“This is different than an autocross” the event chairman said in the driver’s meeting. “All your times count, not just your best one. Better to be clean and consistent than to try to lay down a single heroic run.” I heard, but I didn’t listen. The autocrosser’s mentality eventually got to me. After taking it conservative in the first session, I threw caution to the wind in the second session….and spun myself out of contention for a trophy on run 9. I recovered and ran my best single run of the day on the next and final run, but even that was a bit off the pace of the leaders. I ended up 4th in the Stock All Wheel Drive class of 7, and about mid-pack overall. If I hadn’t spun, I might have squeaked out a 3rd place finish. If I had been perfectly clean (no cones, no spins) I would have been competitive with 2nd place, but still over a second a lap out of first. If I want to win, I have to get faster AND do it cleanly. The clean part is mental; I know what to do there. The faster part, I’m less sure of. I can’t quite envision where I left a second+ on the course. Perhaps more experience will shed some light.
Regardless of my finish position, I had a blast at the Indianapolis Region SCCA Rallycross event in Camby Indiana on May 12, 2012. The day started a little overcast and the grass was wet with dew on the course walk. My shoes were quickly soaked and caked with dirt. By the time the event officially started, however, the sun was out and the dew evaporated. The temperature got into the low 80s; warm but not uncomfortable. Humidity was low and it was just pleasant to be outside. Course working was a bit of a dusty affair, but I didn’t mind; getting dirty is part and parcel of competing in a rallycross. The group was small (26 drivers) and casual. While this was a competition, it was very friendly. Everyone was intense behind the wheel, but there was a strong sense of comradery amongst the competitors.
Before the event, I had the car in the shop for a few adjustments. The stock rear sway bar went back on in place of the STI unit. An inspection of the tires showed an alarming amount of wear on the inside edges of the fronts. The combination of aggressive toe and camber settings was just too much for every day driving. Luckily this set of tires was on its way to the recyclers anyway. A quick toe adjustment was made in the name of tire preservation. The extreme toe-out setting will have to be reserved for autocross events only!
Because I will be using different tires for rallycross and autocross I needed a second set of rims. I surfed the internet, looking for something light, strong, affordable, and attractive. I settled on a set of MB Weapons in gunmetal grey from discounttiredirect.com. These particular MB’s are manufactured by A-Tech. They have a good reputation for durability in the Subaru performance community and weigh nearly 5 lbs less than the stock wheels. And they were only $503 shipped including a set of spline-drive “tuner” lug nuts. For now this set of wheels will be used for daily driving and rallycross. I mounted my set of snow tires on them and had them installed on the car Friday night just before the rally. I was quite pleased with how the car looked with the different color wheels; so pleased I think I may refinish the stock wheels in a similar color before mounting up a set of new autocross tires.
The wheels held up fine to a 1o runs of rallycross. The rest of the car performed flawlessly as well. I did find myself wishing for a “1st-and-a-half” gear. 1st gear was too short for the faster sections, but second gear was too tall and the engine was falling out of the power band in the tighter sections. Shifting between the two was impractical given the short distances between turns. I just left it in second and tried to get a little wheel spin to keep the engine speed up in the slower turns. In some corners it worked for me, in some it didn’t. Getting that right more often may be the key to getting faster times. I look forward to getting to the next rallycross and trying to figure it out.