Friday, December 21, 2012

I Got My Autocross Ass Kicked by a Friggin' Jeep Cherokee!!

Some things in life you can't explain. Things like Punxsutawney Phil. Or Donald Trump's hair. Or a Jeep Cherokee winning the Grassroots Motorsports $2012 Challenge autocross event.

Wait, there's no hope for the first two but this Jeep Cherokee thing - maybe we can try to explain it. The interior is gutted. All non-essential parts like radio and A/C are removed. It sports a 2,778-lb race weight with 230+ rwhp. That's right - one of the rare Jeep Cherokees ever sold with rear-wheel-drive from the factory. And even though this Jeep is a 2WD, it still has a solid front tube axle!

No matter what you brought to the $2012 challenge... you'd have to go home and tell your folks you got your ass handed to you on the autocross course by a Jeep Cherokee! It absolutely sticks to the ground, 3 wheels at a time! Note the complete lack of body roll at the autocross:

It's crazy but true, so repeat after me: the best sports car for under $2012 in Grassroots Motorsports' autocross was this Jeep Cherokee. Its pro driver Alan McCrispin had this to say:

"The Jeep was a blast to drive. I could put it just about anywhere and power-on mid-corner out was awesome. The fast sweeper had killer cornering Gs."

Here is the FTD run onboard the "Red, White, and Blue Redneck special":

You may not ever explain Punxsutawney Phil or Donald Trump's hair (I know they look very similar but it has been confirmed they are different species.) And this Jeep Cherokee thing - your eyes see it but your brain doesn't quite know what to do with it. For all we know, it will probably beat your fancy sports car around an autocross course!

Full specs:

Vehicle: 1995 2WD Jeep Cherokee XJ

Engine: Jeep 4.0L w/ 243K miles, 50 trim T3/T4 Turbo, MegaSquirt v3.0 EFI computer, GM 32 lbs injectors, hacked up DSM intercooler

Transmission: Stock 2WD AW4, factory transmission computer

Front axle: Cut, notched, and bent 5 degrees to add -2.5 degrees camber per wheel, relocated and reinforced control arm brackets, cut springs, used Ford-150 Rancho shocks, used Addco 1 1/8 swaybar.

Rear Axle: Ford explorer 8.8 w/ 3.73 gears and disc brakes, rebuild and shimmed stock LSD, 2 Cherokee leaf packs added together, springs smoothed and greased then sealed with duck tape to prevent bind, used Toyota Tacoma TRD Bilstein shocks, used Addco 7/8 swaybar.

Wheels 15x10, 5" backspace front, 4" backspace rear

Race Weight: 2,778 lbs

HP and Torque: 230 rwhp, 290 lb ft torque at 7 psi, lots more at 12 psi