Friday, September 30, 2016

Stiff Competition

With a few more autocross events to go in 2016, I thought I'd just show you how close the competition is in my class this year.The SCCA rules of autocross put my FIAT Abarth in the G Street class, and so far in 2016 I've driven in five events in the area against a VW Golf GTI driver.  As of right now, our total times in competition (by taking the single best time from each event) are very close!

The average time of each event for us has been around 37.7 seconds, so for starters you can tell that every single run at an autocross doesn't last a super long time! Driving the car for that short a time requires some serious paying attention to details, like not getting lost! Anyway, by adding up our best times from each event, it looks like this:

VW GTI Total Time:       188.623 seconds
FIAT Abarth Total Time: 188.634 seconds

If you're good at math, you'll notice that John Henderson in the GTI is faster than me too!

In other words, after driving in five different events against each other, in different cars in two different locations, on different courses each time, counting the events in March, May, July, August, and September, we're only 0.011 of A SINGLE SECOND APART! Eleven Thousandths! Just over one tenth of one tenth of a second! That is pretty darn close!

We've each won a couple of those 5 events, so that's amazing to see how the time adds up overall. One thing I really like about auto crossing is that you're not really driving head to head against the other guy at the same time, not on the course at the same time, so it's not like the finals in the Olympic 100 meters or anything like that. I feel like I'm really competing with myself, and that each time on course the only thing I can control is how I drive. That means I'm always trying to improve my own performance, and maybe find a few tenths of a second to go faster in one particular part of the run to gain time.

Yes, it's fun to drive the car as hard as you can, but at the same time (if I'm doing it right), I'm also staying mentally focused on what I'm doing and thinking ahead to what I'm about to do with the car. If my concentration goes out the window, I know from personal experience that it's easy to forget to go around a cone a certain way, easy to forget to adjust the tire air pressure, or even forget to turn on the Sport setting on my car! Any one of those mistakes and there is no way that my drive time will improve. I'm not going as far as calling autocross a "brain exercise", but it helps to stay focused on what you're doing!

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