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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to try autocross for the first time this year. I've been told that there was a major rule change a couple years ago and the Focus SVT is now one of the fastest cheap cars in H-street. I know that the driver is the biggest factor, but I would like to add effective mods to make the car more competitive and more fun. It will still be one of my daily drivers. Any advice?
 

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If you have the cash Koni Yellows and a set of Koni springs would be almost all that is needed to be very competitive. You might also want poly bushing in whatever is easy to change out for you. A good set of performance tires too and performance brake pads would help ya out. The SVT is really a good package right from the factory but age plays a part in how well you will go around the course. At this point most SVT's with original suspensions need a refresh.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
my suspension is definitely worn out. The way I read the rules for street class is that the springs have to be stock so I was thinking of getting the full svt spring/strut/shock replacement kit now, since it is only $100 more than buying springs alone. Then maybe upgrade to koni later.

First I was looking at lightweight wheels, but everyone tells me not to waste my money. What size and kind of tires do you run?
 

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Springs have to be stock but does that mean the shocks and struts have to be? I have not read the rules of the street class. Stock SVT springs are good so if the rules dont specify that the struts and shocks have to be stock...i say push it a bit and do koni's with stock springs. If they all need to be stock its def worth it to freshen everything up. I did to my former SVT and it made a big difference.

As for tires i never ran my SVT in autox. My camaro has BFG sport comp 2s however and they are very sticky street tires. I don't know that i would recommend them for autox though. Send a PM to hEaT on the board. He has done a lot of autox and should be able to set you up with a good start.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Springs have to be stock. I can change shocks, one sway bar, and any non-weight bearing bushings. That's pretty much it for suspension. If I move up to a more modified class I lose all the advantages of having an svt.

I work with a guy who was a former nationals winner and his advice is gold, he says not to spend any money on the car, just make sure I race as much as possible. He says winning is 75% driver, 10% car, 10% tires, and 5% setup. That said, I need a new suspension even if I don't race.
 

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I work with a guy who was a former nationals winner and his advice is gold, he says not to spend any money on the car, just make sure I race as much as possible. He says winning is 75% driver, 10% car, 10% tires, and 5% setup. That said, I need a new suspension even if I don't race.
This advice is sound. Throw some Koni's on it, get some good tires Bridgestone RE071r's, Dunlop Star Spec, Falken Azenis and go have a ball.
 

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The reason your friend says "winning is 75% driver" is that he's talking about class racing, where EVERYBODY is using the best tire/wheel combination they can legally fit on the car, and every tuning tweak allowed. See what percentage goes to the driver if you put a set of all-season street tires on when everybody else is running track tires... the driver will not win, so the equation changes a lot. For what he's talking about he's right... definitely race a lot.

For autoX, set yourself up as well as you can to give yourself the best chance you can, if you are serious about winning. Lightweight wheels and the lightest stickiest tires you can sensibly afford will help a lot when acceleration/quickness is at a premium.
 

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Some good advice on dampers/tires for when you can spare the $ and start to get competitive.

Co-worker's advice is spot on, concentrate first on making sure the car is sound to run then on the driver.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just ordered a set of the new bridgestones to put on some cheapo extra wheels I got off of craigslist! I think I can win novice class with just that.

So far my biggest issue with the focus is the gearing. First is a little too short, but second is way to long and leaves me outside or the real powerband. Otherwise the car is a blast, it is amazingly well balanced for a fwd car.
 

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You've just entered a much large and exciting world.........welcome aboard. What Bridgestones and what size?? The HS rules require a minimum 200 TW rating. I've been running HS for a few years now. The lose nut behind the wheel is definitely where the most gains can be made in auto-x. Tires are the next biggest gain. As long as you remember the key word in your original post.....fastest "cheap" cars in HS. As soon as you let yourself get bit by the competitive bug and start throwing parts (money) at the car then brace for shock. Those mini coppers and the new Fiesta ST's are the cars to beat, even with a so-so driver. We're playing with old cars and the new ones have better suspensions, brakes etc..etc.. Don't get discouraged, it's all about the fun. Good luck. It's way fun, especially when you do win.
 

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Just ordered a set of the new bridgestones to put on some cheapo extra wheels I got off of craigslist! I think I can win novice class with just that.
There's mistake number one. Work on the driver before you work on the car. A couple of years ago I raced my car for the first time in 2 or 3 years and entered Novice Class accordingly. I spanked a field full of cars on 200 treadwear tires with a car that was on 400AA Kumho Ecsta ASTs. It was clear that I had beaten the drivers and not the cars. Fats forward to the upcoming 2016 season and I will be driving an absolute weapon for street/modified class racing, but I fully expect to get my butt handed to me by a field of much more experienced drivers for some time.

Welcome to autocross, you're going to enjoy the Hell out of it; especially with the car you've got. :)
 

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...I will be driving an absolute weapon for street/modified class racing, but I fully expect to get my butt handed to me by a field of much more experienced drivers for some time. ...
Sounds interesting, now I'm curious, what weapon have you made? Hopefully, you posted some pix in another thread somewhere, could you post a link to them?

Your description of success and failure is apt, but we know everybody should have good tires.
 

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Sounds interesting, now I'm curious, what weapon have you made? Hopefully, you posted some pix in another thread somewhere, could you post a link to them?

Your description of success and failure is apt, but we know everybody should have good tires.
I don't want to derail this guy's thread, but I've had a build thread in one form or another running for my car since 2008 in Team Rigz. My car isn't done yet, but spring will show a much different car than you see now.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh yeah, I am under no illusion that I am an amazing driver, but the only way to practice is to...go to more autocross events. My buddy told me that if I am serious about it I will need tires anyway, so I might as well get them now before I ruin my street tires and have to buy two sets. I got the potenza RE71Rs on sale in stock size.

I say the more the marrier on this thread, the autocross section of the forum is kinda dead and not svt specific anyway.
 

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You NEVER have to apologize for having good tires... but then, nobody was suggesting that you don't need good tires, just that the more important thing is that you need to get more wheel-time. My experience tells me that it is more important to practice on the good tires you will be racing on, than it is to practice on crappy street tires... that said, any practice is good practice.

Shortly after I took possession of my SVT, I took it to my favorite/local track to feel it out. I went out as is (stock Conti DWSs on all four and mystery alignment) with the intermediate group (because I felt more comfortable having some experience behind me when someone was waiting to get around)... on track with cars that were very similar in power-to-weight and with some much more powerful cars. It was hilarious. Hilariously noisy and hilariously slidey. I caught, but could never pass a Honda with less power, but better tires and Eibach suspension, because I couldn't hold enough speed through the corners to take him either exiting a corner or in a straight, and couldn't wait long enough to brake to take him on entry. You always must have good light wheel/tire combo (as wide as the rules allow)... don't let anybody tell you differently.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I know the feeling, the current fastest guy here in HS drives a Mazda 3 that is totally stock except for tires. Getting some good tires will let me learn how the car drives when it actually has some traction, and hopefully gain the skills to beat him. I know the SVT is a faster car.
 

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Pretty close cars actually (though you didn't mention specifics).

You might have a little better handling from stiffer springs/shocks, but he likely has you on torque and with the 5-spd & stickier tires can possibly hold speed enough to avoid shifting. Depends on the course, something to pay attention to when you watch him run.
 

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That depends on the year and engine size of the Mazda. SVT should easily run away from on a comparable year Mazda3 with a 2.0L. Although a current year one with 2.5 and 6-speed would be very close.
 

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Yeah, engine type/model year are the specifics to make a difference - like the 2.3 duratec Focus gives one a run at the drags.
 
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