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Tracking / Autocross / HPDE / Drifting What these cars were built for!


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Old 04-28-2017, 02:23 PM   #1
imnotsureaboutbrz
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Silly?: Any use of First gear beyond the launch

While I'm not new to autocross but my first autocross in the BRZ is this weekend. And I was wondering.. for those who have been at it for a while, has/is there ever been a corner or chicago box tight enough where you felt the need to downshift to first, or just 'power' through 2nd? From the videos I've been watching it seems that after the launch everyone just stays in 2nd, unless the course allows 3rd. The courses up here are usually pretty tight.
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:57 PM   #2
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In 4 years I have only had one or maybe two courses that actually benefit from getting back down to 1st. You're better off just leaving it in 2nd. Even with a good heel-toe, the car doesn't LOVE going into first unless you're CRAWLING, so you're better off holding a few mph more speed and keeping it in 2nd.

I found that it was harder before, when the car was stock - With a tune, the torque dip is not such an issue getting low in 2nd as it was before. Also, with some really sticky tires, you can make those hairpins at a higher speed so you don't drop so low in rpm in 2nd either, making 1st really unnecessary.
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:06 PM   #3
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When I used to autox my Miata I would do that quite often (depending on the course).

Since the car loved revs I always had it in a high rpm.
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:10 PM   #4
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I've seen a rally driver switching to 1st gear. However, please keep in mind that the specific car had a slightly longer 1st and 2nd gear ratio.

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Old 04-28-2017, 03:23 PM   #5
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+1 for keeping it in second, modern autox courses only briefly drop below 30 mph in my experience, 99% of the time you'll be slower trying to shift to first than just riding out the lack of power down low, not to mention the risk of not nailing it which would instantly put you behind someone not shifting.
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:27 PM   #6
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Also, with some really sticky tires, you can make those hairpins at a higher speed so you don't drop so low in rpm in 2nd either, making 1st really unnecessary.
That's going to be a fun and interesting part of learning this car. Trusting that there's more grip than I think and try to carry more speed. I'm pumped. I'm on Michelin PSS' btw.
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:53 PM   #7
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I've been tempted to use 1st sometimes to avoid coming out of hairpin turns right in the middle of the torque dip, but downshifting to 1st in a competitive environment is not easy to do, and it usually winds up costing me more time than it saves because it draws too much of my focus. I've only recently gotten decent at coming back down into 2nd from 3rd gear [relatively] smoothly and quickly without screwing up my line, lol.

I'd love to be able to heel-toe down into 1st flawlessly like a pro, but I really don't wanna burn out my synchros practicing it too much, lol.
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I've been tempted to use 1st sometimes to avoid coming out of hairpin turns right in the middle of the torque dip, but downshifting to 1st in a competitive environment is not easy to do, and it usually winds up costing me more time than it saves because it draws too much of my focus. I've only recently gotten decent at coming back down into 2nd from 3rd gear [relatively] smoothly and quickly without screwing up my line, lol.

I'd love to be able to heel-toe down into 1st flawlessly like a pro, but I really don't wanna burn out my synchros practicing it too much, lol.
A much more detailed way to say what I was thinking.
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:38 PM   #9
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The PSS tires were a HUGE upgrade from the oem junk we get. As a road tire, I think they're pretty perfect. It didn't take me too long to find their limits at autoX though. They are GOOD for autoX, but definitely leave something to be desired compared to anything in the 200tw class.

Your mileage may vary. I spent 2 seasons on PSS and then went wider and stickier and it's a huge jump.
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Old 04-28-2017, 11:59 PM   #10
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There is one venue in Tamps where I needed 1st gear the two times I have ran there.(very small venue) Dixie day-one course rquired 1st as well. (That was the only national course I have seen do that)

My wife co-drives with me and we run data. If the tach drops below 2k, I generally consider a downshift to be "needed".
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Old 04-29-2017, 01:54 AM   #11
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My wife co-drives with me and we run data. If the tach drops below 2k, I generally consider a downshift to be "needed".
The 2k limit is very very low.
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Old 04-29-2017, 07:17 AM   #12
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The 2k limit is very very low.
That's where I'm sure. At 3k I am looking at what's after the element and considering 1st. At 4k, I'm just out of luck.
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Old 04-29-2017, 09:30 PM   #13
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The 2k limit is very very low.
http://www.precisionsite.com/auto-x/tools/

@Twinz is just playing it safe, without practice I think I'll be ascribing to his philosophy, 2k rpm is ~16 mph, in my relatively short experience I don't think I've ever seen anything that low, 3k rpm is ~24 mph, not that huge of a speed differential even though a thousand rpm FEELS like it takes forever, it really doesn't.

Data logging can be a huge help here, you can actually know if you're going slow enough to warrant the downshift, whether you decide you need it if you're doing 25, 20 or 15mph is totally up to you.

OP might be able to find local videos or even look back at his own to see if there's any corners <25mph.
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Old 04-30-2017, 02:41 AM   #14
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@Twinz is just playing it safe, without practice I think I'll be ascribing to his philosophy, 2k rpm is ~16 mph, in my relatively short experience I don't think I've ever seen anything that low, 3k rpm is ~24 mph, not that huge of a speed differential even though a thousand rpm FEELS like it takes forever, it really doesn't.
I posted a video that shifting to 1st gear is entirely possible and in fact safe. What do you mean it FEELS like it takes forever, but it really doesn't. A higher gear is just a higher gear. If the car is going too slow and we can change to a lower gear, then we should do it. Maybe he should practice first in a closed road to see how confident he is with this and try to advance his skills as a driver.
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