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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was on at my second autox event this past Sunday and noticed that when I rounded corners at speed, I could feel my car having trouble gripping and sliding slightly sideways. I could definitely smell burning rubber as I rounded the turn. I have a hatch, full stock everything. What are the reasons for this? I have come up with some possibilities:

1) I am turning at too high a speed and I should slow down way more before I get close to the corner.

2) My turning radius is too small for the turn and I should find a line that allows for a smoother but wider sweeping turn.

3) My stock tires are just not grippy enough.

4) All of the above.

Which one would it be? Any advice greatly appreciated :D
 

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It's probably 4, but mainly 1. Definitely try and get a more experienced driver (preferably one with their own FWD car) to ride along with you. It will help tons.
 

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I'll go with number 1 and 3.

You generally want to take the tightest line in autocross, giving up a little speed for the shorter distance.

It needs to be the correct line though, and you should get an instructor to ride with you to help with that.
 

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[quote author=PZ link=topic=136089.msg2931370#msg2931370 date=1234442507]
I'll go with number 1 and 3.

You generally want to take the tightest line in autocross, giving up a little speed for the shorter distance.

It needs to be the correct line though, and you should get an instructor to ride with you to help with that.
[/quote]

These are probably your biggest problems. If you are just starting to autocross, especially with a car you're not totally familiar with pushing to it's limit, it'll take you a little bit to get a hang of it. I'd say for the time being, ask someone at your autocrosses to give you some pointers (ride along). As for your own driving, try to slow it down a little in your entries and don't really worry about line until you get a really good idea of what you and the car are capable of.
 

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[quote author=Mthargra link=topic=136089.msg2932370#msg2932370 date=1234469921]
try to slow it down a little in your entries and don't really worry about line until you get a really good idea of what you and the car are capable of.
[/quote]

This is dead wrong. Autocross is all about the line. Learn the line at 5/10's driving (i.e half speed). Not driving the right line slows you down. I have had students take of seconds off of a run when they just slowed down and drove the right line.

Learning the line, now that is a different matter.
 

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Like PZ said... concentrate on the line. Don't worry too much about speed at the beginning, learn to drive the line and hug the cones. Do not over drive, relax and just drive. At some turns, you might feel like you're going slow by going with the line and slow down more for the turn but it's probably the faster way.
 

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Try to do most of your braking in a straight line before corner entry, enter the corner on the proper line (and speed), late apex corner as much as possible to accelerate as much as possible out of corner. It's always better to give up a little speed going in to gain acceleration exiting corner. You can brake faster than you can accelerate.

Your tires have 100% adhesion potential. If you try to corner and brake (or accelerate) at the same time, you can only do part of each, not 100% of both. Braking and accelerating in a straight line or steady cornering will allow you to use close to 100% of the tires potential in one direction and maximize that maneuver. :).
 

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all the above is good advice. Get someone to ride with you.
I dont know about others but when I first started and I would ride with others and being in the passenger seat it made it seem like they were going really fast. So I turn would try to drive as fast as it appeared the person I had rode with. Which in turn led to overdriving the corners.

I did better when I actually had someone ride along with me. I am starting my 3rd season I will still be asking the more advanced drivers to ride with me time to time.

I look back at the times I did poorly, all were due to over driving the corners....coming in too hot and missing the apex. Pretty much what the blue line below shows.

 

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I think your mentality affects your awareness/performance, too. When you just start doing auto-x/track, do not think you're hot shit (sorry if I offend anyone but I hope not), keep in mind that there's always someone faster than you. It clears up your head and allows you to think more clearly on your driving rather than beating your "target".
 

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I would say stay smooth...and yeah get a friend or more experienced driver with you. Last autoX I went to on the third run, after having a friend ride along and smoothing out my throttle and braking transitions, I cut 3 seconds off my time. All while driving a bone stock automatic celica gt :lol: I wasn't ready to take my MS3 yet
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
ok, I've had times when I'm about the round a corner (so while still going straight) and I apply the brakes, ABS comes on. Should I press the brakes more gently?
 

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I would say if you are consistently hitting the ABS nearly at every corner then you should brake slightly sooner and a more gradual pressure. Don't slam on the brakes. It is better to slow slightly more before the turn then scrubbing off speed in the middle of the corner. You can always accelerate earlier in the turn...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
[quote author=Badgerspeed link=topic=136089.msg2933980#msg2933980 date=1234526829]
I would say if you are consistently hitting the ABS nearly at every corner then you should brake slightly sooner and a more gradual pressure. Don't slam on the brakes. It is better to slow slightly more before the turn then scrubbing off speed in the middle of the corner. You can always accelerate earlier in the turn...
[/quote]

Would better brake pads help me in anyway?
 

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[quote author=g3ck0 link=topic=136089.msg2933942#msg2933942 date=1234513602]
ok, I've had times when I'm about the round a corner (so while still going straight) and I apply the brakes, ABS comes on. Should I press the brakes more gently?
[/quote]

I do that sometimes when I'm braking too late. It is usually a result of target fixation and not looking ahead. Look at where you want to be in the turn and coming out of the turn and you'll brake earlier.
 

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[quote author=g3ck0 link=topic=136089.msg2936244#msg2936244 date=1234597284]
[quote author=Badgerspeed link=topic=136089.msg2933980#msg2933980 date=1234526829]
I would say if you are consistently hitting the ABS nearly at every corner then you should brake slightly sooner and a more gradual pressure. Don't slam on the brakes. It is better to slow slightly more before the turn then scrubbing off speed in the middle of the corner. You can always accelerate earlier in the turn...
[/quote]

Would better brake pads help me in anyway?
[/quote]

Until you can learn to threshold brake (that is, brake at the point that the wheels are just about to invoke the ABS), better pads will not do any good and would probably make you invoke the ABS even more.

Also keep in mind that HS is a speed maintenance class (so what I am about to say does not apply to DS.) Braking in speed maintenance classes is highly discouraged as our cars do not have the power (reletive to other classes) to make up lost speed. Every MPH you give up before the turn is that much harder to get back. It goes back to driving the correct line. If you are on line, you can go faster through a corner.

I have had no issues running the stock pads. About the only change that I will make is to go to a better pad in the rear to give me more rear bias, but not until the rears wear out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the advice. And so how about new tires in general? Or again, it's mainly a correct line issue?
 

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[quote author=g3ck0 link=topic=136089.msg2936857#msg2936857 date=1234640823]
Thanks for the advice. And so how about new tires in general? Or again, it's mainly a correct line issue?
[/quote]

Better tires will certainly help. It won't change the line, but you will have more grip. Again, the key is to be smooth and stay on line.
 

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I apologize, in my earlier post I worded myself incorrectly. I didn't mean to imply that line wasn't important. Maintaining a good and consistent line is the major reason I've been able to keep up with folks in slicks while I've been running street tires. I suppose what I really meant was not to totally freak out about it if you can't get it right away. I can certainly attest from my own experience that sometimes the excitement of simply getting the chance to get out there and run can sorta take over your brain (and driving ability). I don't know how this is for everybody else, but I found that one of the best things for me to be able to pick up some speed was just to get myself calm.
 

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[quote author=PZ link=topic=136089.msg2931370#msg2931370 date=1234442507]
I'll go with number 1 and 3.

You generally want to take the tightest line in autocross, giving up a little speed for the shorter distance.

It needs to be the correct line though, and you should get an instructor to ride with you to help with that.
[/quote]

Agreed. That was my biggest mistake going from the track to parking lots. I always tried to straighten out the course and it never worked.

Gas when you're pointed straight, connect the dots as tightly as possible, and be smooth and quick with your inputs.
 
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