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Old 04-27-2012, 06:37 AM   #1
The Spaceman
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Default Mini-X

I'm doing my first auto-cross tomorrow. It's sponsored by the Gold Coast Porsche (that's Pour-sha, please) Club. They set up a track at the Bank Atlantic Center, home to the Florida Panthers. You can view a video clip of the track here: Auto Cross

I'm in the "Bone Stock" class, having done nothing at all to the Mini, aside from putting some Conti Extreme Contact tires on it. Which, I must say, are really great tires. We're supposed to get 8 track runs, with a wide variety of cars registered. You can see the cars here: ClubRegistration.net

We'll see how it goes. The last time I did any performance driving was several years ago at the Skip Barber 3-day Car Control class at Sebring. If it's fun, I may have to look into a John Cooper Works upgrade...
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:09 AM   #2
jmdonald
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Default Should be fun

I like the mini except for the fact that it is front wheel drive. You should still manage a good time regardless. Have fun.
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmdonald View Post
I like the mini except for the fact that it is front wheel drive. You should still manage a good time regardless. Have fun.
Yeah, this is my first FWD car. They did a pretty good job with it though, there's no torque steer at all. As long as I rotate the tires regularly it's ok for now.

What I'd really like is an all-wheel drive like the VW R-32. A friend at work went to a track day at Homestead last weekend. It rained all day, and he was passing almost all the RWD cars with his.
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:44 AM   #4
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Make sure to dye your hair blue and leave the turn signal on.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:28 AM   #5
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Good luck, Ken! Embarrass at least one punk kid in his ricer.
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:03 PM   #6
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Walking the course beforehand and getting an understanding of the "flow" is probably the most-important thing you can do in a low-speed Autocross. You don't necessarily have to memorize the course - just understand where each element is taking you. Try your best to avoid (as in motorcycling) the "50-foot-stare" - look-ahead as far as you feel comfortable doing, at least to the next element.

Before you go - pump up your front tires to say, 45psi. It will help them not to roll-over and grind up the outside-edges so bad - the Mini is really, really hard on front tires, especially for a small car. Perhaps as bad or worse than the (much heavier and higher-powered) Mustang. You can probably get away with 38-40 for the rears. If you've got something to "chalk" the edges with (say white shoe-polish, or actual chalk) doing-so in a couple of places will help you to find-out if you're too-high. And the pressure needed will vary with available grip: only experimentation will say for sure what you need, and it can even vary by time of day.

Left-Foot Braking (when under power) helps the car to "rotate" a bit - this works especially-well for FWD cars.

Slaloms are a "peripheral vision" exercise: Concentrate your vision/focus on the furthest-cone in the slalom. As you negotiate the slalom, each time the cone you are approaching "lines up" with the furthest cone, start your steering-input, then again, and again - try to maintain your focus on furthest cone (it's hard - I know!). Done properly, you will "backside" each slalom-cone, and it will be truly a Thing of Beauty.

I really didn't explain that all that well - I can show you how to do it, and explain as I'm doing-so - and you'll be a Slalom Expert within a few runs. But typing it out..... Meh....

If they allow riders, and your kid's old-enough - make certain to take him along on your runs. This is a Family Sport, after all.

Most important of all - have Fun, be Safe!
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:07 PM   #7
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And don't forget to thank the petroleum industry for providing the fuel, the tires, the asphalt, and the rubber cones.

Go get em KMo!
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:19 AM   #8
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Thanks for the tips, Hawk. I did pretty damn good for a 1st time!

It was pouring down rain much of the day, so the course was really wet. Luckily my Conti EXTREME CONTACT tires are the tits in the wet. The Mustangs, Camaros, and other RWD cars were having a hard time with it.

From what I saw when not in the car, most of the times were in the mid-40's. The very best time was a 38, done by a completely trick MR-2, driven by an expert. My first time was a 45, then I went down 1 second per run through the 4 runs I was able to complete. Last time was a 42.5, which I am pretty happy with.

I'm gonna do that again!
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:56 PM   #9
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Nicely done!
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Old 04-30-2012, 01:26 PM   #10
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Good Job Ken, you made us proud!
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