In the 1998 season the car took a quick stop at the shop. We started the season on the Toyos and they seemed pretty slippery after sitting for the winter. Once burned through the car was fitted with BFG Comp T/A R1s of the same size. What a huge difference! The BFGs are a much much stiffer sidewalled, and much much stickier tire.
When the car was purchased it was known that some of the synchros had seen a bit of wear. As this year progressed it became very obvious that the car would require a transmission rebuild.
While the car was down at the shop getting this done we slapping in a pair of competition motor mounts, and used the competition tranny mounts, too. Also added was a set of SS braided brake lines. The brakes lines surprised me greatly -- they made a huge difference to pedal feel. Hawk Black brake pads also made their way on to the car this time around.
For the first time in my autocrossing career I decided to try an alignment. We tried to get max negative camber, and we set it for 0 toe. Max negative camber in these cars is about -0.5 degrees. It sucks. So the solution was to drill out the shock towers a little and get ourselves some more negative camber.
We ran so many autocross events, along with a few lapping nights, that the BFGs were used up before the end of the season. Unfortunately, I couldn't find another set of BFGs to put on the car so I was back to running on Toyos.
Finishing out the season on the Toyos was annoying. We finally learned something about them. They _need_ negative camber. Without negative camber the tires won't work until you've run them for two or three events, wearing down the tire to match the suspension on the car.
So, we battled through a lapping day and finished out the MCO autocross series on these tires. We finished fourth overall and first in class this year, which was something that we were quite happy with given the way things are scored.
With the MCO season done and the racing bug still biting, I took the car to Toronto to run in a regional event. The plan was to finish well enough to get invited to the Yokohama Top Gun Shootout. So, at the last regional we got tossed in with a very fast crew of drivers, and I have to admit I was a little nervous. Luckily we were fast enough...
With qualifying accomplished we went back up the following weekend. In a rush we moved the struts back to their stock position, negating the preperation points accrued from the non-stock alignment. With this done we could run in a class lower, and run in that class we did. At the shootout we placed first in class, and since PAX factors were being used for overall scoring we managed to take first overall.
The last part of the shootout was for the 6 fastest drivers to take a ride in a couple of unfamiliar cars. In this I didn't fair nearly as well, even though I had a blast. I ended up 3rd of 6. I never did manage a clean run in the Neon, and the Camaro has very little stick. It was an experience.
Just as the 1997 season ended, so did this one. Pretty happy with the car, it's winning races and holding together just fine. As the weather cools off we're running into idling problems and we're getting some detonation again. Damn vacuum hoses.