Handling Improvement Priority List
If my application is a daily driver with the occasional Autocross and lapping day, what should the priorities be for handling improvement?
1. Driver training,
2. Summer performance tires (mine are 225/45/R17 Direzza ZIIs),
3. Performance alignment,
...and not sure about the rest, but here are some options:
7. Brakes, or
[B]Where should the first $ be put to be most wisely spent?[/B]
You already have good tires, so good brake pads, stainless steel lines, good fluid, and perhaps a master cylinder brace would be a good next step.
After that, your sway bars and endlinks should definitely be upgraded. This will arguably be the best bang for your buck (after good tires).
Swapping rubber for polyurethane bushings can be done any time.
Springs and struts should probably come later when your stock struts begin to wear out or if you decide to get super serious about being competitive on the track/course.
Bracing can also be done any time, but will probably give you the lowest bang for your buck.
it all matters what you're into. If you get into any kind of motorsport regularly, you will care about the rules regarding which division your car would fall into. For example, coilovers might kick you up a class where springs/struts would not. An ALK (anti-lift kit) is beneficial for racing with a lot of twisties (rally, auto-x) but is typically restricted to the top class. Tire width helps with a lot, which may require wider wheels. When you get even more serious you may want to look into more aggressive compound tires, again they may have class restrictions mattering on what you do.
So if you want to improve handling generally and don't have any specifics in mind, I'd say some kind of order like:
1) summer rubber
3) sways and endlinks front and rear
4) GOOD struts and springs
5) wide, serious rubber with fender modification to fit it
6) bracing, bushings, camber, and other suspension part improvement
7) GOOD coilovers
Brakes I would probably do
~2.5) rotors, pads, steel lines, and high quality brake fluid
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