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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After some flip-flopping last week (see thread) as to whether I should take the beast out to a local SCCA autocross, I finally decided to give it a shot. All I can say is WOW!! The M5 DE at Spartanburg was one thing, but this was ridiculous. The course was about 1/2 mile with off-camber turns, sudden lane changes, slaloms, and long slides on skidpads (dry) that really let me experience my car at some of its limits. The car is going to be 5 years old in April but this was the first time I had let the rear end slide out so much (going sideways is fun!). I did learn a lesson from one of the instructors that I had never noticed as a habit, but I tend to put the clutch in when I'm braking hard (slamming them), and then let it out really quickly before I hit the throttle again. I thought it was necessary to keep the car from stalling, but the instructor said it was a great way to cause the differential to fail because I'm putting so much stress on it by clutching in and out. But even when I take a corner on regular roads I have a tendency to do that just to keep it smooth, but I guess it's a no-no. :nono: My clutch is still as strong as ever but after a few of the threads in the last week and my experience yesterday, I guess I have to modify my driving habits a bit.

Anyway, here are the pics!
My car at the start, middle, and finish..




The other current generation M's that came out.. the black one just looked beautiful. Other than the wheels, it only has suspension mods. The silver one was driven by a young guy who was also in the novice class with me. Beat him by a couple of seconds.. :hihi: but I was a good 3-5 seconds behind the black M3 (two years of experience). The average time around the course was around 72-73 seconds. The fastest time was 65.8XX, the slowest around 87 or so. My best time was 76.015.. about two seconds faster than my first (ever) run.




The two E36s were driven by semi-pros that have won a few championships here and there (or so I heard).



And a couple of the other European cars out there.. a 996 carrera and a Cooper S with the Works package



Some of the other cars in my heat..


It's definitely something I will check out every once in a while, but I don't think I've gotten to an addicted state yet. It was just fun to have my own car out there making that beautiful Tubi wail.
 

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That looks like more fun than a barrel full of monkeys and a side of strippers.

Sweet!! :cheers:

Props on upholding the big M's honor amongst those nimble M3's... :M5launch:
 

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Anzir,

Wow! Great pictures and write-up...thanks for doing that. I was hoping you would post back with your experience. I agree with your instructor about your clutch action however for a much different reason. You need to be able to smoothly transition the car from maximum braking to maximum cornering to maximum throttle as you progress from turn-in to apex to track-out of a corner.

During the maximum braking phase you can do any downshift you need to accomplish at the proper time for the rpms in the gear to be entered. You should work to be able to rev-match the rpms while also doing the maximum braking event (i.e. rocking foot on brake to rev throttle just right). This is especially important on an autocross course where you may find yourself needing to do this on a 2-1 downshift for a very tight corner. Getting the clutch engaged with the lower gear prior to completing the braking phase is very important as now you can transition the chassis very smoothly from turn-in through the rest of the corner helping to control weight transfer and balance with the throttle. Work on this smoothness as it is so critical to obtaining the maximum levels of grip from the tires. If you have to sharply engage the clutch during this phase, it is not going to be possible to obtain the highest possible cornering speed as the chassis balance and the tire’s grip potential will be interrupted by the sharp perturbation introduced with the engagement.

I ran my first autocross in 1976, and I was very, very fortunate to have read a book by Dick Turner that I think was titled "How to Win Autocross and Solo 2" or something like that. As a 17 year old kid who was used to motocross racing a 125cc bike where you blast into a corner, slam a berm, and dump the clutch in the downshifted gear to keep it "on the pipe", that book was a revelation in understanding how to obtain the most from a car chassis. If you can find a copy of it today, I'm sure you would greatly enjoy reading it and learn a lot from it.

Thanks for the great pictures! I think the auto-x bug may have bitten you though -- looking forward to hearing about your future events.

Cheers,
Chuck
 

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what car had the fastest time?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Jayson said:
what car had the fastest time?
The fastest time was a guy named Phil Currin who drove a Celica (modern version.. 02? 03?). Front wheel drive. Goes to show that the driver is the most important part. He has been racing since the mid 70's.

There was a Z06 (C5) out there that sounded wonderful, screamed through most of the course.. but didn't have any valid times because he couldn't keep it on the course (missed turns involving cones, put more than one wheel off the pavement). Still.. he was getting times of 68, 69 seconds with all that poor car control.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
M5Kid said:
Great writeup and sounds like you had a lot of fun. How do your tires look after the event?

Travis
I was more worried about proper tire pressures than anything. I put the fronts at 42 and the rears at 34. The Michelin Pilot Sports only have about 1500 miles on them so they had plenty of grip. Afterwards, I took a good look at all of them and they look good.. only a LOT more gray. No real lateral marks or tread loss. I should have tried the shoe polish trick to see how much roll I was getting laterally.
I need to save up to get a second set of rims to put real tires on. I'm sure that will help a lot.
 

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Anzir said:
I put the fronts at 42 and the rears at 34. The Michelin Pilot Sports only have about 1500 miles on them so they had plenty of grip. Afterwards, I took a good look at all of them and they look good.. only a LOT more gray.
I sort of guessed at those pressures in the previous thread, but they seemed to work out ok for you? (i.e. balance between understeer and oversteer reasonable).

Chuck
 

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anzir,

from everything I have heard pilot sports are excellent tires. going to an r-compound really wouldnt be of benefit for several reasons: first, their breakaway characteristics arent ideal (i.e. transition from grip to "oh my god!" very abruptly), they dont warm up all that much and as a result dont work as well for autocross as they do on the track, and many people (myself included) believe that driving a stock car with stock suspenion and tires at an autocross will help develop a much smoother driving style that will be of benefit when you make the transition to high speed track driving. just my 0.02. also, heres a picture of me and emily at an autocross a while back.

ernie

 

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Sounds like a blast! I am yet to make it out to an autocross, but I think once I have free time after college I'll fall into the addicted state. Great pics!
:cheers:
 

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Great write up Anzir and super pics :thumbsup:

Sounds like fun - did you get a lot of brake fade??
 

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What kind of times did you turn? How did they compare? I've only auto-x'ed the M5 once, I was disappointed with the times (although most of that was my fault), but moreso disappointed that they gridded me in SUPER STOCK!! That's the highest stock class out there, I was competing against F360s, RX-7s, 911 Turbos, and a whole slew of Z06 Corvettes. Those Z06es are animals on an auto-x circuit, one was turning laps faster than most of the modded cars out there. I was a good chunk off his times. Big fun though!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
CSBM5 said:
I sort of guessed at those pressures in the previous thread, but they seemed to work out ok for you? (i.e. balance between understeer and oversteer reasonable).
Actually, I double checked with a couple of guys out at the course and they recommended the same values. It turned out to be very reasonable, in terms of balance. But to be honest, it went so quickly (never thought 75 seconds could go be so quickly) that all I noticed was that the car was going where I wanted it to, as long as I kept my line of sight far down the course.

Ashok Arora said:
Sounds like fun - did you get a lot of brake fade??
I didn't get any appreciable brake fade but during the whole course, there were only 5-6 times that I got on them hard, and there were a good 15 minutes between runs, so I don't think they were worked overly hard.

meener said:
What kind of times did you turn? How did they compare?
I put my times up in my original post, but I was about 3-4 seconds off the average time for the course. I ran in the novice class, and I think I did pretty well in there, but my PAX (adjusted for power of car and other characteristics) came out to #94 out of 130 or so. If I ran as a non-novice, they would have put me in A-stock; running against STi's and EVO VIIIs. The WRX's are in a different class...

ernie said:
from everything I have heard pilot sports are excellent tires. going to an r-compound really wouldnt be of benefit for several reasons:
Actually, I was quite pleased with the Pilot Sports.. but I just assumed that softer compound would cause a greater increase in performace. You know, if these STOCK tires are this good, IMAGINE how good the R-compounds are!

Thanks for the comments, guys. It's just nice to try out the ///M in M5.
 
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