First autocross with the 2020 base GT (6spd, 4.09 ratio, Ford Track suspension)

MRGTX

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I have been dying to autocross the Mustang since I picked it up last year. Even with the base GT model/rental spec suspension, the car felt much more responsive and well balanced than it has any right to be. Prior to my Mustangs, I had a pair of dearly missed Miatas in various states of tune that I had autocrossed about 6-7 times total. I LOVED it but I didn't have enough opportunities to get good enough to be competitive.

So my 20GT is modded....I am running the The FP Track suspension kit and 4.09s, both of which should have been a major help...and maybe they were but they put me in a class that I had no hope of being competitive in. I also have the Peformance pack reccomended alignment specs (maxed out camber up front, etc) and 285/325 Firestone Indy 500s as well as the Ford Performance pack cold air intake and tune, PP stock bracing, and the BMR cradle lock-out.

In any case, I was running in a tough class...For example, I was up against a modded Cayman with a roll cage, an SN95 with a wicked motor, roll cage too, Hoosiers on all four corners, etc. So I was out of my league in both class and in driver experience but it was insanely fun regardless.

The course was very easy to navigate but also very short. The best lap times were in the 26-27 second range, most cars falling in the high 28s...yep, splitting hairs between cars. There was one short straight section that allowed the Coyote to do its thing but otherwise, he little cars were definitely favored. I finished in the middle third of the pack for overall times...not a great showing but not embarrassing. I was bested by much lesser cars, (like a Focus ST) emphasizing the importance of driver skill and experience in this sport. I did beat all of the novices at least. :D

Having made all of the changes at once, it's hard to say how each mod contributed to the performance and handling characteristics but all in all, he car felt competent but with lower than expected limits. Indy 500s are likely to blame...which are proving to be a spectacularly mediocre tire. Much better than stock, good value for the price but nowhere near as good as the 200 treadwear class. You get what you pay for.

The car would tend to understeer unless I was on the gas...the slip sometimes coming with a stuttering sensation (front wheel hop?). With power on, oversteer was plentiful...the car felt almost "greasy" since it would transition so readily between the two states. It was tempting to put the car into a full on drift. It sure wouldn't have been any quicker but it would have been a blast. I also noticed for the first time that the base cloth seats (which I like) are not suited for this sport. I was working to brace myself for much of my runs which took some concentration away...also the tilted head rest pushes on the back of my helmet in a very annoying way and cant be adjusted as far as I know.

I'm pretty sure that better seats, better tires and camber plates with some more serious alignment specs would make a world of difference.

What has your experience been like? Any tricks to making these cars better for this application?
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EFI

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Any tricks to making these cars better for this application?
Yeah, saw it it half and cut about half a ton of the car.

As you mentioned tires and more camber/better alignment will help, but on a tight 28 second course your biggest enemy is weight. At nearly 4000lbs you're fighting a losing battle against Caymans that weigh 1000lbs less regardless of how much tire or suspension you have.
 

Grintch

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"Any tricks to making these cars better for this application?"

Read the rules before modding the car.
Look at national results before picking a class. You want to pick a class where the car is competitive.

Mustang GT class options:
FS - pretty competitive
STU - not competitive
ESP - so so (M3 seems to be the current class leader pushing out the pony cars)
CAM-C - competitive with the right mods (and a big budget)

Sounds like they put you in ESP, which is the worst option if you are not running real R compound tires.
 

NightmareMoon

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You pull the headrest and flip it backwards, which will help the issue with the helmet. Just remember to put it back before you go home. I also do like the Schroth 4 point harnesses for keeping you from sliding around. They stow away easily behind the factory seats (esp the Rallye 4 ASM).

Massive stagger = understeer at the limit, so yeah. You could try more rear swaybar (or less front swaybar) to see if you can recover some balance at the limit.

The best way to get fast is to ride along with faster drivers, and get them to ride with you and give you some pointers. After that, when you're ready, upgrading to square wheels with some of the sticky 200TW tires like the Falken RT660.
 
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MRGTX

MRGTX

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Yeah, saw it it half and cut about half a ton of the car.

As you mentioned tires and more camber/better alignment will help, but on a tight 28 second course your biggest enemy is weight. At nearly 4000lbs you're fighting a losing battle against Caymans that weigh 1000lbs less regardless of how much tire or suspension you have.
LOL...good call there.

Weight reduction is almost always the cheapest way to improve every aspect of the car. I don't think there's enough weight to be shaved (from a street driven Mustang) to make a difference on a course like this.


"Any tricks to making these cars better for this application?"

Read the rules before modding the car.
Look at national results before picking a class. You want to pick a class where the car is competitive.

Mustang GT class options:
FS - pretty competitive
STU - not competitive
ESP - so so (M3 seems to be the current class leader pushing out the pony cars)
CAM-C - competitive with the right mods (and a big budget)

Sounds like they put you in ESP, which is the worst option if you are not running real R compound tires.
This is absolutely the way to go when buying a car to compete. The mods I picked are the ones that I felt would make the car more fun.

You are right. They put me in the club's equivalent to ESP where I didn't stand a chance.

Is Street Touring Pony still a thing? I read about that a couple years ago...



You pull the headrest and flip it backwards, which will help the issue with the helmet. Just remember to put it back before you go home. I also do like the Schroth 4 point harnesses for keeping you from sliding around. They stow away easily behind the factory seats (esp the Rallye 4 ASM).

Massive stagger = understeer at the limit, so yeah. You could try more rear swaybar (or less front swaybar) to see if you can recover some balance at the limit.

The best way to get fast is to ride along with faster drivers, and get them to ride with you and give you some pointers. After that, when you're ready, upgrading to square wheels with some of the sticky 200TW tires like the Falken RT660.
Great suggestion on flpping the head rest around. Not sure why that didn't occur to me. The rest of the tips are good ones and they all make sense. I'll look into that 4 point harness first...
 

Norm Peterson

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The mods I picked are the ones that I felt would make the car more fun.
Same approach I've taken for my cars. Dual-purpose cars need to be fun, serious competition efforts need to play by the rulebook.


Norm
 

Gearz

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Best place for your car is CAMC. It's pretty much a run what you brung on 200TW tires. Like @NightmareMoon says, your best investment is in driving skills. Get as much seat time as you can, ask for instruction and help and listen to advice that's given. We all just want to go faster and nearly everyone enjoys helping. Most regions have instructors, just ask the event officials. Enjoy your car and learn to drive to it's limitations. Right now you've got a lot of torque with the 4.09 so you're having to control both ends of the car with different types of inputs. It's easy to form bad habits. Good luck dude!
 

pappagray

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I would look at just more seat time.

Likely all the understeer is being induced by the staggered tires, which I would suggest a square setup. 295 square I see almost no understeer, and I barely get any wheel spin at all on a RT660. However I don't autocross, This is on track.

I have the same problem with the cloth seats, love them for everything minus track duty.
 

 
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