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Last Post 13 Apr 2006 07:25 AM by  Bryan S
Event 1 Course Crit
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Bryan S
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10 Apr 2006 01:44 PM
    We did a thread like this a few times last year. Post your comments on the course. positive AND negitive. Also discuss your approach/runs on a corner-by-corner basis. I need to get to a meeting and will add my twocents as course designer later.
    gidtup
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    10 Apr 2006 01:47 PM

    Almost no DNF's (Good)

    Challenging & Safe (Good)

    Seemed to be a good "equalizer" course - no big swings in stock times. (Good)

    Ending was a bit hard on timing equipment (Bad)

    bumsarama
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    10 Apr 2006 02:17 PM
    gidtup wrote:

    Ending was a bit hard on timing equipment (Bad)

    DITTO!

    The course was great aside from the fact that it was secretely designed by engineers from the Mini Company. The spot of water on course also caused me to spin my car, but aside from that it was pretty nice.

    BHase
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    10 Apr 2006 02:22 PM

    Okay, here goes!

    1) Did anybody else find that the slalom at the beginning wasn't entirely straight? I know this probably has nothing to do with the track design, but as I was working corner 1 in heat 3, i looked down the line and thought the three-cone sets had ben set slightly diagonal, instead of facing each other? Was this intentional?

    2) I loved that the track was so fast and open. Never had anything like that before, and it was a nice change of pace.

    3) I thought the track might have been better outlined with cones. It took me two runs (plus two course walks) to get used to the directions, and I found myself occasionally searching for the right way to go. Maybe this is part of the challenge, but I would've suggested marking the paths more clearly. Then again, maybe I'm the only person with this problem...

    4) I thought the turn design was great, especially towards the end, in how there was so much opportunity to go in really hot and yank the car around a bit. I'm sure the tires didn't love it, but I sure did!

    Thanks for a great track!

    Ben

    PaulN
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    10 Apr 2006 02:24 PM
    It was an excellent First Event of the Season course: visually relatively easy to follow, good mix of speed and turns, and the ever-popular, but almost tragic, testosterone-pumping finish. Good autocrossing elements, blended together nicely.



    mazdamike
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    10 Apr 2006 02:47 PM
    Being rusty and only getting 1 walk through I had some (self) concerns I might not be able to connect the dots. However, I was able to run at nearly full tilt in every section and always seem to be pointing in the right direction when exiting the turns. I thought it was fast and open and flowed better when running than walking and was FUN. I maybe wish it could have been longer and of course as always, I wish I had 1 more attempt. :) Visual cues might have been a little better for early heats but the rubber left by the first 2 heats eliminated my own concerns. No qualifications needed for being the first event as I thought it was great!
    markhuebbe
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    10 Apr 2006 03:41 PM
    gidtup wrote:

    Ending was a bit hard on timing equipment (Bad)

    Bryan had some concerns about people tanking it at the finish, so he softened the offset a bit. I lobbied to remove it. [;)]

    The course had a good mix of slow and fast elements. I personally wished that the slalom would have been spaced farther apart, or offset the slalom cones to make it a bit more open. (I really hate tight slaloms)

    Ohh and I was a bit upset with my driving. I was going fast, but never had a really good run. I wanted a clean run so I didn't push it in the slalom or the back section offset (by the drag staging lanes). I left tenths all over the place. But not having autox'd in about 6 months will do that. Or it was due to me sliding sideways the last two weekends. Driving with grip is a totally different feeling.

    bumsarama
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    10 Apr 2006 03:45 PM

    There is one more noteworthy issue that I wanted to point out. This has nothing to do with the course design, but rather with car classification. I realize that we had many new first timers out at the first event. Unfortunately, many were put in the STO class in order to simplify things for registration and the drivers. I understand the logic behind this, but the STO class's index factor is absolutely horrible and does not accurately portrait the performance of many of the new drivers. I hope that they go back and look at their raw lap times and then multiply it by the index factor of the class that their car would have normally placed in. I just feel that many of the guys will look at the indexed results and feel that they didn't perform well. I hope they realize that their performance is actually much better than it seems if they were in the STO class. Hopefully, many of you new-comers will come out to the next event and be put into a class that is more specific for your vehicle and realize that your much better than you thought.

    Just my .02 cents. Before any of you registration guys decide to crucify me for this, I realize that it had to be done this way. I just want many of the new-comers to be aware of this and not feel discouraged about their performances.

    96SM2
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    10 Apr 2006 05:36 PM

    Since there is no way to obtain accurate data to PAX the regional only STO class, I don't see how a valid Index value can be achieved. As STO examples based on the supps, I could build an early Porsche 911, put a GT3 powertrain with 265/35-18 RE-01R, 6 pot Brembo front/4 pot rears etc or build a Cobra kit car on huge rubber and run in STO. IIRC the STO class was created for the odd cars we see to have a place to just play. If competition ends up being a goal than a SCCA rulebook and some planning becomes involved, imo.

    To get back on topic, is there a map of the course for those of us that were out of town?

    steena
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    10 Apr 2006 06:20 PM

    I thought the course was very well put together. Being my first event I was very nervous and not running until the 3rd heat I had myself convinced I had forgotten where things were, but I didn't.

    Compared to the Novice School course, I liked this one much better. I guess it didn't seem as severe.

    PaseoStan
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    10 Apr 2006 07:27 PM

    Over all I liked the course. Only place I had problems was getting into the slalom.

    From the exit of said slalom to the finish, the course flowed nicely.

    Nice course, great day, and lots of nice folks. What more could you ask for?

    Slowdude
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    10 Apr 2006 07:35 PM

    Now that I am driving a MINI on a MINI course I didn’t even notice the new pavement or the water, I motored right on through those. Even though I took the first little jink wide to try to line up the slalom entrance, I wasn’t ready for was the huge lurch of power and lack of steering when you pop that baby into second about 30 feet from the first cone. Panicked my way through the slalom 3 times so maybe I just wasn’t paying attention to the new pavement that most were comparing to ice. The back side between corners 3 and 4 was just pure pedal to the floor with a real jab at the brakes to rotate the car into the actual fast section. All was fun and games there until the buzzing of the ABS on that decreasing radius left into the last right hand 180. I never got that last section right. With the run-flats, I went wide as possible into the final turn so I could try a point and shoot across the finish line, but I never slowed down enough to prevent the squeal-fest past the last set of cones before the timing gates. Fun course! I need more tire!

    John

    Seth53
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    10 Apr 2006 07:50 PM
    Very nice course yesterday. I loved the way we were in corners almost the whole time. I might have had the wheel straight 5 seconds of the run. The entrance to the slolam was much tighter than I anticipated. I think it was a mental thing but the exit of the slolam onto the tar seemed slick and the next turn seemed slick also. The section of the track by the staging lanes was faster than I first thought it would be. Very nice placement of the lone pointer cone in that section. The increasing radius turn next really allowed for alot of speed going into the almost straight headed toward the center of the lot. The slightly offset gate helped set up the car for a softer turn into the 180 finish section. The finish, if taken correctly, seemed like it could have been almost a straight shot to the finish. I always pushed out too far and had to correct to the right. Maybe we could run this one backwards in the future.
    Lynn
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    10 Apr 2006 08:50 PM
    My third run. I pull up to the start line at an angle to get a straighter run at the first gate. Look past the first gate to the first slalom cone. At the start, I launch hard and short shift to second as the car settles back on the suspension at the first gate,. and accelerate hard around the first slalom cone and look at the last slalom cone. Brake hard just before turning back for the second cone. Look at the gate after the slalom. At the end on the slalom, I accelerate moderately and pick up the exit of the left turn. That is still too much acceleration and I pick up a little push.

    Now hard on the brakes briefly and make the left as I pick up the entrance to the first sweeper. Accelerate hard but I don't unwind quick enough and get a little push. Story of the event. Look across the sweeper to find the braking point, and brake hard, turn right and don't unwind quickly enough, again. More push but get through the offset gate, while looking at the entrance to the increasing radius turn. Then pick up the exit of the sweeper to determine the braking point. I nail that and get overconfident. Again I unwind too late while getting on the throttle too hard. Moderate push results in being late getting to the right.

    On all three runs I braked way too early for the tight left. I'd conviced myself that I needed to brake at the second pointer before the apex. Wrong. I'd brake, hit the throttle again, and then brake too late. I realized tonight that I was braking not long after hitting the rev limiter. I should have short shifted into third exiting the increasing radius sweeper. I think with the lower rpm sound, I would have driven into the hard left deeper. I was late tuning left and pushed wide, but I go back way to the left for the final turn.

    I left the braking late since I decided to take a very wide line. This worked and I got the car into a four wheel drift!!! I finally coordinated the unwinding of the steering with the application of the throttle. Very little push and then the line from the gate to the finish lights opened up and I flew right through it.

    This was probably the closest thing to a perfect course for Gateway. It was easy to learn and fun to drive, yet not easy to drive. To me the key cones were the first slalom cone, the apex cone for the first left, the outside cone at the exit of the first sweeper, same for the second sweeper. There must be a key cone at the hard left, be I don't know which one since I picked the wrong one and couldn't make myself change from it. I knew from the walk that the first cone in the wall on the left side of the final turn was important, but I didn't use it until my last run. I just pointed the car way to the left of it before turning into the corner. The last two key cones were the inside of the offset gate before the finish , and, of course, the finish cone on the right.

    I didn't notice the sealant and water while driving. I guess I wasn't trying hard enough. On the other hand, Subarus drive themselves and the above is a figment of my imagination.
    Bryan S
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    10 Apr 2006 11:06 PM

    Thanks for the comments. Andy, I'll send a PDF to you tomorrow.

    I wish I could say that the design was the result of a big concept and much forethought. It wasn't. I worked out the basic layout while waiting for my son at a math workshop he does on Saturday mornings and finalized the plan that night.

    The big ideas: Easy to follow, but not atypical from what is seen at a MiDiv or Nat Tour course. Avoid the outer limits of the speed envelope, but still have cars operating at the top end of the power band. This would make it novice friendly and allow the experienced drivers to scrape the rust off.

    A side benefit was that it was shorter than we usually like. That helped with the big turnout and the typical first event delays.

    Lynn's comments on driving are very similar my thoughts. I never felt that I could get the car to bite o turn in, or get on the line I THOUGHT I'd drive during the walks. Probably has something to do with the concrete at Walnut Ridge the weekend before.

    Things to change:

    The slalom: I made it tight to control speed, but it was too tight. Another 5 feet between the gates would have made it a bit more fun.

    The finish: Perhaps the hardest part of any course to design well. Speed needs to be controled or a very long runout lane is needed, not easy at GIR. Cars must be able to accelerate through the finish...under control. To that end the boxed set of turns at the end was planned to slow the cars. Fine, that worked, losing time from impatience was easier than gaining time. The offset however... The idea was to force drivers to maintain speed out of the boxed set for a few feet before acclerating through the finish. After Joe pre-ran the course it looked like it might be trouble, so I opened things up a bit. Should of listened to Mark and taken it out altogether.

    Again thanks to the set-up crew of James Sarino, Tom Cindrich, Mark and John Huebbe, Bill Luton and Joe Haddon. I gave a map to Mark and John and they started from the finish. James and I worked from the start and when we met we mostly had a course. Tom was a big help working out the nuances of gate placement and markers and Joe made the pre-runs and gave final feedback. Without that kind of help the course wouldn't have been any good.

    47CP
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    11 Apr 2006 07:21 AM
    [quote]

    There is one more noteworthy issue that I wanted to point out. This has nothing to do with the course design, but rather with car classification. I realize that we had many new first timers out at the first event. Unfortunately, many were put in the STO class in order to simplify things for registration and the drivers. I understand the logic behind this, but the STO class's index factor is absolutely horrible and does not accurately portrait the performance of many of the new drivers. I hope that they go back and look at their raw lap times and then multiply it by the index factor of the class that their car would have normally placed in. I just feel that many of the guys will look at the indexed results and feel that they didn't perform well. I hope they realize that their performance is actually much better than it seems if they were in the STO class. Hopefully, many of you new-comers will come out to the next event and be put into a class that is more specific for your vehicle and realize that your much better than you thought.

    The whole point of STO is to give the newest person a place to run. If they choose to continue, they certainly should look at finding thier real class, but the availability of STO is to ease the pain of navigating the rule book at your first event which is normally quite a problem.

    If you apply an offiical index to STO, then regulars will start building cars for the class and ruin it's purpose.

    DaveW

    Crazy Eddie
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    13 Apr 2006 05:24 AM

    This was my first trip to Gateway (201 miles one-way from my front door) and I was not disappointed. It was a big change from our lot at OMR being mainly that it is basically flat. :) Only 2 areas that might be described as concerning me but remember I have only ran at OMR, KC & Hallett. I am a n00b and am still learning. ;)

    1. The Slalom starting as the last corner marker was a bit different from what I have been around - meaning normally I see a short stretch of pavement leading into the slalom off of the corners and not using the last turn marker as the start.

    2. The surface changes after the slalom was a tad tricky (but fun).

    I saw no problems with the finish as it became quite apparent to AutoxChris, our new buddy in the Mini (I suck at remembering names - sorry) and myself that late apexing the last turn was the way to go after watching the first heat run from the Drag Stands.

    All in all it was a good first-timers and cob web shaker's course. [D]

    Thanks for the opportunity to race with y'all and barring skyrocketing gas prices I hope to return this summer and try to ruin Joe Floretta's day. LOL

    Bryan S
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    13 Apr 2006 07:25 AM
    Glad you guys could join us. Save some gas money for the MiDiv in September too
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