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Old 11-10-2015, 04:54 PM   #1
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986 Autocrossing Racing Strategies

Good Evening.

My name is Alex and I have been autocrossing since 2003. I recently purchased my first Porsche, a 2002 Boxster 5 speed. I wanted to open this thread to see how many of us enjoy autocrossing. In the near future I would like to set up a youtube channel for autocrossing tips and webinar to discuss skills training and modifications.

For now, you can introduce yourself and list your mods, post a video or the like.

2002 Porsche Boxster (NON-S)
Mods:
Cayman 17 Wheels
Front 5mm Spacers
Bridgestone Potenza 71R's 215/45 front, 245/40 rear
PC680 Lightweight Battery

I placed 13th out of 73 at a PCA event in Daytona Speedway. Video Below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_h21n3dgo8

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Old 11-10-2015, 05:10 PM   #2
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Sweet! I ran with them last October - it was essentially the same course but without the slalom at the end. I *think* I was the fastest Boxster but overall I was middle of the pack.

Where at in FL are you? I am in Lake City, where I-10 and I-75 cross.

What PCA region are you? Florida Citrus runs a lot of autocross. I am in Florida Crown and they don't run many (any).

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Old 11-10-2015, 05:53 PM   #3
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Sweet! I ran with them last October - it was essentially the same course but without the slalom at the end. I *think* I was the fastest Boxster but overall I was middle of the pack.

Where at in FL are you? I am in Lake City, where I-10 and I-75 cross.

What PCA region are you? Florida Citrus runs a lot of autocross. I am in Florida Crown and they don't run many (any).

Steve
I am a member of the Space Coast Region. We have an event coming up in Palm Bay, FL November 21st.
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:47 PM   #4
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I've enjoyed autocrossing since around the time when the Boxsters started being sold. On the autocross course, I remember watching someone in my region who purchased one of the first Boxster's (before the "S" was out) out on the course, the car was amazing to watch go it went through the turns. Later on, the "S" was out, and this same guy (an older fellow who owned a series of autocrossing Porsches - always yellow) had upgraded to one. (I think he also had a late-gen air cooled 911 Porsche at some point, and all his Porsches were yellow!). Kind of a funny story, but I remember watching him run his "S" right off the track on one of our wet weather days up here in the Pacific Northwest. The spot he ran off the track eventually also had many other cars with off-course excursions. (This is where a runway crossed over to an access road - funky site). I remember having conversations with him about his Boxster, like asking him if he wanted to upgrade his factory shocks, and him saying no the factory ones were good. (Which apparently he was right about). And then him waxing on about how awesome abs was, (but then I always suspected it was a contributing factor to him going off-course.) Hah!

Anyway, I ran a d-stock neon ACR back in the day, then a VW in FSP class. I've been to nationals three times and took home one trophy in the FSP. Kind of fell out of it when I had a kid, but have dreams of getting back into the game one of these days. Fast forward to today, I've got that Porsche my wife and I have always fantasized about, although it's a daily driver, not a dedicated race car. Still, we hope to get it out there are enjoy it on the autocross course sometime. Even though it will no longer be the "car to have" in stock class (or street class - whatever they're calling it nowadays?) with the recent SCCA rule changes.

Always loved the way the neutrally balanced Boxsters looked on the autocross course! I'm still working on some repairs and mods (SCCA-legal of course, like US-spec M030 suspension conversion) that make the Porsche handle and perform the way I expect a Porsche to. Not quite done yet, it's a work in process. Only had it for about a year so far and am getting a good baseline feel (although I have started the suspension mods already). It's just a base, not the "S", but it's mine and both wife and I think it's fun!

Autocrossing tips - a lot are to do with walking the course and developing mental techniques to navigate it at speed. Look ahead! Have fun! (Hard not to!)

Last edited by jakeru; 11-10-2015 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:16 AM   #5
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I'm glad to see more AX folks on here! My 2000 986 S is set up for SCCA F Prepared and PCA Improved 04 (that might be a bit off). Stock 3.2 internals, but otherwise very modded. A word to AX newcomers (vets know and understand): autocrossing is addictive, like crack cocaine. The lengths we'll go to for a win or to shave hundredths of a second are nuts


Here's an FTD run at one of this year's Shenandoah regional AX events:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Loh1FPDcQ1k
This year has been the first year for me to use a video camera, and I've used it to help identify areas where I can make small improvements such improving car position on course.

This year I've also made the switch to Hoosier A7s (F 245 35 18/ R275 30 18) from Nitto NT01 tires (same specs, haha) and I've been chasing an understeer problem.
I'd love to see what alignment/ setup specs others are using. My car is 2630#; I add another 150ish.

With the Nittos, my specs were:
Front, zero toe, -3.2 camber, 32PSI, stock sway bar, KSport coilovers w/6K springs
Rear 3mm total toe, -3.2 camber, 34PSI, no sway bar, KSport w/ 8.7K

With the Hoosiers:
Front, zero toe, -3.4 camber, 34PSI, stock sway bar, KSport coilovers w/6K springs
Rear 3mm total toe, -3.2 camber, 36PSI, stock sway bar, KSport w/ 8.7K

Any thoughts on my setup or understeer issues??
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Last edited by j.fro; 11-11-2015 at 02:21 AM.
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Old 11-11-2015, 04:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by j.fro View Post
...

With the Nittos, my specs were:
Front, zero toe, -3.2 camber, 32PSI, stock sway bar, KSport coilovers w/6K springs
Rear 3mm total toe, -3.2 camber, 34PSI, no sway bar, KSport w/ 8.7K

With the Hoosiers:
Front, zero toe, -3.4 camber, 34PSI, stock sway bar, KSport coilovers w/6K springs
Rear 3mm total toe, -3.2 camber, 36PSI, stock sway bar, KSport w/ 8.7K

Any thoughts on my setup or understeer issues??
I would add toe out on the front to improve turn in... I would go with .06 per side to start ( This should help reduce understeer). Then toe in on the rear at least .125 per side. The toe in on the rear will help the car stay planted.

Understeering: To reduce it try raising the rear as much as you can without losing grip aka 2 more psi. This will make the rear a bit more loose but it will also reduce understeer. If that is not enough try lowering the front by .5 a psi at a time.

P.S. You can also add a 5mm, 7mm or 10mm spacer on the front if you already haven't to increase the track length of the car therefore reducing understeer.

Last edited by GatorLapis; 11-11-2015 at 04:23 AM.
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Old 11-11-2015, 01:08 PM   #7
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I have no strategies but here is my run at Daytona, I just uploaded it to YouTube:



I just played it side by side with yours - you are very smooth in places where I was jerky. If you had been there in 2014 I would have been 2nd out of 6 Boxsters instead of 1st out of 5...

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Old 11-11-2015, 01:49 PM   #8
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I found I reduce understeer by raising the front PSI
I run 35/37 hot F/R and found it to be more neutral

My 04 S is bone stock
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:48 PM   #9
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I found I reduce understeer by raising the front PSI
I run 35/37 hot F/R and found it to be more neutral

My 04 S is bone stock
Well, generally speaking If a car is understeering, it means the car turns less into the corner than it should for the steering input. So obviously, the rear tires, which want to go straight have more grip than the front tires which are trying to turn. To solve this problem we can increase the contact patch of the tires that need more help. That means lower pressures on the front, or we can decrease the contact patch size on the tires that have too much grip, so increase rear pressures.

However.... your rear air pressure was higher as well which could have balanced it out. Also it depends on the tires... If they are all season vs summer vs racing slicks.

P.S. to reduce understeer try using a NON S front sway bar. It is only .5 inch narrower but it will make a difference.
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:49 PM   #10
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Steve0x, thanks for the Daytona vid and the compliment! It looked pretty neat running on the course with fewer cones and more of just the road course. For the Richmond Porsche Meet we rent Southside Speedway, kinda a third-tier Nascar oval. The walls are effin scary! For the past 5 years I have finished 2nd to Bobby Smith in his 914 ... he was the PCA FTD at the 2006 Parade in Charlotte. He's a great guy and we're having fun with our little rivalry. Here's the link to my best run from this year:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEbOXw26yU0

I appreciate being called smooth, and I'd like to toss out a tip about smoothness. Being smooth is one of the tips everyone offers to novice AXers. For a couple of years I worked hard at being smooth and was stuck in the middle of the field. I started paying attention to the FTD contenders at SCCA events and it really hit me... screw smooth, you've gotta be fast. When I put fast first, I got faster. Smoothness is an accessory to speed, not the other way around. To win, get comfortable driving on the ragged edge of control (don,t be afraid to totally loose it or kill some cones) and then make it smooth, not the other way around.
Lot's of the best AXers only have one clean run in an event... and it's the winner!
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Old 11-11-2015, 07:26 PM   #11
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Well, generally speaking If a car is understeering, it means the car turns less into the corner than it should for the steering input. So obviously, the rear tires, which want to go straight have more grip than the front tires which are trying to turn. To solve this problem we can increase the contact patch of the tires that need more help. That means lower pressures on the front, or we can decrease the contact patch size on the tires that have too much grip, so increase rear pressures.
That isn't always the case. Generally speaking, higher air pressure will increase the contact patch, as the tire doesn't roll over as much on the rim with more psi. But you will reach a point of diminishing returns.

Of course, it all depends on the tire, the car, the alignment, and so on. But for most cars, higher tire pressures = more grip.
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Old 11-11-2015, 07:36 PM   #12
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I am currently running Sumi HTR ZIII
225 f / 255 r in 17"
cold they are 31/33
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Old 11-12-2015, 03:24 AM   #13
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I am currently running Sumi HTR ZIII
225 f / 255 r in 17"
cold they are 31/33
Since racer boy agrees with your viewpoint I would try it on the next autox. Keep the rear at 37 and keep raising the tire pressure on the front as much as you can so you get full contact patch surface area. You can use a chalk or paint and mark the sides of the tire. If you feel more under steer keep your front at 33/34 and raise your rear as much as you can to keep your full contact patch area. Post back with results.
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Old 11-12-2015, 02:39 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by j.fro View Post
I'm glad to see more AX folks on here! My 2000 986 S is set up for SCCA F Prepared and PCA Improved 04 (that might be a bit off). Stock 3.2 internals, but otherwise very modded. A word to AX newcomers (vets know and understand): autocrossing is addictive, like crack cocaine. The lengths we'll go to for a win or to shave hundredths of a second are nuts


Here's an FTD run at one of this year's Shenandoah regional AX events:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Loh1FPDcQ1k
This year has been the first year for me to use a video camera, and I've used it to help identify areas where I can make small improvements such improving car position on course.

This year I've also made the switch to Hoosier A7s (F 245 35 18/ R275 30 18) from Nitto NT01 tires (same specs, haha) and I've been chasing an understeer problem.
I'd love to see what alignment/ setup specs others are using. My car is 2630#; I add another 150ish.

With the Nittos, my specs were:
Front, zero toe, -3.2 camber, 32PSI, stock sway bar, KSport coilovers w/6K springs
Rear 3mm total toe, -3.2 camber, 34PSI, no sway bar, KSport w/ 8.7K

With the Hoosiers:
Front, zero toe, -3.4 camber, 34PSI, stock sway bar, KSport coilovers w/6K springs
Rear 3mm total toe, -3.2 camber, 36PSI, stock sway bar, KSport w/ 8.7K

Any thoughts on my setup or understeer issues??
Quick lap J.Fro

I am mostly a track guy but do AX a bit in SoCal. If you are running FTD maybe you should be giving the rest of us AX tips.

RE: setup and understeer, I am not sure what springs you are on as mine are rated in lbs. As you know, A7s generate a lot of lateral G so you need more stiff and roll control to make the most of them. I would also look at corner weights and F/R rake. Sometimes raising the rear 10mm moves static weight forward and creates more grip where you need it most in AX. Worth a look.

Keep banging the cones and making that 986 look good on the right coast!
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:40 AM   #15
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I'm a pretty good road racer, but I really struggled at the Pocono Solo a few weeks ago, like 5 Seconds off the pace IIRC. It's was only my 2nd Solo, and I had the most trouble with slalom cones. My car has stone stock alignment, and Pilot Super Sports, which really aren't the hot ticket. How much time am I losing in tires and alignment ?
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Old 11-13-2015, 06:05 PM   #16
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I'm a pretty good road racer, but I really struggled at the Pocono Solo a few weeks ago, like 5 Seconds off the pace IIRC. It's was only my 2nd Solo, and I had the most trouble with slalom cones. My car has stone stock alignment, and Pilot Super Sports, which really aren't the hot ticket. How much time am I losing in tires and alignment ?
Going from all season to bridgestone potenza 71r's plus alignment its gonna be a 3-4 second faster.
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Old 11-14-2015, 02:11 AM   #17
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Thanks, though the Super Sports aren't an all-season, but a very good Summer street tire. So possibly a bit less than 3-4 Seconds ?
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:19 AM   #18
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The Super Sports are a 300 tread wear tire. If you went to a 200 like the Dunlop Star Specs, you'd pick up a couple of seconds and the car would feel noticeably more glued down. BTW, 200 tread wear is the minimum for cars in SCCA street classes, and a few manufacturers have tires aimed specifically at this rating.
Watch for a test n tune or AX school and you can get some slalom practice. You really have to get set up right for a slalom from whatever is before it. If you get behind on the initial cone you're screwed for the whole thing.
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Old 11-14-2015, 12:55 PM   #19
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An AX school would be great, one of my problems is I'm not sure how close I'm cutting the cones. I think I'm leaving too much room, since all but 1 of my runs were clean. I'll never be truly competitive, because I don't want to burn through expensive "R-comp" tires with aggressive alignment settings. I want my car to stay primarily a street cruiser. I missed the 200 treadwear minimum when I read the rules.
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Old 11-14-2015, 01:57 PM   #20
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I'm a pretty good road racer, but I really struggled at the Pocono Solo a few weeks ago, like 5 Seconds off the pace IIRC. It's was only my 2nd Solo, and I had the most trouble with slalom cones. My car has stone stock alignment, and Pilot Super Sports, which really aren't the hot ticket. How much time am I losing in tires and alignment ?
More seat time would probably help a lot. Properly "attacking" a slalom is not an easy thing to get right, especially if the cones are not spaced equally. It is a rhythm thing that involves using the throttle, steering, and in extreme cases the brakes; you only learn with practice. Since this is only your second autocross, don't beat yourself up over it!

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