pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/21/20 3:56 p.m.

My buddies inspired me to travel to Toledo for the SCCA Toledo Champ Tour, where I was dead freaking last in class. So why am I OK with that?

Well, for one, a Fiesta ST in STH is going to be a severe underdog no matter who is driving. I ran 205-series tires when others were running 245 and even 265-series. I was on cheap coil-overs with questionable tuning, while others were on shocks that cost more than my car. (probably) The cost of mods on some cars was about equal with the value of my car...when new! So yeah, I was not in the right car for class.

For two, I was up against people with National Wins and runner-ups on their portfolios. I have been improving over the years, but I know these guys are faster than me. Heck, two of them are in my class back at home and are way faster. So yeah, I was not the right driver for the class. 
So why go with no chance of victory?

One, it was a ton of fun. We had almost 20 people come in from Pittsburgh, and we got to hang out, eat together, swap stories, walk the course, etc. Lots of great food, a beer or two in the evenings, and even some spontaneous electric scooter racing. It was a cure for COVID blues for sure.

Two, I learned a ton. My co-driver knew a lot about car setup and helped me adjust things and improve the car a lot. My fellow drivers helped me on finding the right line and position on course. And watching the pros out there made me see that I was on the right line, just going slower LOL.

The biggest improvement I made was mental. I am used to sub-30 second courses. A course that was almost 80 seconds (for me) was a new experience indeed! I did not prepare mentally enough on day one and did not do well. I don't care about losing as long as I feel I did my best, but I struggled to remember the line and braking zones. So for day 2, I committed that course to memory and remembered all my important cones and did pretty well. (First among the cars that were actually evenly matched Ha Ha Ha) 

Thanks to Tire Rack and the SCCA and the NOVR for an amazing event that was well-run with great courses. (I did the TnT on Friday as well)  I came away a better autocrosser, and maybe someday I'll be the car out there gunning for top PAX.

Mr_Asa SuperDork
9/21/20 4:02 p.m.

These days, any day that is not spent in the house is a good day.  With that thought in mind, congrats on your last place!

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
9/21/20 4:27 p.m.

HAving fun with cars is always a win.  Last winter, I was in a indoor karting league.. I was DFL all the time.  At crossfit.. I'm DFL a lot in the workouts.. 


but Im 100% ahead of those who don't start and I have  fun...

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UberDork
9/21/20 4:44 p.m.

As I just posted in another thread, I've only been autocrossing since 2018. Locally, I'm in a very competitive class, and at age 65, I'm sure not going to rise to the top. 

I have fun every event, in part because I'm continually improving. I've been the slowest of the slow guys, fastest of the slow guys, slowest of the fast guys, and have picked up the occasional trophy finish.

If you want to learn a lot, I think that it really helps to be in over your head.

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/21/20 4:45 p.m.

Piehl put on a masterclass based upon the results. Going to a champ tour and getting your ass handed to you is the best way to really learn how much you need to learn and prep. I did that in 2016 at the TX champ tour in my recently purchased 91 civic STS car from Mazdeuce here on the forum.

if someone could find a way to fit 245's on the Fiesta.. it might have a fighting chance because of the weight and how narrow it is..
If you're not already in the STH group on facebook you should be. I'm an admin in there, as are Tipple, Piehl and Roller.

To your point about the prep..

It's a fun class.. but the top step of the latter is an expensive place to get to, without a doubt..

the shocks on the car I ran in last year and on tipple's car run about $5k. I still believe the TT is the car for the class. 

the DSG allows for the most optimal gearing and the TT can launch in a way no other car in the class can.

dps214 HalfDork
9/21/20 5:03 p.m.

Saturday was a struggle for a lot of people. In our case, it seemed to be more the car that struggled with the longer courses than us, but it still made us feel like we were tip-toeing around the car rather than actually driving the course and not giving it our best. Managed to mostly fix it for sunday (and the course was a bit better) and actually felt like we were driving the course for once and had decent results. day still ended with a giant spin, but this time it was almost entirely my fault, not the car's, and until that point in the run I was on pace to match my codriver's time.

NickD UltimaDork
9/22/20 6:29 a.m.

I went to the Finger Lakes Champ Tour 3 years ago to run my SSM Miata. It was literally only my second event with the new supercharged engine. I was on 225-width 200tw tires with FM/VMAXX Classic coilovers, and no aero. Yeah, a bit of a spork to an artillery battle. I felt like a complete dope when they asked me what my minimum weight was when I went for weigh-in and my response was "Uhhh, no clue." I ended up coning away 2 of my 3 runs both days because I still had no clue how to drive the car. Final results: 9th out of 12th in class (a 2-driver RB26 240Z broke and a local Miata that was really an STS car bumped all the way to SSM for reasons unknown) and 245th out of 254.

aw614 Reader
9/22/20 9:55 a.m.
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) said:

if someone could find a way to fit 245's on the Fiesta.. it might have a fighting chance because of the weight and how narrow it is..

There is one locally running 245 BFGs on 15x8s in the Central Florida region. 

bmw88rider (Forum Supporter)
bmw88rider (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
9/22/20 10:02 a.m.

I remember when I was autocrossing often, we had 2 Nat'l Trophy winners in my class. It was an eye-opener when I started to get good enough to be in a similar league as them. I loved it as it really pushed me to be a better driver and the day I beat them was so awesome.  So even finishing DFL at many a national tour with an under developed car, I really enjoyed it all. 

bobzilla MegaDork
9/22/20 10:12 a.m.

My first National Tour (back then there was only one type) was in my 02 Elantra in STS. Yeah.... that went well. I was "only" about 3 seconds per day off the podium finishers and DFL in class. 

collinskl1 Reader
9/22/20 10:35 a.m.
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) said:

if someone could find a way to fit 245's on the Fiesta.. it might have a fighting chance because of the weight and how narrow it is..

Not sure putting more grip on an already tippy chassis would be high on my list of things to do. 

dps214 HalfDork
9/22/20 11:13 a.m.

The only way to fit 245 is super short tires, which also lowers the CG at the same time, plus wider tires means probably at least a moderate increase in track width. The ability to run stiffer springs and adjustable height suspension goes a long way to helping too. None of this is me saying I'm looking to do any of that to the fiesta st sitting in my garage and go autocross it on concrete (or that I think anyone else should either)...but from a safety perspective I'd much sooner do that than run it in HS trim on a grippy surface.

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/22/20 12:35 p.m.

I am in the STH group, thanks. Tipple was really great, he walked us through his car. Yes, it was set up very, very well. He can fit 265s under rolled fenders, the new Civics are amazing. He was also winning National Events before Ken Roller was born, the man has talent! And Ken was killing it out there, such a nice kid. Brad Thompson and Alex in Brad's car were also flying. That Subaru is a beast.

I kinda felt like I got to walk on with the Steelers, sure I sucked, but I was playing with the freaking Pittsburgh Steelers! 

My co-driver, Paul Metzger, was in town from TX for a few weeks and came out to run a National event with us. How cool is that? He helped me tune the car and even taught me about my launch control. Yeah, I had the car since 2014 and never knew about the LC Hard Cut Limit. DOH!


collinskl1 Reader
9/22/20 12:35 p.m.

In reply to dps214 :

It would have to be a 245/40R15 for sure, and dropping the car into the weeds would help, but I think SP level fender cutting would probably be required.

ojannen Reader
9/22/20 1:00 p.m.

In reply to collinskl1 :

I ran a Mini on 245/40r15 Rivals on the front for a few years.  I don't know if it is possible on a Fiesta.  I was able to do it by getting the tire as close to the strut as possible (1/4" away) and carefully setting up travel to avoid rubbing on the inside fenders.  The top of the tire was about half an inch wider than the fenders at unloaded height.

wlkelley3 UberDork
9/22/20 8:32 p.m.

I remember my 1st year autocrossing. Came in DFL everytime. But I think I had more fun than the guys at the top of the class. My car was/is a 99 Miata base edition with worn original shocks, open diff, no upgrades and the cheapest all-season tires I could find. Think I spun almost every run. Which is fun but not very good for time. One time I thought I was doing pretty well until an old ex-Forestry Service 4X4 Suburban beat my time. Felt better when I found out it was Alan McCrispin driving it. Learned a lot that year and jumped in the standings after I put some decent tires on and even more with a few simple upgrades to the car.

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