As you may have read here on our blog, MAPerformance offers sponsorship's to drivers across various different racing outlets. These outlets include autocross, drag racing, and road course competitions like the SCCA Solo Tour
. For more information on what it's like to be a sponsored driver, as well as tips on how to obtain a sponsorship, check out this blog post
from a few months ago! Have questions about what it's like to be on the track, check out this write-up from Doug and Tasha Mikko
about their adventures in the SCCA STU Division
driving their highly modified Evolution 9!
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Photo by: Alvin Cheng/5HPDecals[/caption]
Chronicles of a married couple's race-cation to compete in the SCCA Solo Tour!
Thursday, June 5 2014-
We loaded up our fully built SCCA Street Touring Ultra (STU)
2006 Mitsubishi Evo IX with our luggage, tools, and food.We were prepared to drive the car from Seattle WA, to Crow's Landing CA (850 miles, 13 hours one way) with plans to race in the SCCA Pro Solo and Championship Tour
events. It was quite a long haul in our fixed back racing seats, but completely worth the discomfort!
The Crow's Landing site, once a Naval Air Station, is located in farm country in central California. It consists of 33 glorious acres of tire devouring concrete runways. The site offers the kind of grip auto-crosser's live for, and it's hard to find better grip on the western half of the country outside of the National Solo Championships site in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Race weekend #1
Saturday and Sunday, June 7-8
Along with more than 200 of our fellow autox enthusiasts, we braved the scorching 105 degree heat to race in the SCCA Solo Tour event. ProSolo is one part drag race, and one part auto-x. Competitors line up side-by-side at a drag race light tree, then when the lights come down they launch into mirror image autox courses. Launching too soon will get you an ugly red light disqualifying your run, but if you play it safe and wait to see the green light you're throwing away valuable time.
ProSolo competition takes place over two days, during which drivers compete in three sessions where they complete 2 runs on each side, for a total of 12 runs (6 runs on each side). The fastest time for each driver on each side is combined to determine overall finishing positions. I competed in the Ladies-3 index class, which combines all of the SCCA Street Touring classes. Street Touring classes run on street legal tires and are allowed to modify suspension, brakes, and some components of the air intake and exhaust system, while motors, transmissions and differentials must remain stock. Each driver's raw times are multiplied with an class index modifier
to determine the finishing positions.
There were 11 of us going head to head this weekend, representing five different ST classes. Three of my competitors were multi-time national champions, most recently in STR-L, STU-L and STC-L. Tough competition for sure! After the first round of competition Saturday morning I was sitting in 2nd place a few tenths behind the 2013 STC-L national champion. My husband raced in the STU class, his competition also included a couple of multi-time national champions. But who said ProSolo was supposed to be easy?! At the end of the morning session he was sitting in 2nd.
[caption id="attachment_9867" align="alignnone" width="625"]
Photo by: Alvin Cheng/5HPDecals[/caption]
On Saturday afternoon my good friend, fellow Northwest region autocrosser, and 2013 STR-L national champion cleaned up her act and jumped into the first spot with her extremely well sorted STX Scion FRS, bumping me to 3rd. I was sitting just over 1.0 second behind 1st, 0.5 behind the STC Civic Si in 2nd, and the 4th place driver was nipping at my heels. My husband, unable to improve, was bumped out of 2nd when several of his competitors were able to learn the track. He ended Saturday sitting mid-pack. On Sunday morning, with the track surface clean and rubbered
in, times dropped fast. It all came down to the last set of races. I threw down some decent times, but coned my fastest run on the right side, which cost me the 2nd place finish, drat! As close as it was, I narrowed the margins between first (0.9) and second (0.2), extended my lead over 4th (0.9) and finished on the podium. My husband's luck did not improve and he red lit his fastest runs on Sunday, finishing out of contention. Here are the Results
from our first weekend! In car footage:
Race weekend #2
Saturday and Sunday, June 14-15
We were back to the standard autox format - two days, 3 runs each day with the quickest of each added together to determine the final results. The 95 degree temperatures were slightly less unbearable for the 273 competitors who came prepared to donate copious quantities of race rubber to Crow's infamously grippy concrete. For this event my husband and I co-drove together in the STU class. Saturday's course layout was quite busy, my runs were a mess and I dug myself into a hole, doh! I ended the day sitting in the bottom third of the standings. My husband struggled through his first two runs but was finally able to put it together on his last run to jump into 3rd for the day.
Sunday's course was more open, and consequently a lot more fun. I had a much better day, based on Sunday's times I had the 4th fastest time, behind my husband and the two multi-time national champions leading the class. Regrettably, the hole I dug for myself on day one was too deep and I finished the weekend in 6th (of 9). My husband had another good day on Sunday and ended the weekend in 3rd, good enough for the podium. As the hosts of BBC's Top Gear so aptly put it, we consumed a couple of "cold frosty mugs worth of what could've been", packed up our gear, and started planning for the next race on our long drive home.
We'll be doing it all again in a couple weeks when the SCCA Championship Tour and ProSolo come to our home turf, at the scenic Mt. Rainier town of Packwood, WA. Here are the Results
from our second weekend! In car footage:
Many thanks to our fantastic sponsors for their ongoing support: Modern Automotive Performance, AutoSport Labs, Petrel Data, English Racing, CIRO Design