Carl's V-6 Racers page.
I started racing autocross after a fellow from Hong Kong ran his Vega into my 360 day old Firebird and totaled it. After 3 months of restoration I entered it into the "G stock" class in Solo II. After a little while I actually began to do fairly decent. I've won regional champ a couple of times but never manged to do that well in Divisional or National comps. Bruce Dickey (National Champ) let me drive his car one a couple of occasions during Divisional events. The experience showed me that better car setup could help improve my showing but improving my driving skills would help even more. Bruce drove my car at divisionals as well after his lost an alternator. He beat me by 3 seconds his first time in the car. Talk about humbling experiences. His advise? I steer too much, go to fast in the slow sections and to slow in the fast sections. I'm still trying to figure that out after 10 years. Neal Bellamy (another National Champ) recently let me co-drive his car one season and his car setup expertise helped me to finish 2nd (behind him) in Regional, 5th in Divisional, and 23rd of 60 at Nationals.
I hated it when I realized I had gotten rid of my old car and all I had was a newspaper clipping in black & white. I doctored it up some with Expert Paint to give you an idea. The car is an '87 Firebird with the 2.8L V-6. The only modifications I had done to it were a Flowmaster muffler, NOS kit with 125hp jets (removed for autocross competition), Schroth 4 point harness, K & N air filter and the Enkei wheels you see. I used several different brands of race tires. The ones in the picture are Bridgestone RE71RZ in 225/50-15 and they seemed to be the best . I've also tried the Yokohama A008 RS- TU in the same size and the BFGs in 245/50-15. Suspension alignment is pretty important. The car here is set up to 1 degree negative camber, 4.5 degrees caster and .1 total toe out. The car weighed 3290 lbs with me in it and the corner weights were 920-lf, 895-rf, 774-lr, and 701-rr.
This is the ex-wifes car. It runs the same setup as above but it had the 3.1L V-6 and a 5 speed manual transmission that made it faster but a bit harder to drive well.
This is the new one. 3510 lbs, 991-lf, 972 rf, 780-lr, and 765-rr with me in it. I run the same suspension alignment as above on 245/45-16 BFG Comp/TA R-1s. So far all I've done to it is install the Flowmaster muffler , Megs tips, Schroth harness and Koni adjustable shocks. It has the '98 3.8L V-6 rated at 200hp and a much better intake than the earlier editions and a functional hood scoop. One problem I've had is the power steering fluid boils. This is apparently because the reservoir is to small and causes the pump to cavitate. A partial fix has been to replace the fluid with Redline high temp auto transmission fluid. One other problem common to all '98+ f-bodies is rear axle hop under heavy braking. For autocross in the stock classes the only remedies are to put really hard, low friction brake pads in the rear or possibly run the compression on the shocks full hard and the rebound full soft. Adjusting the shocks can help a little bit but without changing the rear suspension pieces I haven't seen anyone eliminate it. One of my friends in autocross talk to the GM design team and they said that the ABS system goes into ICE mode lockup and that is what is causing the rear axle hop. No fixes are available from GM. Seems like it is a real safety hazard to me. What we do in autocross closely simulates what a driver might experience in avoiding an accident. If the back end hops and you have the steering off center the car is going to spin. Wonder what happens if you pull the fuse on the ABS.....