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Color0's Micro RC Blog -- A technical brain dump from the mind of yours truly...
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Choosing Racing Bodies for Your Mini-Z

Posted 03-18-2009 at 02:34 AM by color0
Updated 03-08-2011 at 10:36 AM by color0
So, Kyosho only makes about a bajillion different bodies for the Mini-Z racer series... this is lovely if you're an avid collector of them (there ARE a lot and they're all pretty), but when you're trying to pick a good racing body it can get pretty overwhelming. So how do you know which one to pick?

1) First see what's allowed within the class of racing you plan to participate in. Some classes, like Mini, only allow certain bodies to be used, and others, like Pan, may only allow one. Here's a guide to the racing classes, in general:

Stock: Mostly any body
Mod: Mostly any body
Mini: Usually, only 86mm and 90mm wheelbase (be sure to ask your track!)
MR015: Usually, only bodies that are too narrow to fit on the MR02 (be sure to ask your track!)
Pan: Only PN Pan Car, or only Atomic VDS/VDSII, or only pan bodies (be sure to ask your track!)

2) Within the restrictions you're given (for example, wheelbase restrictions) you generally want to look for a body that is not too tall. After all, if the car's CG is too high you'll be at a higher risk for traction rolling. Just like a full-sized racecar, low and wide is the game. It's important to know the wheel offsets that your body accepts. +0N/+0N, like on the Chrysler 300C, is the narrowest offset possible, on the MR015 or MA010; these bodies are at a very high risk for traction rolling. The widest bodies are pan car bodies (PN Pan Car, Atomic VDS/VDSII), with +3N/+3W offset on the MR02. You normally can't traction roll a pan car.

3) Wider bodies are more stable, but narrower bodies are more agile. Most of the "racing series" bodies are excellent for Mini-Z racing as well: JGTC/Super GT, DTM, FIA GT, etc, but some street cars (mostly supercars) are good too.

Some of the best racing bodies have +0N/+0W offset on the MR02, like the shorttail McLaren F1 LM/GTR, Audi A4 DTM, JGTC Lexus SC430, etc. These bodies are super agile and are extremely effective on shorter or tighter tracks.

4) When the track opens up, the larger bodies begin to gain an advantage. Some of the popular ones are the 2005 and 2007 JGTC 350Z's, JGTC Lexus SC430, 2004-2007 JGTC NSX's, Ferrari 360 GTC, Ferrari 430 GT, Aston Martin DBR9, longtail McLaren F1 GTR, Enzo Ferrari, Ferrari FXX, Lamborghini Murcielago... the list goes waaaay on. (The JGTC SC430 was included here because it can actually accept much wider offsets than advertised.)

4b) The JGTC/Super GT bodies, and the Ferrari 360/430, are a safe bet on most tracks for both RWD and AWD cars. The three supercars (Enzo, FXX, Murcielago) tend to be better on RWD cars, as far as I know. The DBR9 and longtail F1 GTR are too new to tell, but time will tell.

5) The wider and longer bodies can carry insane corner speed in the sweepers, but they usually lack agility in chicanes and quick switchbacks. The choice to go with a smaller and more agile body, or a larger and stabler body, should be left up to the track layout and surface. Obviously, the smaller the track, the smaller the car's footprint should be. In addition to the offsets, which I kind of discussed above in 3) (the narrower racing bodies) and 4) (the wider racing bodies), wheelbase is also a consideration.

Longer wheelbase bodies are more stable, and shorter wheelbase bodies are more agile. Unless you're limited to 86 and 90mm wheelbase (Mini class), you can choose from 86 to 102mm wheelbases. Most racing in the last few seasons was/is with 94-98mm wheelbase cars: they're just stable enough and just agile enough to be the quickest of the pack. Additionally, this year Reflex Racing came out with their 96mm T-plate set, which when used with a 94mm motor mount will convert the car's wheelbase to 96mm. This in-between setting is a hot item currently, and although you will have to do some manual work on the body, it's worth it if you really want to win.

6) One additional consideration you have to make is weight. In Stock class, you don't have a lot of power... so a lighter car will be able to accelerate, brake, and corner faster, all else being equal. But in Mod class, a car that's too light may be skittery or too unstable to drive, and so a larger, heavier body may be called for. The lightest body I know of is the JGTC Lexus SC430, which only weighs around 30g in Autoscale form. After some trimming you could easily get this figure down to 28g or less. It's extremely agile but does lack rear grip sometimes due to the light weight. The heaviest body is the Ferrari 575 GTC, which is around 45g and VERY wide, so it's extremely stable but probably not agile enough to win races. The rest of the popular racing bodies are somewhere in the middle of this range (though usually less than 40g), so they're all fair game.

7) One final consideration that only applies to large tracks is downforce. Some downforce at the rear is necessary to make the car stable and fast at speed; between the Kyosho bodies, normally more downforce is better. Just look at the angle of the rear wing on the 2007 JGTC 350Z. This body was, for a time, THE body to run as the downforce made it so quick on almost all tracks. But all things change of course, and now with more relaxed rules, we racers can actually tailor the downforce we want on our bodies with supplementary Lexan spoilers. More on this next week.

8) So what am I running this year? I got myself a longtail McLaren F1 GTR white body to play with. As I was building it, however, I noticed that it's quite a heavy body, especially in the rear. So I omitted the rear wing, rear lights, and did some other things to reduce its weight. But this too is for next week.

Posted in Setup Guides
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arch2b's Avatar
great blog as usual! i look forward to reading each one.
Posted 03-18-2009 at 08:39 AM by arch2b arch2b is offline
 

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