Kumho V710 Autocross Tires

Going fast has a LOT to do with your tires.  If you do not have good traction, then it really doesn’t matter how powerful your engine or how low your suspension is set.  The tires are the one thing on your car that make contact with the ground.  Well, they’re supposed to be the only thing.  So unless something went horribly wrong, they are the 1 and only thing in contact with the ground.  You can autocross on street tires.  There are many performance tires for the street that are good tires to use for a street tire class in autocross.  However, even stock classes allow for R-Compound or race tires.

R-Compound tires are tires that have a really soft rubber compound to them that grip very well at the cost of shear.  This means that you will not get many miles out of them...

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Going fast? Stop fast too.

The stock brakes on the MR2 Spyder are really good.  It’s hard to improve over them.  There are kits that have larger calipers with more pistons, etc.  But those add a little more un-sprung weight and they cost a lot of money.  I think most kits start around $1,100.00.  I haven’t looked at prices lately, so there might be a cheaper option out there now.  But still they would be quite a bit of money.  So, to still get some performance and some cool looks too, I chose to replace the rotors and pads.

I went with cross-drilled and slotted rotors.  I know, I know.  They are competing technologies.  Cross-drilled is meant to cool the rotor, where slotted will heat them up.  But, the slotted rotors help to move the heat better and provide a little better bite...

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Stainless Steel Brake Fluid Providers

Adding beefier brake rotors, calipers, pads, etc, will only help so much if your lines are soft and flex.  Hydraulic fluid works best when it is confined to a constant volume.  Regular rubber brake lines flex and can expand when the fluid is under pressure.  This results in less than predictable braking and softer braking.  Neither are what you want in any kind of performance driving situation.  How do you fix this problem?  With some Stainless Steel covered brake lines.  The brake lines are essentially the same rubber lines as normal, only there is a woven mesh of stainless steel that covers that rubber.  Then the stainless steel is usually covered in something so there is less chance of corrosion.  The effects of this type of brake line is that the steel does not flex or expand...

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Autocross Trailer / Tire Trailer

Race tires, while legal to drive on the roads, will wear out quickly due to the soft compound.  So, when going to an event, it’s best to bring your race wheels and tires with you and change them at the track.  This isn’t so easy with the MR2 Spyder.  There is not much space.  Although, I have seen people store 3 tires in the passenger seat area and 1 in the frunk.  But where is the room for your helmet and tools, etc?  The solution?  Tire Trailer!  I bought a 4 foot trailer from harbor freight with the 13″ wheels (Bigger wheels on the trailer is better.  Imagine how fast those tiny 8″ wheels are spinning when you’re going down the highway.) to go along with my Twos-r-Us detachable trailer hitch.

The trailer hitch uses threaded rods and connects to the rear tow hook locations on op...

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Am I ready for a National Tour event?

Short answer:  No!  Below is a more detailed account of my entry into the SCCA Solo 2 National Tour in 2006.

I had done about 6 events with my local autocross club and was attending the membership meetings (I signed up to be a member at the 2nd event).  And in talking with a friend, Gordon, he mentioned the National Tour event in Ft. Myers.  I asked if I should even bother entering something like that.  He said “Sure.  It’s a great experience!”.  He was not wrong about that.  But more on that later.

First, signing up for the event was a bit more involved and it cost quite a bit more too.  I got a hotel room near by since this was a multi-day event.  The Friday was registration and initial tech inspection.  I arrived and was told I needed to pay $3...

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New wheels and tires for autocross

After competing in 4 events, I was really feeling how heavy my big 17″ wheels were.  I wasn’t quite ready to trailer my wheels to an event.  So I bought some nice tires to go on 15″ Flik Blast-C wheels from Edge Racing.  The tires were Hankook R-S2’s.  They were a little grippier than the Nitto tires that I had on the car already.  When I bought the wheels, I picked them up and had 1 in the frunk, 2 in the passenger seat area and 1 behind the driver’s seat.  It was a LONG drive home from Medley, Florida that day.  My knees were at my ears and doing anything but moving calmly in my same lane was a mission.  I made it home safe and sound though...

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Time for some Numbers

Upon arriving at my third autocross event, I noticed a guy selling magnetic numbers for a decent price.  And since I had been lucky enough to always get my same number, I decided to purchase a set.  This also makes the whole setup prior to tech inspection go a lot quicker.  Otherwise you need to use up a good amount of 2″ painter’s tape “drawing” the numbers on the side of your car.  This worked OK for my car for a while because it’s white.  But just imagine if you had a blue car.  That didn’t stop some people from putting blue numbers on a blue car though.  Still, I wanted to at least look cool even though my times still had a long way to go to improve.

Basically the numbers are magnetic vinyl that was cut out in the shape of numbers.  They don’t need to be much more than that...

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Second AutoX Event

With 1 event under my belt, I was ready for more excitement.  This time, a friend came down and we went to the event together.  This time, it was at Homestead Miami Speedway.  It was on the kart track.  But it was a great venue for autocross.  lots of configuration options to choose from for the course designer and no solid barriers near by.  Those will damage your car if you hit them.  Speaking of crashes, I will say that I have only seen a couple incidents where a car got out of control and was actually damaged.  Anyway, back to the event…

It was a HOT day that Sunday.  The process went very similar to the first event that I attended.  I was still running in DP.  And for my work assignment, I was chasing after cones and picking them up when cars hit them...

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First Autocross

Disclosure: I’m writing this post after attending several events, but the post is dated at the time of my first event.  I plan to have some other events and info logged later.  This may be a bit of a series.

I had heard of Autocross (Solo II as it was known by the SCCA) for a while and wanted to try it out.  This was something that I tried to read up on and know all of the process from start to finish before going.  I will give this advice to anyone that is thinking the same thing:  STOP!  Just read the basics of what you need to do for your region/club and go to an event.  You will figure it all out once you’re there and people are generally really helpful.  If you are not sure what autocross is, just google it and you’ll quickly see what it’s about...

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