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Old 05-29-2007, 04:49 PM   #1
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Autocross monster?

I'm in my second year of autocrossing Nicole (02 Boxster S) and am considering the future modifications I'd like to do to the car to make it a handling maniac. I'm happy with the power as I don't see too many people with huge HP winning the events I've been to. My goal would be to modify the suspension to make it corner that much better. Yes, I know it will bump me a class but I'm not terribly concerned about that.

So... the question at hand is what would you recommend to make my 02 S an autocross monster? Coilovers? Lowering springs and dampers? Strut braces? Lower stress bar? Change out of sway bars? Other stuff?

The way I drive has the car handling very neutral which I like a lot, but I would like to maintain more speed through the corners before either end cuts loose.

I like the idea of the ROW 030 kit but I'm not sure how it compares to my current suspension or a coilover setup? The reason I like it is the kit takes the guesswork out of it because it was tuned by Porsche. Thoughts?

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Old 05-29-2007, 05:35 PM   #2
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Another edict of racing is "How fast you want to go? Well.. how much are you going to spend".

Adjustable Coilovers are an excellent start (and luckily lots of options that range from PSS9s ($2000) to .. welll.. seriously LOTS of money possible here.

Sway bars too (adjustable GT3 front bar is a popular option)

Lightweight rims and tires (think big enough for 245's all around or staggered at 245/275 front rear. IMHO the boxster needs nice big fronts to help dial out understeer.

Tires.. Top time of day is HOOSIER. Next, Khumo V710s.. then, it seems pretty well split based on driver/car skills with Toyo RA-1s, Victoracers (if you can find your sizes) and maybe the new Nittos.

4 wheel competition alignment

Ok. Now that we've just spent about $5-8K dollars to go faster some other questions:

1) How often do you autocross?
2) What clubs do you run with?
3a) How is your car currenlty prepared? Are you already winning your class? What have others in you class changed to their cars?
3b) If you are winning your class, how close are you to FTD? (IMHO, even a base boxster, well driven is a top 10 car, maybe even FTD.
3c) If you haven't been to an SCCA Tour event, GO. It will humble you. Even the most well prepared BASE Boxster, on Hoosiers (allowed) and sway bars (allowed) will be incredibly quick.

Mostly what I am asking is, do you think the Mods are the only thing keeping you from being faster or, realistically, would the money be better spent on the DRIVER skills being further developed and only a few mods to the car.
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Old 05-29-2007, 07:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racer_d
Another edict of racing is "How fast you want to go? Well.. how much are you going to spend".

Adjustable Coilovers are an excellent start (and luckily lots of options that range from PSS9s ($2000) to .. welll.. seriously LOTS of money possible here.

Sway bars too (adjustable GT3 front bar is a popular option)

Lightweight rims and tires (think big enough for 245's all around or staggered at 245/275 front rear. IMHO the boxster needs nice big fronts to help dial out understeer.

Tires.. Top time of day is HOOSIER. Next, Khumo V710s.. then, it seems pretty well split based on driver/car skills with Toyo RA-1s, Victoracers (if you can find your sizes) and maybe the new Nittos.

4 wheel competition alignment

Ok. Now that we've just spent about $5-8K dollars to go faster some other questions:

1) How often do you autocross?
2) What clubs do you run with?
3a) How is your car currenlty prepared? Are you already winning your class? What have others in you class changed to their cars?
3b) If you are winning your class, how close are you to FTD? (IMHO, even a base boxster, well driven is a top 10 car, maybe even FTD.
3c) If you haven't been to an SCCA Tour event, GO. It will humble you. Even the most well prepared BASE Boxster, on Hoosiers (allowed) and sway bars (allowed) will be incredibly quick.

Mostly what I am asking is, do you think the Mods are the only thing keeping you from being faster or, realistically, would the money be better spent on the DRIVER skills being further developed and only a few mods to the car.
Your comments are much appreciated and I'm sure you share my sentiment that there will never be the day that we can't improve upon our skills as a driver. Over the past few events I have had the pleasure of speaking with someone who has been autocrossing for 15+ years and says he is still learning. I most definitely do not think that mods are keeping me from being faster.

Regarding the mods, I don't have a definite goal other than to continue to become more competitive as I learn to drive better and tune my car to get the most out of it given my driving style. The FTD may happen someday but only because the shifter karts or the national champion in the 800 HP AWD Yugo stayed at home. There is always someone faster.

The coilovers make sense because I would like to lower it and have some adjustability in damping. Can I accomplish this in another way and maybe save a few bucks? I have no desire to adjust the ride height after it has been lowered a little but still want adjustability in damping?

I've read about the GT3 sway bar as well, but I'm a little concerned about throwing off the neutral handling that I like so well? Is this mod more valuable to the base Boxsters? Or does the adjustability allow for some other advantage?

Tire wise I run 17's (reduced weight and tire cost) with Victo's and so far so good. I'm thinking that when these wear out I'll be looking to increase the width both front and back. Probably won't go to Hoosier's for a while simply because I like to drive to the events.

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Old 05-30-2007, 03:01 AM   #4
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If I weren't constrained by stock-class rules, the first modification I would make is a limited-slip differential. No question. After that I'd do the coilovers.

I disagree with racer d on one point - I believe the Kumho is faster than the Hoosier. At least in our testing it has been. They are both good tires, but the Kumho lasts much longer. But I agree - I would move to a wider wheel especially in front. You can run an 8.5" wheel on the front of a Boxster.

After those heavy hitters, you can start doing some other smaller things - reducing weight, adding stress bars, etc. But in terms of bang for buck, the LSD is your best bet.
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Old 05-30-2007, 11:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John V
I disagree with racer d on one point - I believe the Kumho is faster than the Hoosier. At least in our testing it has been. They are both good tires, but the Kumho lasts much longer. But I agree - I would move to a wider wheel especially in front. You can run an 8.5" wheel on the front of a Boxster.
.
I don't disagree that the Khumo is much slower (than Hoosier) and I know many folks who like the stick and longevity vs the Hoosiers and who think they are better than Hoosiers, I just am not yet in that camp. Then again, I am sure like others, I have been quicker on RA-1s at times than others on either the Hooiser or Khumo.. Driver skill and basic vehicle prep also play into the equation.
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Old 05-30-2007, 03:03 PM   #6
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The ROW 030 is a great suspension because of the everyday drivability of it. It is very stiff yet is not jarring on bumpy roads and it lowers the center of gravity. I run Azenis RT-615 and thought they were a big improvement (especially racing on wet pavement)to the Kumho's that I had previosuly. Maybe next year I'll get some Hoosiers and see what the car can do with stickier rubber. I went with 225's on the front to balance out the understeer a bit. Strut tower braces are a good modification as they will add some rigidity and don't cost a lot.

John V, you seem pretty jazzed about the LSD. Can you elaborate on how it has improved the car? Just when I think I've done all I can something else comes along.
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Old 05-30-2007, 03:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve00s
The ROW 030 is a great suspension because of the everyday drivability of it. It is very stiff yet is not jarring on bumpy roads and it lowers the center of gravity. I run Azenis RT-615 and thought they were a big improvement (especially racing on wet pavement)to the Kumho's that I had previosuly. Maybe next year I'll get some Hoosiers and see what the car can do with stickier rubber. I went with 225's on the front to balance out the understeer a bit. Strut tower braces are a good modification as they will add some rigidity and don't cost a lot.

John V, you seem pretty jazzed about the LSD. Can you elaborate on how it has improved the car? Just when I think I've done all I can something else comes along.
How does the ROW 030 (is it M030?) differ from what I have on my S already? It sounds like a great suspension and reasonable price but not sure what is different than what I already have?
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Old 05-30-2007, 03:53 PM   #8
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Sammy:

Call Vertex and get the front strut tower braces. Tell them you saw them on eBay for that price and they will give it to you over the phone. It will make a huge difference. There are many old threads on this if you want to investigate further. Most people I know say start with tires but it sounds like you are all over that one already. Coilovers would be next if you are still hungry after that ( or should I say "adjustable coil overs"). There are some lower priced ones that cost about 1/2 of the PSS9's that are more than suffucient. Again search for past threads, at least 2 forum members have the lesser priced brands and are very happy with them. The Cross and PSS9's are awesome but are really geared for dedicated cars and people with corporate spnsors to pay for them.
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Old 05-30-2007, 05:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy
How does the ROW 030 (is it M030?) differ from what I have on my S already? It sounds like a great suspension and reasonable price but not sure what is different than what I already have?
I believe the only difference between US and ROW M030 is ride height. The ROW lowers the car another 1/2" or so from the US ride height. The spring rates and shock valvings are the same.
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve00s
John V, you seem pretty jazzed about the LSD. Can you elaborate on how it has improved the car? Just when I think I've done all I can something else comes along.
As I said, I don't have one. But it would be the first modification I would do.

The main problem I have experienced with my stock-class Boxster is not that it moves around too much or that it doesn't have enough negative camber - it's that it is rather difficult to put the power down without one tire going up in smoke. Certain courses are worse than others. An LSD would cure this - and the car would be more driveable and faster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by racer d
I don't disagree that the Khumo is much slower (than Hoosier) and I know many folks who like the stick and longevity vs the Hoosiers and who think they are better than Hoosiers, I just am not yet in that camp. Then again, I am sure like others, I have been quicker on RA-1s at times than others on either the Hooiser or Khumo.. Driver skill and basic vehicle prep also play into the equation.
The Kumho has been the dominant tire at Nationals for the past couple years - that should be pretty good indication that it's as fast or faster than the Hoosier.

If you're as quick on RA-1s as on the V710 or A6... the tire is obviously not the limiting factor. RA-1s and Victos are great tires, but not in the same league as the V710 / A6.
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:17 AM   #11
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Patrick, you already drive like a maniac, leave the thing alone.
every time we go you get the damn 1st place plaques, let me and nick get a shot at it
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:29 AM   #12
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RA-1 are heavvvy and aren't very good for Autocross, but still better than ole' street tires. And they are pricey, one crappy venue with rough pavement and you can shred those RA-1's in a hot day.

I'd avoid full coil overs if they are going to bump you up a class. If you aren't autocrossing I think coil overs are a great upgrade when it comes time to replace your worn out shocks and springs.

I'd get the Kuhmos and a GT3 seat with harness. You can swap between stock and GT3 in ten minutes. A drastic improvement, as one guy at my Autocross once said "they hold you in like a mo..fo.."
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Old 05-31-2007, 11:14 AM   #13
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PSS9's are the way to go if you want the best imo. Here is a link for a new set for under $1,800 http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/97-98-99-00-01-02-04-PSS9-PORSCHE-986-BILSTEIN-SHOCKS_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ33590QQihZ005QQi temZ150126336888QQrdZ1QQsspagenameZWDVW
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Old 05-31-2007, 01:03 PM   #14
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I would suggest some Type R badges as well as NOS and K&N stickers just aft of the front wheel well.
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Old 05-31-2007, 01:43 PM   #15
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theres a guy on ppbb that has a red type R badge on the back of his boxster
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:23 PM   #16
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Patrick, you already drive like a maniac, leave the thing alone.
every time we go you get the damn 1st place plaques, let me and nick get a shot at it
I think you and NickCats both know that there is a certain shifter kart, an awesome 911, and an AWD Yugo that I want to chase down.

Besides, if I bump a class that means you and NickCats can go head to head without worrying about my extra HP and R compounds giving me the advantage.

Who knows, I may never do anything to my car but I sure don't mind putting together a wishlist!
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Old 06-01-2007, 08:55 AM   #17
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dj,

Gotta agree with Sammy on this one...

We WANT him to upgrade and get him out of the A Stock class to give us a chance at a trophy !

Nick
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Old 06-01-2007, 10:19 AM   #18
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If you guys really want a challenge, sign up for the SCCA Milwaukee National Tour. My co-driver and I are signed up and can't wait for the long tow out there. I cut my teeth autocrossing in the Milwaukee region back in 1997-1999 and several of the country's top A Stock drivers (including the 1-2 finishers at Nats in 2006) will be competing at the Tour. Should be fun.

Hope to see some other Boxsters out there, even if not competing. Miller park isn't too much of a drive from Chi-town.
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Old 06-01-2007, 12:18 PM   #19
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If you guys really want a challenge, sign up for the SCCA Milwaukee National Tour. My co-driver and I are signed up and can't wait for the long tow out there. I cut my teeth autocrossing in the Milwaukee region back in 1997-1999 and several of the country's top A Stock drivers (including the 1-2 finishers at Nats in 2006) will be competing at the Tour. Should be fun.

Hope to see some other Boxsters out there, even if not competing. Miller park isn't too much of a drive from Chi-town.
John - Good luck at Devens! (at least I thougt it was your name for this weeks event )
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Old 06-01-2007, 12:59 PM   #20
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I've been winning A Stock in my '00 S lately. I seriously think I'm only a set of race tires away from competing for FTD.

I'd start any racing modifications with sticky DOT-legal race tires. They won't bump you into a harder class, and they'll give the car phenominal grip.

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