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Color0's Micro RC Blog -- A technical brain dump from the mind of yours truly...
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General Setup Bad Ideas.

Posted 11-23-2011 at 06:32 AM by color0
Updated 11-23-2011 at 06:57 AM by color0
Well, I have some sad news to report after returning from Kenon last Saturday.

1) The front diffuser broke within 10 minutes of actual racing -- the small front lip got torn straight downwards resulting in a lot of scraping against the track. Couldn't get that bend out of it either, a shame...

1a) (Not sad news) The front diffuser worked like a charm, as expected. Toning down the initial steering response and increasing on-power steering, it's almost like running softer springs front but you don't roll more; you just get more grip.

2) The combination of A) a Reflex top cover (2g in the top of the chassis), B) an F430, C) the loss of my front diffuser, on D) the narrower MR03 chassis at E) a high grip RCP track (RC Kenon) is a 5-combo Grand Bad Idea. I've never traction rolled double-digits in one day before, and I have totally learnt my lesson.

3) My setup theory was wrong, at least for Kenon. The amount of time I gain from having a car 5mm narrower than my opponents is unfortunately inconsequential, and the penalty I pay for it (traction rolling) is all too consequential. So -- the narrow and short setup will be used not to slip into tighter lines, but create more weight transfer at tracks that do not provide enough grip. RCX's fresh RCP and the carpet at Kyosho R241 come to mind...

4) Warming up grippy, temperature-sensitive tires by truing them two minutes before a race is most definitely a Bad Idea. I did this twice in my last race/tuning outing, once with PN 8 slicks (in front!) and once more with PN 15 X-Patterns. Truing tires from ~24mm down to 22.5mm creates a fair bit of heat, and both the slick 8's and the X15's get nice and gooey when they're hot. Result: insta-traction-roll! I could feel the tires go from hot to warm during a run, and would have to drive oh-so-gingerly for the first two minutes of an eight-minute A main (triple A main's in GT Stock 80t last Saturday) in order to avoid the wrath of the front tires, lol.

5) Not reacting quickly to the track conditions is generally a bad idea. I had severely underestimated how much the track would grip the new-compound PN 8's and PN X15's, and seriously didn't learn fast enough to try a significantly harder tire up front. Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20, and I'm pretty sure I would have fared better in the mains (somehow I ended up 2nd/3rd that night despite traction roll mania) with the less aggressive but safer X25, and definitely would have been OK with trued-down Kyosho 30's.

6) If your setup is sensitive to tire grip, then not having multiple sets of identically prepared tires is a bad idea. For club racing and experimentation I typically care less, but when we get to big races (RCX, PNWC, ATMWC, etc.) I find it much less hectic to prepare and race if there's at least 2-3 sets each of multiple tire compounds, front and rear, that I can swap around. Real race teams do this too, it's all about maximizing your chances to win. Rest assured that I will be stocking up on tires before RCX next year.

7) Careful with your offsets! I've determined that +1.4N/+1.2W is the practical maximum offset for the street F430 body -- even +1.5N up front starts getting risky as the tires begin to catch on the RCP rails. Accidentally mounting the tires a little too wide on the +1.5N's was also a terrible idea. Typically the F430 glides off walls; if your tires stick out just that tiny bit too much, you will stop DEAD in your line when you scrub a rail. (Things I learned recently.) Of course, if you have no track rails, feel free to stuff up to +2.5N/+2.2W tucked in under the F430's fenders.

8) Throwing away slow but usable tires is a Bad Idea. I am totally guilty of it, I should not have thrown away my year-old X15's which were, if not fast, at least very forgiving and consistent. My sin is that I'm always looking for the fastest setup that I can still drive, and so one of these days I'll have to sit down and tell myself "no Brian, just focus on consistency today." It does all accomplished and aspiring racers a lot of good -- consistent racing is also clean and enjoyable racing.

9) That said, my general approach to Mini-Z is a BAD idea from a racing standpoint -- I'm not out there to win, I'm out there to build the fastest car and a win to prove it is icing on the cake. Which is why I pretty much talk only about setup and sciency things on this blog, I don't exactly have a lot of wisdom to share as as racer, lol...

10) Lastly, forgetting to bring food and water to a day-long event is a TERRIBLE idea! Humans are not machines, and we need fuel to keep our minds and motor neurons happy, and you need those to components to drive your Mini-Z to its full potential. A mac-n-cheese dinner in a cup was not exactly the best thing I could've eaten to keep my performance up come A Main 1, lol. Granted we also had pizza after that, but hey, if everyone's eating it at least you're not disadvantaging yourself.
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