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The Z in action at an autox in Ft. Myers


Well, how things have changed since I first wrote this page about three years ago. To wiew the old page, click here. When I first wrote this page I was just getting into autocrossing. Since then autox has become my religion. It is quite often the only thing I think of during a day. And since the Z28 is my autox car, this page is mainly about what else...autox! The car has undergone a few changes for handling and not much else. There are a few more door dings and scratches on it now and I even had to take the engine out due to a 3/8" pipe plug that I still haven't figured out how it got inside the engine. The leather seats are still in pretty nice shape. The odometer now reads 149K miles and the tripmeter stopped working. Probably because I reset the damn thing every time I fill up the tank to check the gas milage. BTW, the best it ever got was 22 mpg, average 18 mpg in everyday driving and 20 mpg on the highway. It makes more creaking noises now since things have loosened up inside the interior and since the suspension is a whole lot stiffer. Still, I love driving the car whenever I get a chance since it still belongs to my wife. Hopefully that should change by July when we can afford a new car for her. I'd like a 99 M3 first, a 03 G35 Coupe next, and a G35 Sedan last. But those BMW's are still priced high for a car no longer made and for just a couple grand more the G35 can be had brand new. Of course it's going to be the sedan as the coupe really has an uncomfortable back seat and we can't have two cars with uncomfortable back seats. If that were the case we would just get a Vette!

The car is still the same outside but it has been lowered about 1.5". I am using Ground Control coil-over kits in the front and the rear springs have been cut to bring the rate up a little (110 stock to 125 now). I will soon be getting the GC kit for the rear. It will allow the car to be corner balanced since it has an adjustable spring seat like the fronts. Most people like to think coil-overs and adjustable spring seats are for setting ride height but their main purpose is for balancing the car. The shocks have been changed to Bilsteins. The front revalved for the added spring rate which went from ~300 to 500 in. springs. I had changed to a 35 mm solid front sway bar a while back and that stayed on the car while I added a rear 21 mm 1LE bar. I am going to go through the process of making the rear bar adjustable to try and give the car some means of adjusting the handling other than by tire air pressure adjustments. It's a tricky thing this suspension adjusting for better handling. It actually bit me pretty bad and I had some horrible results in a National event because I didn't know what I was doing with the car. Lets just say that very small changes can make very big changes in the way the car handles. It still has the SS wheels and they still look good to me. The first set of tires, BFG Comp T/A ZR, lasted 34K miles and could've gone a couple more. The tires on the car now, Bridgestone RE730, have gone 35K and will probably last another 5K. Not bad considering the $750 investment these tires are and they have performed excellent in the SoFla weather. Now the race tires are a different story. I stepped up to the best I could afford and bought 17X11 Complete Custom Wheel (CCW) three piece rims and shod them with Hoosier A3SO3 315/35/17 tires. The difference between this package and the Stock package of 265 Kumho/16X8 stock wheels is amazing. I can't make the car mess up with that much tire under me. Of course, a better driver would get not so different results as better drivers use their tires, well...better. Still, it was a big improvement and worth every penny. The only other changes to the car were new suspension bushings everywhere and a panhard bar with solid bushings.

Even though I had to take the engine out to do a half-fast engine rebuild, I didn't do anything to upgrade the power level. Of course doing so would've bumped me to another class so that was one reason. Currently I am running in ESP and the engine modifications are restricted to intake and exhaust and ignition free-for-alls. Since I would most likely spend the most amount of money in those tricks and get the lowest return, I will pass on them until there is nothing much left to do. I did get rid of the air pump and all its hose works. This won't do much for drag strip fun but the biggest factor keeping me out of the 13's was my sixty foot time. Running a best of 14.2 @100 mph with a 60ft of 2.25. I will be upgrading the torque arm and posi next year so maybe that might do something for my launches.

So between the suspension upgrades and about 36 autox events and a driving school, my finishing spots have been much higher. Locally I am about 2-3% slower than the fastest guys in the PAX, a theoretical drivers performance index. Compare that to about 10% for most of my second year and obviously I have improved. Currently I am very competitive in the local ESP class. It is one of the biggest, most commonly attended class. There are four of us that at any time that can take the win. There is one guy that hasn't shown up who would easily make it five. The other guys are just some better driving or better modifications away from that. Nationally it is a different story. I might be lucky enough to finish mid pack at the Nationals held once a year in Topeka, KS. Usually 30 to 40 cars in a class and about 1200 overall, it isn't the typical auotx event. And the best drivers always show up so you know where you stand after getting beat up by them. To be the best you have to beat the best so I'll just keep on keepin' on. After all, what better hobby to have than being able to wring out every possible last bit of effort from your driving and out of your car with the knowledge that it is most likely safer than driving on the street. Yeah, big road courses will have more speed and the thrill of passing someone on the track instead of the pits is a lot of fun. But being able to have a car which you can basically just pick up at your car dealer, put on some sticky tires and a helmet, and then get out and have a blast without having to worry about your surroundings seems more fun to me. Not to mention the amount of money you save over open track events. If autox is for you, you will know the first time you do it. Check out these sites: GCAC and ERSCC. They are the local autocross event coordinators.


Suspension stuff on the car:

Other stuff:

Stuff on my wish list: