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Last Post 14 Feb 2016 11:55 AM by  SalineCO5
automatic equipped cars - options for street class
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SalineCO5
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12 Feb 2016 10:28 AM
    So I've looked through the archives but didn't find anything recent or comprehensive.
    I am wondering what the viable options are for automatic equipped cars in any street classes. This doesn't include cars with computer controlled manuals, I'm talking about torque converter equipped autos. I don't want to start a fight in the posting around auto vs manual. And when I say viable, I mean competitive for the AVERAGE autocross driver, something that can stay in the mix at national events. I realize likely some automatic equipped cars might be the knife in a gun fight compared to the manual equipped version.

    One car I have seen mentioned is the C5 corvette for BS and what I read seemed to indicate the gearing was favorable. It also looks like it won't automatically upshift at redline in 2nd gear although I thought I read it will upshift at redline in 1st.

    Here are a few more that if anyone has first hand experience, I would like to hear your thoughts:
    Audi TTS
    987.1 Boxster / Cayman
    Mini Cooper Hardtop
    Mini Cooper JCW Hardtop
    Fiat 500 Abarth
    twistedwankel
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    12 Feb 2016 11:14 AM
    My wife has a 2000 C5 auto I autocrossed once on 300 tires. I have a 2000 C5 Z51 6 speed vert for my autocross use now w/200 tires. The z51 suspension package makes a big difference in autocross. Might be harder to find a Z51? Auto has a slightly higher rear ratio than stick probably due to being only 4 speeds? First gear in the auto with that rear end allows you to go 50 mph as I remember. If you leave the car in D it will go all the way to 6200 redline before quickly shifting to 2nd so you won't hit the limiter and you can then pull it back into 2nd where it will stay until you change it. If you use "1" it will go to the rev limiter as I recall and stay there so I didn't do that ever. You can pull it back into 1st from 2nd about 35-40mph as I recall? These cars have so much low end torque there is no need to run them to the ragged edge autocrossing. The non-z51 has a softer ride and different springs, anti-roll bars and shocks. Still a very competent autocross car AND daily driver.

    If you want to "stay in the mix at Nationals"....well, you'll want to put every legal toy you can find on a car to do that. Z51 or better mandatory and do whatever Sam Strano tells you to for setup.

    Great cars that's why we have two of them. One for xcountry touring and one for racing:) If I could only have one I'd probably keep the auto as it's hard to drive w/ a coffee and shift and there's only one cup holder:)

    I raced a Mitsubishi Starion/Conquest for years fairly successfully at Nationals with automatic/turbo 4 + big wheels. No turbo lag with the torque convertor and left foot braking to keep the revs up. This would be true for ANY turbo w/automatic if you are looking for other car options? The ONLY drawback I can think of is you don't get any engine braking with an automatic so you push a little harder on the brakes to compensate. Oh and automatics build a lot of heat so that's something to keep in mind re: cooling.
    drdisque
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    12 Feb 2016 06:41 PM
    The Fiat 500 Abarth isn't nationally competitive in GS with a manual, so I don't think it would be competitive with an automatic.

    The Audi TTS has a direct shift single clutch automatic. No torque converter.

    I don't think an automatic E46 M3 or 2015/16 Ford Mustang Track Pack would be too far off the pace in FS.

    At the top end of the price spectrum, but an Automatic C7 Z51 should be pretty decent in SS - although perhaps not at a national level.
    sjfehr
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    12 Feb 2016 10:07 PM
    2005-2008 Boxster/Cayman are tiptronic (torque converter automatics), and 2009+ are PDK. The PDK cars are faster than the tiptronics, but as of 2016, the 2005-08 Boxster/Cayman are in BS and 2005-2008 Boxster S/Cayman S in AS while the 2009-2012 are both a class stiffer, in AS & SS. This is proposed to change for 2017.

    You're not going to be beating C5 Corvettes with an BS 987.1 Cayman at the national level regardless of transmission, but as far as automatics go, Porsche automatics are really good and you should at least be in the ballpark locally. You can manually control the gears via shift buttons on the wheel or leave it in full auto. Regardless of mode, it will automatically upshift at the redline and automatically downshift to avoid stalling.

    If you go this route, you may find one of your challenges is finding a 987.1 with the right options; for competition, Sport Chrono+ is a must-have option and you really want PASM as well. You may not be able to find a base Cayman with these options because they push it into Cayman S cost territory.
    SalineCO5
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    13 Feb 2016 11:39 AM
    Thanks
    I forgot about the TTS having the DSG. I drove one two years ago and thought it was a good transmission. It would fit the bill, unlike the SMG in the e46 M3. I need something my wife can take for a drive as well and if it doesn't have "D" and "P" clearly obtainable on the shifter, things won't go well.
    If the Abarth gets moved down like I had seen proposed, then it might be an option.
    The Corvette and TTS seem to be the leading candidates it seems at this point. I've bought parts from Sam before and would go straight back to him for the Corvette parts and setup if I went that way. My goal is to stay under $20k prepped, I didn't want to state a limit since I wanted this posting to hopefully be helpful to anyone else looking at any auto equipped cars.
    sjfehr
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    13 Feb 2016 01:00 PM
    987.1 Caymans can be found in your price range, FYI.
    SalineCO5
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    13 Feb 2016 01:12 PM

    Posted By sjfehr on 13 Feb 2016 01:00 PM
    987.1 Caymans can be found in your price range, FYI.


    Yes, you are correct. I just wonder though without a LSD if it is really better than the alternatives in B street...
    sjfehr
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    13 Feb 2016 02:03 PM
    987.1 Caymans don't have a mechanical LSD available, but the eLSD is a pretty good facsimile; if you look at the force diagrams, the brake-based eLSD is virtually identical to a clutch-based LSD. There are some disadvantages with respect to buildup of brake heat, but it works fairly well for autocross. Incidentally, this is one of the reasons you need sport chrono, as the eLSD works differently in sport+ (track) mode than in normal (street) mode.
    SalineCO5
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    14 Feb 2016 11:55 AM
    Sounds like the right Cayman is a unicorn search then. I didn't come up with any chrono equipped ones in a search.

    C5 Z51 package seems to be not so prevelant so might need to look into the possibility of a full package conversion minus dampers and front bar if it is really worth it.

    Audi TTS seems to be good to go no matter what options are present.
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