SUM OF THE PARTS
The Solo Spec Coupe kit (RIGHT) limits setup options,but that doesn’t mean there aren’t tricks to dialing in thecorrect setup for your driving style, as two-timeSSC National Champion Adam Benaway(BELOW and BOTTOM) reveals.
Koni with rebound adjustmentonly, with the options continuingthrough a high-end shock withdouble adjustable dampersto control rebound andcompression independently.
A Street Tuning class likeSTR is even more open. Theseliberal rules appeal to manyautocrossers who love to tinkerand adjust to find the parts thatwork best for them. The greatnews for those who are chasingthe competition is that it’s fairlyeasy to talk to others in the classand find a baseline for parts.
Those who choose to start fromscratch should plan to test partsand pieces until they land uponthe best balance, which caninclude a dramatic investmentin both time and money.
WE HAVE CONTACT
Let’s skip ahead and work underthe assumption that the carhas a swaybar, shocks, wheels,and tires, all within the rulesfor a particular class. Whereto start tuning? Karwan’srecommendations soundobvious when he lays them outbut may not be initially intuitive.
“It is important to realize
which variables will have the
greatest effect on the handling
of the vehicle and start with
those items first,” Karwan
says. “The variables that have
a lesser effect can be used to
fine tune the overall setup.”
Of course, basic alignment
has been discussed already.
That front-end camber should
A Solo Spec Coupe package forthe Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-Sis sold by Tire Rack, meaningall competitors have basicallythe same parts for their cars.
Tires, shocks, alignment, andsuspension pieces are all dictatedby the rules, giving competitors anarrow window for adjustments.
There are some adjustments,however. For instance, lastyear’s Tire Rack Solo NationalChampionships SSC runner-upfinisher Jimmy Vajdak feels themost important part of setup inthe class is driver comfort.
“In my opinion, SSC is setupagnostic,” Vajdak says. “It doesn’tseem to really care. AdamBenaway is running the stiff frontbar, and I’m on the soft front bar.
I’m running more rear camber
than most. At the end of the day,
we’re still within a few tenths and
thousands of a second of each
other, so I think it comes down to
setting the car to your driving style
and whatever you’re happy with.”
But Benaway, the two-time
SSC National Champ, isn’t so
sure. While most were running
the softer option for the front
swaybar, he was almost a lone
ranger with the stiffer bar.
“I drove Matthew McCabe’scar afterward, and his car feltlight and nimble,” Benaway says.
“Maybe I’m describing it wrong,but it felt as if the contact patchwas smaller. It responded verywell. When I turned the wheel, itwas very ‘skate-y.’ Some people
may like that. It felt light on its
toes. My car almost felt heavy
and planted. To me, that builds
confidence in a car. But no one
wanted to try my setup.”
Was Beneway’s setup correct?
Did it make a difference? It did toBenaway, but it’s hard to tell if thatwas a personal style, as Vajdakbelieves, or if it’s truly quicker.
Benaway thinks it is truly
quicker, which is actually
a humbling statement. The
other option is that setup truly
doesn’t matter, or even that
the accepted setup is quicker.
If that’s the case, Benawayis even faster than his fellowcompetitors behind the wheel.
“To me, if I was coming into theclass and the winner has a setup,I’m going to try that setup until ithas proven me wrong,” Benawayreveals. “I think setup really didhelp. I ran a little bit of tow-out inthe front and a little bit of tow-inin the rear, which kind of seemscontradictory. But the car felt sostable. If you watch my video, I playwith the wheel at a very minutelevel. I’m not chasing the car, whereI felt like a lot of other people did.”