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PNWC 2012 GT Mod Setup (Rather NG, but People Asked!)

Posted 12-01-2012 at 08:01 AM by color0
Updated 12-05-2012 at 01:51 AM by color0
Hokeydokey, so a long time ago (...a few weeks) I went to the PNWC 2012 race held at Inside Line Racing/Vallco Mall in Cupertino, CA. Unfortunately, I was sick, and my driving was pretty shot, so I knew I had no chance of winning, and instead I tested out a lot of different setups, got a lot of data on different bodies and diffs, and eventually settled on a 599XX with a ball diff and a LOT of holes. While I'm still not happy with how my setup performed at the Worlds', a couple people have asked me for the setup and so here it is -- pics below. I'll do my best to explain the significant and more unique bits of the setup.



For me, this Worlds' was mainly learning about how different setups complement different driving styles, and, body modifications to incrementally improve performance. Hence, my 599 now looks like Swiss cheese. To my surprise (and maybe yours), all of those holes help free up the car from being too planted and improve steering, surprisingly enough. The only bad holes in my testing were the ones just before the rear wheels -- something about them, probably air being allowed to enter the shell in front and somewhat under the rear wheels, started causing the car to traction roll in the main! I'm still wondering how two tiny holes can push the car over the edge just like that. They will be glued over from now on. I've only got one more set of holes I've yet to try with this body, and that's the front grill... Grant often cut his out and his body did corner a lot flatter than mine, on the same chassis. But after that, there's officially nothing left to cut on this body lol.




Additionally, something was up with the tech inspection jig IMO... I never had a problem clearing Philip's 20mm rear bumper rule up until this race. I checked my bumper height off the ground on qualifying day and found that I was definitely about to be DQ'd lol. So in a last-ditch effort to pass tech, I slathered 5-minute epoxy all over the lip (you can kinda see it in the pic). It hardened in 20 and I dremeled it all even and flat -- total weight gain maybe half a gram, and passed tech by about 0.5mm.



I'm not a fan of thinning out the white bodies, but I did thin out the roof. You can of course also see the other things that have been ground or cut out, including the headlight buckets. Screw those things, they saved over half a gram.



Two last dremel mods before the B Main (yep, no A Main for me, reflexes were too dulled) to avoid stupid mistakes, basically. Cut off the front splitter, rounded it off -- it worked sometimes but I noticed it got caught more and more as the RCP rails got more damaged. The trick is to always have the front bumper polished (if not Teflon taped). Elliot M. showed me his polished 599 front bumper and true to form, I rode the rails lap after lap with no consequence. Live and learn Brian! I also rounded off the leading edge of the side skirt, just in case. Thankfully, no issues to report there.



Chassis-wise, I don't have much to be proud of in this setup. It hasn't changed a whole lot, just spring changes here and there mainly. I stripped out my double A-arm's top mount, thus ended up borrowing Grant's silver one and using his ride height/spring preload settings to boot.



He runs the roll center higher than me, and well, I guess now I'm running the same roll center lol. I put an Atomic 0.2mm shim below each (new batch) PN Green spring, otherwise the car would droop way too much. The setting works well I think, objectively producing the same laps as my older, lower setup, but a little more forgiving (the new springs are shorter by more than 0.2mm, so I guess I've added some droop since stripping out my top mount).



Also nothing specially changed up top: green spring to plant the rear end better at throttle tip-in, and loosened up rebound spring (still purple, still using a Kyosho AWD spring spacer to give the short spring some room to play) to ease the off-throttle behavior. Binh's track is not known for being grippy, especially not when freshly laid out on a cold tile floor that is Vallco Mall. So easy to drive and non-twitchy is paramount.



Same deal with the tri-shock... soft roll stiffness for more rear grip and more time to save the car when it slides. I suspect now though that this still isn't soft enough -- I felt up some of the other drivers' cars (with permission) and the rear end of the disk damper Mod cars is super soft in roll. And all of them drive smoother, rounder lines than the tri-shock equipped cars (a lot of PN drivers). So what's the deal here? I much prefer to drive smooth lines, as I can't time anything well enough to do point-and-shoot (aka Grant-style). And I've been trying to make it happen with a tri-shock for a LONG time, yet here I am getting reminded once again that the disk damper setup works just fine with the right quality components (for the record: polished metal plate and Teflon disks). The biggest difference that I could feel was not the damping force or the speed, but simply that the roll stiffness of the DDS cars was so much softer than any tri-shock car. Does it make a difference? Honestly, I haven't tried in a long time. Is it worth it now that PNWC is over? Absolutely. I'll have a new post about the new setup very soon, I couldn't quite put the PN dual-spring shock down so I had to get another setup personalized just for me lol.

Back to PNWC performance, what I did notice with all the body mods and my almost standard chassis setup is the corner speed is still characteristically high. I think I was one of a few drivers in Mod not to use brakes or drag brakes at all and get away with it. The car carried lots of speed and rotated quickly about tight corners and I simply didn't need to slow down unless I wanted to play it safe. Which, in retrospect, should have been done since I simply wasn't in the right health to drive well. As another PN driver pointed out to me, my car was stupid fast in the infield, but every few laps -- oops! -- a wall tap. The inside wall, too, indicating the car was too twitchy. Now, my setups have been getting mellower and mellower over the years to avoid tapping the inside wall but clearly, that weekend I was so gone I would've needed a lot more compensation in the setup for the level of driving I put out. So I gave up on tuning by the 3rd qualifier and honestly kinda gave up driving as well, just aiming to produce some semblance of clean racing with the other cars on track and staying out of the actual battles.

You can also see I'm back to the 126p PN ceramic ball diff after using a gear diff for the better part of the last year... this was mostly for safety reasons, with the new RCP being so loose, a gear diff and a torquey new 33t just didn't seem like a smart idea. In practice, the car actually hooked up quite alright (using the 90/80/70% throttle speed reduction as traction control) but mid-corner adjustments were scary. Despite all my efforts my MR03 was still too twitchy for this track, and mostly because I forgot to set the ICS! Recall my ICS settings for the car's steering:

SPEED: Fast
PNCH: 2

Ah right, I forgot about my recipe for a "lively" car. While yes, I've always liked these settings back when I raced 80t, in Mod it just makes small steering corrections difficult (doesn't help that my pot was old). So between the 599's side vent cutouts and ICS tuning making the steering waaaay too fast, I traction rolled so much in the B Main I wasn't even competitive. Anyways, it ticks me off and when I get another chance to play with ICS, I'll be setting the PNCH to as low as possible and the SPEED probably one click slower than "Fast". Mod for me is still all about getting the car to make up for the complete lack of driver talent, such that I say "go" and it figures out the rest for me (aka the Prius, lol). So that's the game I guess, and I will continue playing with a brand new setup approach this coming "season". Coming soon!
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