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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Impressions of first Autocross

On June 16th, I took the STI to my very first Autocross event, and what a way to celebrate the anniversary of Machine Zealots' Subaru Impreza WRX STI! That's right, it has been a full year!

The day before the event, I went through a check list of things to do. I checked the torque of the lug nuts, checked the tire pressure, checked the car's fuel levels, and made sure all of my other fluids were up to specifications.
Some stuff to bring to any Autocross event.

I actually spent some time online, reading through other people's experiences, and some useful advice given from other drivers. It's useful to bring several tools with you. For one, if you have an air compressor, you can change your tire pressures according to what you need. A spare tire, or a spare set of tires could be rather useful. If one set somehow fails, you can go home in another set. However, most people bring a different set of tires for the different driving conditions. I met a Subaru owner, who brought a full set of R-compound tires, but ended up driving in a set of all seasons because it was too rainy that day.

Subaru Impreza Wagon, owner of the R-Compound tires.

Checking out the rain.

The course was extremely large, like looking into an ocean.

Corvettes and other stuff.

After racing, my impressions of the STI were actually very different. I learned to appreciate all the flawed characteristics it had, and I really appreciated all of the good qualities it had too. It was good practice, and I felt a lot more confident in the car. A couple of thoughts that came to my mind after the racing, mostly things I thought that needed improving on the STI. The USDM STI seats were not supportive at all. I was tossed around the car like a garden salad, and ended up coming home with backaches because I had to tense my body up so much to counteract the g-force generated in the car. Another thought was, never over estimate your brakes. I almost felt that was the most important aspect of the autocross. I am glad I took the time to install the HAWK HP Plus Racing brake pads before I went because, boy, the STI really needed it.

Clean wheels.

After one day at Autocross.

Close up of the brake dust.

I am very glad that I did not modify this car too much before going, because if I had modified everything already, I wouldn't appreciate how the car is now, and certainly wouldn't appreciate how much it can improve. Since this Autocross event was far too rainy for me to judge the tires and suspension characteristics, I will leave that assessment for a dry Autocross event. The Bridgestone Potenza RE070s did surprisingly well in the rain, it wasn't composed, but it wasn't as bad as I had imagined either.

Oh right, one last thing, at the end of the day, I had won an award! For the first person to eat 3 cones in a row. LOL. I was given the title, Cone Head. I was far too aggressive...

Anyway, the episode for this Autocross event will be posted in a couple of weeks. Will talk more about the runs, the times, and the competition later. Stay tuned!

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