Next weekend the NMS cars will be autocrossing for the first time in 2014! Saturday will see Brian in the Miata participating in the South Carolina Region Novice School, and then on Sunday both the Miata and the Fiat are entered in the first single day competition for the year. While this event will not count towards points and the season long championship, the main thing is to get going again and have fun!
Brian has also entered an EVO autocross driving school this spring, so he is focusing on improving his driving technique, AKA "loose nut behind the steering wheel", which we like to say is the most important part of the car! With his Miata now classed in the E Street, which was a big change by the Sports Car Club of America for this year, there will just be tons of cars competing in ES compared to last year.
Robert will be staying in the G Street category, and over the off season upgraded the rear sway bar on the Fiat. This modification is pretty much the limit allowed to improve the car and remain in the Street category, although new brake pads and shocks are allowed also, we haven't taken these steps in the Fiat. Probably a bigger change in the Street categories is the requirement to run at least 140 UTQ rated tires, so with the 200 rated Dunlop tires, we think the Fiat is good to go for the season.
Speaking of tires, we'll be spending some time in the garage this week getting both cars on their autocrossing tires, checking the air pressures, and probably pulling out the shoe polish. You do have some shoe polish for your car tires don't you? Well, if you want to easily (and cheaply) check tire wear on an autocross day, you put some white polish on the edge of the tires, and then after your run you can get a rough idea if your air pressures are good by seeing how much tread is being used. With this first weekend not counting for points, we'll try some different air pressures and try to get a feel for any changes needed. Hopefully the temperatures will be warm enough for the tires to work, since even high performance summer tires don't grip so well when it's cold.
Later this week we'll pull out the check list for the weekend, and make sure we've got everything we need to autocross. The good news is that you really only need a car and a driver's license, and you can start autocrossing now. Well, it might help to have enough money for the entry fee. And then you'll want to borrow a helmet or maybe buy one. Then you'll be thinking about a nice set of tires and maybe upgrading the brakes. And the list goes on and on, but seriously, a car and a license is all you need to have a ton of fun in your car. Or even your friend's car!