Lessons Learned

This Sunday was a North Western Ohio Region (NWOR) SCCA solo event. I headed out there with a big grin on. My face because I just bought a set of big slicks. Exciting stuff. If you have ever raced with the guys at NWOR, you will notice that they are a very talented group of people. I am not just saying that to flatter someone. Many of these guys and girls have won at nationals in their respective classes. I have gotten my ass handed to me enough times to tell you from experience, that these people are good at what they do.

I was hoping this weekend would go a bit differently. I just switched from a used set of 235/40/17 Toyo RA1’s to a used set of massive 285/30/18 BF Goodrich R1’s. I realized that these tires are not the perfect tires for autocross, but then again, neither were the Toyo’s and they worked pretty well. Needless to say I had high hopes. I worked for about two weeks to try to cram those tires in the E36 wheel wells, and even with fender flares, let me tell you, it’s no easy feat. In the end, I got it done, and the car was ready to go.

I showed up Sunday morning at the Swanton Airport unloaded the car, registered, went through tech, and walked the course. I was so ready to push through the corners at speeds I couldn’t achieve before, and was brimming with excitement. Well, the second heat came around, got the car to grid, and was ready to go. My turn finally came up, and I was thinking to myself: “These tires are cold, so they may not be perfect right from the get-go but they’ll work themselves in sooner or later”. Boy was I wrong; not only did they never warm up enough, they were so age-hardened that I have felt better grip on ice before. The car felt terrible, it was as if I was driving a car with hard plastic tires, they made no sound when pushed past the limit, they didn’t squeal, nothing, just silent sliding at any given point. Needless to say, the guys that used to be 1-2 seconds faster than me were now 10-12. I’m pretty sure there was stock Miatas and Civics running circles around me.

It looks like I’m back to the drawing board… I think it might finally be time to stop messing around with used tires hoping they were stored properly and just pay the arm, leg, first child, and life savings for a good set of autocross-specific tires. My current options are the famous Hoosier A7’s, the BF-Goodrich R1S, or maybe a set of Avons.

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