Miami/Hialeah Autocross

27 October 1996
Hosted by the:

South Florida Sports Car Association

I'm Baaaaack: After the September event, I wasn't sure if the Hialeah autocrosses were worth scrubbing my tires off for or not. The September course was very tight, and didn't really leave much up to the driver, just put the car between the cones.

The October course was laid out by Darrin Disimo, he took a very different approach to course design. First off, we were in the middle North lot (as opposed to the North East lot in September.) This lot has a slightly better surface, though there's a lot of sand and broken glass around. Darrin laid out the course without regard for the sand, since the street sweeper mostly cleared the course in the morning. I was there at 8am, and at that time, there was still 2" deep sand in some turns. Darrin laid out the course to be as similar to the National event course as possible, in the space available. It was an M shape, with big fat turns at each point, and lots of mini-slaloms in between.

This course was a blast! The gates were wide, the turns were challenging, people were lost and spinning all over the place. When I arrived at 8, noone else was around, so I took a few slow drive-throughs, though I mis-understood one of the pointer cones and missed the whole middle part of the course on these drive throughs. After this experience, I walked the course 3 times. Still, on my first run, in the middle of the course I was anticipating one of the 3 cone slaloms, and totally missed a gate - my first ever O/C.
I finally retired my original Bridgestone SF 325s and got a set of Yokohama A509s from Tire Rack. They ride a whole lot better on the street, much softer, and the straight line grip seems better than the ancient Brigestones. On the track, they were nice, but I did get a bit of what I think was tread squirm - I'd be nice and set in a constant radius constant speed corner, and after a few moments the grip would go away on me and I'd have to slow and correct. This course was so wide open that I didn't hit a cone all day, but I did wag the tail very dramatically more than once. On the last big turn (maybe a 25 MPH 180), the tail came out and got in the sand that was piled up off course - I kept it from looping, but I did do a bit of over-correction that time. There was also a point in the middle of the course where I was flailing at the wheel so frantically that I hit the horn - not easy to do in a Miata. Did I mention that this course was a blast?

One of the timing truck workers has A509s on their RX-7 (their 3rd set), they were turning in 1:04s which is on-par with my best (recorded) time of 1:05.611. I remember a couple of errors on that run that would have accounted for a second or two. That same timing truck worker lost my time on my second run - which was, of course, my best run of the day - nice and smooth, no errors. Things were so crazy with so many people lost and off-course they just lost my time, so I got a re-run, ample compensation since I wasn't in the trophy hunt anyway with our two BFG-R1 equipped Miatas (including Darrin) in front of me turning in times of 1:00 and better. Ian was back again also, and I thought I had him beat this time, but when he came back from his 3rd run he said "I think I was slow out there, I really felt like I should have been going faster through the corners." That run was his best time of the day, a 1:04 something. So, again, I placed 4th (of 4).

On an encouraging note - the D Modified class I will be going in to is populated by tricked out RX-7s, and the best they could do today was about 1:02. I think I'll be able to trim 4 seconds off my time after the Turbo is installed. I might be able to start winning my class for a change :)

Last updated October 27, 1996