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Old 08-21-2015, 08:48 AM   #1
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Feedback on Autocrossing

So this weekend starting tomorrow there is an autocross event being held at the Marine Corps Air Station, at Cherry Point. My question to every one that takes there little piggy of a mustang Autocrossing is what should I expect out of the car and how should I set up the car. Regarding like height wise, dampening of the shocks, possibly relocating my upper or lower control to help with handling.

The car already has BC racing coilovers, and BMR's rear suspension. I have Mickey Thompsons Street comps but not the best setup for turns. The fronts are 255/35/20 on a 20x8.5 and the rear is 305/35/20 on a 20x10.

Any feedback would be much appreciated since I haven't tried this type of racing in this car yet.


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Old 08-21-2015, 11:05 AM   #2
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Honestly, your best bet is going to be going in with the car exactly how it is now, and then make changes as a result of what the car is doing. Dont try to guess what it'll be doing in this case.

Also, its important to be able to (no offense) be able to tell the difference between what the car is doing "wrong," and what you are doing "wrong," and only make changes when it's actually the car.

Secondly, if you adjust something, only adjust one thing at a time to measure feedback. For example, dont adjust the front and rear of the car at one time, adjust the rear - gain feedback, maybe adjust the front - gain feedback ... Chances are you will end up leaving with the car exactly how you came unless something is just horribly wrong.

I tracked my mustang but have never done auto cross, and my set up was much different than yours, so all my advice could be useless since track and autocross are two different animals.
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Old 08-21-2015, 12:39 PM   #3
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I have only done autocross a couple of times and...just follow Voltwings comments.
Take the first time as learning experience and just go out to have fun....and remember to try and not spin the rear tires when accelerating........take it slow and easy to start.......brake before you turn.....don't brake while turning.....ease on the throttle as you get straightened out of the turn......pick a gear and try and stay in that gear for most or all of the course.
You'll catch on after a few laps and you will get better as will the car.
Do you have a dash cam or GoPro?.......mount it and use it because it can help you...IMHO
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:05 PM   #4
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Volt is right on the money.
After you do a few events, the weaknesses of the car will become obvious and, hopefully, you will also be able to identify what changes in your driving style may need to be made.
With your current tire/wheel setup, you can expect a fair amount of understeer. You can try setting your rear dampers stiffer than the front to maybe help a little. Also, Mustangs love to be trail-braked into the middle of the apex of the corners. That's a skill to work on.
Tire pressure is important! You want to run a higher pressure than on the street. I typically run around 38psi in the front and 35-36 in the rear but your setup may be different. After you complete your laps, pay close attention to how far down the scrub marks are on the tires. They should be very close to the line that runs around the circumference of the tire, near the shoulder, but not go over that line. You can adjust your pressures accordingly for the next event.

Most importantly, have a good time!
It is a lot of fun but I must warn you, it can be addictive.
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Old 08-21-2015, 02:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by straybullitt View Post
Volt is right on the money.
After you do a few events, the weaknesses of the car will become obvious and, hopefully, you will also be able to identify what changes in your driving style may need to be made.
With your current tire/wheel setup, you can expect a fair amount of understeer. You can try setting your rear dampers stiffer than the front to maybe help a little. Also, Mustangs love to be trail-braked into the middle of the apex of the corners. That's a skill to work on.
Tire pressure is important! You want to run a higher pressure than on the street. I typically run around 38psi in the front and 35-36 in the rear but your setup may be different. After you complete your laps, pay close attention to how far down the scrub marks are on the tires. They should be very close to the line that runs around the circumference of the tire, near the shoulder, but not go over that line. You can adjust your pressures accordingly for the next event.

Most importantly, have a good time!
It is a lot of fun but I must warn you, it can be addictive.
^^ This, i'd just like to tack on a little bit. The "benchmark" i was told was ~1 psi for every ~100 lbs, which put my tire pressure right around 36 to 37 HOT. On a road course, this means i would start the session with ~32 psi to allow the pressure to change as the tires heated up, don't start with your desired pressure in mind. Again, this just comes from testing and measuring, i'm not sure how much pressures changes at autox speeds.
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Old 08-21-2015, 02:40 PM   #6
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That is another good point!
The tires do heat up significantly during autocross and the tire pressure will increase accordingly. Not like a track session though. There are a lot of variables to autocross that makes predicting initial tire pressure more of an art than a science,.due to track configuration, the time of day that your group runs, amount of time between laps, etc.
That, amongst other things, is part of the challenge of autocross.
It's better to start at the higher pressure and work your way down to a lower pressure because you will be able to watch the scrub marks move closer to that line on the tire.
I always set the initial tire pressure at the same Outside Air Temperature. (About 60F) That way I have a consistent starting point to judge how that pressure worked for the conditions at a particular event.
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Old 08-21-2015, 03:03 PM   #7
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I considered going to that event, but will be going to do some setup and driver training another guy's STR S2000 out at RIR in Richmond. If you get the chance, there is a guy with a white STS Miata with purple stripes using the number 76 or 176, ask him for a ride. His name is Brian, tell him that his chief of timing and scoring said that Brian would be a good person to learn from.

For setup, I would just recommend getting used to the format before changing the car. I usually run 2-3 psi higher in the rear, just to get the car to be less stable in a slalom. Slaloms are where mustangs shine, since we have a pivot point at both ends of the car (thank you solid axle).
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Old 08-21-2015, 03:11 PM   #8
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Some really good information here!! However, I'm curious about tackling oversteer and understeer with 285 MPSS on all 4 corners. I have Whiteline 4 way adjustable sway bars currently set at hole #2 for front and #3 for rear. 1 being softest, 4 being stiffest. I can feel my rear end is sticking out a little more than before, would it be wise to set both front and rear on hole #3?

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Old 08-21-2015, 04:07 PM   #9
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In many cars, yes, but Mustangs are not really like most cars. They prefer to be a bit loose, the slip angle lets you know that you are on the edge. When I go through a slalom, I know I am doing it correctly when I need to countersteer slightly every few, because it means that I am throwing the weight around correctly. EVERY time I exit a sweeper, I will do a quick, snappy countersteer while never leaving full throttle, just to guide the big heavy beast to where I want it.

That said, yes, giving it more front bar will take away some of that oversteer. You can also soften the rear. Softening an end will typically give that end more grip vs the other, while stiffening will take some away. This can also apply to dampers, but indirectly.
For example, the S2000 I have been setting up has had half the front camber that the rear did (we corrected this tonight, so off to testing before nationals), which caused the rear to have significantly more peak and transitional lateral grip. To correct this, since there is only ONE adjustable rear bar for the S2000 (which costs $700, so he does not have it), we ended up setting his rear dampers much stiffer than the fronts. This caused the rear to roll much more slowly than the front, causing the front to stay within the decent zone of tire contact for longer before geometry screwed us with a cactus. This also caused the rear to lose grip earlier, causing the car to lose grip at all four corners at the same time, which is optimal for me, as I like a car in which the right pedal solves everything.
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Old 08-21-2015, 04:12 PM   #10
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By the way, I just noticed that you are from Charlotte. The North Carolina Autocross Championship is going to be October 3-4 at Z-Max in Charlotte (this is a very good facility for this, from what I am told). I may be there, depending on if I can either get my car working properly, or if I am can bum someone else's race car.
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Old 08-21-2015, 10:30 PM   #11
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Awesome feed back from every one I'll keep a lot of this in mind since it's a 2 day event well kinda 3. A lot of us just came off the drag strip tonight. I have the car set up as of now in the middle so I can hopefully get some good feed back from it.


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Old 08-22-2015, 05:25 PM   #12
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Wow I have to say that was a very cool experience today. I tinker with the car after every run from the input I kept getting and I have to say having adjustable damping helped a lot. I went from drifting the course basically to keeping it planted. Every run I was shaving at least a good second to 3 seconds off each time.


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Old 08-22-2015, 06:25 PM   #13
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Typically, you will shave at least a couple of seconds off, from your first to last lap. Especially just starting out in autocross! (Some of the "Pro's" are pretty consistent from start to finish though).
A lot of it is due to you learning the track and being able to more quickly process what is coming up next, thus, you are positioning the car better on the course.

Glad you had a good time!
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Old 08-23-2015, 12:36 PM   #14
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Awesome, thank you! I took my car on twisties last night, same setting as before (hole 2 on front and 3 on rear). It definitely feels better than stock bars, minimal body roll if any at 75mph. Car just guides itself into curves, with just a tiny under steer when coming out if I remember correctly. I have read people like both sways in hole 2 for DD and 3 for autoX (4 being stiff). Would it be a bad idea I run everything medium stiff, I.e hole 3 on street?

That being said, my rear axle is slightly out of alignment at the moment. I'm waiting to get that fixed (new BMR LCA bracket on its way), I do not have a bolt in top hole of LCA bracket that I currently have (where axle weights go). Thus it is slightly off, and I'm guessing there is usually a spacer that goes between driver side LCA bracket and axle weight hole? There's about half an inch gap between two, I'm never buying used **** again lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by jande063 View Post
In many cars, yes, but Mustangs are not really like most cars. They prefer to be a bit loose, the slip angle lets you know that you are on the edge. When I go through a slalom, I know I am doing it correctly when I need to countersteer slightly every few, because it means that I am throwing the weight around correctly. EVERY time I exit a sweeper, I will do a quick, snappy countersteer while never leaving full throttle, just to guide the big heavy beast to where I want it.

That said, yes, giving it more front bar will take away some of that oversteer. You can also soften the rear. Softening an end will typically give that end more grip vs the other, while stiffening will take some away. .


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