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BTRDA® Gold Star® Champions

John Fox's Tips for getting started.

Choosing a car

1)      Start with whatever you have; almost anything can be used at first. Even if you intend to buy a car purely for motorsport in the future you will be far better placed to do so after having taken part to see what looks best.

 

2)      If you are choosing a car, then any small hatchback is suitable, with French cars tending to be well represented (106/205/Clio/Saxo etc.) as they are generally light and parts are cheap. If you want to try rwd then consider an MX5 or small BMW.

 

It is worth noting that large or high powered cars are expensive to run and not generally quick – above ~100bhp/tonne you are generally into rapidly diminishing returns.

 

 

Walking the tests

1)      You will develop your own preferences but a good start is to walk the layouts so that you are where you would be in your car – i.e. ‘walk your lines’ – that way the course will appear as it would in the car.

 

2)      Walk the tests enough times until you can walk without looking at the map – this may be twice, it may be 10 times, but you will not be quick if you have to glance at the map during a test.

 

Despite point 2), to combat ‘brain-fade’ it may be beneficial to have the map clipped to the dash for quick reference to minimise lost time.

 

 

On the start line

Talk yourself round the route in your head before you set off. You will be nervous/excited just before you drive the course and you would be surprised how this can affect your memory - be sure you can still remember it before you start.

 

 

Tyres

1)      Consider having a separate set of wheels with dedicated tyres, at least for the two driving wheels (that way you always have good tyres to drive home on). A pair of rough looking but straight wheels for a French hatchback will cost you no more than £20 from ebay.

 

2)      Buy a mid-range tyre. Cheap low quality tyres are a false economy as they do not grip well and can wear quickly. Equally buying very expensive tyres is not the way to go either as the cost will become prohibitive.

 

3)      As a starting point, increase front tyres pressures for the event by around 10 psi to avoid wearing the outside edge of the tyres only. You may want to experiment with pressures after a few events but this is a good starting point.

 

 

Car Preparation

1)      Remove all loose kit including your spare wheel if it is in the car.

 

2)      Check your fluids levels before each event – a low oil level may not show up on the road but will become apparent when cornering hard!

 

 

Modifications

1)      Modifications are not necessary - a standard car in sound condition will be cheaper, more reliable and a better tool for learning. Trying to modify for performance will not yield positive results if the basic components of the car are not working properly.

 

2)      With time you could consider going a bit stiffer on springs and dampers and maybe a bit lower, but in moderation otherwise the car’s handling will be "nervous".

 

 

Power

As stated above - forget power increases. In other motorsports power can be a big factor, in Autosolos this should only be considered when you have learned to be competitive and the suspension and tyres are at their optimum. It is the most expensive way to modify your car and will yield little in this sport.