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First autocross in my SS/TC

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First autocross in my SS/TC

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Old 08-11-2018, 03:57 PM
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First autocross in my SS/TC

Hi all,

Just did my first autocross with my '09 SS/TC sedan. Bone stock, 158k miles, with 3 different brands of all-seasons on it. I wasn't expecting much because my normal ride is this:



Well, I was blown away with the Cobalt. I set pressures to 40F/46R and just hoped I wouldn't plow through everything. After the first sweeper, I was laughing through the entire course. Nobody spoke about how much rotation this would have, and how easy it is to drive. I found the limits of the all-seasons quickly, and the brake pads I had didn't have great initial bite (I'm used to running Hawk HP+ pads), but that didn't dampen the day. If you tap the brakes during sweepers, it brings the rear around exactly how you need it. It's not sloppy at all. I wish SCCA would class the turbo car more competitively than D Street. It's a perfectly fine G Street car...

Anyway, now I'm looking at prepping it a bit more with tires and a sway bar for the 2019 season. I'm taking my BMW to nationals, but if the Cobalt is still holding strong in 2019, it's gonna get prepped.
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:38 AM
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The guys who track or road course these cars rave about how well they do. If I'm not mistaken at least 1 road course actually purchased a few of these cars as training cars because they handled so well. I have always threatened to auto cross or road race mine even though it sees some drag strip duty every year. It is way more setup for handling.
I've got konis, yyz springs, and a rear hardcore bar and will say it is very predictable and I have total confidence in it going into any curve or turn. I don't know its limits because it is so stable I've never felt it to be "on the edge". You may find you actually like it more than the bmw. It's gotta be cheaper at throwing parts at also.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:28 AM
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I'm looking at $1200 for wheels + tires, and another $250 for a sway bar. I can't do much more besides shocks, cat-back exhaust and brake pads, but I have no need for that stuff at the moment. I drive my Cobalt 100mi/day so if it's still holding strong in 2019, it's getting prepped for street class.

The Cobalt was a fun experience. It's soft, has power once the turbo kicks in, and torque steers. Exactly the opposite of the BMW. I think the Brembos inspired a lot of confidence since I went in pretty deep into elements, and when I found out the rear rotates so well when you tap the brakes, I wasn't worried about understeer. I hate it when my daily becomes the race car, and I have to find another daily.
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Old 08-12-2018, 03:02 PM
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Do you have a lsd trans? Is so, get Powell's rear control arm bushings and rotated trans mounts and you should all but eliminate torque steer. I have none at 370whp. Forgo the wheels and get some decent 300 treadwear radials that can also daily, like a Re-71r and use the money not spent on wheels on the chassis. Just may advice.
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Old 08-12-2018, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 63 Nova SS View Post
Do you have a lsd trans? Is so, get Powell's rear control arm bushings and rotated trans mounts and you should all but eliminate torque steer. I have none at 370whp. Forgo the wheels and get some decent 300 treadwear radials that can also daily, like a Re-71r and use the money not spent on wheels on the chassis. Just may advice.
Can't do anything but stock rubber bushings in street class, unfortunately. I have the LSD. I don't mind the handling of it as-is, it's what makes it fun. The BMW has 200hp and weighs the same, so I can really feel the extra 60hp when the turbo spools up.

Also, I'm thinking of doing 225/45/17 instead of 225/40/18, hence the wheels. No matter what, I need to get a second set of wheels because once I get dedicated summers, I'll need a winter set. I'll most likely do RE-71's because that's all I've ran on the BMW. There's a guy at nationals with a Cobalt SS so I'm going to pick his brain on it too with sway bars, wheels, shocks, etc.
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Old 08-12-2018, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by 63 Nova SS View Post
If I'm not mistaken at least 1 road course actually purchased a few of these cars as training cars because they handled so well.
Pro-formance driving school at pacific raceways in seattle used to have 4 or 5 ss/sc cobalts as driver training cars. not sure if they have cycled them out now, they had them when the ss/sc was still new
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Old 08-13-2018, 01:48 PM
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Some guys were also talking about Rev-it-up challenge or something that used SS/SC's as event cars. Not much talk about the TC, but that's what makes it even more unique!
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Old 08-13-2018, 02:08 PM
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You say sway bar but are you referring to a rear sway bar add-on or a stiffer front? I wouldn't recommend going any stiffer in the front than stock for the TC Cobalt as you will just increase understeer. If you like the way it rotates as-is you don't really need a rear bar either unless you wish for it to rotate easier. I personally have the 24mm stock front bar combined with a rear Powell hardcore bar and I find it rotates plenty with how I drive for autocross. In fact I even run a few less PSI pressure in the rear tires to keep from over rotating with this setup.
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Old 08-13-2018, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jdbaugh1 View Post
You say sway bar but are you referring to a rear sway bar add-on or a stiffer front? I wouldn't recommend going any stiffer in the front than stock for the TC Cobalt as you will just increase understeer. If you like the way it rotates as-is you don't really need a rear bar either unless you wish for it to rotate easier. I personally have the 24mm stock front bar combined with a rear Powell hardcore bar and I find it rotates plenty with how I drive for autocross. In fact I even run a few less PSI pressure in the rear tires to keep from over rotating with this setup.
Of course a rear bar on a FWD car! Good point on maybe not needing the as much of a rear sway bar as expected. I don't want to experiment, but just get it right on the first try, but there aren't enough Cobalts around to snag a co-drive and see what I like haha. It'll be slow progress if I even have the Cobalt for the 2019 season.
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:37 PM
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I need to try autocross.
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Old 08-14-2018, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 63 Nova SS View Post
I need to try autocross.
It's good cheap fun. Really no reason not to at least try it
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Old 08-14-2018, 08:11 AM
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Correct. It's cheap (<$40 usually) and if you find a good group to run with at a good location, you should have a good time. I prefer it to track days as those weekends cost $500+, even if you get 10x the amount of seat time. My attention span only lasts 60 seconds so the autox is fine
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Old 08-14-2018, 09:59 PM
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My car is setup 100% for autocross, I just don't do it. Kind of a shame to have my equipment and not do it.
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Old 08-14-2018, 11:04 PM
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You might cry a little the first time a cone leaves it's mark. I felt bad when my Cobalt got a few scuffs last event.

My BMW's front bumper looks like death. The side skirts have not fared well either. It's all part of the fun though, and why I don't own garage queens.
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Old 08-15-2018, 06:19 AM
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Some people with nicer cars will protect their bumpers with masking tape. I never worry about it because my base model body is a turd anyway
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