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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

Thought I'd share my experience with my STi at NHIS. Just to give you some background I've driven at NHIS about 6 or 7 times prior to owning the STi with my previous 2000 328i. It's been about a year since I've done any track driving (life kind of got in the way) but prior to my brief break I was just on the verge of getting licensed through COMSCC.

I was a little nervous about how the STi would be on the track. I also wanted to be cautious as it had been a while since I had been on the track and this was a whole new car for me with 100+ more Hp than my previous car and AWD vs. RWD. I've autocrossed my brothers WRX before but other than that I've always been RWD.

I was a little disappointed to see that COM had put me in run group 4 and I was worried I would get stuck in a lot of traffic but actually things turned out well. It was a good group of people with most of the having good experience. There were a couple of new drivers but they were good in letting the more experienced and faster cars go by.

Starting off the day the track was still damp in areas and I took the first 2 sessions to get my timing back and begin to gradually explore the car. They had us using the south oval which was interesting with the high speeds. Throughout the entire day I kept the DCCD in auto mode. I found this worked very well. In the future I may play around with different settings but it seemed to adjust the torque bias appropriately as Subaru programmed it to do. Overall here are some of my impressions:

Power:
The power delivery is just amazing. The mid range punch is super strong and the car just pulls hard all the way up to redline. My shifts were between 3, 4 and 5th throught the course. I would end up in 5th down the front straight, around corners 1 and 2 and then do a 5th to 3rd shift coming down into 3. Coming out of 3 was the most fun part of the track. The power was really strong and I would find that you were best to get back into the boost as soon as possible. If you didn't get the car pulling hard I found the car would not grip as you would like and it would kind of push out. But, if you got the boost up the front diffential did what it was supposed to, locked up giving the power to the wheel with grip and you would claw your way up the hill. By the end of the day I found that I would just put the throttle down and let the differential hook up and pull me to where I wanted to go. It really was confidence inspiring.

Handling:
Coming from the 328i which was 50/50 balanced I wasn't sure how the STi would do. I've also read about how it understeered so was curious how it would feel. For the most part I felt the car went where I pointed it without any real oversteer or understeer tendencies. When accelerating out of a corner if you where not aggresive with the throttle the front end felt a bit vague but the simple solution was to get on the power harder and let the front tires grip up. Backing off the throttle was not the thing to do. Subaru programmed the DCCD to push the torque to the front of the car going to a 50/50 bias when coming out of the corner and that really help rocket the car out. Once I got used to how the DCCD was working I began to rely on the pull out of the corners and the get the car going in the direction I wanted.

Shifting:
Heal-toe shifting was a breeze in the car. Occasionally I found the 5th to 3rd shifts a bit hard. It wasn't always easy to find the 3rd gear gate. The shifting could be a bit more precise in the car but I could probably use more practice too.

Steering:
Quicker steering like my brother's Evo would be nice but I didn't find the STi's bad at all. A little more feel would be good but overall I can live with it just fine.

Pinging:
None. I still have the original ECU map and have been running Sunoco 94 but mid day I had to fill up on 93 and I still didn't hear any pinging. I was going through about 1/4 to 1/3 of a tank every session at about 11MPG.

Brakes:
Very strong and no fade. I did change the fluid to ATE Super Blue just because the car comes with Dot 3. By the end of the day the brakes felt the same as the start of the day which was not true with my 328i. The 328i always had more of a shimmy and more noise even though I gave them additional time to cool down by driving slowly through the back parking lots at NHIS.

Futrue Upgrades:
The car is just awesome in stock form and I plan to keep it that way. It has way more potential than I will use for a long time. The only upgrades I have thought of might be stainless steel brake lines but like I said before they really felt good all day. I think I will be getting a harness for the car though for some additional safty (also recommended by my instructor - and yes I know there are debates over using a harness without a roll-bar but I'm not putting a cage in my daily driver).

Overall:
Overall I was really having a blast with the car by the end of the day. It was effortless to get by anybody, 'Stang GT's, WRX's, B5 S4's, RX-7, etc. in my group even going down the front straight where it would often be hard to get by cars in my 328i if they didn't breath the throttle a little. I even found passing going up the hill out of 3 to be no problem. The handling of the car was very confidence inspiring and I had many people tell me that if they were shopping for a new car right now it would be the STi. The car felt better going around corners 1 and 2 of the oval than my 328i did and I know it had a lot more left in it. I was the one holding it back. I'm very happy with my decison to go with the STi and look forward to more track time!

- Bill
 

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Nice details, thanks for the post.

Frankly, we have somewhat similar backgrounds. I have been to HPDEs with my 330ci and have had mostly front and rwd cars, 4wd is very new to me. And I have similar concerns as you had prior to the DE.

However, I have had the chance to participate in 3 autoxes during the last 6 weeks (still only 2K mi. on the car) and I had similar experiences regarding powering out of corners, rather than cruising along them with partial throttle. But, autox runs are so short that I do not think I have a full handle on the exact driving techniques of the vehicle at this time. My first HPDE is in 3 weeks, and we'll see how it works out and I'll keep some of your pointers in mind.

One thing I am not able to convince myself otherwise is that, looking at some of the photographs, I see that suspension geometry flexes a little too much (and may be not even a "little"). I am anxious to see how this will effect the vehicle on the track.

For example, look at the rear wheel/tire gaining so much positive camber, which was a slow (25-30 mph) left-hander in an autox. It just does not look right to me.

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In terms of the shifter, initially I found the same problem as you; it is not as precise as one might like, and shifting 5 to 3 or 6 to 4 seems a little too much work. I slow my shifts, I put it first to neutral than push directly forward for 3rd or directly backward for 4th. But, as I said, that is slow. Also, I am having incredably hard time with heel-toe, my foot just does not reach the gas pedal when on brakes. I just have to have some new pedals with the throttle having an additional left edge.

Again, thanks for sharing your experiences; I'll add to this thread after my HPDE mid-October and we can compare notes with all.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
"FT"

I have been practicing my heal-toe for quite a while although I screwed myself up a bit and went out and bought actual driving shoes 2 weeks before the event and with those I couldn't just pivot my ankle to the side and blip the throttle like I could with my other (wider) shoes. With the driving shoes I had to do it the "proper" way and actually swing my heal over while keeping the ball of my foot on the brake. It wasn't too much to get used to but I wanted to make sure I never missed or slipped off the brake. I found just a good brush with the side of the shoe on the gas was enough with the STi. I also found the heal-toe on the track easier than on the street as the pedals were lined up better because of the agressive braking (gee - just like they are supposed to be!).

Thanks for your comments and enjoy on your track day!

- Bill
 

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Bill,

I should give that heel-toe technique a try, several people suggested it, but somehow I am just not comfortable lifting off my heel and twisting my leg to get on to the throttle :D However, you are right, with the brake pedal depressed agressively, it should be easier. I'll give this DE a try without new pedals and see how it goes.

I use Piloti's btw, I cannot wear those full race shoes. Man, I am such a whiner, its amazing; just get on with it!!! LOL, self-notes help sometimes :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Heal-toe'ing allows you to brake, clutch and "blip" the throttle all at the same time so that you can match your engine speed to your actual speed as you downshift for corners. It is important to do this otherwise you leave it up to the wheels to bring the speed of the engine back up to your new gear. At speed and especially during corning if you do not do this you will most likely spin. There are many books available on the technique and I'm sure you can find stuff on the net too with pictures/movies (I remember seeing a whole tutorial some guy did with an M5 on heal-toe with video).

Basically as I am braking I have the ball of my foot fully depressing the brake. I than rotate my heal over to the gas and "blip" it to bring the revs up. At the same time the clutch is in and I'm down shifting the gears. The whole idea is that I should be able to release the clutch when I'm in the new gear and the car should not "lurch". It should be a smooth operation without upsetting the car. You don't need to completely "cover" the gas in fact I'm just hitting it with the bottom of my foot and more the side of my foot but it is enough to bring the revs up. It takes a fair amount of practice to match your revs to your speed but once you get it you feel really good :) Take a look around and see what you can find for examples and videos.

- Bill
 

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CyberDog said:
Basically as I am braking I have the ball of my foot fully depressing the brake. I than rotate my heal over to the gas and "blip" it to bring the revs up. At the same time the clutch is in and I'm down shifting the gears. The whole idea is that I should be able to release the clutch when I'm in the new gear and the car should not "lurch". It should be a smooth operation without upsetting the car. You don't need to completely "cover" the gas in fact I'm just hitting it with the bottom of my foot and more the side of my foot but it is enough to bring the revs up. It takes a fair amount of practice to match your revs to your speed but once you get it you feel really good :) Take a look around and see what you can find for examples and videos.

- Bill
Great explanation. Short and to the point. Bill shoots......he scores.
 

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Cant wait for Spring in NH. Can you provide any information on getting some track time/instruction at NHIS? I just bought my STi at the end of January and would like to learn from some professionals as to how to be safe and get the most out of my new car.

Thanks
 

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Re: Anyone going to the VIR feb 20-22

hey, great write up. thanks for sharing.

it's stuff like this that gets me through the winter months until i can get back out on the track.

:D
 

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I'll be joining you with COM this year myself. At the very least, I'll have my FFR Spec Racer there, and I may be adding a silver STI to the garage any day now. I'm already licensed, and I'll be running #04. I'll be PA with the cobra, what class does the stock STI run in?

SS-Sti, go here: http://www.comscc.org

-Brendan
 

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Where to get used tires

mx_9 said:
BCM said:
I'll be joining you with COM this year myself. At the very least, I'll have my FFR Spec Racer there, and I may be adding a silver STI to the garage any day now. I'm already licensed, and I'll be running #04. I'll be PA with the cobra, what class does the stock STI run in?

SS-Sti, go here: http://www.comscc.org

-Brendan
According to SCCA, AS (A Stock).

http://www.moutons.org/sccasolo/Lists/2003/stockc.html
This isn't SCCA, so its different. I just dug into the 2004 rule book on COM's site myself and its Showroom Stock Unlimited (SSU).

Also, its official now. I've got a deposit down on a WRB STi. So that can be my wet weather car.

Brendan :D
 

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sorry for a stupid question. I get the idea of the heel-toe but im sort of new to all of this.. can some one give me a sort of Gear-MPH-RPM graph for smooth transition.
something like.
Gear-MPH-RPM Low/High

1-0-3 / 1-20-4 (ie. take off in first gear at 3K rpm and shift at 20mph/4K)

i know this depends on how you are driving as far as the high range goes but the low range should somewhat be set in stone.

I know this isnt the easiest question to answer but any information would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Justin
 
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