SASCA AutoX #9 (September 28, 2008)
This was slated to be an interesting event for me. A few minor changes, and a major suspension change was about to be tested for the first time.
My new Corbeau CR1 racing seat, and 4 point Sparco racing harness did an awesome job of holding my ass planted. Previoustly, with my stock belt and seat, I had to do the "pull-forward" belt trick to hold in place nice and snug. It worked, but was a major pain. Now.. sit.. sinch.. go!! Very worthwhile investment.
The suspension upgrade was what I was really looking forward to. A new set of BC Racing fully adjustable coilovers. Surely these were going to be somewhat better than my AGX/Swift spring/strut combo? Mind you, the AGX/SWift setup is actually a really nice one. So.. common.. how much better could it get? HOLLY CRAP!!! Night and day better!! My Subie is now way more responsive to steering input, and much much more planted. And I'm sure I don't even have all the adjustments set quite right yet either. Get this, by obvious habit, I entered the last slalom at the speed that the old setup would have been at the edge. But, the new setup just laughed at me and asked for 2nds. In slaloms I used to get really close to snap oversteer. I had to be careful not to over-turn the wheel for the next cone. Now?!! haha! turn wheel.. car turns.. turn again.. car turns again.
Ok.. so it felt better.. but did I actually perform better? Well... I compared my times with someone who generally betters my times by just under a second most races. This time, I bettered his time by a second. That's roughly a 2 second increase!! Ok... perhaps this person just had a bad day... So I check the times of other drivers that generally beat me by 0.5 to 1.5 seconds. My time was better than most, and spot on with the rest! Gotta love that! Now I just need to learn the correct adjustments.
I liked the layout of the track, but have to confess, I never really got comfortable with it. My lines felt wide and sloppy, and I really think I was overdriving it. The harsh corners forcing the heavy braking and turns I really liked. That slalom at the end was a hoot! The sweepers were kicking my ass!
My worn out tires are really becoming a problem these days. I can't really be aggressive around corners, I have no other choice but to back off in order to at least still execute the proper line. The faster a corner, the more frustrated I am. Jay's course is always interesting - speed, tight corners, long sweepers - too bad Ed couldn't be there, otherwise that was really a nice course for the Z to stretch its legs.
During one of the laps my face got itchy, tried to scratch it and then I realized "Oh wait, I'm wearing a full-face helmet.............. Why the hell am I scratching my helmet? :-("
I also test drove a Mustang Bullet for a lap - stock everything, ABS, TC. Being a FWD driver and all, I wasn't exactly used to the turn-in capability of a RWD, so I spent some time knocking cones down during the first half of the lap... but I got used to it. The Bullet felt ok making the slalom, but the faster a corner, the more I felt the weight - and weight spoils performance. The drive-by-wire throttle is a bit sensitive in this car, it requires smoother modulation otherwise it gets jerky. Trailbraking felt easy with TC on, wouldn't break loose much.