Dam Miatas - Saturn Sky Forums: Saturn Sky Forum
Autocross and Racing Discussion (SKY/Kappa) Tips, tricks, vehicle prep and setup, etc.

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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Dam Miatas

So I go to my first autocross, I am the only kappa. No biggie 113 people the place was packed. I am looking at the other cars in my class and it is like 15 miatas a few minis and me. First 2 runs I have to run with an instructor, again no biggie I am new so I felt it would be helpful. After missing half of the slalom and having the instructor correct me that what I though was the gate exit cone was the first cone of the slalom. 3rd run I have the instructor drive the car. He runs 61.xxx sec. The miatas are running less then 55 the fastest was 52. My best run of the day was 63s. How do I make my car faster. They are 10sec faster.
I was reading that a tune would be the most helpful because gm has a 5 sec delay on full throttle. I know with seat time I will improve but 10sec is a tough gap to close.

Thanks For All The Help
Angelo
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 10:48 PM
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[QUOTE=Angelo_2.4;560873]So I go to my first autocross, I am the only kappa. No biggie 113 people the place was packed. I am looking at the other cars in my class and it is like 15 miatas a few minis and me. First 2 runs I have to run with an instructor, again no biggie I am new so I felt it would be helpful. After missing half of the slalom and having the instructor correct me that what I though was the gate exit cone was the first cone of the slalom. 3rd run I have the instructor drive the car. He runs 61.xxx sec. The miatas are running less then 55 the fastest was 52. My best run of the day was 63s. How do I make my car faster. They are 10sec faster.
I was reading that a tune would be the most helpful because gm has a 5 sec delay on full throttle. I know with seat time I will improve but 10sec is a tough gap to close.

Thanks For All The Help

There are a few things besides seat time that you will need. Experiment with tire pressure. Make your gear selection at the right time. You may finding yourself breaking too soon also. You may be surprised that you may get better controllable power and acceleration without going full throttle. There are also other little hidden adjustments and added modifications that are usually made to cars being auto-crossed that your competitors will not tell you about.

The Miata and the Sky are excellent handling vehicles, but they don't drive exactly the same. I have driven both and personally prefer the Sky over all on the road, though I have never auto-crossed either.

It has been years since I have auto-crossed, but there are those out there who do this regularly and will have tips beyond what I have just given you.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 11:16 PM
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Miatas weigh up to 900 pounds less depending on generation and trim.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 11:17 PM
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If those miata's are running on hoosiers you will never catch them, try to compare yourself to cars running similar mods like yours including tires. Even in the stock class you can add hoosiers and shocks and that does wonders to a car.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 02:43 AM
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Miata's do so well in autocross because they are tiny. They are at least as well balanced as our cars and look like mini-me's next to them. Don't beat yourself up, there aren't many cars that can genuinely challenge a Miata in autocross (before anyone beats me up over that statement I'm not saying there aren't any, just that Miata's tend to dominate unless the other car's driver is very skilled - after all last year at the National Street Tire Challenge the best time of day was owned by a Hyundai Genesis, and the last autocross I was at it was a Mazda2). Plus super-sticky tires are a lot cheaper for a Miata than they are for a kappa because it's so much smaller. Also, I wouldn't worry about a tune if you're just looking at it for autocross - depending on the class system of the group you're running with just adding a tune can bump you into a class we can't actually compete with (ie if they use the SCCA classes). A tune is still fun for added power on the street so I'm not saying don't do it.

As for how to get faster, the tune will help some but because autocross is such a low-speed race engine power will only get you so far. Miata's and other small cars with good mods tend to run faster than the Corvettes after all. What will really improve your time (besides experience) are suspension mods. Stickier tires make the biggest difference, but you can also look at different shocks, springs, camber adjustments, a backbone, etc. These are heavy cars (for a roadster) so the biggest thing is finding something to keep the tires from breaking loose during turns. The faster you can complete a turn without losing traction the faster your time will be.

Also, the guys in Miata's autocross ALL THE TIME. The guys that are getting best times of the day are out there every weekend with every group every year. They have LOTS of mods to their cars and handle their tire pressures and temps with precision. So don't worry about being so far behind them, just get out there and have some fun. Just set a goal for yourself and try to beat it, that's all I do. I usually end up close to last but still have a blast. Best of luck to ya!

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Last edited by LordRahl007; 05-01-2012 at 02:56 AM.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 09:26 AM
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For auto X, a Stage 3 supercharger would help you improve your time

Also as others mentioned, better tires, Probeam/backbone/werks brace/ LVKCB / Bay brace would help stiffen the car up.

Talk to Snaponbob or Rlhammon. They are big auto X guys.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 10:45 AM
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Stiffen the car up with a rear, belly and possibly front frame brace, make sure your tire pressures are correct, and be patient while you learn to drive (sometimes this takes awhile, sometimes it never happens).

There is still no way to tell if you can beat faster cars. The Miata is a very good slalom car.

And it is 'damn' or damned', not 'dam' unless you are talking about large volumes of water behind some sort of retaining wall.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wspohn View Post
And it is 'damn' or damned', not 'dam' unless you are talking about large volumes of water behind some sort of retaining wall.
Maybe that's exactly what he meant - could be a call to action to dam the Miata's behind some sort of retaining wall, only letting a limited number of them out

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry for the spelling and grammatical errors. I was so heated when I wrote that. I am finding out that autox is the same as all other motor sports. It's not who has the best car or driver but who can hide all the mods that are illigal. I have the backbone extreme and the pro bar. I am thinking a set of rspec tires yea they are pricy but I feel second place is the first looser. I am not going to run for 5th. I have access to 100ll and nitromethane so I am thinking I might get a second motor and have it on standby when I pop this one. Major drawback is automatic and tires. But keeping the car in low it worked like a charm.

Thanks for all the info and yea I say dam them all up behind a wall.
Angelo
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 09:39 PM
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yeah a tune will help but also practicing and becoming a better driver help as well

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 07:42 PM
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Certain course layouts favor certain cars over other ones. Back in the late 60's and early 70's we used to run on go cart tracks. Each track layout favored a different car make and setup. In other words, you would do well at one track and poorly at another because of its different layout. Then there was Lancaster Speedway.........wow!!! Banked oval and the mini stock car oval combined with the back straightaway turned into a giant salon.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-08-2012, 01:57 AM
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Take this for what it's worth ! DON'T DO ANYTHING to the car right now if you really want to get into AutoX. I have won several regional class championships in both the A/Stock then B/Stock and now A/Street Prepared class. I run a lot of national events in my Sky the latest being both of the Evolution Super Shootouts. If you want to be competitive and soon be able to run with almost any of the cars Autoxing just get yourself a good set of summer performance tires make NO MODS to your car and run as many Stock Class events as you can get. Find a EVOLUTION Driving school ( or other GOOD Autocross school ) and put in the seat time. Your stock car with good tires will be more than good enough to win in most all areas. You just need to to improve your driving skills no offense to you but to folks who have no real knowledge about AX it seems very easy and simple...........IT'S NOT at least at first. I run about 40 events a year and it took several years to start setting FTD's and winning on a regular basis. The Kappas are ready to win 1st time out with very little mods needed ...........being capable of winning driving takes a little longer but put in the effort and you'll be hearing a lot " those DAMM Kappas" coming from others at most events !
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-21-2012, 11:57 AM
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Just a couple of comments. First of all, the advice to learn your car first is excellent advice. Secondly, the hardest thing to learn is to consistantly look well ahead. Example: Three off-set gates, A, B, and C. If you are in A, there is nothing you can do about it. Effectively, a few feet before gate A it stopped being a consideration. Depending on distance, you can adjust a little in the way you enter B. But it is to an extent determined by where you are in A. The gate you should be concentrating on is C. Many people (and not just novices) get their mind too close to the nose of their car and behind where the real effects are taking place. Just something to consider.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-21-2012, 12:54 PM
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Local experience with like cars competing against each other suggests that you are giving up some time with the automatic. Beyond that is the need for experience. You are not going to win the first time out, no matter how good your car is. Schools will accelerate the learning curve, and may get you over certain roadblocks, but you can also get most of the way there on your own. Race the car, have fun, and get better.

You do not have to cheat to win, and why would you want a hollow victory anyway ?

You have gotten some good advice in this thread. Follow it and be patient. Even with more weight, the Kappa is the better car, so you already have the basic tools you need.

Keep in mind too that the setup for a killer autocross car is not good for the street, so if you really want to win you will probably not enjoy driving the car as much.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-22-2012, 04:12 AM
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Tires and seat time make the biggest difference in AutoX.
You can stuff 295 Hoosiers on 18x8 rims and stay in the stock class.
Also,
You can install the DDM Probeam and not tie it into the crossmember and remain in stock class.
I saw a huge improvement when I went to the Dunlop Star Specs but I never put the investment into R comps due to needing a way to get them to an event and I did not want to install a hitch on my sky.

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