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Old 05-30-2006, 03:01 PM   #1
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Need help taming this thing...

I just started autocrossing my 2002 Boxster S with 18" wheels with Michelin PS rubber. I seem to have trouble with pointing the right end of the vehicle in the right direction, thus I have made a habit of spinning out. I have been running 40/40 in front/rear pressures. Any advice? The car is completely stock. The tires are the original and are on their last few miles.

In my very amateur opinion the rear seems too stiff and I have very little feedback before it breaks loose. Is this old tires? Am I just a lousy driver? When I'm not spinning out I have been putting down some pretty good times considering I am running street tires.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I'm having a blast and am trying to learn how to drive this car at its limits.

Sammy

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Old 05-30-2006, 03:18 PM   #2
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Hi,

I suspect you've put your finger on a number of the issues. Worn Tires will tend to break away much easier/sooner than a newer set. Also, you have your tires waay too inflated, try 5-6lbs. less.

And being less experienced, you may not be able to feel the Car before it breaks away, but that's OK. Just stick with it and try to evaluate how the Car feels and see if you can keep it from the edge. The key to great Auto-Xing is SMOOTHNESS over speed, being unsmooth costs you more speed than you realize.

In the beginning, concentrate on Clean Runs, not the Clock. Your Times will improve naturally as you gain experience. Try to learn from each run and adjust accordingly. Good Luck!...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

Last edited by MNBoxster; 05-30-2006 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 05-30-2006, 03:52 PM   #3
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Mmmm.....good points from Jim....you must drive quick to have a fast lap.

Smoothness is the key.

Sounds more of a driver issue (no pun intened). I run 40 psi on my stock tires at the track for the front and the rear. I also run 18 inch tires at the track too. I think the biggest thing would be to EASE into the peddle on exiting the turn.

Do a search, I know we've covered this similar situation before.

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Old 05-30-2006, 09:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNBoxster
you have your tires waay too inflated, try 5-6lbs. less.

The key to great Auto-Xing is SMOOTHNESS over speed, being unsmooth costs you more speed than you realize.
Listen to the man
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Old 05-30-2006, 10:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRZTACO
Mmmm.....good points from Jim....you must drive quick to have a fast lap.

Smoothness is the key.

Sounds more of a driver issue (no pun intened). I run 40 psi on my stock tires at the track for the front and the rear. I also run 18 inch tires at the track too. I think the biggest thing would be to EASE into the peddle on exiting the turn.

Do a search, I know we've covered this similar situation before.

KRZ
Hi,

It's typical to run a little higher pressure on a Track, but for Auto-X, often a little lower pressure will give better control, especially on a worn set, with stock suspension. I would stagger the pressure Front/Rear with the Rears having greater pressure (maybe 2 PSI than the Fronts), this will help reduce understeer. 18's should be fine, better in fact than 17's for Auto-X as Turn-in is improved. Great advice about getting on the Power easy!...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

Last edited by MNBoxster; 05-30-2006 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 06-01-2006, 07:57 AM   #6
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I just ordered a set of Goodyear F1's so hopefully this will clarify if it is more of a tire issue (I am by no means discounting that it may be a driver issue). I will try to run the fronts at 38 and the rears at 40 at the next event to see what happens. Thank you for the advice and appreciate any other comments people may have!
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Old 06-01-2006, 10:30 AM   #7
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the secret to Autocrossing which is harder than doing laps on a track,

is to do it ALLOT.

no amount of advice is ever going to work until you are comfortable in the car.

In essence you are doing two things at once:

1- LOOKING AHEAD!!!

2- and errr driving the car


Until you can do #2 to the point where it becomes instinct (most types of turns and slaloms in autocross become familiar after about 12 events and their respective approaches/set ups).....well yeah instinct won't take over the driver part and allow you to fully concentrate on where you are going two gates gates ahead vs. what's directly in front of you.

People get target fixation in Autocross because their hands are so full of movement and the feet are working and the eyes are darting left to right and
the lateral/long. g forces are breaking your concentration.

You'll have some "A HA!!!" moments (like brake or throttle at all times no in between pauses) after you have had many many laps of mistakes.

p.s.
Victoracers are popular, as are my Toyo-RA1 and the Michelin Pilot Cups.
But none really ideal for Autocross.
My advice is to NOT change tires until you have done another 6-9 autocross events. You want to make your big mistakes on the worn tires. Which means you'll have to concentrate on minimizing mistakes vs. setting fast laps.
Once you feel you can string a few consecutive laps without making any BIG mistkaes, then mount some tasty rubber. No sense ruining a set of $1000 tires with lumpy shoulders and flat spots that you'll be stuck with for the rest of the season.
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Old 06-01-2006, 11:33 AM   #8
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After just finishing a EVO auto-x school

The main lessons were:

Look ahead (as perfect lap said). Not at the next cone but farther along the course to get you ready and in place for the next big course change. It might be at a right angle to where you're going. Don't fixate, just scan to prepare yourself. Ona slalom, the first cone is the key; if you blow that you're just trying to recover. if you get it right, you can knock out the remaining ones smoothly.

Brake in a straight line; get all you heavy breaking done before the turn--sounds like you're still turning while braking and the rear comes loose.

Brake late: the boxster has great brakes; don't loose too much speed breaking early.

Walk the course before you driving it and then visualize with your eyes closed.

While in line for run, scan the course as much as you can so you know what your first course changees will be.

Tires: PS2's aren't bad but the reality--my experience in 6 years at it--is that it's better to get a set of used wheels and put some R compount tires (ie victoracers )on them; or V710's if the track is close by. I really don't care for the soft sidewalls on the PS2 even with additional pressure. the victoracers have much firmer sidewalls and turn in is more precise. I'm guessing the Victoracers are worth 2 seconds but first you have to stop spinning, smooth out your steering inputs and get most of the braking done in a straight line before the turn.

And of course you have to practice and get to know the limits of your car.

BTW, I 'd recomend the EVO schools; expensive but it's a lot of hands on driving with an instructor. You find out very quickly what you're not doing right and how a good driver navigates a course.

Good luck with it
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Old 06-01-2006, 02:32 PM   #9
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Hi,

WOW! - Great Advice from PerfectLap and MikeOH - Glad to see we have so many Auto-Xers in the Group.

One other thing to add, part of the learning experience is trying things, but one hesitates because they don't want to ruin the Run.

Well, if you hit a Cone, think of it as a Free Run because the Time Penalty will pretty much put you in the Tank. So, for the rest of the Run, try a couple things like carrying in more speed/braking later, different line to a turn, etc. Don't just give up because you messed up, salvage the Run by gaining some additional experience. Remember: No Cones... No Glory!

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

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Old 06-01-2006, 02:35 PM   #10
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I need to change my tires as I am down to the wear mark and they are showing cracks from being 4 years old. They aren't exactly safe to drive on the streets especially if it is raining out.

Race tires won't happen for another couple years as I have a lot of learning to do at this point.

I had success with a RX-7 and a M3 and this is quite a challenge for me, but it sure is a lot of fun!!! I'll be sure to give a review of the F1's once I get them worn in and on the track.
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Old 06-01-2006, 02:48 PM   #11
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+1 on what Jim said..

If you get off the course or catch a couple of cones , don't give up--finish the course and you will continue to learn on the drive.

One other thing the instructors pased along that made sense--admittedly these guys were experts. Don't necessarily take the first run slow as a tour of the course, but go through it with gusto. The rational with the big guys is that if you only get 7 or 8 runs, you're essentially throwing one away by taking" the tour". I tried their suggestions and think if you do the course walk right and get the track image in your head, you can use that first run as more than recon..

finally, don't be afraid to tinker with air pressures; i finally learned this a few years back and it does make a difference. Get a good gauge, some chalk and see how far over the side wall is rolling. The boxster has tremendous balance and with experience, you'll learn to steer with the throttle.
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:05 PM   #12
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oh yeah and....

1-don't shuffle the wheel. Big rookie error.
Keep your hands and fingers in that little indent in the 9 and 3 o'clock postion on the 3 spoke wheel. Get used to the hand over hand position where your thumbs touch your opposite arm's elbow when turning. On a very long turn, hairpin,etc. release the wheel with your bottom hand to free up more movement from 12 o'clock dead center. Look at all the quick drivers, their hands stay put on the wheel, no shuffling. Like their thumb and index finger were glued to the wheel.

(p.s. I think Porsche did an EXCELLENT job on the 3 spoke design of this wheel)
The Alcantara version must be even better, Thicker in diameter.

2-Also, keep your back straight. DONT drop/lean your shoulders when the car is turning, you should be steering with your shoulders not your writsts. This was a lesson taught by a famous karting dude Mike Wilson.

3- tilt your head in the direction you are going as soon as you exit a corner. This is a huge subconscious aid. You tilt your head to the left before a left hand turn and you'll find your hand's start to set up the turn instinctively. Once the instinct takes over your head tilting will allow your eyes to start mapping the course well ahead of where you are. This applies in other sports too like mountain biking and on fast descents in road cycling.

4-LAY INTO THE BRAKE. I mean get use to really stomping it. You'll learn where 'the limit' is before a turn. The more I drive these Porsche brakes the more I realize how WAY too conservative I was being. Later you'll get a feeling for braking points and the amount of time you should be on the brake before you jump back on throttle. Stretching out the braking start and end point is the area where you will lose most of your time. A really fast driver is on and off of the brakes in as little time as possible. A second longer than necessary on the brakes (a blink of an eye really!) before a corner entry for each turn and over a lap your down 4 seconds.
Learning to brake agresively will give you tremendous confidence which can save your neck like it saved mine on a couple of occasions in real world driving. An extra 2 seconds of reaction time can prevent 50+% of most motor vehicle accidents. With this car you have those 2 second to avoid touching another car. That Paicifica loaner I was driving yesterday...different story.

tip:
in the warm months during Autocross/track even for every day driving I use Batting gloves, I like the Under Armor ones with spandex. They are cheap $25 and have great grip and keep sweat off the wheel (sweat is really bad for that expensive leather). Girls make fun of me but what do they know they drive with one hand and keep their the other ontop of the shifter

p.s.
EVO is a bargain! Yeah allot fo money for Autocross but for $400? you'll learn everything that those $4,000 skip barber schools will teach you and still won't sink in. No one learns in one day. Autocross is the best bang for the buck by a mile. For $-50 you can get an instructor to ride with you on every lap and give you all of his feedback. Just make sure the instructor is quick.
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Old 06-01-2006, 05:51 PM   #13
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another thing that i find with the S is that i run on a short turn track and find it quite hard to gear the box in short turn ending in second when realistically i should be between second and third gear (unfortunatelly it does not exist) i found 3rd too low and 2nd too high which makes your braking (late) acceleration very important, coming in bend too slow (braking too early) will get you to gear low and you end up with too much traction coming out of the bend and end up arse over head, its all about good braking/ entry / exit line.

happy racing
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:19 PM   #14
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You are also probably dealing with not just worn tires, but the nature of the PS is that if it gets really hot, it can get wicked slippery. PS's are probably not the best tire for autocross.


They are an excellent tire, but just not for this use.
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Old 06-03-2006, 06:47 PM   #15
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this is a dream she knows about sport tyres too !!

whahooooooo!
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Old 06-03-2006, 10:28 PM   #16
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more like a nightmare, really.
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Old 06-04-2006, 06:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikenOH
Tires: PS2's aren't bad but the reality--my experience in 6 years at it--is that it's better to get a set of used wheels and put some R compount tires (ie victoracers )on them; or V710's if the track is close by.
For the track maybe ( have not done a DE yet). However for autox, my opinion is get better at car control with street tires, r-comps can just hide bad habits.

Much of the the points already brought up are really good, Evo School is a blast (I have taken Phase One three times now, waiting for a Phase Tow to come our way) and a good investment.
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Old 06-05-2006, 05:18 PM   #18
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Lots of great advice here

I've only started to autocross the S this year but have autocrossed off an on for the last 30 years so I can hopefully shed some light on the differences I feel in the S vs. some other cars.

Tire pressure:

For the longest time we always pumped up the tires figuring we would prevent squirm and tread roll but as tires got better it became obvious that we didn't need to compensate nearly as much. With the S I run very conservative pressures and have been able to get the car balanced well after 1 or 2 runs. I start out 34/36 then adjust as the course dictates. Sometimes I'll drop as much as 3 more lbs out of the fronts but usually leave the rears alone. Tuning usually involves getting to the point where the front doesn't push and I can rotate the car with the gas. This last weekend I ended up running 33/36 warm and it was perfect. The tires really don't heat up that much since you get at least 5 minutes between runs for them to cool. it's not like a track day.

Technique:

Smooth on the DE (track) is a great thing. Smooth on an autocross = slow..... Autocross is all about pitching and tossing the car around tight, slow speed turns as fast as you can. High speed in, HARD straight line braking, turn, Hard on the gas kicking out the rear to close down the angle on the turn and power out to the next cone. Done right you steer that car as much with the throttle as with the steering wheel. The Boxster is so easy to rotate (and rotate fast) that it can get away from you quickly so be prepared to over slide and over compensate while you learn the techniques and the car.

Tires:

So far I think the absolute best bang for the buck in the stock classes are the Falken Azenis RT-615's



http://www.discounttiredirect.com/direct/findTireProductCategoryDetailBrnd.do?tpc=FALHZA&tp=Passenger%2FPerformance

So far I have used PS2's and PS N1's in 18" and the RT-615's in 17" (225 fronts) and the Falken's kick serious ass! The PS2's provide a lot of grip but the soft sidewalls make it tough to manage the car. The PS N1's have great sidewalls but are lacking in ultimate grip. The RT-615's have killer grip, stand up well to the heat and have firm enough sidewall to handle the lower pressures. On top of all that they are relatively cheap!

I've seen a number of references to R compound tires but beware, many clubs will put you in the P (prepared) class with those tires and that puts you up against some pretty serious competition. To stay in the Stock classes you need a non-R spec DOT tire so forget about Victoracers, Pilot cups and the like.

And the last thing to remember is you can always learn. For the life of me I couldn't get close to a guy in our club running basically an identical car on identical tires. For the last 2 events he has been as much as 2 seconds faster than me. I'm always second with the next person usually a full second off my pace but he is absolutely unreal. After the last run this Saturday we decided we had some time for some fun runs. He pulls up next to me and asks if I want to ride with him. I learned more in the 69 seconds in his car than I learned in all my 10 runs that day. I learned that the Boxster can defy physics in the right hands. I also learned that it takes a special kind of person to take their closest competitor and show them how to be faster. Porsche drivers truly are a special breed, "There is no substitute"
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Old 06-06-2006, 10:18 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
p.s.
EVO is a bargain! Yeah allot fo money for Autocross but for $400? you'll learn everything that those $4,000 skip barber schools will teach you and still won't sink in. No one learns in one day. Autocross is the best bang for the buck by a mile. For $-50 you can get an instructor to ride with you on every lap and give you all of his feedback. Just make sure the instructor is quick.
Agree with everything you said, but don't knock the Skip Barber schools unless/until you've tried it. Best money I ever spent was on a 3 day racing school there. Gave me a great deal of knowledge for track and autox.

When you get out of a real racing car, any road car feels slooow and soggy.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:03 AM   #20
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I went to an autocross yesterday and my first impression of the F1's is quite good. With the new rubber the car was a completely different animal. Instead of losing the back end and spinning the car I found myself pushing the front end a little. I ran 36 psi in the fronts and 38 psi in the rears and it felt really good. The bad part was that I lost to a S2000, but the good news is the pushing can be easily corrected by getting my head out of my rear and using the brakes a little more before the corner...

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