Alright, so as the season for me is starting in less than a month I have begun the process of selecting wheels and tires for the next season.
SCCA rules dictate the size wheel you can run. The rules say + or- 1 inch in diameter from a stock wheel, but you must maintain the same width as a stock wheel and + or – 6mm on offset (go 6mm less if you can, remember with offset, less = more wideness) Tire Rack currently has an offer of 4 sparco assetto gara’s for $99 a piece… that is hard to beat, but unsprung weight is also a huge factor as well. The tire rack wheels are 17ish lb a piece. I am also looking at a set of ssr competition wheels at 16x6.5 and 11lb a piece. So the conundrum is do I lose ½” of width to lose 24lb of unsprung weight total?..... The SSR’s are also $700 (plus free tires with 15 runs left on them) vs the Sparco’s at $466 ( $99x4 + shipping and no shoes). Tough choice…
BFGoodrich promised last year at nationals that they would come out with a new version of the Rival which would trounce the massively popular Hankook Ventus RS-3 (v2) and so far there are only rumors of the tire being released this year. Tire Rack claims October will be the release date however, because Nationals is in August, I am guessing an October release date may be false. We will be looking at a Falken, Hankook, Direzza’s, Rivals, and Kumho’s.
Wheel width is very important. A wider wheel will help the wide tires perform at their best. For 15" wheels/tires, they've shown that it's best to match tire width to wheel width for optimal performance.
Watching tire width to wheel width is not incredibly realistic all of the time, but that's the goal.
Also remember that the rules are focused on "standard parts". Meaning everything is relative to a standard part. Meaning you can get a 16x7" wheel (because of the stock 17x7") wheel but you cannot get a 15x7" wheel. You can get a 15x6.5" because of the stock 16x6.5". Likewise the offset allowances match the stock wheels too. The 16x6.5" is ET35. The 17x7" is ET37.
The best setup in street class in my opinion is 16x7" with 205/45/16 tires. RS3 if you want absolute performance (First few heat cycles are amazing, performance tapers off quickly after that before the tire wears out; they like to be hot so recommended for 2 driver cars). RE-11 if you want a balance between DD & AX (RE-11s will be good until the cords). Lastly COMP2s if you want an affordable tire for learning while still being competitive.
My recommendation for newbies: COMP2
For casual experts: RE-11
For drivers that want to pay to play: RS3 (this is the most popular tire at Nationals)
I started out with RE-11s on my stock 16x6.5" wheels. I was very pleased with them and used them for DD/AX. I then got 17x7" wheels with ZIIs. Better tire but not by much. Now that I'm in Street Touring, I'm going smaller and seeing the widest 15" wheel I can fit.
Very nice, I like your write up. I went with a 16x7 Sparco Asetto Gara with 215-45-16s BFGoodrich G-force Rivals.
I will say, the rear fitment had some rubbing, there are brake-line brackets that must be "coaxed" into proper clearances. Not a big deal, a few easy taps with a hammer should do the trick.
It takes a couple of days to get the "Mold Release" (this lubricant they put on the molds the tires come out of) off the tires so it is important to drive them on the street for a few days (lightly) before your track day, 50- 100 miles should do it.
It will be my first rain auto-x. They say, dry tracks = fast cars, wet tracks = fast drivers. So time to learn how to be a fast driver!
Test&tune is this weekend along with Autocross event 1, super pumped.
Ok, so we are well underway with the 2015 SCCA Solo season. In the Kansas City region we have had a total of 4 events and 1 Solo School. The Abarth seems to be holding its own very nicely with the current pack in 2015, and even puts down comparatively fast times with faster classes.
Overall this season we are undefeated in the G-street class. Running times comparable to cars in faster classes. Pax numbers have been in the top 15 as well.
The tires/wheels we decided to run this year have given us a much higher performance level compared to the Pirelli PZERO nero. We are running the BFGoodrigh Rival on Sparco Aseetogara wheels. This upgrade alone has given us something like 3 seconds per lap faster times. Anyone running pirelli's, do yourself a favor and go to something more performance based. For 2 drivers over 3 events, the Rivals have scrubbed in nicely.
The Rivals are wider and have a more aggressive sidewall than the stock Pirelli, and there was some coaxing of the rear brake line bracket that needed to happen to avoid rubbing. Other than that there has been no rubbing, which was initially surprising for a 215 tire.
The grip...... oh the grip..... these tires grab on and even when sliding, hold very well. it will be interesting to see with 2 drivers, how this tire holds up as the months grow warmer and the track hits triple digits.
Event # 5 this weekend, if you are in the Kansas city area, come out and run with us. Last event had something like 130+ participants and 6 runs a piece. It will be more than worth your time.
Look for the guy with the beard.
Next time I will be talking about an auto-x alignment for the ABARTH.
I'm glad to see this subforum and topic here... I hadn't checked in for quite a while.
I started AXing right after I got my 2013 Abarth and have been having a blast! After the Pirellis and went to Cooper Zeons (don't ask why - I don't remember), then finally ended up with Bridgestone RE71s (since the Rivals didn't come in the right size... notwithstanding what I'm now reading with Messy's post). Our season here in Sacramento starts in April, and assuming we'll still be in GS (there's a move to get us into HS because of the Focus issue), my local nemesis will be a 2000 Celica. I've improved significantly with a combination of help from the Celica driver (very experienced), great tires, practical experience, and more confidence. So this will be my 4th year and hopefully, my best.
Yesterday was my first dry event in the Abarth. I did a few winter events to get some seat time but this was a whole new ball game. Would have ended up 2nd in GS but I got put in the wrong class. Was 3 seconds behind a Focus ST with a very experienced driver who was on RE-71s. With lighter wheels and a set of RE-71s I think I'd be neck and neck with him. The PZeros don't have the best grip when they're warm. First run of the day was a 57.5 and by the end of the day I ended with a 50.03 as my fastest. Lots of improvement yesterday and I can't wait for more!
I had posted in my own thread, but I think it would be good for me to post new stuff in here with all the other guys!
I've started autoXing my Abarth this year, and I've now run two events with the Great River Region SCCA. Haven't made any especially amazing runs or results, but I'm quite happy to just be out and having fun!
After this past event a nice older guy running an E Street Mazdaspeed Miata gave me a free set of 215/40-17 Direzza ZIIs that he no longer needed, and had some trouble getting rid of (???). Currently looking for another set of wheels to mount these on (in addition to the OEM 17s/Pirellis and CST Enzo 17s/Blizzaks that I already have).
"Worst" of all, though, my actual best time of the day ended up in the fun runs afterwards and so was not officially listed.
I know that I still need improvement as a driver, but I feel like I am wringing the last bit out of the stock Pirellis and hopefully the ZIIs I'm waiting to get ready to run won't give up quite as easily.
Had two events this past weekend locally, a test & tune on Sunday and a points event on Monday.
During the test & tune a nice, experienced guy with both an ND Miata (STR) and an FRS (STX) wanted to drive my car, so I rode along with as he did. Somewhat lining up with the "autocross curse" he ended up driving my own car faster than me, although I figured ahead of time this would happen simply due to his greater amount of experience. He chopped ~1.2 seconds from my fastest time up to that point, but after riding along and seeing the lines he would take into and through corners, this helped me subsequently chop 0.8 seconds out to get my own fastest time of the day.
The points event on Monday was a bunch of fun, and a whole ton of cars/drivers showed up compared to earlier events. The course was fast and great to drive, although because it had decent straights (for an autox) the gap to the properly fast cars was much greater than in other events with slower, more winding courses. Still, 44th/57 for raw time and 39th/57 for Pax time is generally putting me where I have been at the past couple of events.
On a bigger plus side, though, everybody who has asked me to give them a ride around the course has come out happy. Basically all of them comment on how awesome and fun my car is, other folks comment on how awesome the completely stock exhaust sounds, and a few have commented that they have more respect for the Fiat 500 seeing what my car can do.
Three more events in the bag since my last post, steadily moving up the charts in Pax times with a bit more experience and bit of help from new parts.
Now have run the past couple of events with the Neuspeed 28mm rear torsion bar, and a set of (used) 215/40R-17 Direzza ZIIs. With this combination the car feels enormously better than when stock, there is tons more tire grip than with the stock PZero Neros, and with the stiffened rear the car tends to drive closer to neutral, and under the right circumstances can be coaxed into lift-off/brake-induced oversteer.
I recently purchased my 2012 Abarth and one of the first things I did was Autocross it with the PCA. I ended beating multiple 911's with an (almost) stock Car. I have Magnetti Marelli lowering springs. The Abarth got the most attention of any car there and was a huge hit!
I've been autocrossing my Abarth for 2 seasons with the Hotchkiss AutoX group in the Compact Car class. I won 3 events last year and was the Class Champion this season. Mods are Vogtland coilovers, K&N cold air intake, Competizione Sport chassis braces and 17x7.5 wheels with Dunlop Direzza tires, Wilwood big brakes both front and rear and an ECU remap from OE Tuning.