Race 1: 2012 Philippine Autocross 5th Luzon Leg
Date: September 2,2012
Location: Filinvest Ave., Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Race 2: 2012 Shell Slalom Series 6th Leg
Date: September 9,2012
Location: SM Sucat, Paranaque City
Vehicle used: 2006 Hyundai Getz CRDi
What happens when you break your race Elantra while racing in Batangas, and find your other Elantra unavailable for a few races? You borrow another car and go racing! We swiped the keys to a cantankerous 2006 Hyundai Getz CRDi and drove it to cone hell.
If you’ve been an astute reader of this site, you’ve seen this Getz before. But aside from sporting 16″ Rota JMAG wheels and some-China-brand tires, there was nothing done that can possibly make this a Fastest Time of the Day car in any form of motorsport. The short wheelbase, stiff-ish rear semi-independent suspension, and strong handbrake make this a frisky car for the tight cones. But still, even coming with a turbocharger as standard, it’s a diesel engine for gosh sake.
Did we prosper despite seemingly insurmountable odds? In short, no. Read our misadventures after the jump.
The fifth Luzon leg of the 2012 Philippine Autocross Championship Series was held under intermittent rainy climes at a cordoned-off avenue of Filinvest, Alabang. The circumferential Filinvest Ave. was a wide, pockmarked, sparsely used avenue with center islands of decorative vegetation, originally paved as either part of a master plan for a burgeoning business district or a post-modern rendition of a crop circle. Regardless, it was the venue of an interesting day of grassroots motorsports, with a ton of competitors vying for the day’s top time.
We were supposed to bring Project Elantra out to play, but it experienced a bunch of maladies after the Circuit Showdown event. Fortunately, we were able to coax it back to the kuhol.net Garage, but a few days later, it didn’t want to start anymore. The mysterious hard starting problem was not resolved in time for these two events. Regardless, we were able to use the aforementioned Getz CRDi to participate.
The Getz was stock except for its Rota JMAG 16-inch rims and almost-worn, mixed-brand tires. On paper, the 1.5L CRDi diesel engine was a relative beast at 110hp and 235Nm of torque. What the spec sheet doesn’t tell is the power figures after 90,000kms of Metro Manila driving,which by the way is a driving condition classified as severe, according to people who want to sell you lots of motor oil and lots of casa service. But it’s small, it’s tossable, the handbrake is strong, and we can borrow it. “So what the hell, let’s race it,” we thought. Off we went to Filinvest Alabang.
We’re starting to understand Autocross’ unique selling proposition, especially with this event’s course layout. The first time we attended an Autocross leg, we were puzzled with the point of the figure-eight layout at the venue, as we were not able to come to grips with the Race of Champions-style of it. With more generous space provided by Filinvest Corporate City, by closing both lanes of a long section of Filinvest Ave., the organizers were able to pencil a true two-track, Solo II-style course, which really gives spectators a thrill of seeing head-to-head action between two competitors. But due to the lush foliage on the venue, the only racing action that spectators can view is the outset and the conclusion of the race.
As first-time participants, we could not as yet get used to the long-ish queuing time between runs. We actually waited in line for an hour before our first runs, due to glitches with the new timing equipment deployed. But even with functional timers in place, a complete Autocross run takes time. Counting the approach to the starting line, racing on the course, switching tracks, racing again, and exiting from the course, it takes a good four or five minutes per two drivers. In Slalom, the total process time is probably about a minute to a minute-and-a-half, depending on course length. Assuming a queue of twenty cars, the line in Autocross would be around twenty-plus minutes longer than a comparable Slalom pila.
But damn the car’s dogleg reverse. An uncommon gearing arrangement, the dogleg reverse is positioned in such a way that if you didn’t know better, you’d think that you’re in first gear. A mistake that almost caused us to make an awful accident when we launched off the line in reverse! We de-clutched in time before we hit anything or anyone, then set off to chase a pink-colored Civic. Even with the botched start, we reached the finish line ahead of the Honda, hopefully surprising the audience with the gawd-awfully-slow Korean econobox.
How well did we do? A seventh place in Novice Stock wasn’t too bad for an Autocross n00b. Regardless, it was a fun event, and we hope to join again when it rolls back into town. Well, not “town”, but rather, Filinvest.
The next weekend the Slalom race was in what we consider our home track, SM Sucat. We joined simply to score points towards the classes we wanted to get championship trophies in. However, our performance was only notable for its sheer paucity. We were once again outclassed by almost everyone participating, being several seconds behind the fast FWD driving of Pathrick and Alex Bautista. (Are they related? We’ll ask.). Don’t get us started with the Starlets of the Riveras and Doc Peewee, but they outpace most everyone anyways.
We got our racing fix, and we again learned how to drive a slow car. But of course, we were left a bit hanging, yearning for some proper power for once. We’re sick and tired of lethargic engines, roly-poly suspensions, and stock everything. We want our Project Elantra.
The next race in Riverbanks, Marikina, changed everything. Stay tuned, and keep it slow.
kuhol.net Automotive Racing Team Results
PACS 5th Luzon Leg
Novice Stock B: 5th
Novice Stock A: 6th
Shell Slalom Series 6th Leg
Open C: 2nd
Open A: 3rd
Front Wheel Modified Novice: 5th
Front Wheel Injected: 6th
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