Saturday, March 2, 2024

NMS-North New Tire Time

February AutoX at Zmax

As one of my driving instructors said one day, "Nothing you do with your car on track will make it worth more money." In other words, driving your car wears out stuff like brake pads, rotors, gas, and of course, the tires. Today NMS-North would like to salute a set of Falken Azenis RT660 tires that lasted for approximately 90 autocross runs, a day of driving on track, and about 4767 total miles. They could have gone a bit further, but one of them developed a leak after my last event in 2023, and the tread was getting down to about 5/32nds, so Christmas came early with a new set of tires! 

Sure, that's not a lot of miles for your everyday tire that just goes to the grocery store, but if a set of tires is used pretty much only on track and auto-crossing, well, they just wear out faster! This set of tires proved to be pretty darn quick, lasted more than a year in multiple events, and enabled me to win fastest Porsche at two different events last year (once on RAW time and once on PAX time) so I'm happy with that. 


I ordered them online from Tire Rack, and like previous orders, have been very happy with their service and their warranty. After ordering on a Monday, they arrived at my local tire shop the very next day. Since Tire Rack and Discount Tire merged, I was also able to schedule installation when I ordered the tires, so that was very easy. There are a LOT of tire stores in world, and you probably have your favorite place you might like to go, so my only advice in buying tires and where to have them installed is to always shop around and get the best deal you can. If you have a local mechanic friend that mounts tires at home like some of my autocross friends, so much the better!

So, out with the Falkens, and in with a set of Yokohama Advan A052s. Just because the Falkens gave me my best results ever you didn't think I'd just buy the same tires, did you? Oh well! This tire has been considered one of the best for autocross for a few years now, to the extent that for much of that time they've been unavailable due to large demand. For that reason, I was surprised to see that they were in stock for immediate delivery, so that's what I ordered. 

For competitive drivers, having a great tire makes a huge difference. I looked up some tire tests on the Tire Rack website and found this big test of multiple tires from 2022 that included both the Falkens and Yokohamas, as well as the tires I had before the Falkens, a set of Hankook Ventus R-S4. Besides trying tires yourself, reading articles, watching videos, and talking to other drivers, I guess someone with an unlimited budget could just go out and buy one set of every tire there is and figure out what's best for them, but, well, my budget is just a bit less than "unlimited!" For what it's worth, from that 2022 test of 11 tires, the Falkens finished 2nd, the Yokohamas were 5th, and the Hankooks were in a dead heat for 6th. While that makes the Hankook slower than the others I've tried, it's also known for lasting the longest, and that was my experience also. My set of Hankooks got me through a lot of events, so I felt like they were a good value if you're not trying to be the fastest driver on the planet. The fastest tire in the test was the Bridgestone Potenta RE-71RS, and I'll admit that I went through a few sets of their previous version on my old FIAT too. Here's the article: TIRE RACK TIRE TEST

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

F1 Fantasy League: Let's Go!

Ferrari F1 car I spotted at the Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia a while back.
Will Ferrari improve on their team 3rd place last year? 

The F1 season starts this weekend, so right about NOW would be a good time to join our FREE NMS F1 Fantasy League! Here's a couple of easy steps on how you can create up to 3 teams of your own, pick 5 drivers and 2 constructors for each Fantasy Team, and then enter our NMS-RACING LEAGUE too! Just like Fantasy Football or Fantasy any other sport, you can tweak your drivers and constructor teams for every race!

2-Then you'll have to register (for free)

3-You can pick 1, 2, or 3 teams to build, each with 5 drivers and 2 teams, wisely spending your 100 Million Dollar Budget. Hey, we spare non expense at NMS!

4-Use this code to enter your team(s) in the NMS-RACING LEAGUE: C5AXY5VDP08

5-Then for each race week you can tweak your drivers and constructors. 

6-Good luck!

7-Did I mention it's FREE?!?!

Note that the first two races are SATURDAY events, with qualifying on Fridays. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

February Autocross Report

One Internet saying is "pictures or it didn't happen" so here's a picture at ZMAX.

After a few months off in the cold winter of the Carolinas (How cold was it? Glad you asked! There wasn't any snow, but I still had to scrape frost off my truck a couple of times! Talk about ROUGH!) we finally got back to autocross. Kicking it off with the Central Carolina Region of the Sports Car Club of America, the #77 NMS Cayman took on over 150 competitors up at Zmax Dragway. There were four other drivers in my class (B Street), so let's see how the Cayman did against a Supra GR, a BMW M2, and two drivers with an Aston Martin! Here's my only clean lap, just a hair under 55 seconds:

                                      My best lap on YouTube

Want to autocross a 50's Triumph? BRING IT!

Basically, I didn't drive great, and took 4th out of the 5 drivers. I could complain that they all had more horsepower in their newer cars than my 2009 with 265 horsepower, but it's mostly all about the driver. On two runs I hit cones, and another run I missed a gate, so there was no way to be competitive making mistakes like that. Only my final run was clean, and it was my best time of the day. Better luck next time. 
Want to autocross an Aston Martin? BRING IT!

Out of 203, yes, TWO HUNDRED AND THREE drivers on the day, I was well down in the pack, with my best in the PAX modified time that takes into account what class you are in. There I was 108th, so close to midway. On the positive note, that put me ahead of 95 competitors. Negative wise, 107 people did better than me. That's life in a nutshell, you can look at it either way, so I'll throw in that another 320,000,000 or so Americans did NOT show up and drive, so I was faster than all of them too! Hey, sometimes you have to really look hard for that silver lining or pony!

There were lots of little Miatas, and one with a BIG WING...SPOILER ALERT!

Want to autocross some Classic American Muscle (CAM class)? BRING IT!

One of two VW Scirocco's! 

Want to autocross a truck? As long as it meets the rules and won't roll-over, BRING IT!

This kart was the Fastest Time of the DAY (FTD) by over 2 seconds over the next car...

2nd fastest on the day, Porsche GT3.