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      07-20-2018, 11:58 AM   #1
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Looking for tips and pointers from my runs...

Hey all, I've been a member of this forum for a long time but have only recently started auto-crossing. Years ago I drifted quite a bit but that doesn't really translate to speed around a corner.

I've recorded a few of my runs and would really love some input, tips, pointers, etc... on them!

This video is from my second event (I've only ever done two) and was within a half a second or so of my faster runs of the day.

Places that stand out where I'm sure I can gain some time:
- Around 46 seconds into the video, maybe I should have come wider sooner to get more speed through that section?
- Through the longer slaloms in the beginning, should I have been more aggressive with the same line? different line? etc...?
- The long sweeper at the end of the lot (half way through the run): I was attempting to keep my speed through the corner but I'm thinking I might have done better to find a way to set myself up to get back on the gas sooner in the exit. Would love input around this.
- Near the end I was kinda choppy on the throttle: I'm betting if I'd been smoother I could have kept traction better for faster acceleration

The car is completely stock.



Thanks so much!

I've already purchased an AIM Solo 2 which I'll have in the car for my next event!

Last edited by flip; 07-20-2018 at 02:36 PM.
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      07-20-2018, 01:56 PM   #2
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Question: what gear were you in for these runs? I heard some shifting, but was curious where you spent most of your time. That car has a LOT of torque so I would think you can pretty much leave it in 2nd gear the whole time except for maybe a very tight, slow corner.

Also, what settings were you using for EDC, throttle, etc.? I usually kept things in the softer settings to make the car less jumpy, and because I liked feeling a bit of the weight transfer during transitions.

I'll watch the footage a few more times and see if anything jumps out.
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      07-20-2018, 02:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dparm View Post
Question: what gear were you in for these runs? I heard some shifting, but was curious where you spent most of your time. That car has a LOT of torque so I would think you can pretty much leave it in 2nd gear the whole time except for maybe a very tight, slow corner.

Also, what settings were you using for EDC, throttle, etc.? I usually kept things in the softer settings to make the car less jumpy, and because I liked feeling a bit of the weight transfer during transitions.

I'll watch the footage a few more times and see if anything jumps out.
I keep it in 2nd most of the time and shift to 3rd on the longer straights to try to lessen the torque and don't think I shifted down to 1st at all.

For settings, I was using traction control completely off and suspension in the sportiest setting which is hardest. Maybe I should try loostening it up a bit?
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      07-20-2018, 04:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by flip View Post
I keep it in 2nd most of the time and shift to 3rd on the longer straights to try to lessen the torque and don't think I shifted down to 1st at all.

For settings, I was using traction control completely off and suspension in the sportiest setting which is hardest. Maybe I should try loostening it up a bit?

Do you mean DSC off? As for EDC, try different settings and see what you prefer.

Your throttle inputs did sound a bit aggressive but I'm not as familiar with that motor. Did you find yourself having to hit the gas and brakes abruptly? Were you smoothly feeding throttle, brake, and steering in and out? I also noticed that your steering inputs through the slalom looked a bit jerky. Next time, try positioning the camera in a different spot so you can see your hands and feet moving. Otherwise it's tough to really provide any tips.
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Last edited by dparm; 07-20-2018 at 04:48 PM.
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      07-20-2018, 06:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dparm View Post
Do you mean DSC off? As for EDC, try different settings and see what you prefer.
Yeah, I mean DSC off. I will definitely try different EDC settings next time.

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Originally Posted by dparm View Post
Your throttle inputs did sound a bit aggressive but I'm not as familiar with that motor. Did you find yourself having to hit the gas and brakes abruptly?
I wasn't needing to hit the brakes abruptly. However on the throttle...

1) I might have been simply stabbing the throttle out of muscle memory from drifting which I am trying to stop
2) I am still working on getting to know the course and looking ahead as much as possible so I think some of them I was would get on the throttle thinking it was time but I cornered a bit off so I had to correct steering and had to let off throttle

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Were you smoothly feeding throttle, brake, and steering in and out?
In some places, yes. Others no and I definitely need to work on that. I think that most or some of that comes from the fact that I'm new to autocross and am still getting used to reading the cones and learning the courses quickly.

If I smoothed out my throttle input might that alone potentially shave off a significant amount of time?

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Originally Posted by dparm View Post
I also noticed that your steering inputs through the slalom looked a bit jerky.
Yeah, I looked back and it definitely does. I was definitely trying to be smooth but push my traction to the limit to get through as fast as possible. In the videos I've watched, I see people whipping their car through the slalom but comparing to mine it definitely looks like I need to smooth it out a bit.

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Originally Posted by dparm View Post
Next time, try positioning the camera in a different spot so you can see your hands and feet moving. Otherwise it's tough to really provide any tips.
Yeah, definitely. I did try to mount the camera in the rear window. I'll look to see if I can find a run that video. It made it harder to see the track however so I put the camera back to the front. Any tips for places to mount the camera to achieve this that aren't the rear window?

Thanks for the help! I'm getting more and more excited for my 3rd event! I'm really wishing there were more than 4 runs in these events as it's really hard to feel like I'm making progress or learning from my mistakes. I feel like I'd learn so much more if I could loop the track for a while or simply have 10+ runs... Might have to start looking for track days.
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      07-20-2018, 06:11 PM   #6
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You can put it on your rear door or quarter glass behind your shoulder.
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      07-20-2018, 06:25 PM   #7
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The end or just in general looks like you are not looking ahead, you go into throttle and let off then see the next section then get back in, you should not really be off the throttle or brake at any time.

Also be more aggressive in the slaloms, you seem to be taking them slow but im not in the car so cant really help there much.

But the most important is looking up, in 1 spot you got surprised by the cones.
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      07-20-2018, 06:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flip View Post
In some places, yes. Others no and I definitely need to work on that. I think that most or some of that comes from the fact that I'm new to autocross and am still getting used to reading the cones and learning the courses quickly.

If I smoothed out my throttle input might that alone potentially shave off a significant amount of time?
It's tough to perfect the course approach in one or two runs. Don't feel pressured to make every run your fastest. Split the course up into sections and use each run to focus on a particular area and gain confidence. It can be daunting to see a sea of cones in front of you at first.

And yes, being smooth will be faster. It will feel slower in the car, but getting on the gas earlier and more gradually means you are spending more time accelerating. Think of it this way: if you had to keep abruptly smashing the gas pedal, that means you realized you were probably a split-second late getting back on the throttle and that you should've been accelerating by now.



Quote:
Originally Posted by flip View Post
Yeah, I looked back and it definitely does. I was definitely trying to be smooth but push my traction to the limit to get through as fast as possible. In the videos I've watched, I see people whipping their car through the slalom but comparing to mine it definitely looks like I need to smooth it out a bit.
The cars that look the slowest and most boring are often the fastest!



Quote:
Originally Posted by flip View Post
Thanks for the help! I'm getting more and more excited for my 3rd event! I'm really wishing there were more than 4 runs in these events as it's really hard to feel like I'm making progress or learning from my mistakes. I feel like I'd learn so much more if I could loop the track for a while or simply have 10+ runs... Might have to start looking for track days.
4 runs? That's ridiculous. Every auto-X I've attended has been 8-10, maybe even 12 if it's a low turnout. There's no way you can learn anything in 4 runs. The first is a throwaway, the second is maybe your first real shot at doing anything, the third is adjusting from your initial mistakes, and the fourth is recognizing if your adjustments helped. That leaves no time to actually focus on turning a decent time.

Find another club that lets you get more seat time.
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      07-20-2018, 07:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XCUSE_M3 View Post
...in general looks like you are not looking ahead...
It's really hard to tell without being able to look at the hands and the head (helmet), but that's my general thought as well. Just looking at the video, looks like the OP was driving from cone to cone, and not necessarily looking 2-3 TURNS ahead.

But it's really hard to make any sort of judgement from this particular view in front of a monitor.
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      07-20-2018, 07:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post

But it's really hard to make any sort of judgement from this particular view in front of a monitor.
It's clear as day at the 45 second mark when there are 2-3 inputs for one single turn.

You just need more seat time. Find an experienced driver and have them ride along and give pointers and you ride along with others. Plenty of fast guys in ATL, a few National Champs too!
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      07-20-2018, 08:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgreer78 View Post
It's clear as day at the 45 second mark when there are 2-3 inputs for one single turn.

You just need more seat time. Find an experienced driver and have them ride along and give pointers and you ride along with others. Plenty of fast guys in ATL, a few National Champs too!

Yep, good example right there. That should've been one smooth movement of the steering wheel, unless OP felt something happening with the car and was trying to correct.
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      07-21-2018, 08:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgreer78 View Post
You can put it on your rear door or quarter glass behind your shoulder.
Ah yeah. Will definitely do that next event.

Quote:
Originally Posted by XCUSE_M3 View Post
The end or just in general looks like you are not looking ahead, you go into throttle and let off then see the next section then get back in, you should not really be off the throttle or brake at any time.

Also be more aggressive in the slaloms, you seem to be taking them slow but im not in the car so cant really help there much.

But the most important is looking up, in 1 spot you got surprised by the cones.
Yeah, absolutely. The one spot, I definitely was only looking one cone ahead and by the time I spotted the next cone in the turn I had to let off the gas and correct steering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dparm View Post
It's tough to perfect the course approach in one or two runs. Don't feel pressured to make every run your fastest. Split the course up into sections and use each run to focus on a particular area and gain confidence. It can be daunting to see a sea of cones in front of you at first.
Yeah... This is why I wish that there were more runs in these events. Does anyone try drawing the course on paper (or whiteboard) after walking it to come up with approaches for different corners or areas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dparm View Post
And yes, being smooth will be faster. It will feel slower in the car, but getting on the gas earlier and more gradually means you are spending more time accelerating. Think of it this way: if you had to keep abruptly smashing the gas pedal, that means you realized you were probably a split-second late getting back on the throttle and that you should've been accelerating by now.
Very good points. Will definitely focus on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dparm View Post
The cars that look the slowest and most boring are often the fastest!
I did notice this while spending time watching others and have of course heard this as well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dparm View Post
4 runs? That's ridiculous. Every auto-X I've attended has been 8-10, maybe even 12 if it's a low turnout. There's no way you can learn anything in 4 runs. The first is a throwaway, the second is maybe your first real shot at doing anything, the third is adjusting from your initial mistakes, and the fourth is recognizing if your adjustments helped. That leaves no time to actually focus on turning a decent time.

Find another club that lets you get more seat time.
Yeah . Already looking for another club.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
It's really hard to tell without being able to look at the hands and the head (helmet), but that's my general thought as well. Just looking at the video, looks like the OP was driving from cone to cone, and not necessarily looking 2-3 TURNS ahead.

But it's really hard to make any sort of judgement from this particular view in front of a monitor.
Yeah, that has been my main focus, to look ahead past the next turn or two. It was definitely much better in my second event compared to my first...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgreer78 View Post
It's clear as day at the 45 second mark when there are 2-3 inputs for one single turn.

You just need more seat time. Find an experienced driver and have them ride along and give pointers and you ride along with others. Plenty of fast guys in ATL, a few National Champs too!
I had a few drivers ride along but I think I need to find some more experienced drivers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dparm View Post
Yep, good example right there. That should've been one smooth movement of the steering wheel, unless OP felt something happening with the car and was trying to correct.
Was just me not looking ahead enough .
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      07-21-2018, 01:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flip View Post
Yeah... This is why I wish that there were more runs in these events. Does anyone try drawing the course on paper (or whiteboard) after walking it to come up with approaches for different corners or areas?
No, but I do like to talk with others and see if they have different opinions. I also take notes about each run so I can track if things are working/not working.
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      07-21-2018, 05:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
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No, but I do like to talk with others and see if they have different opinions. I also take notes about each run so I can track if things are working/not working.
I do feel like taking notes would be helpful especially when I'm going back and comparing the GPS data between my runs...
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      07-22-2018, 03:09 PM   #15
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Sure, but also comments about mistakes you made, how the car felt, track observations, etc.
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      07-22-2018, 08:46 PM   #16
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You're doing alright for a newbie. The biggest thing is to make sure you have fun. I'll give you my input:
1. Others may not see it in the video, but that lot is really bumpy. Turning your suspension to a slightly softer setting might help out.
2. I'm not familiar with the F8x. If you can turn the power down like you can on the E9x, it might give you more freedom to modulate your throttle.
3. If you're looking for more runs and just a good community to help you out, try the local BMW CCA auto-x. They typically have 6-8 runs per event and folks are more than willing to ride along or take you for a ride to help you out. The next event is in about a month.

Good luck!
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      07-22-2018, 10:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuzzyPeaches View Post
You're doing alright for a newbie. The biggest thing is to make sure you have fun. I'll give you my input:
1. Others may not see it in the video, but that lot is really bumpy. Turning your suspension to a slightly softer setting might help out.
2. I'm not familiar with the F8x. If you can turn the power down like you can on the E9x, it might give you more freedom to modulate your throttle.
i'm not an autox guy, but i'd reiterate the above. autox is about being smooth on the throttle since everything is flat. weight transfer and tire load control is key.
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      07-23-2018, 09:48 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dparm View Post
4 runs? That's ridiculous. Every auto-X I've attended has been 8-10, maybe even 12 if it's a low turnout. There's no way you can learn anything in 4 runs. The first is a throwaway, the second is maybe your first real shot at doing anything, the third is adjusting from your initial mistakes, and the fourth is recognizing if your adjustments helped. That leaves no time to actually focus on turning a decent time.

Find another club that lets you get more seat time.
4 runs is pretty typical when running with SCCA. Champ tours/nationals only give you 3 runs per day.

Typically the local SCCA regions run test-and-tunes and schools where you can get 40+ runs, and with instructors. You should look into doing as many of those as possible, but still go to the events with 4 runs since you'll get used to adapting more quickly. That's just part of the sport
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      07-23-2018, 01:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flip View Post
Hey all, I've been a member of this forum for a long time but have only recently started auto-crossing. Years ago I drifted quite a bit but that doesn't really translate to speed around a corner.

I've recorded a few of my runs and would really love some input, tips, pointers, etc... on them!

This video is from my second event (I've only ever done two) and was within a half a second or so of my faster runs of the day.

Places that stand out where I'm sure I can gain some time:
- Around 46 seconds into the video, maybe I should have come wider sooner to get more speed through that section?
- Through the longer slaloms in the beginning, should I have been more aggressive with the same line? different line? etc...?
- The long sweeper at the end of the lot (half way through the run): I was attempting to keep my speed through the corner but I'm thinking I might have done better to find a way to set myself up to get back on the gas sooner in the exit. Would love input around this.
- Near the end I was kinda choppy on the throttle: I'm betting if I'd been smoother I could have kept traction better for faster acceleration

The car is completely stock.



Thanks so much!

I've already purchased an AIM Solo 2 which I'll have in the car for my next event!
Nice run, it looks like you kept everything nice and tidy!

Like others have said, keep the car in 2nd gear. You have loads of torque, so there's no need to be shifting.

If the car is completely stock, you will get a huge benefit from pulling the front camber pins and getting an alignment to max out your front camber (assuming your car has the pins like previous generations did), and it'll help wear your tires more evenly as well.

Assuming your diff is similar to the E9x, it helps tremendously to apply light throttle as soon as you're off the brakes in the corner. This helps the car rotate and make it around the corner, and it will force you to be smooth with your power delivery.

Not sure what settings you're using, but keep the throttle settings (power mode?) on the normal setting. Sport throttle settings make it too hard to modulate.

My rule of thumb for whether to come in wide, or keep it tight is this: If the corner is 90 degrees or less, you want to make it wide so you can carry speed through it. If the corner is more than 90 degrees, like a long sweeper, you want to keep it tight to the inside in order to reduce distance, which will shave a surprising amount of speed.

Hope this helps!
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