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Old 08-24-2006, 05:39 PM   #1
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Default AutoCross Checklist (FAQ)

Let's create a thread for AutoCross n00bs.
Note: This thread is a collaborative effort, I can't possibly answer all of these on my own. Thank you to everyone that contributes.

Important Links:
SCCA Solo - http://www.scca.org/Solo
2006 Solo Rule book - http://www.scca.org/_FileLibrary/Fil...solo_rules.pdf
SCCA Solo categories - http://www.scca.com/_filelibrary/Fil...categories.pdf
Autocross.com - http://www.autocross.com/
AutoCross FAQ - http://www.sfrscca.org/solo2/faq/ (a bit outdated)
AutoCross Forum - http://www.autocrossforum.com/forums/
AutoCross Do's and Don'ts - http://www.sfrscca.org/solo2/faq/etiq.htm
what is allowed in stock and real world results on a dyno - http://www.grmotorsports.com/news/03...ompetition.php
tons more info can be found here http://www.moutons.org/sccasolo/

What is AutoCross?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autocross

What do I need to bring to an AutoCross event?
-Helmet (most organizations will have one to borrow if you don't have one).
-Tools - I have extra brake fluid, and extra oil. As far as tools I take my oil cap wrench, a few different metric sockets and wrenches, 6-15mm. And my repair manuals. I've yet to have a problem where I needed to use any of it. Jack stands, and the stock BMW jack. I don't want to carry around my 3-ton hydraulic jack. Our local BMWCCA also recommends bring extra oil filter and extra spark plugs. Not sure why... I've not had a breakdown where I needed any of the tools.
http://www.sfrscca.org/solo2/faq/chek.htm

What should I check before my run?
All fuilds, especially oil.
Clean out all the way.
Suspension components.
Tire pressures about 40 psi. That way you can move them down as you see fit.
Chalk the tires.
Check under the car to make sure nothing is hanging down.
Make sure that you have had enough to eat and drink.
Possibly tuck in the mirrors and remove rearview mirror.
Have gloves if you want.
Both hands on steering wheel.
Make sure your enigne is warmed up.

What should I expect at the event?
I don't know about all SCCA Solo2 events, but the ones around me require all racers to also work the track. So you have to be there at 8:30 for registration. Racing starts at 10am and usually takes 4-5 hours. You have to be there the entire time. If you are not out on the track working your assigned area they do not let you run your runs. So you basically end up standing around for 6-8 hours and racing for 5 minutes. I know the BMWCCA auto-x has assigned corner workers and you only need to be there for your run groups. One major reason I really don't care to much for the SCCA solo2 events I have been to so far.

Lots of sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and comfortable clothing are needed in the Florida heat. My first time out there was a novice group that did the tech inspections seperate from everybody else and also went over basic rules and what is considered unacceptable behavior. Burnouts, donuts, racing through the parking lot or other forms of wreckless driving results in instant expulsion from the event. I saw two tricked out honda's get booted from the last event I was at for doing burnouts.

What kind of helmet should I buy?
As for helmets I'd buy an SA2005 rated helmet. This way you know it will be allowed for atleast 5-6 more years. SA2000 or SA05 is fire rated, and what most driving schools/track days will require. I've seen some auto-x events where they say DOT motorcycle helmets are OK. But I'd go with something intended for car racing.

I have an MA2000 helmet it will be good at my local events for 10 years. A car racing helmet is fine and good, but I didn't feel the need to spend way more money than I had to.

Why do people but chalk marks on their tires?
Chalking the wheels is so you can see if the wheel is rolling over onto the sidewall. If it is you need to run more tire pressure

Should I turn off my traction control for the run?
Traction control should be turned off. Otherwise if that outside tire starts to slip a little bit it is going to cut your throttle. If you are familiar with your car you can use that little bit of wheel spin to your advantage and come out of the corner a lot faster than you could if the TC cuts throttle.

How does adjusting tire pressure make me faster?
Tire pressure recommendations seems to be in the 35-40PSI range cold.

For Tires: As stated, start at 40 PSI or so all around and adjust as you feel fit (so far I like 40F/38R with my 225/50R16 Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3s). Lower front tire pressures to increase under-steer and lower rear tire pressures to increase over-steer as a general rule, this has to do with the slip angles of the tires. The lower the pressure in the rear tires, the higher the slip angle. This actually allows the rear tires to help turn a little bit causing over-steer. If I make a left turn, the softer the rear tires the more they will try to keep going straight, the same principle as a 4 wheel steering car just with a much smaller effect. This wasn't intuitive to me at first; I figured it would be the reverse as I figured a harder rear tire would be inclined to slide out, which isn't the case.

Slip Angle: The difference in angle between the straight line of the tires and the direction it is actually going, i.e. it is like you are standing straight, but twist at your legs to the left or right. The difference between where you eyes are looking and your feet are pointing is similar to the slip angle of a tire. It is the twist in the tread. Lower tire pressures allow a higher slip angle. (correct me if I am wrong anyone)

What class does a bone stock 318ti run in?

A bone stock ti competes in G stock.

What modifications are legal in the stock class?
As a rough guide, if your car has modifications beyond this list it is not eligible for Stock Category:
Anything available on the exact model and year of your car as standard or optional equipment, as installed on the factory assembly line (nothing available only dealer-installed is allowed), plus
Standard OEM identical replacement parts
Accessories, gauges, appearance, comfort, and convenience items (not replacement driver's seat, though) that basically don't help
Added roll bar or roll cage to spec (not required, though)
Driver harness (no cutting seats to install, though)
Trailer hitch and/or tow bar mountings
Any wheel of diameter and width identical to a stock or factory optional wheel, offset within +- 0.25 inch
Most street legal tires that will fit the mounted wheels and stock bodywork
Any shock absorber of the same type and mounting as original; no change to standard spring mountings is allowed; suspension geometry may not be altered; gas or hydraulic shocks are permitted
Any brake linings; pre-1992 cars may use solid/braided metal brake lines.
Any front anti-roll bar (no change to stock/optional rear anti-roll bar, if present)
Manufacturer specified ignition settings only
Any replacement air filter element (or removal of air filter element); no plumbing changes, however
Engine bored no more than .020"; no balancing or porting/polishing of head
Replacement of any part of the exhaust system past the catalytic converter (if quiet)
Any oil filter
Added clutch scattershield


What happens at tech check-in? What do they look at?

The few events that I went to they checked if the battery was in place and not moving around, checked if the wheel was tight when locked (when the car is off). he opened up the hood and then looked around a little to see the condition of everything and thats it as far as the engine goes. then he just did your normal walk around to see if everything is on tight and looked at the tires brefiely and said ok and gave me a sticker. It was real basic. I heard that at bmw events they do much more detailed checks but at scca events it is real quick and not indepth.

Post your suggestions/answers/questions!
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Old 04-14-2010, 06:06 PM   #2
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how well does a stock 318 compete in G stock?
what are good autocross alignment settings?
what is the best front rollbar to use?
what size tires are the best and what size wheels? might use hoosier a6 or kumho v710.
thanks.
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Old 04-16-2010, 03:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2MCHPWR View Post
how well does a stock 318 compete in G stock?
Probably not all that well. You might do okay locally, but it's pretty out gunned in G-stock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2MCHPWR View Post
what are good autocross alignment settings?
If stock, there isn't much you can do other than toe. In the higher classes, to be vague, as much negative front camber as you can get and a little toe out in front.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2MCHPWR View Post
what is the best front rollbar to use?
The biggest you can get (in order to keep as much negative camber in the front as possible).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2MCHPWR View Post
what size tires are the best and what size wheels? might use hoosier a6 or kumho v710.
If stock class, you're limited to what wheel size came stock for your year/model. Moving up from there, I like the 17x8.9/9 with a 245 tire. Hoosiers have more grip than V710s, but V710s will last longer. If you're just starting out, I'd suggest a competent set of street tires, like the Star Specs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2MCHPWR View Post
thanks.
You're welcome.
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:12 PM   #4
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I wish I would have seen this sooner, but hopefully it will help someone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2MCHPWR View Post
how well does a stock 318 compete in G stock?
With the mini cooper s no longer in the class, the chances are significantly better. However, the STR-4 Neon is in GS and would be tough to beat. A fellow in the Cincinnati region SCCA campaigned a 95 clubsport 318ti in GS for several years with good sucess, even nationally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2MCHPWR View Post
what are good autocross alignment settings?
Gimp is correct that you want as much camber as you can get. The aforementioned guy from Cincy informed me of a replacement bolt for the struts that is stock class legal that will give a bit more camber.

I run 0 toe in the front as a compromise for the street. A little toe out helps turn in, but too much can ruin tires when driving for long distances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2MCHPWR View Post
what is the best front rollbar to use?
Typically stiffer is better in the front. I'm running the 28mm eibach on the softer of the two settings. I'm running the matching rear eibach bar on the softest setting in the rear. I like the balance on grippier surfaces. On asphalt it doesn't rotate quite enough.

More front roll stiffnest is good up until a certain point. There's a line where the additional front roll stiffness will lead to understeer. If you do get aftermarket sway bars, make sure you check them for binding when you install them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2MCHPWR View Post
what size tires are the best and what size wheels? might use hoosier a6 or kumho v710.
This question really depends on what class you intend to run. In stock, the A6 is king. The v710 is nearly as good, but lasts a good bit longer. If you are relatively new to autocross, I'd second gimp's recommendation of getting a good set of street tires (star specs, re-11's, kumho xs, falken 615's, etc). They'll last much longer and give you better feedback on your driving (the won't mask mistakes as much). They also won't get ruined as easily by driving mistakes.

For stock class, the 225/50/16 is a good inexpensive size. If you have 15x7 rims, a 205/50/15 is a popular size. Some manufacturers make a 225/45/15.

One issue I've experience with tire size is that it can significantly impact the top speed in 2nd gear. I run a relatively short tire - about 23" tall - and 2nd gear tops out at about 47mph. I routinely hit the rev limiter in 2nd on long slaloms and short straights after fast corners. Needing to shift to 3rd happens on occasion. A taller 25" tire, like the 225/50/16, would help quite a bit in that regard.
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:35 PM   #5
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I am thinking to run in G stock next season after I wrap up this season in GS-N.

My car is a '95 Sport with 15x7s, do you guys see any advantage in switching to the ClubSport 16" wheels and am I correct in thinking I will need to switch mirrors, bumper, and get a small case LSD to meet the lettter of G-stock rules if I do switch to the 16" CS wheels?

Also I think the crash bolts need to have a BMW TSB # to be totally legit for G-stock, and finally isn't the Eibach rear sway mentioned in the last post pushing you out of G-stock?
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:53 PM   #6
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Yes, you would need to convert the entire package over. I don't see an advantage to the 16" wheels unless you need taller gearing. With the 15's, both the wheels and tires will be lighter. The LSD would be the biggest help in that conversion.

Yes, the crash bolts would have to be specified as a standard repair practice in a BMW manual. Sometimes they come in the form of a TSB, but I don't think it would have to be. As long as it is an approved BMW method of alignment correction, I believe they are legal.

You are correct that changing the rear bar bumps me out of GS. Due to that and several other modifications, I run STX. My comment about balance with the rear bar was merely for a data point.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:46 PM   #7
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Thanks for the information!

I hadn't realized STX was an option, I'd be curious to hear about everything you have done with your car in that class.

My thinking was either G-Stock, or FSP...looking at the rules more closely I guess STS and STX would be other options too.
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:25 PM   #8
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Since this is a sticky thread, I'll start out with a list of SCCA classes the 318ti is elgible to run:

-G Stock (GS)
-Street Touring (ST)
-Street Touring Extreme (STX)
-F Street Prepared (FSP)
-Street Modified (SM)
-E Prepared (EP)
-X Prepared (XP)
-E Modified (EM)
-D Modified (DM)

To figure out which class you belong in, you just need to read the rules on the prep levels that can be found on SCCA's website.

The basic outline of the prep levels is:

Stock: Front sway bar and shocks are open, tires must be DOT approved. Wheels can be changed but must be stock size and offset.

Street Touring (ST or STX): Springs, swaybars (front and rear), shocks, and wheels can all be changed. Body kits are allowed and currently a rear wing can be used (that might change). Tires can be up to 225 mm wide for ST or 265mm for STX and rims can be a max of (7.5" for ST, 9" for STX) wide. Wheel diameter is open. Tires must have a treadwear rating of 140 or higher in addition to DOT approval. Fenders lips can be rolled flat, but the outer profile of the fender cannot be altered. Limited slip differentials are not allowed in ST, but are allowed in STX. Cold air intake is allowed and exhaust is open, but must use catalytic converters in the factory locations. Seats are open but must weight 25 lbs.

Street Prepared: Suspension is even more open, wheel and tire size is completely open, tires must only be DOT approved. Exhaust is open, intake manifold and fuel delivery is open, flywheel and clutch may be changed. Differential is open but gear ratio must be factory available. Seats are open.

Street Modified: Interior must be intact, but seats are open and back seats can be removed. Motor is open and swaps are allowed if from same make. F/I can be used. Same wheel/tire rules as SP. Body panels can be replaced with lightweight units.

Prepared: Gutted track car. Some restrictions on engine work. Some restrictions on weight and wheel/tire sizes. Tires need not be DOT approved.

Modified: Based on displacement and weight. (almost) Anything goes!

The above is by no means all inclusive and there are some exceptions from what is posted above, but it should give you a good idea of where your car should be classes. For the final authority on SCCA classing and rules, consult the official rule book at SCCA.
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiponator View Post
Thanks for the information!

I hadn't realized STX was an option, I'd be curious to hear about everything you have done with your car in that class.
ST (formerly STS) and STX are both options for the 318ti in the street touring classes. STS (formerly STS2) is for 2 seater cars.


I run STX instead of ST due having a limited slip from a club sport. That bumps me out of ST. I'm only running 205mm tires at the moment (205/45/16 re-01's), but I've been able to be competitive locally in STX despite the narrow tires. I'd like to run 245 or 255mm tires all the way around, but that's not in the cards for this season.

I have the ground control coil over kit with koni yellow shocks and 375f/475r spring rates. I'm using the eibach sway bars with the rear set to full soft and the front set to the softer of the two settings (due to endlink bind in the front). If you want more info about my setup, (alignment and such) feel free to send me a pm.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiponator View Post
My thinking was either G-Stock, or FSP...looking at the rules more closely I guess STS and STX would be other options too.
FSP is not a bad choice but similar to GS, I don't think a 318ti can be competitive on a national level. The EG civic with an si engine will have nearly as much power (perhaps more?) as a ti, but it weighs significantly less. Again, it would be a good class locally.


I like the ST* classes for a few different reasons -
1. The best tires for the class are affordable and last much longer than R-compound tires. You can also drive to the events on these tires (unlike r-comps).
2. Typically there are more cars in these classes, giving more competition to run against, even if you aren't the fastest car in the class
3. Class permits fun, relatively cheap modifications to improve handling and car balance. Setups can be adjusted to suit driving style. Cars can be competitive without being un-streetable.

If your local region as a "Road Tire" indexed class, where you can run any non-ST* class you like, but compete on PAX index using the Street Touring tire rules, I would probably prefer to run in that class on the FSP index. That might be a better fit than running against 89 civic si's in ST or RX8's, 325/8's, and WRX's in STX.

It would be really cool if there was a class where the 318ti could defintely be competitive, but unfortunately, I don't think there is. Perhaps SM, but that class is very expensive to prep to the limits of the rules.

Happy auto-xing!
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Old 08-14-2018, 04:17 PM   #10
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I know this is a super, super old thread, but the 318ti is now in H Street, not G Street.
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Old 11-16-2018, 07:06 AM   #11
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Question about what group to join to learn how to race my car ?
So Iím interested in joining a group to learn about racing and drive on a race track. I live in the Seattle area.
Question is should I join the SCCA or the BMW Car club of America ? Based on the description above I guess my car would be a street modified class. It was built as a instruction car by a amateur race car driver. Iím mostly looking to drive my car on a track and meet fellow car people. Iím not looking to spend a ton of money on competition stuff, just showing off.
What kind of helmet will I need ?
Thanks so much in advance


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