Coming in last place doesn’t tell the whole story
Autocross is an interesting “sport”. I put the word sport in quotations because it’s honestly not a sport. But I don’t know what the hell it is, a competitive hobby for people with too much time on their hands? It’s interesting because so many different cars some together for a day and compete for the fastest time. And it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on your car – it’s about how fast you are with your car. At this past Capital Driving Club’s autocross event a 1992 Mazda Miata spanked a 2015 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 by three seconds and it had the fastest time of the day (FTD) of 39.49.
Mazda Miata’s tend to be a popular car at autocross events (especially at Capital Driving Club’s) because while your Porsche 911 might have more horsepower and land you a Tinder date. The Mazda Miata is cheap and you can make it fast by adding sticky tires and an upgraded suspension. For around $6,000 you can tell that Porsche 911 owner to eat dust in your 20 year old Miata. And that’s a good feeling. And that’s why I picked up a 1994 Mazda Miata.
But you see my 1994 Mazda Miata is completely stock – all the way down to its terrible knock-off Chinese all-season tires. So I tend to be near the back of the pack in terms of results – I at least beat out the Honda Fit on summer tires and lime green 1972 Plymouth Barracuda. But it also gives me hope that I can be near the top of the pack. The winner last week was a 1992 Mazda Miata with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and racing slicks.
This week I didn’t come in dead last. I beat out seven people with a time of 49.30 on my last two runs (I’m consistent). That’s not the whole story. Because this is just my third autocross and if you look at cars that were one second ahead of me – I did alright. There was a 2006 e46 M3 that only beat me by one second. The tail-happy Ford Focus ST came in one second ahead too. I was shocked to see a 2011 Subaru WRX STI only beat me by 1.5 seconds. That means if I slap on some sticky rubber I can beat those cars. Little ol’ me in my 1994 Mazda Miata can take down a 300 horsepower Colin McRee rally car.
And that’s why the results don’t mean everything. Check back in a little bit when I add some stick rubber to my lil’ Miata. I promise I’ll be closer to the top of the pack. For now, I’m saving my pennies to get some good wheels and rubber. Because if skip on good rubber, typically you won’t like the results.