II've been interested in SCCA autocrossing for some time and had watched a ProSolo event some years ago at Weber State Univerisity. I'd gone in and out of interest but never got around to finding the schedules in the area but i was impressed by the cars and the quality of driving.
Late last summer i was talking to a friend who owns a 2.5RS and he said he'd been to an event at the Newgate Mall, just 15 minutes from my house. I talked to another friend and he said there was another event coming up at the Rice-Eccles stadium parking lot on the campus of the University of Utah.Chris and i went down, determined to see some Subarus in action.
To our delight, there were no less than 5 Subarus, four RSes and a Legacy. Some of them had minor mods while Noah's '01 had a full slate of suspension and N/A engine work done to make it the most feared car in the STS category. Calvin's sedan was mostly stock while Dave's 98 had some nice suspension and wheel work. Jason's red RS was doing well with its yellow 15" steel VW wheels. Arsalan's 95 Legacy attracted my attention however, as he had done a lot to it. It's a 95 automatic with custom shifter, dials and Apex-i S-AFC. He has the wheels and tires from Noah's RS to make it really look nice. JCSports intake, UO Underdrive pulleys, H&R springs with KYB AGX and strut tower braces.
All in all i had a great time talking to the guys and watching how much fun they had zooming around the parking lot. I was a bit suprised at the comraderie they showed between themselves and the others in the STS and classes. It was something i was now seriously interested in doing myself.
The next event was in Pocatello, Idaho at the airport. I was determined to attend. I ordered a rear strut tower brace at that time, as it was the single most important thing i could add to the car that was relatively inexpensive and easy to install. It arrived the day of the trek and i installed it before the first fun runs went down.
I took a couple of laps around the course with Calvin and Noah. Wow. Not only was it fun, but very exciting and even more educational than i thought it would be. I had to try it!
I strapped on my helmet, got in line and went for it.
It was the single most incredible thing i've ever done in a car, bar none.
Run after run my times improved considerably and i was really feeling more and more comfortable with the atmosphere and strategies involved. After each run i'd talk to the other guys about their runs and trade tips and strategies. Getting info from Noah, Dave, Calvin, Dave and others really made the experience truly enlightening. I got so much more than i ever bargained for on the first day that i couldn't wait for the next.
The next day brought a reduction in the terrible winds we'd had before, and it looked to be even more of the same as the day before. This time we had many more show up because it was the first day of real competition. Everything was here, from old Datsun 510s to a PT Cruiser.
This day the course was similar but two laps around. This proved to be a problem for a few people who would attempt to go around a third time. Thankfully these incidents decreased as the day wore on. We ended up getting about 6 runs on the course over the course of the day, more than we had planned on, and a delight to everyone. The more racing time you get, the more adrenaline you have and the more your times can improve with better strategies and warmer tires.
I really enjoyed the day, with Arsalan and i jockeying for the best times throughout. I eventually bested him by just under a second or so. It was very fun to race against someone in a similar car. Although i had more power, he had less weight and a fresher transmission. All in all it was a blast.
Arsalan, Noah and I decided to head back home that evening instead of sticking around for the Sunday events. In retrospect i should have stayed, but it was well worth the trip!
FAST FORWARD August 2001.
Well, this is something i've not given up, for one. I've been to and participated in most of the events this season. While my car was originally classified in H Stock, it soon became apparent that the guys in Idaho didn't know what my car was, or what class to put it in. With the addition of the Hallman Boost Controller at the time, i was bumped into Street Modified, but still ran H Stock for one event and took a 2nd place.
The new season brought an awareness of just what i was up against in SM, and the realization that i might never trophy again! SM is an evolving class and has a lot of very fast cars with great drivers. My car is just a bit to heavy and underpowered to actually compete, but i've never come in last, and usually fit somewhere in the middle of hte pack when the day is finally over.
All of the improvements to my car, from coilovers to engine tuning, have made the experience much more enjoyable and challengine. Gone are the days of excessive body roll, questionable brakes, and meager horsepower. The car goes around corners flat, brakes harder than the tires can stand and i've got measurable differences in power. While i'm still not going to trophy in the average event any time soon, i'm having a good time driving. That's why it's so fun.
In most regions, Subarus are few and far between, but in the Utah region, STS is nearly dominated by up to 11 RSes and the occasional Legacy. Times between the first 3 positions have been as low as .4 seconds. Competition is fierce, and our good showings at national-lever ProSolo events in Atwater and Irvine have proven that.
I encourage anyone with even a slight interest to find out if the SCCA is active in your area, or find a racing club and at least give it a try once. There's a large effort to get new blood into these organizations and to encourage younger drivers to come out and participate. New drivers are present at nearly event. While many will only ever do it once, they now know what it's like and have a better appreciation for the sport, and the car they drive.
Lined up (left to right: Matt's Integra, Mike's Miata, Alan's 1.8, Jason's RS, Noah's RS, Arsalan's Legacy and my Turbo)
Noah's magnet collection.
Waiting for the next run...
Jason ready to go!
Dave B's car, minus working transmission.
(above: Dave B, Dave K, Alan and Calvin playing THPS)
(left: Matt looking tired, right: Noah sorting magnets)