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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well gang, Today was my first experience at Solo2 autocross. The event was held in Hialeah (Miami). Steve (Transio) came by to see the car and it was nice getting to meet someone from Elise Talk in person.

First let me say that the response to the Elise was very, very positive, I spent the whole day answering questions and doing PR for Lotus (I'll be sending LCU my bill for PR services on Monday :D ) lots of people excited about the car and about its light weight, good looks, etc. and all day there were people checking out the car, people looking at the suspension, people asking to seat in it , people asking about price, etc, etc.
I also found autocrossers to be a very friendly bunch of people, overall a very positive first experience and some even knew about Randy and his Elise (Sorry Randy but I can't remember the name of the guy but he drove a Miata).

I ran with 27 PSI front and 31 rear on my standard suspension ( Thanks Stan for the pressures) and I did 4 runs. I was placed in SS and the field was pretty tough, 13 cars in SS with 5 or 6 Z06s, 1 Viper GTS, 1 Porsche GT3 and a couple of other Corvettes, there was no novice class. I was pretty nervous before my first run and must say that I didn't even come close to the cars limits all day long, I had a hard time to get the car into the cams because I didn't have enough time to look at the tach and I still don't know the car well enough to know it by "ear" especially with a helmet on, and only on my 4th run did I finally get into the cams. Overall the car was great and it will take me a long while to get good enough to even think about messing with the standard suspension and settings. I ended the day with my best run in 44.047 seconds wich was around 6.5s (an eternity!) behind the SS winners who were also the fastest runs of the day (Richard Breecher was the overall winner and Hector San Nicholas was the second place finisher in both SS and overall). The track layout was definetelly favorable to high power cars with a lot of straight sections and really only one trickier turn but overall I could've pushed the car a lot harder, braked at lot later, carried more speed into the turns, etc. Unfortunatelly at the end of the day one of the fastest drivers of the area lost control of his brand new WRX STI and hit a tree, I think its going to be totalled as he slid sideways into the tree and the car clearly had the frame bent in the impact ( brings home the danger inherit in motorsports!). Anyway overall a pretty good day but a bit too long ( got there at 7:30 AM and left for home around 5:00 PM and the trophies hadn't even been given out yet) for my taste for the amount of driving so I'll have to think if I want to do it again in the future, so for now my plan is to do some DEs and track days with the car in the future.
 

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Sounds like you have some serious competition there. You did well for your 1st time out. Sure, 6.5s sounds like a lot, but you'll improve quickly with more practice. The main thing is to have fun, and go to as many events as you can, the rest will come. Having strong competition is a good thing, it pushes you to work on your driving, and improve. And you also have an excellent source for advice and support, take it as an opportunity to learn from these drivers.
 

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Richard and Barbara Beecher are terrific people. I ran against them at Nationals last year in BP, Richard in his 944 Turbo, and me in the RX-7 Turbo.

Congrats on your first time out. Careful, it can become habit forming. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thats just my luck, I go to a little local event and find out that the place is full of National level drivers in SS! :confused: :eek: :mad: :D .
Yes its going to be good to learn fro these guys, they've already told me to go to an evolution school to be able to get lots of seat time and to learn the car and how to drive better, it sounds like good advice :bow:
 

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As long as the National drivers are helpful, it'll be great. The ones I've run into have not been helpful at all. Not one hint, nothing. Some are focused on their own runs, others (Vette owners) are intimidated and do not WANT to help you. If it wasn't for Stan, I would have no idea how to set up my car.

The local guys have been greatly helpful for general questions. They are friendly and competitive, but it's more of a hobby for them so dsipensing help isn't so painful. A great group in general!! :bow:
 

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Most national (serious) drivers are very helpful. A few are not. I was very fortunate in my early days, getting a lot of advice and help from various national drivers.
 

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Send them over here, Randy. Only one has really helped me so far, a Subaru driver who swapped rides with me so I could see the course from a fast car.

I want to qualify my statement, though-in general the autoX nation are superb group of people!
 

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Surferjer said:
As long as the National drivers are helpful, it'll be great. Some are focused on their own runs, others (Vette owners) are intimidated and do not WANT to help you.
Let's clear this up right now. A real National-level Corvette driver will most definitely not be intimidated by a novice autocrosser in any car, including an Elise.

It's possible that you've encountered Nationally-competitive Corvette drivers who didn't go out of their way to be helpful the first time they saw you, but there are lots of perfectly innocent and valid reasons (other than intimidation) for that. If the Corvette drivers in your class are truly intimidated by a newcomer in an Elise, then they're just not of National caliber.

My advice: take your time, continue to compete, and make it a point introduce yourself to your competitors. My experience has been that most of the better drivers are happy to help when they can.
 

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Intimidated was a poor choice of words. They certainly were not intimidated by me, but some have seemed shaken the presence of the Elise. I'm sorry, but that's how it seems. Local Vette drivers have been great, and very interested in the Elise. Actually the best Vette drivers have been friendly enough, but they sure haven't divulged any secrets or help. Mostly they try to GET info on the Elise. I try to make as many friends as possible.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I get a lot more HELP from local drivers. The national drivers I've run into seem to be really busy.

I think I'll leave this thread alone. I'm not going to make any friends. Screw it.
 

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Stan-your mailbox is full. I cannot PM you.
 

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Nice meeting you, too, Fred. Here's a pic of your car from the event with some kids gawking at it (didn't get any driving shots - maybe next time):
 

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I don't think you are doing too badly in this thread.

My experience is that the real jerks, are normally the serious local guys. Not the serious national guys. The real national guys will not care about your Elise or your potential competitiveness since you are relatively new. I wonder if the people you are thinking of, are not really nationally trophy drivers?

There is a possibility where the national guy may not want to jump through hoops to help a newbie, since a number of newbies might not stick around, volunteer, and become part of the community.

As far as not sharing Corvette secrets, and trying to find out info on the Elise, that makes sense in that they will be curious about the car, and there really are no Corvette secrets.
 

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You might be right, Randy. I don't know. I get heresay, so who knows. I just going to try to get better and will take a class for the stuff that will really help. I was very encouraged by the results Saturday, despite it being a miserable event in general.

Fred-sorry I hijacked your thread. I'm glad you had fun. It is mad addictive. You'll make dramatic gains in your 1st few events. And at least you're getting a good measurement as to where you stand by having all those great drivers around you!
 

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Surferjer said:
Intimidated was a poor choice of words. They certainly were not intimidated by me, but some have seemed shaken the presence of the Elise. I'm sorry, but that's how it seems.
I'd be very careful attributing motives in a case such as this.

Randy makes an excellent point. Most really experienced autocrossers will become much more friendly and approachable after it becomes clear to them that you're going to continue autocrossing. Most newbies come and go within a very few events.

Local Vette drivers have been great, and very interested in the Elise. Actually the best Vette drivers have been friendly enough, but they sure haven't divulged any secrets or help.
Did you ask for their help? I find that a very good place to begin if I need help.

Mostly they try to GET info on the Elise..
Are you bothered by that? It's a new model that they're seeing for the first time. Can you really blame them?

I guess what I'm trying to say is I get a lot more HELP from local drivers. The national drivers I've run into seem to be really busy.
It's entirely possible that you encountered them at a really busy time. I suggest you withhold judgement until you've been around this sport for a year or two. Things will look much different then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Transio, thanks for the Pic., I hope you find a solution to your predicament and if you need to get a fix on the Elise feel free to come by, sorry I didn't take you on a ride but they don't let you drive at these events other than your assigned runs.

Surfer, Randy, Everyone else,

At the event everyone was really friendly, I went with my brother in law and he has been doing the autox events for a few years so it was easier to get to know some people but even when I was away from him people were very positive. My car was parked next to the evolution school instructor for the area and another regular competitor and they were very nice. I had lots of people ask me if it was my first time, what my times were, people saying I couldn't have picked a better car to get started, etc. A lady on a Z06 who also kicked my butt said she liked the course that day but for most other events she wished she had a car like mine, they really made me feel good and I was almost embarrassed when they asked me my times since I sucked! but they all reassured me and said my times were pretty good for the course so I thought it was pretty good overall. Both the Tech and Event Marshalls joked that it was customary for the novice rider to give them a ride, I laughed and they were busy but next time I'll take them up on the offer, I walked by the stand were the times were posted and a guy was talking to someone mentioning that it was good feeling to finally have an Elise at one of their events and this guy probably didn't know that I owned the car so I think people were curious, some jealous some maybe worried but in all honesty I had no chance of even making anybody good nervous. I managed to beat the Viper GTS and a couple of the regular Vets in SS but everyone else kicked my butt and I wasn't worried about it.
 

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Yep, not making any friends. Sorry I offended you. As another newbie, I was just trying to relate my experiences to Fred. You're correct, though-I don't know anyone's motives or what else is going on with them. Nevertheless, those are my impressions.

Ropa-I have no problem with questions about the Elise. I answer them all and invite anybody and everybody to climb into my car. I'll bet 20 different people climbed in yesterday, and I answered every question asked.

As for help, I probably need to be more aggressive in asking. Some people seem unapproachable, though. I'm outgoing, but there is a limit to my brave(brazen?)ness. I sure don't want to piss anyone off at meets. That's the last thing I want.

And I'm not judging drivers because they are "busy". The fact of the matter is that is what has happened to me. Without walking in MY footsteps, you should not judge me.
 

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Some very general advice. Don't talk to people, unless they look like they don't mind... when they are walking the course or waiting in grid. Some people dislike the break in their concentration.

Not me... but some people. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just found the results for the day:

'Super Stock' - Total Entries: 10 Trophies: 4
1T 191 RICHARD BEECHER 04 CORVETTE ZO6 37.979 37.472+2 37.340 37.581 37.340 -
2Tm 15 Hector San Nicolas 04' CORVETTE Z06 38.585+2 37.941 37.608+2 38.334 37.941 0.601
3Tm 180 Marcos Sowinski GT3 39.303 38.272+1 39.384+1 54.235+OC 39.303 1.362
4T 119 BARBARA BEECHER 04 CORVETTE ZO6 39.357 39.003+1 38.992+3 38.275+1 39.357 0.054
5 115 David Lehman Z06 40.392 39.397 42.420+1 39.628 39.397 0.040
6 m 49 Frank Jacobs ZO6 40.269 39.675 40.753+1 39.641 39.641 0.244
7 m 80 Marcus Sowinski GT3 40.650+1 40.607+2 40.131 39.670 39.670 0.029
8 30 FRED GUIDO 05' LOTUS ELISE 49.290 44.584 45.039 44.078 44.078 4.408
9 m 22 ALEXANDER STARRISON 97' BLACK CORVETTE 58.158 56.167 46.314 47.145 46.314 2.236
10 244 Chris Parker Viper GTS 50.196 46.616 48.843 47.720 46.616 0.302

I hope this is readable, not very flattering for me but I'll get better!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
'A Stock' - Total Entries: 1 Trophies: 1
1T 158 ALLAN KOZICH JR. 04' HONDA S2000 43.603 42.756 44.615 43.830 42.756 -


this is my brother in law, he won his class! 1 entry in AS :D
 

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Way to go, Fred! That's awesome.

Randy made some good points in his last email, and them and more can be found here:

http://www.autox4u.com/novice.htm

Take a good look at the Novice Handbook, especially. Really helpful!
 
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