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Discussion Starter #1
My first autocross in the SRT-4 was Sunday, March 9. I’ve been autocrossing sporadically since 1986 and fairly regularly since I got my Neon ACR coupe in 1997. I left the ACR stock until the contingency program ended and then started modifying it to compete in DSP. But, how did the SRT-4 do?

There are several things that I noted: (1) the Michelin Pilot Sports are fairly good street tires, but they’re not good autocrossing tires. The car understeers badly. I’m trying to figure what size tire will fit on the ridiculously small (in width) stock rims without ruining my ability to reach 60 mph in second gear; (2) the brakes require some getting used to if you’re not accustomed to anti-lock brakes. The ACR had Hawk HPS pads and barely tapping the brakes slowed the car immediately; the SRT-4 brakes require much greater effort (although the brakes are very, very good once the pads bite); (3) the power is awesome. It pulled beautifully in second gear no matter the speed at which I started. However, the absence of an LSD was evident at numerous places on the course (the inside tire would spin quite a bit). An excellent driver who runs a Subaru WRX rode with me and commented on the amount of wheel spin exiting corners (He also praised the power of the SRT-4!); (4) there is quite a bit of body roll. My friend (who bought my ACR) video-taped my runs (I haven’t seen them yet, but he commented on the body roll). The ACR had Koni struts and MOPAR extra high rate springs, and I haven’t driven a stock ACR a long time.

How were my times? I won the class (I was on street tires; the other competitors were on race tires), but my times were not that good. The results are posted at http://www.spokes.org/Events03/03e2_fin.htm . However, if I had competed in the tire class, I would have been third (Pax time of 44.587). Overall, I learned a lot about the car, but I can see that I will need to spend a lot more time getting familiar with its strengths and weaknesses. I attended the Evolution phase I school in February (a refresher course) in the ACR. I wish I had waited until I got the SRT-4 to attend as the 30+ runs would have been very helpful.

Any suggestions on race tires (size and manufacturer)?
 

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Thanks for the great insight. It is good coming from someone who has auto-Xed a Neon. Nice job winning your class first time out.

As far as tires go you are limited if you must run the stock rims. There are a lot of good R compound tires out, but none have the range in tire size of Hoosier. I don’t think you can go wrong with them.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/Spec.jsp?make=Hoosier&model=R3S03

Are you going to buy an extra set of rims or run wider rims? For Auto-X it makes sense to control gear ratio with tire diameter. It is good to have the right top speed in second. Hate to have to shift to third and then back. Are you going springs, shocks, bushings, and sway bars? I am hoping someone comes out with an adjustable rear sway bar to dial in the right amount of oversteer. There is no doubt the SRT-4 can be made to handle was well as an ARC. Limited slip will be a must. A Quaife would be nice, but I wonder if Phantom Grip will make one of their inexpensive alternatives. They work and are about a third the price.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wheels and Tires

Thanks for the comments. I will probably not do anything to the suspension until I have the wheels and tires purchased. I have obtained a set of PT Cruiser GT wheels
, but I haven't really decided which tires to use. At Tirerack, one of the salespersons suggested that trying to use 225/45/17 Kumhos (which have a narrower section width than Hoosiers) would be unsafe on a 6 inch rim. Therefore, if I stick with 205/50/17 tires, the only competition tire offered is the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup, which has very good ratings from users (see ratings on Tire Rack), but I am somewhat skeptical that they are actually that good (They are as highly rated as Hoosiers). They are also VERY expensive ($223 per tire). I guess that I'll have to ponder this some more. Thanks for the input; it's appreciated.
 

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From all of the research I have done you should be able to stuff a 225/45/17 on to the stock SRT-4 rim. People used to put 225/50/14 on the 14x6 stock ACR rim. When you move to 225/45/17 there are alot more options for race tires. The Kuhmos are going to to be like $144 each mounted and balanced from my local DiscountTire. Im switching the Pilots over to a set of Enkei RSF2 ($125). They are only 19lbs and look halfway decent.
 

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The pilot sport cups are very good tires. SCC did a review of them in their last issue (see their Rrated buyers guide). You can use them for street driving also, and they really aren't much more expensive than your stock Pilots.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the input. Thanks to Ebbtide, I reviewed the SCC article on R compound tires and found they attributed a 2.2 second reduction in times on a 40-second course to Michelin Pilot Sport Cups over the Michelin Pilot Sports. Doing some extrapolation, they would reduce my time for Sunday's autocross to 53.290 with a pax time of 42.366, which would bump me to 12/170 in pax time. Thanks to all who provided input. If interested, I'll keep you informed as I play with the SRT-4 in DS. Maybe the Sport Cups will be worth the money after all.
 

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I also auto-x my SRT this week, and agree with all of your comments. I am not going to play with any power adders until I get a limited slip and wider tires. I want to put some 16 x 7's on, but I need to take some measurements. I didn't find the understeer that bad (not as bad as I expected) and fairly controlable with the throttle. It's just that there is too much power, my best time actually came when I just spun the tires out of every corner and down every straight. Oh well.
 

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Re: Wheels and Tires

shaag78749 said:
Therefore, if I stick with 205/50/17 tires, the only competition tire offered is the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup,
i have posted this before. there are at least 15 different hi-performance tires for the stock size. do a search.
 
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