Advanced AutoX Drivers School – Rantoul

Event 3 was Rantoul’s annual driver’s school, the first of CCSCC’s that I have ever attended. Overall, the event was very well run and very well organized, and I think the students and instructors were paired up well. I was paired up with my codriver from the 3/29 Rantoul event, so we were able to pick up right where we left off last week. It started out as a fairly brisk day, somewhere in the high 30s and warmed up as the day went on. The concrete at Rantoul is great for the practice but I can’t help but to think it must really be chewing through my tires. That said, we were all able to get anywhere from 15-20 runs, so that’s probably a good part of it 🙂 Regardless, I had a number of instructors ride along with me, give me tips, etc.

I thought the course was fairly challenging, and I think it was designed that way. The most difficult element started the day in the mid to high 58.x’s, and eventually worked my way down to high 57.x’s to low 58.x’s – with one magic lap of a 57.4. My instructors were able to hop in and basically nail it within a lap or two. Completely expected, and not too discouraging, except for one bit – it seems like all of my instructors are able to really get a lot out of especially the front end of the car – the R56HS Mini just seems to hook up better with them driving, or “obey” their commands better. Two prevailing theories of why this is happening: one which was explained was that they are doing a better job “finding” the grip, or more like hunting for it, straightening out if they lose it – i don’t think that’s necessarily it based on the nature of where I was experiencing the difference. I THINK what is happening is that they are turning in/turning the steering wheel slower, and it’s less of a shock to the balance, and the car is naturally able to catch that grip and give that “on rails” feeling, where I am just kind of middling/understeering through. Probably also a combination of me needing to turn in slower. I think the part about the MINI being a “momentum” car sometimes confuses me with the fact that I still need to brake and slow down the car, not just try to “fling and catch” it through a corner. Anyway, the point is, I need to turn the steering wheel slower.

I can’t say that I improved a lot over the course of this event, which is somewhat of a disappointment. However, I think the things I need to be working on are more of a seat time thing still, not so much of a instructor correcting it kind of thing. I just need to consciously be working on a few things: namely, line and input.

The last note is that I need to fix my alignment. I had a shop do the alignment on the 28th, and it turned out to be terrible – so I went back on 4/4 and told them to fix it – and they made it worse. I’m getting a solid amount of positive rear toe on both sides, and I think getting that to zero will go a long way. The general consensus from my instructors was that it could be a touuuuch more towards the oversteer side. I’ll give SPS a call on Monday or Tuesday. Got about 39 runs so far this year – more like 50-55 on the tires considering codrivers, instructors etc… I am really running through these tires. So it’s for sure that I’ll go through a set of tires before the end of this year, question is how soon I’ll need them. I think running on asphalt will be a lot kinder to the tires, so we’ll see.

Update: Well my camera died early on in this session, which I discovered I had taken some very long videos by accident. I found one video, very early in the session, and I was able to figure out something regarding what I need to improve/difference between my instructors, so I’m happy about that and eager to fix it. Pardon the sound. Still working on a solution for the wind noise.

Run Count: 39

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