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Discussion Starter #1
Winter is finally here (And looks to be in force next week!) and the lakes are finally frozen over. Who is taking their RS out this year?

First event for me will be coming up tomorrow. I'll be using the Alpine PA4s again this year although I'm debating picking up a third set of wheels for some Blizzaks or X-Ice3s. The Alpines are great day to day winter tires but they really don't hold a candle to proper ice/snow tires when it comes to sliding on a lake. It will be a new lake for me and there was a lot of heavy snow recently so we'll see how well things are plowed out. If the sidewalls of the track are too high I expect times to be a lot slower for all of the cautious drivers.
 

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Winter is finally here (And looks to be in force next week!) and the lakes are finally frozen over. Who is taking their RS out this year?

First event for me will be coming up tomorrow. I'll be using the Alpine PA4s again this year although I'm debating picking up a third set of wheels for some Blizzaks or X-Ice3s. The Alpines are great day to day winter tires but they really don't hold a candle to proper ice/snow tires when it comes to sliding on a lake. It will be a new lake for me and there was a lot of heavy snow recently so we'll see how well things are plowed out. If the sidewalls of the track are too high I expect times to be a lot slower for all of the cautious drivers.
One of my best friends lives in Denver. He has a stage 2 WRX and we’ve been meaning to get the two cars together to compare. I’m driving out in a month to ski and talk cars, but there is an ice racing event in the Rockies that same weekend and I’m trying to convince him to take a day off skiing to try it. It would be our both of our first ice race experience...
 

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ive posted about it before but can't hurt to do it again. last year i did 4 ice-x days (autocross style) and signed up for another 4 days this year. even made my wife sign up with her foSVT. issue is they cancelled mid jan and late jan weekends due to ice thickness, so sadly we haven't had a chance to get out there yet.

it was absolutely the most fun thing i've done in a car. it was my introduction to motorsport and it was absolutely perfect. really hoping it happens in feb and march.







 

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Discussion Starter #4
Finished up the first event earlier. It was a good bit of fun, but there was one corner that was very frustrating that I just could not get the hang of. It was a high speed straight to 90 degree turn. No matter how I approached it I would always end up understeering directly into the heavily abused washout zone grasping for any traction to get the car to rotate. A lot of people struggled with that corner, but from a self improvement point of view it is frustrating to have not gotten any closer to figuring out how the smoother cars ran through there. It was by far the biggest time sink, with the second being the very last turn where people would sometimes go wide and over compensate to get in-between the cones.

I played around with all the drive modes. Drift mode was great for sliding through some of the bigger turns but on the high speed sections it was a liability trying to keep the car straight. It felt like I understeered a whole lot more in track mode vs sport mode w/ sport traction control. I don't know if that was the fault of the driving mode or just how aggressive I was driving. Normal mode with traction control sent me nearly off the track on the first corner because it cut power and just plowed straight forward. Amusingly a cvt Cross Trek that couldn't disable traction control was pulling in some amazing times.

I'd like to say that some of the fault is in the tires as I remember the Focus ST with X-ice 3s was a bit responsive, but I think there is a lot of technique I just need to learn and adjust to. FWIW I was the only one in the winter tire/awd class that wasn't running Blizzaks or X-ice 3s. Maybe next year I'll pick up a spare set and try to do some comparison runs, but that's not in the budget for this year. (Hello replacement summer tires!) The studded cars were amazing, but I feel like I need to figure out a whole lot more technique before I can rightfully move onto them.

With how cold it has been and will be hopefully there will be many more events this year. I kind of lost out on a lot of last year thanks to a combination of the headgasket repair and weather not cooperating.
 

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@Ayada your sentiments are 99% my thoughts from last year.

- the alpin pa4 are good, but absolutely not made for ice racing. Will do for now until they burn out but ws80 are THE tire to run
- I kept getting second in awd studless. The faster guy was an astonishing 8 seconds or wtv and was a bone stock old forester. No question the more conventional awd setup in Subaru is way better in the snow
- I primarily drove in drift with tcs/scs off. Everyone thought it was only rwd as it was very difficult to keep straight. BUT it was very predictable and weight transfer was a beautiful thing. I did a few runs in sport or track but the issue I was having was consistency. Sometimes I’d go wild in a corner feeling almost totally rwd, the next one would feel 100% front wheel drive. I didn’t like that feeling and I’d rather go a little slower but feel in control


 

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I’ve also noticed bad off-throttle understeer when playing in the snow. I tried trail braking and handbraking but it would just plow. I think to a certain extent it is inevitable in an econobox with 60% weight on the front wheels. On pavement that weight also means more front grip, but when there is almost zero grip, it just means a lot of inertia to swing into a corner...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I’ve also noticed bad off-throttle understeer when playing in the snow. I tried trail braking and handbraking but it would just plow. I think to a certain extent it is inevitable in an econobox with 60% weight on the front wheels. On pavement that weight also means more front grip, but when there is almost zero grip, it just means a lot of inertia to swing into a corner...
That's an interesting point on the hand brake: I just couldn't get it to rotate the back of the car either and it usually just led to me sliding wide. What really gets me is that I had it down to a bit of an art on the ST, but the RS seems like it just panics and gives up.
 

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Weight transfer, lift off oversteer and dab of e-brake would be your friend. The drift stick would be extremely helpful as well
 

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That's an interesting point on the hand brake: I just couldn't get it to rotate the back of the car either and it usually just led to me sliding wide. What really gets me is that I had it down to a bit of an art on the ST, but the RS seems like it just panics and gives up.
Yeah, if the car is already turning even a little bit then handbrake or throttle will rotate it. The problem is getting that first bit of turn in. If you have too much speed on ice or snow then the front wheels don’t seem to do anything, even with gentle braking to transfer weight frontwards.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@Ayada your sentiments are 99% my thoughts from last year.

- the alpin pa4 are good, but absolutely not made for ice racing. Will do for now until they burn out but ws80 are THE tire to run
- I kept getting second in awd studless. The faster guy was an astonishing 8 seconds or wtv and was a bone stock old forester. No question the more conventional awd setup in Subaru is way better in the snow
- I primarily drove in drift with tcs/scs off. Everyone thought it was only rwd as it was very difficult to keep straight. BUT it was very predictable and weight transfer was a beautiful thing. I did a few runs in sport or track but the issue I was having was consistency. Sometimes I’d go wild in a corner feeling almost totally rwd, the next one would feel 100% front wheel drive. I didn’t like that feeling and I’d rather go a little slower but feel in control


The problem I had with drift mode this time around is that the speeds were relatively high on todays track. We had a chicane of sorts that you could hit 50mph on, and drift mode would get a bit too sporty for my liking trying to keep things stable at those speeds. I found both sport and track mode were a bit more stable in their movements during that part of the track where drift mode I was fighting to keep things pointed in the correct direction.

I wonder if it's time for an alignment, or maybe tire pressures need to be adjusted from the tried and true 42/38?
 

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What a ****in weekend. -21°c all weekend and hasn’t snowed for a while. So the lake was sheer ice with no grip what so ever. I still run the factory alpin pa4 which are NOT meant for anything like this. Super slow and frustrating weekend, truly a test of patience.

The RS with the wife’s SVT


Generated from my Apple iPhone using tools.sportscard.trade


Generated from my Apple iPhone using tools.sportscard.trade


Generated from my Apple iPhone using tools.sportscard.trade

Studs sure would have helped...


Generated from my Apple iPhone using tools.sportscard.trade
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
What a ****in weekend. -21°c all weekend and hasn’t snowed for a while. So the lake was sheer ice with no grip what so ever. I still run the factory alpin pa4 which are NOT meant for anything like this. Super slow and frustrating weekend, truly a test of patience.

The RS with the wife’s SVT


Generated from my Apple iPhone using tools.sportscard.trade


Generated from my Apple iPhone using tools.sportscard.trade


Generated from my Apple iPhone using tools.sportscard.trade

Studs sure would have helped...


Generated from my Apple iPhone using tools.sportscard.trade
We were having just below freezing all day on Saturday. Grip levels changed every run as new ruts and slush made every corner unpredictable. The snow banks were pretty hard too so we didn't have the luxury of risking it all and going off track too fast. An Audi learned that the hard way and cracked their oil pan.

I didn't do too well time wise, for the first time a RWD snow tire car beat me by half a second and I was around ten seconds slower than the fastest AWD snow. I did improve some of the areas I was struggling with last time and overall I dropped my time by five seconds between runs so I'm still pretty satisfied. I'm getting better at carrying speed through the high speed sharp 90s they like to do.

I'm pretty conflicted about the Alpine PA4s. I do love them for every day driving and they were even pretty amazing in the heavy snow that shut the city down. The only reason I would swap to X-Ice3s or similar would be for events like these, and I'm not sure it's worth it for the handful we can do a year. I've contemplated a second set of winter tires a few times now, but it almost seems like a waste to have a full set of tires just for a couple of ice racing events. Either way it's not going to happen this season and if by chance I see a good used set over the next year I'll be very tempted to pick them up.
 

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Total waste to have a full second set. Just use these pa4’s up and bank the skill and patience learned on non-optimal equipment. Then when they need replacing just get some hakka’s or ws80’s and gain that 10 seconds back
 

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Finished up the first event earlier. It was a good bit of fun, but there was one corner that was very frustrating that I just could not get the hang of. It was a high speed straight to 90 degree turn. No matter how I approached it I would always end up understeering directly into the heavily abused washout zone grasping for any traction to get the car to rotate. A lot of people struggled with that corner, but from a self improvement point of view it is frustrating to have not gotten any closer to figuring out how the smoother cars ran through there. It was by far the biggest time sink, with the second being the very last turn where people would sometimes go wide and over compensate to get in-between the cones.

I played around with all the drive modes. Drift mode was great for sliding through some of the bigger turns but on the high speed sections it was a liability trying to keep the car straight. It felt like I understeered a whole lot more in track mode vs sport mode w/ sport traction control. I don't know if that was the fault of the driving mode or just how aggressive I was driving. Normal mode with traction control sent me nearly off the track on the first corner because it cut power and just plowed straight forward. Amusingly a cvt Cross Trek that couldn't disable traction control was pulling in some amazing times.

I'd like to say that some of the fault is in the tires as I remember the Focus ST with X-ice 3s was a bit responsive, but I think there is a lot of technique I just need to learn and adjust to. FWIW I was the only one in the winter tire/awd class that wasn't running Blizzaks or X-ice 3s. Maybe next year I'll pick up a spare set and try to do some comparison runs, but that's not in the budget for this year. (Hello replacement summer tires!) The studded cars were amazing, but I feel like I need to figure out a whole lot more technique before I can rightfully move onto them.

With how cold it has been and will be hopefully there will be many more events this year. I kind of lost out on a lot of last year thanks to a combination of the headgasket repair and weather not cooperating.
Those pesky crosstreks!!!!!! i thought i was killing it, only to find out i got spanked by a one when the results got posted. I am running the stock tires as well. I had a really bad alignment last year which wore the front tires almost down to the wear bars. Those tires are now on the rears and the fronts have more tread. I got a realignment in the summer. Stock suspension, no toe, max camber.
2-2-19 ice cross.JPG
So i bought the drift stick... and i justified the cost by claiming that it would be a "tool" at ice-cross, but the truth of the matter is that I had a really easy time rotating the car any time I wanted as long as I wasn't over driving the car. You can see in this run I REALLY wanted to rip the stick but it was never appropriate because the car would always yaw nicely.
I have plenty of runs where I messed up the entry to a turn and I fix it with some drift stick, but those turns will always be slower
We have TONS of ice this year, hopefully many more events to come.

On the topic of changing tires; I really like the PA4s for the reasons stated above. In the dry and in the wet they handle really well for a snow tire. they do great in the snow too. I would hate to have a really soft, floppy tire when 99.5% of my driving is on cold dry roads. (Boston) I will have a decision to make next winter, these tires will not last another season...
 
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