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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen a few post saying that no one will be autocrossing a 3rd gen. I thought I left that world behind when I got rid of my MX-5 in May, but I missed it. So today was my first day back at an autocross in my 2015 Mazda6 Sport with 18X8 Enkei PF01's, 225/45/18 Continental Extreme DW tires, and H&R sport springs. The springs put me in my local autocross clubs slowest modified division known as M3 and I came in 1st in my class and 32nd overall out of 60 drivers. I'm only on Max performance tires and I think if I would have been on Extreme performance tires I could have easily dropped a full second off of my times which would have put me at 24th overall. The course was short with 2 180* turns that flowed like a huge S, in essence 2 skidpads. It was fun and the weak point on the car is definitely the factory brake pads they quickly overheated and smelled horrible which would explain why my fastest run was my 2nd run out of 7 total.
 

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Love it! Have any pictures? I am hoping to autox mine at least once after I get the sway bar put on and some stickier tires.
 

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I havnt really had a chance to test the stock brake bads, but damn do those things dust like crazy!

Im hoping Performance Friction comes out with some pads for the new 6. Been using them on just about every car ive had for road/track/autox and havnt found a better bang for the buck!

Glad to hear you and the 6 did well! I too thought those days were over but the itch is still there!
 

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Love it! Have any pictures? I am hoping to autox mine at least once after I get the sway bar put on and some stickier tires.
I don't have pics of my own and my autocross club's website seems to be down for some reason. When it pops up I'll see if anyone at the event has photos of my run group.
 

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Glad to hear someone is taking a 3gen to the track. They certainly look fast but proving that they can keep up with others will be difficult haha.

Yeah the factory brakes aren't too great, but they get the job done for daily driving I suppose.
 

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Springs resolve some of the high CG issue, but the long wheelbase is a killer for me, the car just doesn't want to rotate very well in tight low speed turns. Like you I came from a miata, so my opinion has to be taken in context. However, the fact the whole course only had two turns which were at tangencies, means that weakness wasn't exposed on the course.

I do know this car does well at putting the power down, even when coming out of tight corners, which could be helping your times as the car was able to pull itself around the cornerns.

The car stays fairly flat through corners stock despite its high cg based on a video I saw overlaying it with an accord sport going through a slalom (the accord rotated much better though). If I were you I'd slot the strut lower mount upper bolt hole to add some front negative camber, while retaining the roll center. It should help eliminate most of the understeer helping the car to bite and rotate better on initial turn-in for a small penalty in putting the power down to the inside wheel.

Thanks for sharing your experience. I guess you'll need some better brake pads for next time.
 

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upgrade that brake fluid and email hawk!!!! WE NEED HAWK BRAKE PADS.. LOL. This sedan stops longer than anything else I own (still not bad though, hah)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Springs resolve some of the high CG issue, but the long wheelbase is a killer for me, the car just doesn't want to rotate very well in tight low speed turns. Like you I came from a miata, so my opinion has to be taken in context. However, the fact the whole course only had two turns which were at tangencies, means that weakness wasn't exposed on the course.

I do know this car does well at putting the power down, even when coming out of tight corners, which could be helping your times as the car was able to pull itself around the cornerns.

The car stays fairly flat through corners stock despite its high cg based on a video I saw overlaying it with an accord sport going through a slalom (the accord rotated much better though). If I were you I'd slot the strut lower mount upper bolt hole to add some front negative camber, while retaining the roll center. It should help eliminate most of the understeer helping the car to bite and rotate better on initial turn-in for a small penalty in putting the power down to the inside wheel.

Thanks for sharing your experience. I guess you'll need some better brake pads for next time.
There was also a slalom on this course and it did well with that. The understeer is a bit annoying, but I'm a pretty good driver and trail brake the car into corners which makes the car pretty efficient at turn in. The bigger issue is steering ratio. It definitely takes more steering wheel input to make the car go where you want it to go. It definitely is not the ideal car to autocross and if anyone reading this thinks they will be able to go out and duplicate my results are sorely mistaken unless they are good drivers. I won my class in my miata and also won an event my club has that's called a battlecross. In a battlecross you line up opposite of each other on opposing sides of the course and there is a flag man in the middle that does an arm drop to start the lap. There are also two judges on each side of the finish line that have to agree on who got back to the start finish line on their side first. I won my class in the battlecross and then beat every other class champion to be the overall champion. I'm not trying to brag, what I'm trying to say is that if anyone reading this is going to autocross their 6 for fun it's a fun car to autocross, but if you're going out to try and win, you better be able to hustle the shit out of it and drive your ass off!
 

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trail brake makes a huge difference in the cars balance and I'm sure helped you significantly. It's not too hard (IMO) too get the car rear happy by throwing it off balance. If a sway bar doesn't knock you up a class, try getting the corksport rear sway bar and installing it on a tighter setting. It may be JUST enough help to ease off that oversteer and bring the slalom down a good bit.
 

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Hmm the steering ratio on this car is way faster than anything else in the class, but I guess it still is a bit slower than a miata. You should do the urethane fill/mod on the front control arm bushings, and slotting the strut -hub holes as I mentioned above. 1 they will never know you modded the car, and 2 it will substantially improve the grip and response to steering inputs to the front wheels. As we all know in racing there are two groups of people: Cheaters and loosers. LoL

This car just drives like any front driver, in that it benefits from coming in wide slightly angling away from the corner and yanking it into the corner as you let off the brake, allowing you to use the power to pull through the corner as early as possible. It's such a different line than a rear drive car. It's taken me 6 months of driving for it to become natural to me again.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This car just drives like any front driver, in that it benefits from coming in wide slightly angling away from the corner and yanking it into the corner as you let off the brake, allowing you to use the power to pull through the corner as early as possible.
That is actually a slower way of cornering in a front wheel drive car. You are losing time by swinging wider (time VS distance traveled) and you're slowing down more than you have to by braking hard and THEN letting off the brake and turning. When you let off the brake and then turn you unload the front tires by backing off the brake and then you are trying to use those unloaded front tires to turn. What you want to do is trail brake the car into turns. You want to be braking 100% in a straight line as you turn the wheel X% you should be slowly backing off the brake by the same amount. So it's 100% braking to 0% turning, as you turn 10% you should be backing off to 90% braking, 20% turning to 80% braking and so on until you are at 100% of the tires traction for cornering and 0% for braking. Here is a video of Mark Webber's lap on Top Gear. If you skip to the 1:20 mark in the video he is talking about the last 2 corners of the track and then at 1:30 they show him driving them. As he approaches the 2nd to last corner you can see the front right tire is fully loaded and the car rotates smoothly around the turn. As he passes the camera leading to the last corner and starts to turn in you can see the third (top/middle) brake light lit up until he gets to the inside curb of the turn (almost the apex) he is trail braking to make the car turn in which takes a lot of practice and skill to do. Getting braking down (especially trail braking) is the hardest thing to learn, but when you do you will be a very fast driver. Trail braking and carrying as much speed as possible through the turn is way faster than braking harder than you need to to get to a slow enough speed to where you can yank the wheel and then power out. If you watch the whole video (or skip to 1:07) it shows him in car and he says to be gentle with and does very little steering. Notice he doesn't need to yank the wheel to make the car turn because he is trail braking. If you are yanking the wheel you are going slower than you need to be. With racing smoother is always faster. Trail braking allows you to be smooth which equals fast!

Video:
 

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Dude, I'm basically doing what your saying. And I agree with everything you are saying as it pertains to road courses where you take the same corners over and over.

The only difference is I don't drive courses, I drive roads which means each corner is like the first lap and the best line is a little TBD with no rubber laid down to help, so going a little wide and yanking more at the transition from braking to cornering is just a front drive interpretation of the Scandinavian flick from rally racing which guarantees you get the back end around in a timely manner to be able to handle the rest of the corner and the exit faster through every corner as consistently as possible. The alternative is to be perfectly smooth and then realize you are running out of road and having to back off at the end of the corner killing your exit speed.


I still stand by my statement that front drive cars and rear drive cars need different lines and techniques to get through the first part of the corner. I think it is more pronounced the slower the corner. Once at triple digit speeds the difference almost goes to zero.
 

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There's only one way to settle this....
 

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LoL, he'd kick my butt I'm sure. I have done some pay to play go-cart racing. I'm always a tad bit too aggressive, and not consistent enough to be a solid racer.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
There's only one way to settle this....
Hilarious! If I'm ever in San Diego and there's an autocross I'll have to pm Solar! In all seriousness though I know that he knows what he's talking about. The way it came across to me in his post was a bit confusing, but I trust Solar.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
1st in class the last 2 months and 1st for the season so far! Our season runs from September through July and we take off August for an awards party.
 

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Congrats! Car is looking good
 
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What kind of gearing did you use? Able to keep it in 2nd or did you have to go to 3rd? The 6250 rpm limit in this car seems low, but i haven't tested what speeds 2nd will take you to.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have an auto so I used 2nd for that whole course. This past months course I had to go to third as I approached the finish. 2nd only goes to 60 and the finish had a pretty long straight leading up to it.
 
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