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95 Impreza L AWD
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Discussion Starter #1
I placed 18th out of 22 in STS at last weekend's auto x. It has become shockingly clear to me that I won't be very competitive until I upgrade my suspension. The car just rolls too much and is reluctant to go where I want it to. I am questioning whether I should run in the next auto x or not, since I don't think I will be able to upgrade it by then. Any advice?:(
 

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The first ex-ex-moderator!
00 RS & GSX-R 750
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I feel your pain young padawan. My first time out I came in 3rd out of 28 in STS. I thought by the end of the year I would be a contender.....WRONG. Last week I did terrible. I was 2-3 seconds off the leaders all day. Then on my last and only clean run I was 8 seconds off. I don't have any substantial handeling mods. I have always believed you can more speed through superior driving than mods. I think the course might have had something to do with my shitty performance. I don't know if maybe the competition is harder up there in your region or not. I would just recommend being patient and just enjoy yourself. I know it's frustrating as all hell not putting up good times. If you have the money to burn then put it into suspension, but I don't think you could pick up just as much time through improved driving skills. But I have never seen you drive so you might be perfect in your car and need to upgrade to compete.
 

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yes, yes. to obi-wan (puckaveli) you listen! he's right. you need seat time, not suspension parts. you just started doing this and it takes a long time to get good at it, espeacially if you're in a competitive region (trust me, i know :rolleyes: ) i get smoked every event by (at least ;) ) an Olds Acheiva (GS). do you really think its the car? no, its the damn good driver. its been 2 years for me and i'm only now starting to run high in class and PAX. my first few events were horrible, but i realized it was my driving and not the car. unless you are running very consistant times, then the driving needs to be improved first. if you keep changing the car, its going to make it that much more difficult to learn how to drive it.

my 2¢
 

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95 Impreza L AWD
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Discussion Starter #4
I know I need more seat time, but I also know my suspension is soft and worn out! Basically, the car handles like shit! Keep in mind, the L suspension is softer than the RS, plus there is no rear sway bar and I beleive the front sway is smaller. I honestly don't think the struts have ever been changed! My times are basically consistent-I suck on the first lap, better on the second, next to last is usually best, and last is about the same as second, give or take. I agree that changing parts on the car is going to make it difficult to increase my times, but if I do it now while I'm still fairly new to auto x, I think I will be better off. I don't think I'm that bad of a driver; my uncle that has been doing this for a while and my girlfriend both said I was very smooth and fluid. The car just doesn't listen to my inputs, just like everywhere/everyone else!:mad:
 

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Hey don't feel so bad! I think it will just take some seat time. I tought I was pretty good till this last meet at another chapter. I was 1st in GS for novice locally but went up there and man I was atleast 4 seconds off the top GS driver. Came in 2nd in novice lost to a '87 Cavalier Z24. Funny thing I was all cocky and was planning to just jump out of the novice rank and run straight GS but my numbers are 555 and it seems a 500 numbered car is what they use to classify the speadfreaks.

Actually if I could i'd like to see what the Mid-Ohio driving school is like.
 

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overdeveloped beater
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You'll get better! You have to believe that. STS is a bitch of a class already with all the mods allowed to the cars. You have the tires, your driving may be good enough to jump you up a few spots, but you just may be at the limits of your car already. If you could, try to have one of the better drivers at your events either ride with you, or take your car out and see what it still has in it. I'm pretty close to doing a swap here that may benefit you, so hang in there! If you're really pinched for upgrades, I have 2 sets of stock RS springs sitting here loose *now*.

Seat time is the key, but the car 'is' part of the equation....
 

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The last event i was offered some coilovers so if I get those I have new KYB AGX's in the box.

FYI this event a lady in a MRS out ran he hubby in a 3000GT VR-4. So alot is the driver.
 

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95 Impreza L AWD
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Discussion Starter #8
Allright, I'll hang in there. I would like to get my Uncle to drive my car in there, but he usually has to work the heat that I drive.:curse: I could beleive that an MR-S beat a VR-4! I actually got to ride in an MR-S at my first event, and those things are quick, plus they are built to handle. The VR-4 weighs probably twice as much, so it isn't going to handle as good, although it may have more power in the straights. But I do beleive the driver still has quite a bit to do with it, though. Thanks for the input!:)
 

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overdeveloped beater
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In our region, one of our best drivers is now collecting FTD's in a CS Miata. This after jumping from a nationally prepped BSP 'vette and other's cars who he shows what they will do. So, you know that you can pick up at least a couple seconds in driving alone.

For your driving though, you need the car to help you out as much as possible. I'll try to get those springs off as soon as I can, just don't get discouraged. The improvements you make in your driving now will pay bigger dividends when the car is prepped a little more.

Left foot brake and look further ahead....I can't emphasize that enough.;)
 

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95 Impreza L AWD
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Discussion Starter #10
I can't brake with my left foot! I have tried a few times, and it's never a pretty sight! What is "FTD"? You kind of lost me with that whole first paragraph! :)
 

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FTD=Fastest Time of the Day

the way i learned to left foot brake was, when i was on my way home late at night so there was no other traffic, i would use my left foot to brake as i approached stops. the first few times were rather bone jarring, but you get used to it. now its no big thing. that being said, i only use it on loose surfaces, and then its not so much for slowing the car as it is for steering. if its a really slow corner (i.e. needs a downshift) i will brake with my right foot so that i can heel-toe, and then just trail brake really heavily to rotate the car. of course, now that i have rally tires, i don't need to slide the car as much :D in auto-x, i always right foot brake.
 

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overdeveloped beater
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I meant that some drivers can take a car that is normally relagated to mid pack PAX wise and turn it into an absolute rocketship!

Left foot braking is tough to learn. You stab at the brake like it's the clutch and your fillings fall out as your eyes scratch your glasses! It takes alot of mental and physical training to develop a feel for the different pressures applied at a given moment.

The benefits include power being applied as the brakes are being released, a rubberband effect as the releasing brakes let the car shoot forward with the energy bound up by the gas being applied so much sooner. Also entering a breaking area, there is no pause between accellerating to the turn and braking for the turn. The small increments of time you save shifting your foot between pedals is translated into your time as it grows to be substantial over the typical autocross course.
 

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just thought i'd throw this out

i talked to Matt Grainger (nationally competitive ITR guy here) this weekend about LFB. he said that sometimes he would use it in a slolam, modulating back and forth between the two pedals to keep the car balanced and at just the right speed, but that's about it.
 

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overdeveloped beater
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Left foot braking works really good in slaloms because it concentrates the weight on the tires doing the most work, while the right foot is contantly modulated to hold the faster speed through the cones.

It's also very useful for setting the car into a turn while still powering through it.
 

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LFB Rules! I used it today for the first time in two plus years autoxing and it seemed to work out really well. I think in the long run as I get pratice at it, it will improve my times big time.

Try it! :D
 
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