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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went to a home show few weeks ago and noticed the tell-tale rubber ribbons throughout the parking lot. That's when it clicked that the Sacramento SCCA Chapter runs at the San Joaquin Fairgrounds.

I'd love to get my 3 out there and see what we can do. I've done some karting, so not a total novice at tracks, but I've never been to an Autocross event so maybe you guys can give me a primer... don't want to show up and gum up the works, you know.

What do you need to do to your car for inspection?
Where do you go first time you get there (aside from the toilet). Etc.
I noticed the AutoX is a series, can you just show up a couple times a year and run or do you need to get in at the beginning?

Huge thanks in advance.
(Any other central valley folks running in SCCA?)
 

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Hey boxer,

Here's a few tips.

Inspection:
Remove everything loose from the car. All floor mat's, the trunk mat's, the spare tire cover. (You can leave the spare in, or remove it either @ the autoX or before you leave for the AutoX).

Make sure there aren't ANY loose items. No beer can's, keg's, cd's, etc. Anything in a storage that could fly around and break should be taken out. G forces really toss stuff around in an AutoX. I had a "hat", yes a hat, fly off a seat and smack me during a turn.

Make sure there aren't any leaks fluid wise. Make sure you don't have any outstanding problems with the car (missing engine).

Things to bring:
Tire pressure gauge (a MUST)
Water (Or you'll die)
*If you want to make new friends, bring extra water*
Sunglasses
Hat
Sunscreen (Your on a parking lot all day with no shade)
Other Mazda3 owners (to get them addicted)
Portable air compressor (the kind that works off the cig lighter socket works well and is tiny).
Misc Tools (in case something goes loose, or just to beat murphy's law)

Things to Do:
Make sure you have gas.
Consider replacing engine/tranny fluids with Synthetic. (AutoX'in really beats on the differential)

What to do when you get there.
Go to the registration tent. Tell them your a novice. Or find a friend whose been before, let them show you the ropes.

If your running stock all-seasons, be prepared to watch the sides chunk to pieces. AutoX'in destroys all-season tires rather rapidly. A good half season and you'll been in the market for new tires.

To prevent some of the sidewall rolling goodness, you'll need to bump your pressure up. Usually near max pressure on the fronts is a must. Some 6 owners run 45 psi in the fronts (max psi is 41 on the mich's), to try and prevent the sidewall from destroying itself.

Tire pressure will be something you'll have to find out yourself, as it greatly effects autocrossing. It'll take a good 2-3 events before you find a good pressure setup for yourself.

By changing the front/rear pressure ratios, you can induce additional oversteer (yes oversteer) or understeer.

Ok I'm tired of typing.

WARNING: Autocrossing will cause you to start bleeding money. Suspension mods, wheels, lightweight rims...all add up :).

Here's more links.
http://www.mazda6tech.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=10&Itemid=34
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Excellent, very much appreciated. Thank you...
 

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You're stock tires will wear insanely fast. It's probably better to just sell them rather than "wasting" 5,000 miles worth of tread in 4 minutes. More aggressive tires won't overheat and chunk apart, so they'll last a bit longer.

But there's a catch. Without suspension modifications, your tires will wear unevenly. So even the best tires will wear quickly, and you'll be sacrificing a lot of grip. You'll need to get some negative camber and/or reduce body roll to prevent the tire from riding along its outside edge.

I'm reiterate a few things Crossbow said:

Front tires at 40-50psi, rear tires at 32-40psi. Tire pressure is a topic in and of itself, but generally the higher pressure will give you increased cornering grip. Monitor your tire pressures between runs and adjust them to create understeer or oversteer.

Bring water. Put it in a cooler. Put ice in the cooler. Then put that cooler in a cooler. Warm water sucks.

Bring sunscreen, hat, etc.

And have experienced guys ride around with you. Over and over and over. Keep asking. The best way to go faster is to improve yourself- the driver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
stretch said:
Without suspension modifications, your tires will wear unevenly... You'll need to get some negative camber and/or reduce body roll to prevent the tire from riding along its outside edge.
That's where that hissing sound of cashflow starts to really kick in, aye?

Great stuff on that Mazda6 link, and thanks Crossbow and Stretch for your replies. The novice guide is encouraging, too, not the least because the Solo2 crowd sounds like a very welcoming and helpful community.

On to the geeky stuff: I'll clearly need to get an SCCA book, but once you cross that line into things like camber plates, adjustable coilovers, lightweight rims (mmm... forged wheels), etc aren't you heading deep into the prepared-class wilderness? I can see that's the cashflow floodgate... My daughter's two, she's got plenty of time to save up for college! :twisted:

That's all getting ahead of myself anyway. My focus, at least initially, is to get some seat time at the edges of my car's handling and work on improving my driving skills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Search around, look in the wheels/tires list. Kumho, Toyo, Falken... these names come up often. I'm leaning towards Toyo T1-s... not cheap, but I'm not going racing very often...
 

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Depends on your definition of cheap and your definition of high performance.

Best tires to race as well as drive on the street on? Probably the Kumho Ecsta Supra 712.

If you can afford race wheels & tires (separate from your street tires) you could go for Falken Azenis for classes where "street" tires are required (like STS) or Maybe Kumho Victoracers for sticky tires, both in 225/45/17
 

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Well I'm ASSuming the following.

a. You will be both racing on these and driving around on them most of the time, so you want them to last more than a few thousand miles and will occasionally see rain.

b. You have the 17" wheels.

c. You don't want to mess with your speedometer settings.

If the above is true IMO your best choice is the Kumho Ecsta Supra 712 in the stock 205/50-17 size.

Pretty darned good dry traction, outstanding wet traction, pretty good treadwear and an unbeatable price.

Currently these are listed for $93 each at Tire Rack, you should be able to get it from a local tire store for not much more if you call around, you will need to have them order them though cause practically nobody stocks them.

Another option is the Sumitomo HTR Z II in the stock size. According to Tire Rack it is a bit cheaper @ $81 each and seem to have good reviews (slightly better than the Kumho), though I don't have any first hand or even second hand knowledge of these so I can't confirm.

The problem with the Azenis as daily driven tires is poor treadlife and poor wet traction. Also they are not available in the stock size so you'd need to run 225/45-17 which is what Mazda used for Rev-It-Up but it will make your speedometer & odometer run fast.
 
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