Yeah, I've been neglecting my mod list.
But at least I've been driving the car.
I joined the Capital Driving Club, mainly for autocross (they have HPDE events too). I've attended two events so far.
The first event in Maryland was a bit of a mess...only two of my runs were counted.
My second event (in Winchester) was much more satisfying. The course had extra room for the STi to stretch it's legs. I bought an extra slot and ended up running something like 14 runs. The times of the extra slot didn't count for points but I'm not racing for points, so I used the slot as a test/tune. The test car, an FFR Cobra, timed at 34.xx sec. The fastest STi was running 36s (and he was hitting 36s most of the day). I started out very slow, where the first run was a 48.xx. I got lower as the day wore on, with an official 39.xx. With the extra slot, I broke into the 38s after consulting another member, wondering how I could make more time. He rode with me and told me I was extremely smooth but that I needed to step up the pace a bit and to get closer to the cones. He told me that if my tires weren't howling, I wasn't pushing hard enough. So, I went out and followed his tips and cut a second off my time. But I didn't progress beyond 38s. I also scared the living daylights out of him. There's a long middle slalom stretch where I began to get deep into the throttle. I think he was thinking I'd begin my braking early but I waited until the very last minute and did this panic "foot through floorboard" type move!
I learned several lessons. The most important lesson is to increase the pace of my first run...that way, I'll at least place mid-pack as I progress throughout the day. Don't be afraid of getting close to the cones (but don't constantly nail them either). Don't hammer the throttle and brakes...be as smooth as possible. Study the cones to see where I can make the best time. Watch other drivers, especially STi drivers, to see where they're doing well on the course (and not so well).
So now I'm thinking I should begin to look for some dedicated autocross wheels and tires. I'm looking for another set of the stocker Dunlop SP600s. Why? They're good...very good. MUCH better than people give them credit for. I was not sliding whatsoever on the track. Not even an inch. They're durable for what they are. Sure, I could do better, as this tire is considered the low man on the ultra-performance totem pole, but it IS INDEED an ultra-performance tire. Some of the other STis were getting rather close to that FFR Cobra's time and they were using Dunlop SP600s. Plus, the SP600s are one of the first things that owners tend to swap out of a new car, so I can get them cheaper than I could if I bought them new. And I just need some extra tires.
I was much harder on the tires than when I was in Maryland and they've some minor wear. These are the same tires that came with the car and the car has a bit over 8K miles, but I can see that I'll need some dedicated wheels before winter. What I'll do is find a used but low milelage set locally, if that is even possible during the summer. I'll put those on the car for normal driving, but make the current set my dedicated autoX tires.
I also found a place local to me that will tint my windows (instead of me driving halfway across metro DC/VA/MD). I just need to visit them and get a quote. I could've used some tint when it was 105+ a few weeks ago.
Now, with all that dialogue up above, I'm extremely happy with the car and it's autocross performance. It has some pretty ridiculous performance. I don't think I'm going to have to do many (if any) modifications to the STi to meet my autocross needs (ie, it'll be a long while before I'm good enough to tap into 100% of the car's potential). Not that I'm going to be beating on this car...I'm not competing, just autocrossing for enjoyment.