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Old 05-06-2008, 05:49 AM   #1
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From Auto-X to Fuel Friendly, a ZX2

Howdy folks, P from SE Pennsylvania!

At 23, I got my licenses when gas was just above $1 a gallon, and I really got into motorsports. I was a GRM subscriber for years, have been doing auto-x for 3 years now, and have been dreaming of having a road racer, something like a Spec Miata, Spec E30, or just anything stripped with a cage. I've always really been into racing that involves turning left and right, but unfortunately, as poor college kid, I cant afford to do that right now.

With rising fuel costs, I need to start saving money on a day-to-day basis.

So I'm thinking of changing directions with my 1999 Ford ZX2. It's currently lowered, with 15x6.5 11lb wheels with Hankook RS2 stickies and an intake. I had originally thought of prepping the car for SCCA STS Class, but I wasn't sure, so I didn't make any changes that might throw me out of class. I don't even have an exhaust yet and I've ran 6 events (normally mid-pack).

Auto-X can be expensive though, especially if you want to be competitive. I just don't have the money, and I'd rather spend my Saturday and Sunday afternoon either taking pictures of events, or going to races at Watkins Glen or the soon to be NJ Motorsports Park.

I'm thinking of doing a track event later in the summer, but avoiding the auto-x's until as a result.

So anyway, that's my story.

My plans are :

- Grill coverage (I've got a big open grill in my bumper, as well as lots of space that could be covered with a skid plate or belly pan)

- Skinny/hard tires on my racing (lightweight) wheels, maybe moon-dish hot-rod hubcaps?

- Modifying driving style (I'm accustomed to driving fast, and I need to change that)

I'll soon have a Jeep Cherokee, so the sooner I learn to curb my fuel costs on my daily drive, the better. I'll use the Jeep for hauling around friends and bicycles, but I don't think I'll drive it more than once a week.

I almost forgot!

I'm also an avid bicycle rider. Have been for years. I've got 4 bikes that I ride on regular occasions. A new Cannondale Prophet, older GT Zaskar, Vintage Razesa roady, and a dirt-jumper Azonic Steelhead. Also building my late father's Marin into a single-speeder.

I'd love to ride to work/school, but I live about 14 miles away from work, in a high traffic area, and even though I normally feel safe in congested areas, I wouldn't riding that route to work everyday.

Plan: Move out of parents house and closer to work/school!

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Old 05-06-2008, 06:51 AM   #2
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I Auto-X'd a neon in STS for a bunch of years. Then as the mileage was getting pretty high I sold it for a commuter corolla.

For fun (auto-xing) I am currently building (slowly) a F-mod formula vee, but in the mean time with a 108 mile 2-way commute Im very into saving some cash on fuel costs. my last tank was 41.2mpg only changing my driving style. (VERY tough to do being a performance guy!!!!)

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Old 05-06-2008, 06:52 AM   #3
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I'd dearly love to try my hand at auto-x when Wile-E is back together, but I think it'll end up failing tech and have to run in a modified class by the time I've done everything I want...

Go careful with the grille block, if there's anything that Escorts don't like it's heat, however, that's usually from failing to maintain the cooling system, the radiator is sufficiently oversize that when everything is working right it's just about impossible to overheat them. I had to hold the throttle at 3000 rpm for half an hour on a 25C day, standing still in the driveway, to get the fan to cut in on Wile-E after I'd changed out the waterpump, regrounded the sensors, and replaced the fan. Watch for those fans siezing up... if everything else is working right, they get used so very rarely, that they stick... then the one time it REALLY needs it...
I remember The RoadWarrior..To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time..the world was powered by the black fuel & the desert sprouted great cities..Gone now, swept away..two mighty warrior tribes went to war & touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing..thundering machines sputtered & stopped..Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:34 AM   #4
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Why give up auto-cross? It only a few miles a month at best. Yeah it's uncomfortable to see a 15 mpg average for the course, but 1/2 mile at that rate of consumption doesn't make a big dent in the 45+ average of the 200 mile round trip.
My Passat wagon has better capabilities than my skill level. Other than the Bilsteins, it's totally stock VW factory parts and on OEM tires. Still I run lower-mid of its class (H stock) and have more fun than I should.
My Jetta, same power, same class, narrower, shorter, lighter should be more competitive.
Now where are my BFG R-1s???
A lot of the momentum maintenance techniques of hypermiling are able to be directly applied to Solo 1 and 2 courses. Being fast, a high peak MPH, is not usually converted into quick times, a higher average speed.
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