Category Archives: RallyCross

Fiero RallyCross

Rallycross a road course track car? Are you crazy?! Oh YES!

I borrowed some gravel tires mounted on 15×6 GTI wheels from my friend and took my DOHC V6-powered Fiero track car out to a RallyCross practice event. I have been very successful competing in the all-wheel drive Apocalypse Wagon but this was my first time on the dirt with a rear wheel drive car.

With the low-hanging aero bits, lowered suspension, and almost-slick tires, this configuration won't cut it in the gravel.
With the low-hanging aero bits, lowered suspension, and almost-slick tires, this configuration won’t cut it in the gravel.

Conversion from my track setup to rallycross involved the following:

  • Swap wheels over to the gravel setup, removing the front wheel spacers
  • Remove fieroguru lateral link relocation brackets (15″ wheels will not fit over them)
  • Raise front and rear suspension by 2 inches using the adjustable coilover sleeves
  • Remove front splitter
  • Remove rear wing
  • After these adjustments, toe remained at zero front and rear. I didn’t measure the camber but it is not critical for rallycross.
The car looks a lot more mundane without all the tarmac-oriented aero upgrades!
The car looks much more mundane after removing all aero upgrades and wide wheels!

The car behaved VERY well. Surface irregularities were easily soaked up by my springs and dampers (800 lb/in front with custom valved Bilsteins, 475 lb/in rear with Koni reds at full stiff) and even the largest dips did not upset the chassis or result in tires losing contact with the ground. The fast steering made for very easy corrections. The 3.4 DOHC makes enough torque that 2nd gear can be used for almost the entire course. First was only needed if I messed up and lost a lot of momentum. Even in second gear at 2500 RPM I could spin the tires at full throttle. Even on a freshly-wetted surface, handling was predictable. The torque delivery is so linear that it’s easy to control the rotation of the car by feathering the throttle and making minor steering adjustments.

It could certainly use some more grip.. the tires I used were heavily worn, hard compound, and hardened more with age. Some fresh gravel tires should help quite a bit.

I would definitely like to make it back out on the dirt, perhaps with some fresher tires. I also had a minor issue in the form of right strut tower separation.. but as scary as it sounds it was because of some work I had done in removing some brackets and adding clearance for the power steering pump, and I forgot to re-weld some spot welds that broke while I was hammering it out. Doesn’t look too hard to fix though.

Here’s a video of one of the runs. Sorry about the sound, I didn’t have my external mic:

And some photos:

2014 Porterfield RallyCross Season Opener

On March 16th 2014, a field of 83 drivers slid their cars around Glen Helen Raceway’s dirt course for the 2014 Porterfield Glen Helen RallyCross #1, the first event of the year.

The massive turnout brought an incredible variety of vehicles out to the race including Mazda Miatas, BMWs, VWs, a Dodge Neon, and others, with 50% of the grid consisting solely of Subarus.

Danny Downey (1992 Dodge Stealth #711) started the season with a Stock 2WD class win, leading by 13 seconds over John Black (2012 Ford #34) ), with Matt Price (2013 Ford Focus #39) close behind. With with Downey’s previous rival Bill Martin — the 2013 Championship winner for Stock 2WD — having moved to Stock AWD class this year in a new car, Downey doesn’t yet have a close rival in this year’s championship.

Stock AWD class saw a very close finish between rivals James Veatch (1997 Subaru Impreza #155) and Mathew Mendoza (2004 Subaru WRX #420) with only 0.416 seconds separating the two but Veatch coming out ahead — that’s a mere 0.1% difference in total times! Bill Martin finished 6 seconds behind the win, but expect to see him remain a contender for the rest of the season.

Prepared 2WD saw a grid of 3 drivers, with Sarkis Mazmanian (1993 Honda Civic #777) and Vahan Yessayan (1988 Toyota Corolla FX #160) in a close battle for the lead. Mazmanian finished 0.541 seconds ahead of Yessayan — another surprisingly close race that mimicked what happened in Stock AWD. It’s looking to be a good year!

Brent Smith took the Prepared AWD class lead in his 2009 Subaru STI  (#433) with the fastest total time of the day and 7.3 seconds over Daryl Fike’s 2005 Subaru STI #16.

Modified 2WD saw the largest grid of cars with a total of 20 entries. Eric Martin took the lead in his 1982 VW Rabbit (#4) with a 5.41 second lead over Michael Cadwell’s 1994 BMW 325is (#854). David Moss (2010 Ford Focus #22) finished in 3rd, 4.93 seconds behind Cadwell’s BMW.

The flagship Modified AWD class saw 18 total entries and some close finishes. Cameron Meng (2006 Subaru WRX #511) took the class lead, followed by Mark Ackenback’s 2004 Subaru STI (#733) and Thomas Bloess’ 2008 Subaru WRX (#31).

And  now.. on to the pictures!


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

(c) Copyright 2014, Steven T. Snyder, All Rights Reserved.

2013 Porterfield Glen Helen RallyCross Finale

Last Sunday was the final race of the 2013 Porterfield RallyCross Series at Glen Helen Raceway. I showed with and competed in my Apocalypse Wagon, scored enough points to hold my lead, and won the 2013 season! The rest of the day was spent shooting thousands (THOUSANDS) of photos of the highly-entertaining afternoon run groups.

Here are some of my favorites. I shot these photos using my new Canon 70D with the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens. I try to minimize post-processing. Usually just a bit of contrast and exposure adjustment.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

(c) Copyright 2013, Steven T. Snyder, All Rights Reserved.