Warning: LONG post!
Thought I would post this up here to share some of my thoughts on my experience so far with with autocrossing the Elantra Sport. I do have experience with autocross in the past with multiple vehicles (Miata, Sentra mainly) and have only run two events to far in the ES. For reference, the car has the following modifications that are relevant to this review:
- Yellowspeed Racing Coilovers (7k front / 5k rear - shocks adjusted to 28 clicks all around)
- SXTH Element 22mm rear sway bar
- Pierce Motorsports 4-point tie-bar
- Pierce Motorsports stainless brake lines
- KDM Tuners slotted rotors
- Porterfield R4S brake pads
- XXR 527 18x8 +45 (custom offset)
- Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 235/40/18
First things first, not having a limited slip differential is very noticeable and sometimes a bit frustrating depending on the size and tightness of the course. In the first video below the course was a bit tight so there were several instances of one tire spinning on exit. In the second video it was a much faster course with only a couple places where it was a problem. Pierce Motorsports does offer a LSD made by Cusco for around $1,400. If that is something you have the means to purchase I would highly recommend it if you are planning on doing any sort of autocrossing. I also do a bit of canyon carving and it is not noticeable there. Unknown how much it costs to install it but I am sure it's not cheap. Worth it in the end but an expensive proposition for sure. You also risk voiding the warranty on the transmission so keep that in mind.
The tires are great, I have absolutely no complaints about them. When I bought them I was looking for something that would provide a good amount of grip without wearing down too quickly. I know those are counter productive to each other but some middle ground was preferred and the treadwear rating of 340 is perfect. They are actually a re-branded Bridgestone RE-003 and are available for a very reasonable price. I paid $125 each for 235's. Great amount of grip, very little noise on the limit and super predictable.
The coilovers have been pretty good since a couple issues were worked out. Their base system was too low for my tastes so I requested some changes and they made it happen. Props to Donald at YSR USA for the excellent service. The first event I ran them at 26 of 33 on all four corners, then went up to 28 for the last event. They do get pretty stuff at those levels so I would not recommend that for daily usage. (I run them at 21 daily) At the current ride height I have issues with rubbing in the front during hard cornering or when hitting sudden bumps (bridge transitions, etc) So I have talked to Donald and will have some 8k/7k spring on the way shortly. Doing so I may not have to rely on the stiff shock settings as much and hopefully minimize the rubbing, which does come into play during autocrossing. They've performed well in competition. Looking forward to getting the stiffer springs.
For the sway bar, highly recommended. In fact, one of the first modifications you should do to the car. There are 19mm bars out there that will basically do the same thing, but I think the 22mm bar suits the car better. I have not had any instances where the rear stepped out too much and it rotates quite nicely. Some lift off oversteer can be induced at the limit and it is very controllable.
All told, with the tie bar, coilover settings, rear sway and tires the car is very quick and predictable while dodging cones. Left to right transitions are instantaneous and it's very easy to quickly point the car in the direction you need it to go. I've had a few time where I was sure I was going to hit a cone and with some trick braking and steering work I was able to avoid them. I feel the multi-link rear suspension plays into this a bit. The car is very capable and could surprise some people. During the last event I was setting fast times and not only was the announcer telling people they should buy a Hyundai if they want to go fast, but a few people actually came up to me that were more than impressed and asked about the car.
Install a LSD and put some semi-slicks on it and you could be a real terror out there...