't bad for a first outing.

AX is a great place to learn how the car responds with DSC off. There's nothing to hit but pylons. On the tighter corners the car needs to rotate to be fast and the DSC will kill that. Also, it doesn't allow quite enough wheel spin off the line. It's too slow to turn off once you trip it. I wouldn't recomment that a noob turn it off on a road course, but for AX it's the way to go fast. You'll learn more about the car also.

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      08-08-2011, 05:11 PM   #3
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I was a little scared this time to turn off DSC. I saw a miata lose it in the slalom and come within a foot of hitting a fense. After that I kept the MDM on. I might try it off in the future.

It's hard to compare to other M3's. The autocross on Sunday only had 19 entrants. There was a 2001 M3 and no other BMW's. There was a 70's Mini, a home made Cobra, a Neon, a couple Mazda 3's, a few WRX's, a highly modded Civic, an Audi A4, a Subaru Forrester, and a few Miata's. Funny enough the Forrester was one of the fastest entrants.
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      08-08-2011, 06:24 PM   #4
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The Forrester probably had the best driver.
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      08-08-2011, 07:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcstep View Post
The Forrester probably had the best driver.
....but, but, I have an M3!


AX is fun with the DSC turned off and not worrying about the time!
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      08-10-2011, 11:32 AM   #6
gobrigavitch
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The Forrester probably had the best driver.
Definitely.

Driver was definitely the biggest difference between the vehicles. I'd say the other big difference was tires. The guys with the R compound tires seemed to be quite a bit quicker on average.

I looked up the official results today and it wasn't as good as I remembered. My only official time was 92 seconds. That was on my second run. On my third run I had 70 and 4th run 68. However, on both of those I went on the wrong side of one of the gates. Different spot on each one. The mistake I made on each didn't get me an advantage so I consider those how fast I would have ran if I'd not had a brain fart.

Next time I need to spend more time visualizing the course between the walk through and the first run. I wish I would have marshalled first. After marshalling I felt much more confident.

I knew I'd love it. Now I have an itch for more. I'm hoping to do the 2 day M school in early spring and maybe a road course lapping session or two next summer. Nearest road course to here is 6 hours away so it makes it a little difficult.
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      08-10-2011, 11:35 AM   #7
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....but, but, I have an M3!


AX is fun with the DSC turned off and not worrying about the time!
I'm definitely going to try with DSC off. I wasn't worried about my time at all. Was just curious to find out after the runs. You could definitely tell who was experienced and who wasn't. There was a guy in an original Mini who was on fire around that course. I think his tires squeeled constantly from the start to the stop. He was so quick.

As I said in my last post, I don't think car has much to do with it. On this course there were 3 factors that seemed to determine speed.

1. Driver Skill
2. Car Weight
3. Tires

In that order.

I think the Mini was so quick because he had all three factors nailed

Last edited by gobrigavitch; 08-10-2011 at 11:45 AM.
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      08-10-2011, 01:17 PM   #8
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Your list is good. Number one on that Driver Skill subset is "Learn the Course", as you now know. It's harder than most people give it credit for. You need to be able to sit in your car an visualize the course, even before the first run. After the first run you need to decide where you lost time and visualize how you'll improve.

You're at step one. It'll come. It's still fun simply to beat your personal best, but it's even more fun to be competing with the best out there.

I've got my final BMW club event fo the year this Saturday. I'm first for the season, 2738 pts vs. 2735 pts. At the last event the guy in second beat me, but only by 20/1000 second, so he didn't gain any PAX points on me. Hopefully I can go out on a head-to-head win. Having a tight, long running battle makes it extra fun, particularly when you become friends with you competition.

Dave
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