First Autocross with the GT -

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Old 04-03-2006, 10:18 PM   #1
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Default First Autocross with the GT

this past weekend was my first chance to really push my car to its limits.... and then some. I attended a 2 day autocross school. The first day was dry out, and I wasn't really impressed with the stock pirelli tires. seem too narrow and get slippery when heated up. also it seemed to understeer quite a bit for being rwd. overall, i'd say the car was pretty well behaved and fairly easy to keep under control, but wider tires with agressive tread (maybe even R compounds), and a heavier sway bar up front would be about the only upgrades i'd consider at this point. Day 2 brought scattered rainshowers, so i got to see how fun 300 rwd hp is the rain. in the wet, the stock pirellis were hooking up very well. i was actually very impressed with thier wet traction performance, and so was the instructor. i have vids of a couple runs from the "dashcam" if someone wants to host them.

only problem i had with the car while running it. the fuel gauge kept sticking one way or the other when there as ~1/4 tank. more than likely the float is sticking in the tank. anyone know if this is a common problem? gonna have to get that checked out when i get my first oil change.

nothing more fun than beating the **** out of a car with only 1200 miles on it.

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Old 04-03-2006, 10:23 PM   #2
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Default RE: First Autocross with the GT

sounds great! i wish i could go to autoXing school lol

as for the fuel guage problem, do you mean that it was giving strange readings? this sometimes happenes when you swerve your car a lot, the gas sloshes around in the tank and the sensors go crazy
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:27 PM   #3
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Default RE: First Autocross with the GT

Its a blast isn't it! These cars are really fantastic on the track.

If you have not already, you might want to have your brake fluid checked - or you might just want to go and flush it...every '05/'06 GT that I know that has run autocross/solo has flushed the stock fluid after 1 or 2 days on the track.

The tires are a definate...the best advice I got...ran with BFG g-Force TA KDW last time and looking to try some true racing tires next time out.

I did not notice any problem with the fuel guage...I only let it get to a 1/4 tank once though.

Compared to my upgrades, a friend of mine went with just springs, 18 inch tires and a tower brace and was quite happy...course he is a much better driver than I am.
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Old 04-04-2006, 01:45 AM   #4
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Default RE: First Autocross with the GT

Had a great 2 days at a "driver's education" course last summer in my auto '05. The stock brake fluid seemed to perform well, but it seemed to be a little burned smelling afterwards. The stock Pirellis seemed to do well, but they were pretty well scrubbed out by the end. I upgraded to 18x9's with sticky tires shortly thereafter.

The car did a great job, pulling double duty - usually in back-to-back 30 minute stints. I shifted it manually and it performed flawlessly. Really above my expectations. No problems with the fuel guage, just with the 9mpg (literally) I got LOL...
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Old 04-05-2006, 10:22 PM   #5
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Default RE: First Autocross with the GT

Ok, this thread has been dormant for some time so I don't feel bad about hijacking it.

Midwesterners! I talked with a rep from the Northwoods Region Shelby Club, and he said that there are still many spots open for their "Northwoods Classic" -- a track day event on May 6th at the Milwaukee Mile.

I posted some more details in the Midwest Region section of the Forum, for those interested.

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Old 05-19-2006, 02:10 PM   #6
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Back to this post! (and this one's long, so read at your leisure)

A couple of weekends ago I was at the Milwaukee Mile for my first high-speed track event (where there were some pretty impressive cars--the Panteras were my favorite). It was AWESOME! Anything and everything you like about this car on the street is magnified 10x on a track where you get to push the car hard...I mean REAL hard, and not just in a straight line. After this event, drag racing to me is nothing more than a joy-ride (unless you're doing a 10 second quarter mile or faster, which is getting scary fast) my 72 does it in the 11 second range and there is simply no comparison to this sort of experience and autocross--this is "driving" using all the skills needed to bring out everything a car has to offer. Accelerate, brake, turn, heel-toe shift, accelerate out of a turn, feather brake/accel in the s-curves, plot a line, know who's in front/behind, cooperate w/others: short of adjusting the radio, if it's done in a car it's done 10x harder in autocross. What a blast! Nothing like the smell of burned rubber in the morning.

Here's the set-up: oval track, infield open for s-curves and a hairpin turn, entry to infield a psuedo-hairpin. Top speed was 110mph (along the back straight), top cornering 90mph (which along the outer turn was about her limit). Each round was 15 minutes, we covered an ave. 15 miles in that time, about 1 hr. break between sessions (plenty of cool down time--a cool day too, 55 degrees). I stayed to run 6 sessions for the day. I definitely got faster as the day progressed--learning this car is such a joy.

My Impressions:
1. The 235/50/18 BFGs were respectable for a bone stock car. There's no doubt that there's room for improvement in the tire category, but for my current level of skill, this wasn't the car's real Achillies heel. I had them inflated at 30 lbs all around. They definitely screamed at their limits, but for the most part they were predictable (making pushing them quite fun).
2. The brakes--here's where I found a lot of room for improvement (even for my skills). There was noticeable fade after the first session that became quite noticeable after the second session, but by then it was pretty constant after that. I cooked the brakes pretty hard but I didn't think I was getting crazy with them. So, for this summer's next session I'm definitely upgrading to high-temp fluid and Hawk pads (probably HPS). I blew the hairpin into the infield 3 times that day, because I was trying to push 105mph into the front straight just prior to entry into the turn, and she wouldn't come down fast enough. I think 55 was the max this car could do in that particular turn, so you had to come down hard from the 105 I was attempting...she did make it down from 100. Fortunately, blowing this turn only meant you went by some cones and returned to the oval...blowing the inner hairpin only left you in the dirt (which never happened to me).
3. The stock leather seats were horrible. I was thrown around quite a bit, and when my dad rode shotgun he spent most of his time just hanging on. This makes for some "fun" but not much for control. I've already started looking into a dedicated race seat to swap in/out for events. The MOMO Cup Seat is high on my list.
4. As nospeedlimit mentioned, my fuel gauge was swinging wildly the whole day--and that was with over 3/4 tank full. One time, it became "stuck" at 1/8 tank when I know I had at least 1/2 tank. I let the car sit w/the key in the accessory position for 15 minutes and it slowly crept back up to its right indication.
5. MPG were shocking! I was averaging 7.5 mpg. 15 miles, and I consistently used 2 gallons each run. I had the engine in the 3K-6K RPM range almost the entire time, bumped the rev-limiter only twice but that gives you a sense of how aggressive we were running.
6. On wide turns she had a comfortable understeer that was very linear, very predictable. On hard turns the same applied, and I had no problems feathering her rear out whenever I wanted--power was ample for that task. I know others have reported issues with this, and I think a combination of their altitude and overinflated tires had a bit to do with it. I did notice some tire chunking on one very-very aggressive turn into the infield (a short/tight turn), but even when pushing 90+ in the wider turn the car was not wild. I got great feedback in the handling.

At the end of the day I was very pleased with the overall performance and durability--no issues at all and I drove home an hour and a half away without a glitch. One guy had a Mazda 6 there that couldn't take the abuse--his wheel bearings got so much heat (heavy braking) that they started to give up some of their grease and you could see where it was flinging out of the hubs. But the Mustang was tough. I took out that Mazda and a well equipped Miata (which are viciously fast in the corners) and (barely) hung with some 03-04 SVT Cobras in the corners--but man those things come OUT of the corners and onto the straights with some fury (I had to let them pass). Some day I'll have a supercharger of my own on my side, and I'll revisit those boys.

So the plan was to run her in bone-stock form (mechanically at least), get to know her a bit, then start slowly upgrading. I'm hoping that by the next event I'll also have a tune installed to deal with the slow throttle response, but mainly I want to get a sense of the new brake pads and fluid. We'll be heading to the famous Road America! I'm already practicing on improving my heel-toe shifting.

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Old 05-19-2006, 03:30 PM   #7
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Default RE: First Autocross with the GT

I hear most of the guys talking about having manuals doing that. I wonder how an auto would do. I had my hips replaced and can't do a clutch any more, but would like to try a track.
My 06 came with BFG 18's and figure I should learn those before I spend money and upgrade.
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Old 05-19-2006, 04:05 PM   #8
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Default RE: First Autocross with the GT

Those Peralli Nero tires are better in the wet than dry. If you are serious about it, get yourself a set of cheap rims and mount some racing tires on them. Use them for the autox only. You will notice a TREMENDOUS difference in performance. And get good racing tires, not high performance street tires.
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Old 05-19-2006, 05:17 PM   #9
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Default RE: First Autocross with the GT

Yes the P-zero Nero shines in the wet. But I have been impressed at the strip with them at 18psi. (bottom end of psi I think, based on chalk patterns after runs) I have run a number of different types of street tires at the strip and these perform as good or better than the best i have used (and i mean a true full time street tire, not a slick with two grooves cut in it to get it DOT certified)
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Old 05-19-2006, 07:37 PM   #10
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How big/long is the video?
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