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Discussion Starter #1
I took the Evo School at California Speedway on Saturday. This was organised by our own Robert Puertas, who was also organizing the PSCC Practice day on the Saturday, and the Championship on the Sunday.

The Evolutions School (http://www.autocross.com/evolution/) takes place on a short course that uses some of the features more than once. The good thing about this is that it allows you to become familiar with the course quickly, and by careful positioning of the finishing lights, the couse is actually broken into five pieces allowing you to get split times for the different elements of the course.

This should allow you to figure out what are the good and bad ways to do each element specific to the car. How driving point and dart style compares to late and early apexes, etc. Unfortunately on saturday the timing equipment was out, which did take away from the whole thing. It was much more difficult to see how what you were doing was helping or hindering you.

The format of the day was 3 runs on your own to set a baseline, then 2 with you driving and an instructor in the passenger seat, then 2 with the instructer driving, then 2 with you driving and the insructor along, then 2 on your own up to lunch.

After lunch there was a repeat of the 2+2+2+2 laps with a different instructor, then 3 laps on your own to finish and compare your times to the start of the day.

The instructors themselves were excellent, very friendly and informal, but also national champions who knew who to drive you car the moment they got into it.

Well almost. After my first instructor (who shall remain nameless) managed to demolish 6 cones on his first run, I gently pointed out to him that the rear track of the elise is wider than the front, and he needed to give the cones a little more room. Having said that, his second run was the fastest of the day.

The big goal of day one is to get you looking ahead. I know that everyone at an autocross tells you this, but these guys really get you to do it, giving you specific targets to look for much earlier than I was used to looking for them. This alone makes the course worth the money. They literally sit next to you, watching your face, telling you where you should be looking and watching to see if you do it.

I will be going to Phase II the next time I get the chance. Hopefully the timing equipment will be working properly then.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So on a similar note, has anyone else noticed at autocross that the elise seems to get the fastest times when you are in fact sliding slightly in the corners? I don't mean a big deal, just the rear track being 2-3 inches to the outside of the front track?

It certainly makes for a frantic ride, it feels faster, and for me gets better times, but is it the best way to be driving?

I was hoping to be checking these things at the Evo school, but the timing issues put paid to that...
 

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Steve W said:
After my first instructor (who shall remain nameless) managed to demolish 6 cones on his first run, I gently pointed out to him that the rear track of the elise is wider than the front, and he needed to give the cones a little more room. Having said that, his second run was the fastest of the day.
That'd be Mr. Mike 'Junior' Johnson. Wouldn't it. ;)

Glad you enjoyed it Steve.
BTW - you missed a good event on Sunday. We had a low turnout and everything was very relaxed and fun despite a few sprinkles.

I agree, that the Elise is probably quickest with a just a hint of slip angle, and I think your car without the Sportpak especially benefits from this. It's also easier to drive the standard car with the proper amount of slip. The Sportpak car is actually less forgiving when driven in this way. Although the limits are a bit higher, it's a finer line you are treading.
 

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I'll second the usefulness of the school... I did a phase one this last season, and I really liked it. I'm planning on doing the phase II in march. Hopefully in an elise.

For those that live near DC, I can also reccomend the schools that the Garfields run, which I would actually rate a little higher than the evolution schools, but I think they are pretty complimentary, so no harm in doing both.
 

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Evl-where can I get info on the Garfield classes? I have to go to DC for an EVO class, I believe, so I'd be willing to look at other schools down there, too.

On sliding through corners, I think it's also an indication that you are pushing it, giving you your best time. And with the Elise you can really push it. My problem is that I always seem to figure this out on the last run, too late to really get the best time out of the car. I rode with a guy (Steve Snow) here at my 1st autoX, and he way overdrives it on the 1st run, plowing cones, and then backs off. He told me he wanted the limits first. I may need to try that, because I'm wimping out through most of the day.

Any comments from you experienced drivers? :confused: Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: Re: Evo School

Robert Puertas said:
That'd be Mr. Mike 'Junior' Johnson. Wouldn't it. ;)

Glad you enjoyed it Steve.
BTW - you missed a good event on Sunday. We had a low turnout and everything was very relaxed and fun despite a few sprinkles.

I agree, that the Elise is probably quickest with a just a hint of slip angle, and I think your car without the Sportpak especially benefits from this. It's also easier to drive the standard car with the proper amount of slip. The Sportpak car is actually less forgiving when driven in this way. Although the limits are a bit higher, it's a finer line you are treading.
It wasn't Mike.

Sorry about Sunday.

I came to the conclusion the previous autocross we were at that the slip angle thing works. After repeated 62.0 to 62.2 runs I suddenly put in a 61.1.

Looking back on that run I wsa definitely pushing that little bit harder, and sliding around a bit more.
 

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Surferjer said:
I rode with a guy (Steve Snow) here at my 1st autoX, and he way overdrives it on the 1st run, plowing cones, and then backs off.
Steve isnt an X1/9 guy is he?
 

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He drives a Z4. Pretty well, I might add. I believe he wound up the B-Stock champion of the Philly region.
 

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If you liked Phase I, you'll love Phase II. I took Phase I after numerous local schools and about 30 autocrosses. I found it repetetive and slightly frustrating. I'd say the ideal level of experience for Phase I is 5-10 prior events. That way you don't lose a bunch of time getting used to autocrossing, but you aren't advanced enough or set in your ways so much that you can't learn.
Phase II is vastly superior. They push you a lot harder, the course is faster, and they play more mind games with you to switch things up. Unfortunately you have to do phase I to get into Phase II.
 

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If your interested in bringing an Evo school to your area please send me a PM. I can get you started in the direction to hosting an ELISE only day if you would like

PatS
Evolution
 

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Pat, an Elise only school would be a dream come true, but how could we round enough owners up? In any case I just heard that there'l be an April EVO class, phase one and two, in April at Ripken. Do you know if that's true, and are you teaching? How do I register? Thanks a bunch Pat.

Rich-it sounds like phase one would be good for me; I've got 5 or 6 autoxs under my belt. I was only 3/10ths off FTD at the last one, but I wished I'd had the classes. I'm sure I culd have shaved a second or two off my times and had that FTD. I can't wait for the spring!
 

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As far as next years schedule goes we are firming up locations every day. January 1 the schedule for early spring should be correct.

As far as signing up. I recommend going to the Evolution web page. Finding the date you would like to attend and contacting the host for that date. Most likely they will want a deposit as the schools fill very early.

Will I be there. Most likely, I really enjoy teaching so I go everywhere I can.

By summer we should be able to get an Elise only day or a Lotus only day. The big set back is a lot. If you have access or know someone that does please PM me so we can discuss it. The cost of the lot is the single thing that makes the schools or autoX for that matter expensive to put on for a small group.

Later

Still wishing for an LSD.......Maybe in the spring.
 

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Thank you for the kind words.

Flattery will get you everywhere. :>))

Yes, there is a Challange school at Westchester this spring and I will be there.

For those that are slow to register I hope to host a second challange school on Long Island later in the summer...

PatS
 
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