oh yah AutoX can be fun…. 4

You’ve noticed – I’ve been getting pretty bored of solo.  With no co-drivers and mediocre results my interest has been fading fast.  The past four years with the FRS, has been the longest period I have ever spent with one vehicle…

So this weekend I was pretty happy for something new… in fact two somethings new.

Ryan (the R part) has been campaigning a B-Street Cayman S at solo events south of the border, but he recently found an identically classed BMW M2 in his garage, and was curious to put the two cars in action, head to head.

I was fortunate enough to be the means to his comparison, and registered the M2 under my own name, alongside Ryan in the Cayman, for the SASC’s Overtime Rentals FAT KAT challenge this past weekend.  What followed was two days of auto-x and passing keys back and forth, with Ryan and I each taking runs in both cars.

But gone are the days when Ryan and I duked it out and he occasionally surrendered wins to me.  While I now sometimes find my place of work behind the wheel, Ryan has evolved into a true cone cutting shoe.  Sports Car magazine even called him the odds on favourite to win B-Street at American Nationals next month.

I can no longer keep pace, but watching him smash my times over and over again is somehow not demoralizing. 

Given relatively similar specs, the two cars were about as different in character as you might imagine they could be.

The Cayman, is well-behaved and sure-footed.  If it has a weakness, it’s a lack of thrust.  Driving it on course is a full-blown limit-break attack.  Push too hard, and the car itself will reign you in.  I think it’s relatively comparable to the FRS in that respect, except that something actually happens when you plant the right pedal in the Porsche.  

Ryan consistently made a little more of that something happen than I did…

The M2 however… felt like an 80lb chainsaw, and initial runs in it, made me look like a 100lb weakling trying to wield it.  With real actual torque sent to lightly loaded back tires, the car can be steered with the throttle in any situation at solo speeds.  I was at first, meaningfully slower in the BMW, but with some coaching from Ryan, it was my weapon of choice by the end of the weekend.

I am quite confident, that engines belong in front of drivers… and I was soon reminded of good old days in AE86’s. (ZN6 you have not met expectations.)

With a dual clutch manual, getting the M2 off the line in an efficient manner was a helluva task, but my runs otherwise became quite consistent, and respectably fast.

Respectably? Well still a good margin behind Ryan, who also set his fastest time in the M2. My times were good enough to qualify me 3rd overall in PAX for the elimination challenge though.

The Cayman, on near end of life RE-71’s, with a naturally aspirated engine operating on a tight course at high elevation, was somewhat handicapped versus its regular arena of battle. The M2 was on newer 285 width RE-71s, and of course… opens its wastegates at the same pressure regardless of altitude.

In the challenge, the consistency that 350lbft of torque in a tiny package affords, allowed me to eliminate everyone in my heat and advance through to the final.  Ryan, in the Cayman cut up his heat with actual skill.

In the final, we swapped cars for kicks, and each got stomped by the third finalist. Ryan surrendered second spot to me by kindly coning his final run.  I attempted to return the favour but the cone I hit reportedly did a flip and then jumped back into its box.  This was the account of more than one marshall on course… although it’s possible that they are all conspiring against Ryan.

Regardless, these are things that only happen when you don’t have to torture your underpowered, over-played ricer, dream crushing car at full throttle for 60 seconds against ND Miata’s and 300hp WRX’s. 

Feels like it’s time to find a car of my own with thrust and character.

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4 thoughts on “oh yah AutoX can be fun….

  • Locotoy

    I thought about going to that event, on the Saturday part at least but then when I checked the entry list there were less than 50 registered entrants and I got discouraged. Would’ve been worth it just to see you guys battle. But oh well! Shoulda, woulda, coulda. 😛

  • Murray Peterson

    Having spent the first ten years of my autox “career” in a low torque machine (AP1), I can entirely sympathise with you. OTOH, I never want to get into a zone where I am chasing the best of breed high power car — seems to me that madness lies that way 🙂

  • Q Osborne Post author

    Would be hard to sell it… as I feel quite personal about the car after all this time… probably even more so than any car I’ve ever owned. However, I’m definitely feeling some hunger for change. I might just need to pick up something else that can satisfy other needs when 120lbft doesn’t satisfy.