Thornbush Farms RX7 Autocross 1999 home

Campaigning James' RX7 Race Car

SCCA Slush Season Round 5 - Stockton - 21 Nov 99

My best result in CSP. Tight twisty course. Beat Howell last 3 out of 4 events.

Our enjoyment was interrupted by the arrival of a huge fancy truck trailering a super looking rx7, pruple with flames all along the side. Turns out that it is a special CSP rx7. Bryan knew about it and thought it was probably the hottest rx7 in the country! Special torsien differential adapted from a miata. Every mod allowed and a $5K paint job.

But i beat him, hehe.

Now that slush is over we are planning changes to the car for the 2000 season. Finally getting quick in the car and need to do some more mods to be more competitive.

SCCA Slush Season Round 4 - Laguna Seca - 14 Nov 99

I didn't attend as my rx7 is too loud for laguna, but Howell drove Andy's well prepped (and national championship winning) MR2 to a 12th PAX- very impressive.

SCCA Slush Season Round 3 - Oakland - 7 Nov 99

The recently resurfaced coliseum site was very slippery, but i managed our best finish to date.

Ran the two new kumhos on front and the old ones on back. Car felt good.

SCCA Slush Season Round 2 - Stockton - 31 Oct 99

This was a short trip as we failed tech on the grid with a corded tire I failed to notice. New tires on order! DOH!

NASA AutoX - Marina Airfield 17 October 1999

BAPOC member Nadine was there with Mike in the Gunn High School bridgeported 4 port 13B 1981 rx7. 10" wide wheels!

Got to watch an awesome new 911 turbo on the track. it was like some weird special effect watching it accelerate- so freaking fast!!! but our raw times were very close, high 58's - prepped cars rule!

The car drove great, and we got some fast runs. however there was sand off the clean line and as we tried to go even faster we got off the clear pavement and into the sand a few times. a DRAMATIC decrease in traction!

I managed to save the car everytime and avoided a full out spin (unlike in past events!) but some of my more embarassing runs looked like hollywood car chase scenes with the back end, front end, and everything else hung out everywhere at random. boy that was fun!

Julie rode down with us. We were impressed that she could ride all the way there and back in the 7 without ear plugs. She was suffering on the way back. She drove two fun runs- first time for this sort of thing.

I got 5 runs (one re-run), Howell got 4, then I took 2 fun runs and Julie had two, so 13 in all. Tires still looking good. 84 runs so far plus the 7 hours at Thunderhill.

It's a fun site, and worth the drive.

Round 16 - Stockton 22 August 1999

Two loops followed by a slalom. I beat Howell for the first time! We didn't drive that well.

8 runs on the tires.

NASA AutoX Marina Airfield 8Aug99

The Thornbush Farms RX7 race car. Oops you can see where I hit the hill at Thunderhill in Turn 14.

Howell on the course. He went so fast he blew off one of the "7"'s!

Kevin and Jon, owners of the two 1989 RX7 GTUs rare cars.

I rode in a ferrari for the first time- a 1978 308.

8 racing runs and about 7 f uns - 15 runs on the tires.

Round 12 and Round 13 - Oakland June 26 and 27 1999

See the Pics HERE.

8 runs/day = 16 runs on the tires.

Round 8 - Stockton 18 April 1999

There was some excitement as the loudspeaker announced that a car had lost its right front wheel on the course.
Geez, it was Sobie- who drives a car virtually identical to mine- white GSL-SE with red interior.

Here Sobie is carrying the wheel as the car is pulled off course on a jack. The brake line was still attached and they didn't want to to cut it to avoid getting brake fluid on the course.

To add injury to insult, the car fell off the jack when the jack got stuck on the rocks at the edge of the course.
The hub had sheared in half! No one had ever seen a stock car fail this way.
Here's the view once the rotor and hub were removed from the wheel. Fortunately there were many very helpful and knowledgeable people around and the car got fixed enough for Sobie to drive home.
All loaded up and ready to leave for home.

8 runs on the tires.

Round 7 Saturday 10 April 1999

Back at Oakland in the big lot. This course had few slow corners and suited the high revving rx7 better. The rain just started to fall as our run group was racing.

We really started getting hooked up with the car. Finally I feel there are things I can do with car that I could not in the Probe.

Once again, I hit the rev limiter before Howell can- despite turning in slower times. I think my road racing experience helps me more with the fast parts and setting up the straights.

Our patience pays off for just before my last run, Howell jumps out of the car at the start line and despite totally messing up an important corner, I drive a blazing 2 seconds faster than my previous best. I don't know if it was psychological or physical, but the car felt like it had more grip and I got on the rev limiter twice! The weight in such a small car may have a dramatic effect when we get near the edge. Plus I felt I could feel the car better. Unfortunately I spun after the finish line and hit two cones.

So our conclusion was that riding with each other is excellent for reducing our bad habits, but also impedes the ability to really hang the car out and go fast. Howell drove alone and knocked 2 seconds off his time- getting within just 1.85 seconds of the class leader. Howell made good progress squeezing the brakes and unwinding the wheel. I got better at not touching the brakes in certain points and being smoother on slaloms and transitions. We are on to something!!

The rain really started to come down, but we stayed for fun runs- three each as the puddles got deeper and deeper. We hadn't changed the tires, so any standing water created instant hydroplaning. I loved it and turned in times within two seconds of my dry times! My second run I was feeling very confident about the slalom and was using more throttle through it and exiting faster. I was just able to get inside the last cone at the end. My last run I went even faster and by then the puddle in the braking zone had gotten deep enough so when it hit the brakes- oops no brakes! And no steering either! Blam into the cone. I carried it to the finish and had a hard time getting it out.

8 runs on the tires.

Round 6 - Saturday 3 April 1999

Oakland Coliseum. Another good course which included a feature new to me- a hairpin turn that required a shift to 1st.

I made some magnetic numbers from a sheet of white flexible magnet which I painted with some left-over metallic paint. It worked quite well.

Both Howell and I drove well- we made a plan and were able to execute it pretty well by the 2nd run. For the last run I concentrated being more aggressive in certain places. Still really getting to know the car's capabilities so I was driving consistently below the threshold of control. I'm hoping that once I get a little more comfortable with the car and how it behaves my times will drop. Because even though I executed my plan and was pretty aggressive, our times were not as low as I know the car can go. It's a big change coming from the rookie class. These CSP peeps are serious.

Still, Andy came by and said that there was a pretty much stock RX7 like mine that had headers and exhaust but had way more power than the MR2. Amazing things happen when you open up a rotary.

When I first got there I took two rides in an Impala SS. It was actually pretty scary because the car was so huge and powerful and there was so little traction I felt that if the driver lost control, nothing would stop it!

I'm trying to follow Mike's advice to be content with being a little slow until I can be consistent. Otherwise I would just be guessing what would work.

The driving highlight of the day was getting out of the parking garage after lunch in Oakland chinatown. I'm guessing the van in front failed to get their ticket paid so they were just sitting in front of the gate that leads out of the garage. This is a full garage-door-style steel bar gate. We waited for a bit, then the adjacent gate opened for a car coming in the "In" lane next to us. Howell paused, then gunned the BMW and sped out of the gate as it was closing!

8 runs on the tires.

Round 5- 28 March 1999, 3COM park.

Howell and I decide to do a permanent two-driver in the RX7. A fun, fast course. On the rev limit buzzer quite a lot. still, I pegged the tach at 8K RPM, well past the 7K redline. Probably should have shifted into third. On my last run a got into the first slalom too fast, spun, and slammed sideways into a line of about 8 cones marking the slalom. Howell and I rode with each other all four times and we found it very helpful to have the passenger yell at us during the run "squeeze the brakes, don't slam them", "give up this corner", "gas, gas, gas".

Howell takes off his driving shoes. The kumho race tires worked very well indeed. Despite only 4mm of clearance on the inside fronts (with the 5mm spacer) they didn't rub inside. However, we did strip a lug and the lug nut on the right front. Need to get a few more threads on it.
Marc getting up to the start line. Despite just piecing his 2.0 Probe together at the last minute he was turning in some impressive times. This car is highly modded.
James poses with his car- too bad we had already changed the tires.

Our times were getting a little slower as the day went on- we were probably not bleeding enough air out of the tires as they heated up.

Car was awesome! It inspired enormous confidence and I felt like I could control the drift and oversteer very nicely with the throttle and careful steering input. The tail happy feeling last week went away and the car was extremely nimble- could really toss it around in the slaloms and the fast transitions. The car just barely is classified out of the stock category, yet we were getting excellent times.

8 runs on the tires.

Round 4- 21 March 1999

Ran solo on street tires as didn't have the spacers yet and couldn't heat cycle the tires. Pretty much skating around on the 260 treadwear 185/60R14 Sumitomo's.

March 1999

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