Memories.

In the interest of getting to know the readers a bit better (and have them get to know me a bit better), I wanted to pose a couple of questions:

What was your first race car?  (If you have never raced, what was the first car that really captured your imagination?)

My first race car was a 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS.  This was the first generation chassis, and it was a 4-door manual.  I beat this car up at autocrosses, rallycrosses, off-pavement TSD rallies, and track days.  It was put into service at the end of 2000 and retired from service at the end of 2005.

This car was pretty darn gutless, but it was also incredibly stable on-throttle.  Even on packed snow, you could just stand on it.

It was a great starter car, but it also taught horrible driving habits.  The only real incident the car suffered was the result of a miscommunication between my co-driver and I on a winter rally (oh… turn here!)… I put the car into a snow bank, but backed right out and kept on going.

If Subaru would sell me a new one of these, I’d buy it.

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Introductions- Andrew Howe

Hi.  I thought I’d start out on StartingGrid by introducing myself.

As an amateur racer (an autocrosser to be more precise), I’m the car owner, the engineer, the mechanic, and the driver.  I drive the truck, I stock the cooler, I book the hotels.  If that seems like a lot of responsibility, that’s true.  The reward?  Just a few minutes of glory, a big grin, and good memories.  Very few of us take anything monetary back out of the sport.

Now, a bit about my background in motorsports.  Autocross is a test of precision and speed in a time trial format. Each driver gets 3 runs at a course with their best time going in the results.  There is no practice; the course is learned by walking it.  It is marked with cones and hitting a cone invokes a fatal 2 second penalty.  Being perfect for 60 seconds is the holy grail of autocross.  The one that is most nearly perfect wins.

I drive a 1982 Reynard chassis Formula Ford.  It is underpowered, but capable.  When it was new, it was one of the best rides out there and the European series was a stepping stone towards Formula 1.  Your favorite F1 drivers from the 80’s all came through the Formula Ford ranks.  The cars are very forgiving but painfully slow.  Every ounce of speed must be carried through the corner to be fast.

I’ll be writing about car setup and driving technique.  My personal strengths appear to be in setting up the car and driving the best line.  I’m not much for driving with my hair on fire, but I can do it from time to time.  Usually you’ll find me being methodical, precise, and living between 9/10ths and 10/10ths.  As an amateur, this seems to work fairly well.  And, the more seat time I get, the more comfortable 10/10ths feels.

Recent in-car video from the SCCA Solo National Championships:

If I were more tech savvy, I’d find a way to embed that directly in the post.  (Editor’s Note: Don’t worry, Andy. I’ve got your back. 😉 ) Oh well… something more to learn.  In the mean time, I’ll see you on the Grid.