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Discussion Starter #1
Well today I finally had my first opportunity to autocross the GTO. The temps were probably only into the 50's for much of the day, but at some point it probably reached 60.

The course was really wide open, (for an Iowa course, that's great. We lose autocross sites very easily it seems) and it seemed to be a good chance to put the goat through it's paces. A few off-camber 180's, some higher speed sections, tight turns you know how it all goes.

Well, I start off first run, come out of the hole with a little wheelspin due to sand being on the starting line. It hooked up decently after that, and through the first few gates I started thinking to myself, "Hey, this heavy pig might actually be a decent autocrosser!" Well, my excitement was short lived.

I got to the first slalom on the backside of the course, with the car pushing horribly to the left due to an off camber, right hander. (say that three times over) I made the first turn to the right, and quickly snapped the wheel to the left for the second cone in the slalom. This is where it started to show it's negative side. I needed a lot of steering input to get the wheels to actually turn. Almost like the power steering was binding up. It was very tough to turn the damn steering wheel!

The brakes on the GTO are very weak, as I soon found out trying to slow for an off-camber 180 following the slalom. I've noticed just driving normally on the street that you need a lot of pressure on the brake pedal to get the car to slow. It's a VERY spongy brake pedal IMO. Anyways, the ABS kicks in to keep the wheels from locking up. I snap the wheel to the right to get the rear to step out a bit on exit, making it an easier entry to the next corner.

I am heading up hill, trying to make the left hander, but sadly the car just decided it would keep going straight. Basically, if the car wasn't oversteering, it was understeering. There was no medium on these street tires.

I was running 42psi in the front and rear which seemed to do well. I tried lower pressures earlier, which didn't help at all. Basically, I ran decent times, I finished 2nd in FS, right behind Brian Goodner (FS champion last year I believe, as well as many other years in his '90 Camaro Z28).

Cliffnotes: The car pushes, the steering is slow and sluggish, and the brakes are worse than a Ford Econoline van.

Next spring I will have purchased a set of hoosier or Kumho autocross tires, and hopefully a set of good brake pads that will stop this 3700lb pig!


Oh, by the way if Rhys Millen needs a backup driver for his drifting GTO, I think I could possibly fill his shoes after today!
 

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I have autocrossed my GTO twice. My prevoius car was an SVT Focus. I believe that ultimately that I will be able to go faster in the GTO because it is more predictable in its response it input changes than the SVT. For example, early and hard breaking in as close to a straight line as possible allows for a turn without the front tires doing anything else and an aplication of the throttle to get the rear to come around seems to work well. It seems that for this car torque is our friend.
I have only autoxed with front wheel drive cars so I am still learning. One of my friends uses an 02(?) Z28 with R compound tires and feels the GTO has a lot of potential. It isn't going to beat Miatas but one similar tires be competative with Mustamgs and F bodies in FS.
I also used 42 PSi in the fronts and 38 in the rear. Next year I also will have different tires, probably Falken Azenis.
Unfortunately winter is comming and I hope I remember what to do next spring.
 

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The issue of brake fade makes pushing the GTO hard into a corner virtually impossible. The car is terribly underbraked. I've been to the local roadracing circuit and trying to late brake is scarey. You seem to really have to get your braking done early and roll it through the corner getting back on the throttle as early as possible. I'm hoping the baer brake upgrade will eliminate the brake fade and allow for some late on the brakes passes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The tire situation will definately cure a lot of my troubles, I should have Hoosiers/Kumhos for next year, but I was greatly disappointed in the performance of the BFG's.

Roadracer, yeah the brake fade incredible! My standard Ford RANGER has a better brake pedal feel than does the GTO. I was damn near on the floorboard, and the car still wasn't stopping. I know it's a heavy car, with little brakes, but still I was expecting a lot more out of the brakes.

I dunno, maybe I'm being a little harsh, but I want to try to compete in Pro Solo events next year, and I don't want a half-ass car you know? I just couldn't get a feel of how deep I could drive into the corners with the brake feel, (same as roadracer)

I guess I'll just have to patiently wait til next year to test out some new tires, and see what I think then.
 
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