2014 Mid-Season Report

Now that I’ve had some time to digest nationals and the rest of the season, thought I’d jot down some notes about how Nationals went & moving forward.

Where I am comparatively:

  • 12th of 18 from Nationals
  • 2/3rds through my first/second “real” season of autox, I’m still far off pace. http://sololive.scca.com/HS.html
  • From my Nationals “Pregame,” I should have been about 6s off pace of the #1 driver, G. Reno. – I was 7s off pace. I particularly struggled on the East Course, and interestingly a lot of people from my region did. We just don’t have much experience with that style of course,
  • Interestingly, from the same post I guesttimated that the closest driver I would be closest to was M. Hill, by about 1.4s. He was indeed who was closest, me being slower by about 1.1s.

Where I am in driving:

  • By my most recent videos, I see some of them and think, “not bad.” There are always places I can get closer to, etc. but overall, the line seems to be “not bad.”
  • Thankfully, when I rewatch some of my older videos, I see how bad some of the lines are. Even midway through the season, I looked at some of the videos and thought they were decent runs.
  • Still a bit to improve in line, and a lot to improve in input. I just don’t know how to be fast yet – whether I should carry speed in or brake and accelerate out, how much speed I can carry, how much I need to slow down to take a corner, exactly where the car is being placed & what it can fit through, etc. Some of this will probably just come with time. I don’t daily drive the car, but maybe I need to start
  • I will probably do some “Project Drivers” on specific elements, such as slaloms, etc. to help analyze my driving and see where I can improve
  • Braking needs to be looked at. Smoother braking, and I think I can do with less on most corners. Some corners, still not braking enough too.

The car itself is set as far as setup goes. I don’t want to get a noisy aftermarket catback exhaust, and otherwise the suspension is set. Maybe a drop-in filter just because I can, but it won’t change anything power-wise. I’m happy with the tire choice – initially I was worried it would be too short for nationals, but I never encountered the rev limiter, even on the faster East Course – though that may have been my driving.

I went into nationals hoping not to be dead last, which I accomplished, but I’m neither encouraged nor too discouraged by my results. A lot of wondering if I would ever get to the high level some of these drivers are at, but I think I can do it if I continue to put in the time. A small part of me wants to give it up, maybe start from scratch in something else, the rest of me wants to push forward. St Louis region class championship is a lock, and I’m going to make an effort to win the Chicago one. I have to make Events 6, 7, and 8 to do so, and I have to win by a margin of at least 0.5s against a guy who has fairly consistently beaten me – though that was 3 months ago. It will be a good test of where I am, and if I have improved any/the setup is faster.

Other than that, about 10 more events left out of a ~30 event season. Looking forward to wrapping up the season with some mini-successes!

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