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This was after Sunday's event. Great guy. Super nice, very knowledgable. He typically drives a 2006 Mini Cooper-S in SM and dominates. So. . here's his thoughts on me and the car. Maybe it can be a bit of help to others as well.

It was nice to meet you in person today Bob.  Same for your family.  Thanks for the ride, I enjoyed it.  I hope you had fun at Walesboro, and will come back down to hoan your skills some more.  I expect you to smoke Will at the next event, and the Neon before the end of the season!

Some car setup suggestions, though they might not make sense financially or be in line with what you want to do with the Elantra:

Tires - Sizes - 205/45-16 currently, sizes worth considering would be 215/45-16, 225/45-16 and 205/45-16, and 205/50-16 in that order, trying to maximize width without giving up gearing.  I wouldn't go any shorter than 205/45-16, but that seemed to work pretty well.  I was within 100rpm (or less) of redline in 2nd going through the finish lights, and also approaching the garage after the pin turn today.  I would probably avoid 225/50-16 or 205/55-16 as you'll lose to much acceleration.  Get the stickiest thing that fits your budget in one of those above sizes.  The Falken 615 Azenis (215/45) are great, as are the new Bridgestone RE-01R (205/45).  Next tier in appropriate sizes would be Hankook R-S212 (225/45 or 205/50).

Camber plates, or camber bolts, whatever will help you get some more negative camber up front.  You can run up to around -2degs without getting into wear issues with lots of street miles.  I run -2.4deg up front, -1.8deg rear, every day, 100 miles a day.  The additional camber would really help grip in the corners.  As you already know, toe does a lot more damage to the tires on the street than camber does.

Swaybars.  The car balance felt pretty good as is, so I would be inclined to increase both the front and rear bar sizes.  As we discussed, putting in poly bushings with your current swaybars on each end would also help, though obviously to a lesser degree.  This should be pretty simple and pretty cost effective, and again would help speed response in transitions and grip in corners.

Brake pads - don't know what you're running, but I've had great results using Porterfield R4-S pads.  Low dust and noise, good bite, no fade autocrossing.

Springs/shocks - very subjective, but you could probably go a little stiffer without screwing up the ride and that would also help in braking and cornering.  Obviously, you've already got aftermarket springs on and I know it's really frustrating to spend more money to replace what you've already bought.  Given ride and $ considerations, swaybars might be more logical.  Both will make the car faster.  I haven't used them personally, but I'm hearing really good things about the Koni FSD shocks for improved handling with good ride characteristics.  I don't know if they make them for the Elantra yet.

Driving reminders - SMOOTH steering and pedal application!  Think hard about where to shift gears, and shift early or late if need be to try and make the shift when you would already be lifting out of the throttle anway.  Take full advantage of the maximum engine speed in 1st, but don't be afraid to short-shift it to second if that coincides with a turn that you have to lift for.  Keep it slow and really tight on pin turns, and roll onto the gas as you get past the halfway point of the turn if possible.  Get back into the gas as early as possible coming out of garages and turns, though that might require rolling onto the gas instead of hammering it.  Look for advantages when lining up at the start, trying to make as straight a line as possible to the first place you HAVE to turn the car.  Turn in a little earlier in slaloms, and focus on moving the steering wheel slower but sooner to smooth out the transitions.  You should be trying to run over the back side of the cones in slaloms, so that means when you cross the center axis of the slalom you should already be turning the wheel back for the next cone. 

Look for important elements, and adjust your line to take maximize your speed where it counts.  Using today's course as an example, coming back through the funky slalom near the trailer was a key point.  If you exited the element in the right place you could carry 100% throttle all the way down to the entry to the last slalom, which was a long, long way in an autocross.  Thus it was worth it to give up a tiny bit of speed two gates prior to the slalom to help make sure you could get through that key slalom before the trailer in good shape.

Most of all, remember that the car will go faster than you think it can, IF you can maximize the available grip by selecting good lines and making smooth input into the controls.  Don't force it by diving into corners more aggressively, as that will only chew up tires and slow you down, not to mention frustrate you when the times don't improve and you cone.  Smoothness and car placement are key. 

Thank you for posting this Bob! It is an awesome critique... just awesome. You are very lucky to have somebody like that take you under their wing. And to write it all up... well Kudos to Scott too... seems to be a real classy guy.

Godd luck with your next event, and have fun.
Indeed, very cool guy for providing constructive criticism and useful information. I'm sure much of that info can be used by some of us who don't have plans on ever running autox...
That's a great write up, I'm sure many of us can use info in there. What a generous person to take time to actually write up his thoughts, stay in his good books Bob!! lol
Thanks for posting that. Lots of great information and points to ponder thumbsup.gif
The course last Sunday had a pinwheel at the end. I watched car after car try to carry speed down there and end up in te grass or so far off their intended line it wasn't even funny. I had been instructed before hand to stand on the brakes, slow it way down, keep it tight and accelerate like a mother out of it. It's a slow turn. You're gonna be going slow whether you want to or not, so you might as well go the shorter distance.

Great fun!
I also realized that My right foot knows "On" and "Off". . . not much middle ground with me. Gotta work on that.
Lots of good information there. And I've said before that I think the Elantra could benefit from a stiffer front sway bar. I believe that you could still obtain a good balance with big front & rear sway bars if you use the right combination of damping, spring rates, alignment, and tire pressures. I think the advantage of cornering speed you'll see with the sway bars should outweigh the potential problems putting power down through corner exits.

I also realized that My right foot knows "On" and "Off". . . not much middle ground with me. Gotta work on that.

The whole throttle control issue is almost masked when driving the Elantra. I don't know how much improvement you'll really see with smoother throttle application but obviously the bad habit becomes more apparent in high-powered vehicles... like my brother's Z06. ohmy.gif
Steve, drive with a 205/45/16 tire and you'll know quickly when you f'd up. basically changing my final drive from the daily driven 3.40 to a 3.90.

But yes, it's not a huge improvement on track times, but it all ties into being smoother.
What a nice jesture to take the time to think out and write all of that!!

Speaking of camber plates as he did.... does that take us out of STS and who makes them for our cars? confused-scratchhead3.gif
K-sprt has them and as long as they do not require modification to the upper holes and mounting location they are legal. Me being cheap, I'll probably just put in some camber bolts.
OK, Bob; I'll bite...who sells camber bolts confused-scratchhead3.gif

Thank you kind sir
QUOTE (Bobzilla @ Aug 7 2007, 03:07 PM)
Steve, drive with a 205/45/16 tire and you'll know quickly when you f'd up.  basically changing my final drive from the daily driven 3.40 to a 3.90. 

But yes, it's not a huge improvement on track times, but it all ties into being smoother.

For sure, yeah. I did in fact burn rubber driving out of some of the tighter corners when driving the Elantra. So I'm sure there's some improvement to be had if you're smoother on the throttle.

Slalom speed was and still is my biggest weakness though. This fact was a big eye opener for me this year. I'm typically 3 to 5 seconds slower than the leaders and I bet 2 seconds of that is probably due to my slalom speed.
He actually has an entire paragraph on that!
I noticed that. I wish I had a big parking lot at my disposal to practice slaloms.

One thing Tommy Saunders always tells us is to count our steps between slalom cones when we're walking the course. He says it's important to remember cone spacing so you have an idea of how fast you can take the slalom before you even reach it. I haven't done this in the past but I think I need to start doing it. That way I'll be setting a benchmark speed for myself for a given cone spacing and if I don't meet that benchmark at a particular event, I should try to take the slalom even tighter until I do.
This weekend was the first time I did (partly) this. My co-driver was also course designer so he let me in on the secret. The cones got consecutively wider. So once you made the second transition you could put the hammer down through the last 4.
I saw no constructive criticism, just great advice from a true car enthusiast. He shows respect with a friendly demeanor, but most important, he is a great mentor. I hope to be half as good when I grow up...

The first part about the suspension makes me happy I chose the direction I did with my car. The 225s makes a huge difference over the 205s, plus using high performance summers adds even more. With the 15" rims my diameter is only 3/8" shorter than stock. Something people should think about when spending money and the return of the investment. If you spend $1000, how much of a time reduction do you want? Just some things to maul over when you go shopping.

The second part on driving around the course, I have no clue, but obviously he does. Some day I have to try making it an event smile.gif

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