Tuesday, 26 November 2013

This looks interesting...

This looks very interesting.

Not much else to add, but I think this is going on my Christmas wish list.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Waiting... waiting... waiting...

I hate waiting.

In recent weeks I've ordered a car, parts, a body and sundry other things. So far its only the car that has turned up, but as I need the parts and body to complete it I am sitting here twiddling my fingers on a computer keyboard.

I will never fully understand why freight time around the world varies so much when ALL international mail goes by plane! We can fly to almost every country in the world in 18 hours or less, yet a small parcel can take 3 or 4 weeks! Its bad enough that the cost of express freight has been steadily increasing to the point where I can no longer justify the extra expense. What I REALLY don't understand is how companies decide on freight cost. 

I recently bought a Tamiya RM-01 from a guy in the U.S. Part of the deal included express freight which came to $56 - for a COMPLETE car kit still in its box. 

At the same I had to order some option parts for it from TQ Racing. The parts were very cheap (grand total of $8) and very small, easily fitted into a small padded bag available for the post office. Yet the express freight cost according to TQ was nearly $80!!!!!!

There is no way that this sort of freight cost can be justified when you compare the size and weight of the 2 examples. I've never experienced a time when something small was MORE expensive than something large.

Anyway, when all my parcels arrive I will have a new RM-01 1/12 car ready to hit the track. Just hope Christmas doesn't get here first!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Race Day Report - 02/11/13

I should write these things much sooner after the event - less chance to forget stuff

Another good club day this one. New track layout and the usual crowd of racers. Numbers were a little lower than previous and, unfortunately, I was the only one there with an F1 but they were kind enough to set up race for me to play around in while everyone else had their break between rounds. This meant I could get some idea of lap times but I was doing most of my own marshaling, though I did get a bit of help here and there. Best way to not need a marshal is not to crash, but not always easy advice to follow.

I was surprised at just how much I was looking forward to strapping on an F1 body onto the 109 and having a run. I think my recent interest in 1/12 has helped satisfy the "Le Mans" thing and with an RM-01 on the way should stay that way. I'll admit I did have a bit of a mental "hissy fit" over a few F1 based things recently, but a bit of sanity has returned. I'll stick to running a 200mm car as long as I can and if the time comes to run a bigger event I will probably just have to buy myself a narrow car. SpeedPassion anyone?

Personally, I haven't had much success with a narrow 109 - I know others have, but for me it just isn't nice to drive and seems to be a setup black hole. Honestly, given the current frequency and level of competition, I don't need the angst.

With no one else to race there isn't much to report on. I was trying longer side links on the rear but if they make a difference is hard to say. Certainly, if the various 1/12 and F1 threads are to be believed. it SHOULD make a difference, but on the F109 I certainly couldn't say it did. This is, possibly, due to the link mounting locations which are much further back on the chassis and pod than compared to other cars. On a 1/12 car, as little as 3mm difference in the mount locations can have quite an effect on handling, but this is on a car with the pivots and the rear link locations inline. This is not how the F109 is setup with the pivots and link locations being around 30mm apart. This could also be a possible reason for some of the F109's set up idiosyncrasies.

Actual lap times were comparable to the 17.5 tourers, with my best being around 12s and the tourers doing around 12.3s. Consistency was all over the place as the car was a big handful, with a very loose rear end compared to other race nights. Whether this was because of lower track grip, the link changes or the fact I was running VERY old tyres (which I only realised towards the end of the night) I can't really say. In the end the transmitter battery bought my meeting to an end (damn lipo and their flat discharge curves). Probably should've charged that one - its only been a couple of months DUH!!

In a couple of weeks I am off to Brisbane for a night of racing and hopefully there will be some F1's there. Maybe I can keep my record of finishing last on every trip intact?

This project has hit a bit of a wall because of ride height issues. I simply can't get enough to fit "typical" 1/12 size tyres. I am working on it but, as usual, it all takes time (and $$$). So a Tamiya RM-01 is on the way so I can at least dip the toe in the water properly and see if I like the class!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

F109 to 1/12 Conversion

This all came about because of a slightly unexpected desire to run 1/12 at the QLD Titles. It was more a case of timing than anything else as I could only attend one day and with the current Qualifying format excluding anyone that cannot attend every day, I had to pick one of the demo classes being offered, F1 or 1/12. While I have more experience with F1, it was being run on Saturday and I couldn't organise to attend on the Saturday, so 1/12 became "it". There was only 1 problem - I didn't own a 1/12 car, or any 1s batteries, or any 1/12 tyres etc etc.

However I DID have a lot of F1 foam tyres and a spare F109 car sitting around not doing anything. A bit of research online, downloading the appropriate rules and a bit of measuring and I became convinced I could turn the F109 into a 1/12. This would allow me to use the majority of the F109 rear suspension which would make things infinitely easier. Of course the practical was far more involved than the theory..

First thing was getting the car to 170mm. On the rear this was a 2 part approach. Standard F1 tyres are 45mm wide, but 1/12 has a max tyre width of 38mm. The obvious answer here was to cut down the F1 wheels and tyres as this would take 14mm out of the width straight away. I decided to cut 10mm off each tyre which would get the rear to 180mm. This did mean a little bit less tyre on the track but I felt this was acceptable.

The 2nd part was to narrow some of the rear axle components. On the non-diff side this was rather easy as there is a 16mm spacer on the original setup. At first I thought of cutting this down but in the final build I used a bucket load of shims which allowed me to adjust the width to perfectly match the diff side.

The diff side took a bit more modification. This is where the power tools came into play, mainly my dremel. The original diff part has a hub which includes the grub screw which allows it to be tightened onto the axle. As luck would have it, this hub was about 5mm thick, so grinding this away would net me the extra space I needed to get to 170mm. Some careful work with the dremel and then with sandpaper and a flat surface gave me this result - 
OK, I am not going to win any prizes for beauty, but it was flat and straight and that was the important part. Of course the next puzzle was how to attach the axle? Gluing was the obvious answer so after little reading on the different epoxies and I purchased a high strength epoxy that was also readily available. Even the common 5 minute epoxies have a breaking strength of around 200lbs/in2. It was also interesting to read about the different way's of gluing aluminium. Like a lot of things on the net, it can be hard to find a consensus, but overall, gluing aluminium with epoxy is, usually, quite successful. After all, they do glue airplanes together with it.

The main issue I encountered was with air not being able to escape easily from the joint. I had  thought it could be an issue and had put some groves in the carbon shaft but it turned out to be only just adequate, but still required being held firmly together until all the air had escaped and the epoxy set to stop the axle from popping back out from the trapped air. So far, with the limited track time I've been able to get, it has stood up well to 10.5T, single cell.

In the end I didn't quite get the rear width to 170mm, ending up at 171mm but this is still within the rules.


Rear axle complete it was time to modify the rear pod. The original F109 pod/bottom plate has the link mounts a long way back near the wheels. With the wheels moved in 5mm these mounting points no longer work. I had to move the mounts forward to clear the tyres. It ended up being a move of 25mm. I tossed up between buying some pre-made carbon fiber sheet or making my own fiberglass sheet. Since the rest of the chassis was fiberglass I chose the latter, though if I make another version I will go the CF option. I again did some research, finding the most useful info on a model helicopter site. I went the simple route of woven mat and polyester resin (if I did it again I'd use epoxy resin). I did get the number of pieces of mat wrong and ended up 2.5mm thick rather than 2mm. This just meant I had a chance to try out my new drill press with a milling bit from my dremel in it.

Next time, maybe some black colouring?

Obviously, the link mounting location on the main chassis also needed to be moved the same amount to maintain the rear suspension geometry, but this was very easy.

The front was a far more complicated job. While F1 and 1/12 tyres share a common set of dimensions they have different offsets. This allows a 1/12 car to have a wider front track which should, in turn, mean it has better rear grip. I wanted to retain the use of F1 tyres and this led me to investigate several different front end designs from very simple to very complex. Originally, I used pieces from the standard F109 front suspension, cut and then attached to pieces of CF. This was attached to the chassis using threaded steel spacers, not unlike the TRG F1 cars. Camber and caster was adjusted using a layout similar to this, also attached to the chassis using threaded steel spacers. However, this proved heavy and impossible to adjust equally, despite, literally, hours of measuring showing the suspension was square and equal from side to side. My suspicion is that there were too many joints in the mounting system and it led to an error rate that I couldn't overcome. Fortunately no pictures of this front end survive.

In the end I followed a path traveled by another scratch builder I read about and purchased the Tamiya RM01 suspension. Not without its faults (soft plastic, no adjust-ability), this old school style front suspension is easy to mount and takes all standard F1 pieces. The only extra parts I needed were the RM01 suspension shafts to mount everything correctly. I mounted it to another piece of CF, ensuring a 170mm width, and mounted that to the chassis. Its not perfect but its straight, square and on the track the car goes in a straight line - when the servo-saver lets it. It's also about 50grams lighter than my first attempt. There is now a stiffer version of the suspension available from Tamiya if it proves necessary, but I also hope to re-develop my own front suspension in the future.

The servo is mounted using double sided tape. The F109 has a lot of holes in the chassis and this prevented me from drilling any holes for servo mounts. I use a very good quality tape used for installing aluminum windows so there haven't been any issues there. The servo saver is another issue altogether. I've tried using the F109 servo horn on a Tamiya servo saver but I don't get a consistent center. I am assuming this is a fault in the servo saver and I've purchased a Kimborough to replace it. I've also wondered if there is a possibility the servo is misbehaving using 3.7v and a booster, but one thing at a time.

The front bumper came with the RM01 suspension. Some quick work with a drill and bits out of my spare parts box had body mounts done for the front - the rear uses the standard F109 body mounts. Mounting the body turned into a total farce however. I was under the impression that all 1/12 cars were built around the 170mm most advertise and that fits to the rules. It turns out I was wrong and bodies are made in both "narrow" and "regular" widths. I made the mistake of buying a narrow body which is designed for a car running less than 170mm. I have no idea which car/s that might be as none advertise themselves as less than 170mm. It was suggested that I try some heat to modify the shape around the wheel arches but this also turned into a massive fail. I ended up with something I could drive around the track but I wouldn't put much faith in it's performance.

With the cancelling of 1/12 at the QLD Titles, I had to wait a few weeks for a regular club meet for the car's first proper shake down. There was no class to race it in so I used some breaks in normal racing to do some runs. Unfortunately, the tyre choice was next to useless on this particular surface, but I could test steering and tweak etc. Except for the steering servo and the lack of grip it was very good. I made a small change to the springs all 'round and I found some improvement but the tennis court surface we race on doesn't offer much grip to foam tyres. 

This means I am moving on to version 2 of the car much more quickly than first anticipated. I've ordered some Jaco tyres and some bits and pieces to allow me to fit them. It means making a new rear axle and I've already started work on that. I am hoping to have it ready before the next club day and I am hoping to take it down to Brisbane the next time I go, but its next year I am hoping to be more serious about it.

F109 next to F109-12

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Queensland Titles Prep - Update

I'm not going...

Unfortunately, there were not enough entries for 1/12 for the class to run. In fact the only entries came from "visitors". I did considered switching my entry to F1 but I can't organise to attend on the Saturday.

I have still finished my 1/12 car and I'll post some pics of that soon...

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

QLD Titles Prep - Part 1

Things are off to a flying start. I've already finished the rear suspension/pod for my scratch built 1/12 and I am starting to work on a few options for the front suspension. Batteries, body and 1S booster will be ordered this week and hopefully I can have a complete rolling chassis by the end of next week.

I have manufactured myself into a bit of a corner with the rear suspension. While I am extremely happy with the way it has come together, to save money I have used most of the parts from an F109 donor car. This means I am currently stuck using Tamiya/F1 rims on the rear and this means I am needing to cut down rims and tyres to get the car to fit the rules. Its all fine and dandy until discovering that its much harder (read - almost impossible) to buy unmounted foam donuts these days compared to in the past. I have a few sets of 3Racing wheels and tyres which SHOULD be a decent starting point (approximately 30 rears and 35 fronts) but I don't have anywhere to go from there. I could try buying some of Tamiya's foam tyres for their 1/12, the RM-01 or possibly some of their F1 foams but its hard to find info on how they compare to other brands.

There are a few other options but, as this is a extremely low budget project, they would have to be considered a last resort.

I'll post a few pics of the rear pod mods when I get a chance...

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Race Report - 18/08/2013

Interclub Round 3

Since moving back to SE QLD, I've wanted to to as many rounds of the Interclub as was possible to do. Living at least 2 hours from the major on-road tracks in Brisbane means that I can't just pop down on a whim, but the Interclub rounds would be worth the extra effort. Usually they have more racers attending than a typical club meeting and there is a high level of competition. As I heard one fellow racer say, the Bayside round I was attending was probably a very good indication of what the QLD Titles will be like.

With both the Mi1.5 and the F1 available and a class for each to run in I had to decide what to run. However, for batteries, I was down to just 2 shortie packs and a couple of old full size packs (not including my old mini packs) so I decided to just run the Mi1.5 in 17.5 tourer. The shortie packs also bring the weight down to UNDER the 1380g minimum weight. So the Mi1.5 was packed up along with everything else and the F1 was left at home. In hindsight it probably wasn't the best move as there was only 5 entries in F1 so a good result was more achievable in F1 than tourer, especially as I have reverted back to running my F1 as a 200mm car which I enjoy driving much more than the narrower setup.

Views of the Bayside track from near my pit space

Qualifier 1 - Place 7/10, 17 laps/ 6m 2.799s, Fastest Lap - 20.045.
It's always tough diving in the deep end with a 30 car field and this was definitely the case here. I didn't really have any practice time so I was re-learning a track I haven't raced on in over 5 years as well as everything else that goes along with qualifying in a 10 car race. There was a couple of corners that gave me issues, most notably the sweeper off the front straight along the drivers stand and into a hairpin. I finished 3 laps down on the front runners.

Qualifier 2 - Place 7/10, 14 laps/ 5m 5.395s, Fastest Lap -  19.729.
I tried a different tire prep for this race and the car felt a little more consistent from the start. This let me focus a bit more on my lines and getting apex's tighter. However my fight with the first hair pin got the better of me and I made a major mistake with the result being a broken drive-shaft.

Qualifier 3 - Place 6/10, 18 laps/ 6m14.524s, Fastest Lap - 19.977.
Most of the time between rounds was spent replacing the drive-shaft and resetting the cambers etc. I managed to get my consistency down to around 0.5. This is still a fair way from what is required to run up the front but at least it was an improvement. I was still 2 laps from the A main pace but every race I felt I was improving bit by bit.

Final 1 -  B Final Place 6/10, 17 laps/ 6m 1.386s, Fastest Lap - 20.221.
After a discussion with a fellow racer I decided to change the front shock oil to try and get the front of the car to ride the bumps better (Bayside is quite a bumpy track in places). While it did seem to make an improvement, it also seemed to make the front hook in a bit harder on initial turn in, which took a few laps to overcome, by reducing steering rate a little on the radio.

Final 2 - B Final Place 4/9 (1 DNS), 18 laps/ 6m15.343s, Fastest Lap - 19.607.

Another small change to the rear shocks, laying them over one hole and a chance to do a proper tyre treatment. This was a great race with a great battle with 2 cars at one stage. This race really showed up where my car is lacking and it was very obvious my old Duo 2 based motor was simply no where close to the current crop of big timing motors, both in low speed punch as well as ultimate top end speed. The amount of timing available in the current crop of motors allows totally different gearing and it just makes them faster. I was able to get my consistency back into the 0.5 range again, but my fastest lap is in isolation with my average lap time being 20.720.

Chasing the sun home

One can never go to an event like this, with no prior practice, and expect much. The best to hope for is a consistent run and good data to take away for the next time. All things considered I had a good day. I was using the Ride RE34 tyres which are the control tyre for the QLD Titles and the consensus amongst the more regular runners, with more experience of the Bayside track, that I spoke to, was that the Ride tyres are slower than the Sorex and and Muchmore tyres usually used, but possibly more consistent in speed as they wear. Of course that doesn't matter to those that were putting brand new sets of Muchmores on for every race! I would love to have $250 to waste on tyres, but then if I DID have that sort of money, I probably wouldn't anyway!

A big thanks has to go to the Bayside club for putting the event on. Things ran really smoothly with only a couple of minor delays to sort out some transponder issues. It all bodes well for the QLD Titles in September. It was also great to catch up with a few people and watch some great racing. Full results from the weekend HERE.

Of course I am going to throw a spanner in my own works by deciding to run 1/12 at the titles, a class I've never raced before, but hopefully my recent experience in F1, and some time spent racing 1/18 pan cars a few years ago, will help a little. It might seem a strange thing to do but I would need to buy a new motor and new batteries to run 17.5 tourer at the QLD's in any case, but with the rule change next year to 13.5, I don't see the point of buying a new 17.5 to run just one big meeting. Plus 1/12 is a one day demo class and that fits in well better with my partner and other factors.

Of course I am not doing it the easy way - there is a scratch built 1/12 taking over my partners office (she's not using it at the moment). I feel a trip to Bunnings coming on...

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Race Report - 03/08/13

Lets get one thing out of the way first -  There was no F1 of any kind :(

I wasn't actually expecting it. No one had mentioned it and I think the one other guy that might be at least reasonably serious about it wasn't able to make this meeting. I had mine there but I'd robbed the motor for an, what turned out to be, a half hearted, attempt to race local mini rules.

I don't want to be too critical of people because everyone is trying their best to make clubs happen etc but I have to say that the rules run last night are a perfect example of why the Australian Mini rules are such a good idea and work so well. Using 21.5T may sound like a good idea, but it doesn't save any money and it opens up too many variables. There was a huge disparity in car speeds down the straight, and some cars were unusually quiet. I know the M05 is quieter than the M03, but they still use the same gears and some of these cars were almost as quiet as a belt drive tourer. I've certainly never heard a mini that quiet before.

I ran one race and started the 2nd but I think some tape that got caught up in the rear hub during the first race may have jammed a bearing so I retired it. I'll also admit that I wasn't that interested given the huge differences in straight line speed, the huge variation in driving quality and also because I was debuting my new project - the Mi1.5.

This went better than I could've hoped. I arrived a little before track set up so I could do a few system checks and get a basic handle on what the set up might be. I am glad I did as I'd forgotten to tighten the locking grub screw in the front spool diff, which of course came loose after about 30 seconds of running. Given the older design of the donor car it took a little bit to access the diff screws and tighten them and get everything back together. By that time people were starting to arrive so track set up started and I lent a hand, despite not being a club member.

After track set up I managed a couple more laps and initial feelings were good on very old Sorex 36 tyres, but there were a few issues as well but I decided not to do anything else until I had fitted the new Ride 34 tyres I was intending to run (these are the control tyres for the QLD Titles as well). I was also using the short lipo's from my F1 and I wasn't sure which position they were best in.

Race 1 - I should try harder to get race results when they aren't printed!
Grid starts for qualifying so its all in from the get go. It works OK and it wasn't a bad race. Car felt good with just a little to much rotation on application of throttle out of corners, but also a little under steer coming into and going through faster corners. Battery position was in the middle. I wasn't going to have much time for a lot of changes but I knew I could move that as well as make adjustment to shock angles, toe etc. I think I came second with laps in the 9s range.

Race 2
I moved the battery back for this one as the only change - unfortunately it didn't stay there. The little carbon pieces that Schumacher provide as part of their lipo mounting kit to help locate the battery on the chassis didn't seem to want to stay stuck to the battery, so I have no idea at what point everything moved. Probably the first time I hit something which I am doing a bit too often for my liking at the moment.

Race 3
I decided to use a full size pack for this race and therefore decided to make a toe adjustment as it was the quickest and easiest to do, and to also go up 1 tooth on the pinion. I was getting a handle on driving the car but It still needed more steering into a corner. The car was better but I seemed to have a bit of a general brain fade for the race and just couldn't stay focused for for than a few laps at a time, making too many mistakes and just generally driving like crap. Maybe the fact that it was about 7C had something to do with it? My fastest lap was less than a tenth from the fastest lap of the race, but the consistency needs lots of work.

Race 4
Back to a shortie pack which I taped into the middle position. No other changes. I was able to maintain a comfortable 2nd place behind a club regular but a whole range of events led to a retirement with a bent suspension shaft.

Overall I am massively impressed with the car. Running a 6 year old Tekin 17.5 probably slows it a little due to lack of timing, which means a compromise in gearing. Add to this the fact this is still only the 3rd time I've raced at the club and I think it was a good result. Also, there is so much potential - I didn't touch the gear diff or shocks from the initial settings. 

One thing that became very obvious is that I lack "race craft" at the moment. I am driving OK (lap times don't lie), but I find it hard to make clean passes on people without spending a LOT of time behind them,even when lapping (though this is not always helped by the other driver/s), and I am making too many mistakes. I think the last 5 years are finally showing...

... and I just may need to buy a new 17.5 before the Interclub and QLD Titles.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Suck on it BMW!

Sometimes I really wonder about PR people. 

This morning on SpeedCafe there is an article about BMW and V8Supercars. Its quite damning in what BMW says about V8Supercars.

However, this comes from a brand involved in the DTM.

Lets think about that for a moment. 

The current DTM involves -  

  • Control spec chassis - CF monoque with crash structures rather than tube frame but still specified and used by all the manufacturers. 
  • Specified Wheel base and body dimensions - set at 2850mm and front and rear overhangs must be identical to all marques participating and all other dimensions are identical taken from a single reference point so height and width etc.
  • Control brakes - made by AP same as V8Supercars.
  • Control Hewland trans-axle.
  • Control 18 inch tyres in both a hard and soft compounds.
  • Control engine management system - supplied by Bosch.
  • Control fuel and tank capacity.
  • Control rear wing (including DRS but that's just BS anyway). 
  • Specified engine requirements - Engine is presently a V8 with capacity restricted to 4 liters, maximum of 4 valves per cylinder and has to breathe through 2x28mm inlet restrictors (mandated). 
  • Control Aerodynamics - I am led to believe by research online that both front and rear diffusers are a control item. There is also a "design line"  above which aero development is restricted to ensure the cars remain looking like the road cars they are based on and, looking at pictures of current DTM cars, that line is quite obvious. 
  • Control Suspension - again it follows a more "modern" layout using inboard shocks and springs with push-rods.
Even the exhaust outlet appears to be in a specified position! Its not clear if there is a control wheel to go along with the control tyres but picture evidence suggest there might not be or that there might be a range that can be chosen from. 

Items not controlled are aerodynamics below the design line, although there are limited and mandated areas where aerodynamic aids such as dive planes are permitted to be fitted, and engine development.

SO, pretty much everything that is controlled in V8Supercars is also controlled in DTM, but it does allow them to spend oodles of money on engine development, which they have to do within a capacity limit and having to use a set air restrictor size which will limit things like max horsepower and rpm etc, and they can spend oodles of money in a wind tunnel playing with a very limited area of the car looking for the final 100th's of seconds and makes the cars look distinctly "fake".

As an example of the oodles of money that can be spent - the 4 liter V8 fitted to the current DTM M3 is a bespoke racing engine developed by BMW especially for the DTM program. As best as I can tell from research online, it shares no common components with the road going M3 V8. Another is that none of the body panels need to be steel so all are made from carbon fiber. 

A current DTM car is estimated to cost around A$640,000 to build. Racing budgets for a single year's racing in the DTM have been estimated as high as A$42 MIllion. A current COTF V8Supercar is estimated to cost A$350,000 to build. V8Supercar teams such as Red Bull and HRT have had their yearly budgets estimated at around A$8 Million. There are rumors circulating on motorsport forums that the current BMW Z4 GTE/GT3 program costs LESS to run than the M3 DTM program!

So when Tom Noble says things like what he does in the article, he's actually being quite hypocritical because the current DTM M3 probably has less in common with the road going version than a V8Supercar version would have.

So in response to Tom Noble - you are currently NOT really racing an M3 in DTM and if you wanted, you COULD run a v8Supercar M3 with a BMW engine in it. Man up and say that you just DON'T WANT TO SPEND THE MONEY rather than criticising, what is considered, one of the best touring car championships in the world.

* The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and in no way should be applied to or inferred to any individuals or organisations mentioned.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Schumacher Mi1.5 build...

OR... how to take a really old car, fit it with parts from some not as old cars and hope you get something that works!

I really needed to find a car that I could run locally to keep my driving skills up. The first option was, of course, to buy the latest and greatest but I was quickly dissuaded from doing that by my minster for finance and warfare (my wonderful and long suffering partner). Next option was to buy a recent version 2nd hand car but this didn't prove much cheaper with a good Xray T4 or Schumacher Mi4 demanding around $400 for decent condition. Even an Mi3 or T3 will still hit the for sale threads at $250+. 3rd option was to buy one of the cheaper "sports" versions of a couple of cars E.g. the 3Racing Sakura XI Sport, but I wasn't convinced mainly because I'd be buying a car I didn't know and most of the sport level cars leave things like sway bars and threaded shocks in the options catalog. This adds to the cost if you try to race it seriously, which just means you end up spending less on the car but more on options.

This left me with the idea of refurbishing one of my older cars into something that I could use. I love my Tigermoth LCG, but this car is now completely out of production and parts are getting rare, and even some of the alternative parts I've manged to fit in place of original parts are getting harder to find. I didn't think there was much point dragging the old Tamiya TA03 out (and its buried in a box in storage anyway) so the only option left was my Schumacher Mission. Fortunately the Mission has, relatively recently, been reborn as Schumacher's sports level car, the Mi1. The Mi1 is based on the original Mission platform with some updates to accomodate LiPo batteries and a narrower chassis. However it retains the original single pulley lay-shaft and basic suspension architecture of the original chassis. As such, its quite an old design and compared to most modern cars would be considered outdated in areas such as chassis height and CG as well as being quite bulky in upper arm mounting. Also the diff bulk heads are not very convenient by modern standards, making repairs and maintenance slower and more tedious.

By chance I was looking through a couple of British RC forums and I happened across a guy who was looking for a way to prolong the life of his own Mission. This was before the Mi1 had been released and he was worried about things like belts etc being hard to get as the Mission doesn't share belts or many of its suspension parts with any other car. He had discovered that the Mi2 diff and center pulley would fit. Unfortunately this is as far as he got before the Mi1 was released but it started me wondering if drive line parts from later cars would fit. A bit of time on the Schumacher website and it became apparent that despite the huge differences in the newer Mi cars, a lot of parts remained the same. Diff pulleys and diff out drives are the same on all the cars right up to the current Mi5 as are internal parts like diff rings, thrust washers etc. This means that despite all the other changes, the width of the diff bulk heads has never changed. 

As luck would have it I was perusing the Australian RCTech For Sale thread and came across someone selling a complete SpecR Gear Diff for an Mi4. This was the moment I cast the die and committed to try to build my own "Mi1.5" as I later decided to call it. A quick phone call and my Mission was on its way from storage to me. It wasn't quite that simple but it would be tedious to try and write it all out and even more tedious to read. I also spotted a Lipo mounting kit for the Mi1 for sale so grabbed that as well. Plans were forming in my head so I jumped onto my favourite online hobby store, that stocks a lot of stuff I've just never seen locally, and placed an order for the bits I thought I would need.

Then I waited... and waited..... and......

It may be me but express international freight (I originally typed "fright" there which may be a Freudian slip) costs seem to have taken quite a jump in recent times. So I decided to save some money and have things sent to me regular post. In the time of the "now" generation, 7-10 days can feel like an eternity but I eventually had a couple of boxes of parts and a car to put them onto.

Center Pulley
The first job, and most important given the intent of this project, was to create a new center pulley. The original Mi1 belt lay out sees a single main belt driving the rear diff and then a long belt running from the rear diff pulley to the front diff. The Mi1.5 replaces this with a more traditional belt layout with the center pulley driving separate belts to both the front and rear diffs. The rear belt and pulleys are not difficult as the original Mi1 pulleys and belt will do the job just fine. However the Mi1 is designed to drive only one belt on the center shaft so a modification is required. The original forum showed the use of an Mi2 center pulley, but I wasn't sure I could source one of these plus I didn't want to spend money on something that may not work or be useable. My stock of Mission parts delivered up 2 original plastic 20T pulleys. It was quickly apparent how these could be modified.

Mission belt pulley showing factory molded holes, probably for weight reduction. This pulley has already had the ridge for the belt fence removed

Showing the rear of the 2nd pulley with 2 of the holes from the front drilled fully through.

3mm carbon rod epoxied in to form drive pins. If this isn't sufficient I have some 1/8" steel rod to try instead, but that will obviously increase weight significantly. This picture shows the pins in the rear belt pulley but they ended up being fitted to the pulley for the front belt. This works better for installation.

Everything fitted together - space is at a premium and I do have some concerns that the pulley doesn't grip the drive pin in the shaft by enough to be reliable long term or for more powerful motors. My intent is to run 17.5 or 21.5 so hopefully this design is sufficient.

Rear Diff
The next step for me was to build the new hear diff. This was something totally new for me as I've never built any other gear diff except for the Tamiya gear diffs and they are hardly comparable. Fortunately, the SpecR range of gear diffs are quite popular so there is a wealth of information on the net regarding the best way to build and set one up. I followed the SpecR and Schumacher guide for building it with only one diversion and that being on the oil I filled it with. I chose to go for a heavier oil as, according to my research, many people recommended a heavier oil if coming from only using ball diffs to a gear diff for the first time as it provides a more comparable feel.

The SpecR gear diff fresh from the packet. I had a minor scare when I thought I was missing some shims but turned out to be a case of things stuck together. Duh!
Completed diff fitted perfectly into the original bulkheads. Original belt fits as well though the one in the pic is a temporary one. I am not yet convinced on the plastic out-drive cup things but proof is in the using.

Front Diff
At this end I decided to take a leaf from the LCG and make a Slipper spool. The advantage I've seen from the slipper spool is that under "normal" circumstances it functions perfectly well as a spool but in impacts or extreme circumstances it can slips and this can take pressure out of the drive-line rather than transmitting it along until it finds the weakest point. I've never broken a drive shaft or out drive in all the time I used the LCG so I am hoping for a similar result with the Mi1.5, especially as for the time being I will retain the composite drive shafts (sorry Schumacher, I can't justify $44 for a pair of drive shafts at this point). I had spotted some option pad things Tamiya supply to go in the diff's of their drift cars when I was looking for new parts to replace the ones in the LCG but I'd never had the chance to order them until now.

Tamiya friction pads and Mission front diff pulley. The pulley had to be drilled out to take the pads as it uses 2.5mm diff balls and Tamiya use 3mm. Originally I intended to use this standard narrow pulley but for reasons explained later I switched to the wider rear pulley for the time being.
Front Belt
This is where the Mi1.5 build got a bit interesting. Everything up to this point had been simply modifying existing parts. I already knew that the Mi2 belt would not fit as it was described in the original forum I read. This meant I was looking for a belt of less that 171T. I dug through the parts I had from the LCG but it's front belt was far too short. I was about to embark on the tedious job of learning how to measure and approximate belt lengths when I noticed a belt sitting in bag of other parts.

It fitted!

What car is it from?

No idea!

It all honesty, at first it appeared to be too tight, but I was still ecstatic as it, at least, gave me a starting point. I counted the teeth  (there was no markings on the belt at all) and I came up with 167T. I was still scratching my head as to where it came from. I've not owned THAT many different chassis over my racing life. At first I was convinced it was from a Tamiya TA04 and some initial 'net searching seemed to support this, so I ordered one. However when it arrived it was 170T which was only one less than the Mi2 belt, and just like the Mi2 belt had no chance of fitting. Another bit of luck happened about this time as the Drift community seems to be fascinated by which car has which belts. They have quite comprehensive lists of cars and their belt lengths though not always as correct as you'd hope, which is why I mistakenly believed that a TA04 had a 167T belt!

I searched my mental recesses for which cars I've owned but none seem to have a similar belt. The TA03 belt is far too long, as are 415 belts. There is a possibility that it may be the center belt from a Team Magic E4 but I can't confirm this. I found a 169T Corally belt in a LHS but this still turned out far too loose. Eventually I found information about an 167T Xray belt that was an option for the T2'009 and that it also replaces the Serpent S400 front belt. So 2 have been dutifully ordered as spares.

Wasn't 167T too tight I hear you query? Yes, my initial thoughts WERE that it was too tight. SO tight in fact I think it was making a note like a D note on a bass guitar!. However once saw how much difference just 2 teeth made to the length of the belt and the fact that I could find no trace of a 168T belt in either RC world or anywhere else I was starting to think there had to be another answer. As it turned out the original molded diff pulley I tried to use didn't have one of the clip on belt fences that Schumacher used, and the belt wanted to keep running at the edge of the diff so I was concerned it would slip off and jam. I also have the machined diff's that Schumacher made as options but I wanted to keep the single belt one as an option if I don't like the gear diff, but as a test I fitted in place of the molded diff.

Surprise, surprise, the belt was no longer too tight. It was still tight, but no where near as tight as with the molded diff pulley. This led to me deciding to use one of the spare machined rear diff pulleys for the slipper spool, which also meant I had reliable belt fences. If the car works generally I will invest in a machined pulley for the front as well.

Original test fit of belts and front slipper spool

Rear diff pulley fitted to front. There must be a significant different in the size of the machined pulleys versus the molded as belt tension was reduced substantially, to the point I am happy to try running it like this. Silver marks show where I'd prefer the belt to run but I doubt this will happen, especially once I go back to a single width pulley.

LiPo Mount
This wasn't as easy as I had anticipated. Obviously built for a different chassis I should've expected it would not be a straight fit, but a couple of new holes took care of that. Everything else was included in the kit. I've also fitted a little post/guard to keep the battery away from the motor pinion in case of any movement in an impact.

Current state of the Mi1.5. There has been some housekeeping work done as well like replacing all the plastic spacers on the suspension shafts with nice alloy ones, fitting the low profile Futaba servo with a new Core R/C alloy servo arm and cleaning or replacing and oiling bearings. Shocks will be next, then the rest of the electronics.
There are still a few things to go before it hits the track but it should be ready by the next local race meeting and I might make the run down to the last round of interclub at Bayside. Might even drag the F1 down as well :P

Friday, 12 July 2013


Still not a lot to share at the moment. 

Managed a club race day - F1 was still an also ran but at least there was 3 of us this time. The other cars were both F113's running Ride R1's. It was interesting to watch them go around, but they were not as quick out of the box as the one I saw at the interclub, and both times it was the first time on the track for the cars. I won't try and make concrete suggestions as to why, but I would suspect it was the tyre choice and possibly because it was very cold. The concrete track is quite grippy but doesn't impart any warmth as the cars circulate. I noticed this last time when I tried warmers and the tyres came off after a run almost stone cold.

The Asian On-road Championships have been run and won. The majority of cars were Tamiya F104 variants, but a few of the other brands were represented. I really wanted to attend this event but it just wasn't to be. Given my current feelings on the the whole control tyre issue for F1, its probably best I didn't go. I don't seem to have any problems making myself unpopular even when I try to stay out of RC politics, the last thing I need is to start discussing something I have a bit of passion about.

Finally, parts are starting to dribble in for my various projects. I should be able to put my Mi1.5 together this weekend, but I won't get another chance to put it on the track until August. I really do need to find somewhere close by I can take my cars for a run. As for the F1 I am still debating whether to keep it simple and just make a narrower version of the standard layout front end or go for something more challenging. Since the last time I wrote anything I've realised I will have to move the servo as well and make my own steering system - something I wasn't counting on. I still a couple of more weeks to make up my mind and then we shall see.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Not much happening

Winter is in full swing and not much else is happening at the moment. I have a few projects on the go during this down time but everything seems to be happening so slowly.

What do these seemingly random pieces of carbon fibre -
and this website have to do with my F109's? Details as they happen.

With not much else to do and despite advice against it, I've decided to revive my old Schumacher Mission as a temporary car to get some extra racing in F1 deprived Toowoomba. Based on an idea seen by chance on a British forum it will become an Mi1.5, using parts from the Mi1, Mi4 and a few other cars as well! Sourcing parts has been difficult mostly because freight costs are quite scary at the moment, but the first modifications are well underway.

More as things actually happen.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Race Report - 19/05/2013

Pretty much my last opportunity to race at the Logan track before they go back to night race meetings had me up ridiculously early. All the prep had been done on the Saturday so it was up and out the door in the coldest morning I've had so far since moving to the Darling Downs, including and iced up windscreen. Its a 2 hour drive from home to Slacks Creek where the Logan track is located. Its not the best or worst drive I've had to do over the years but it does make the day just a little longer.

How the day looked when I left home
How the day looked 2 hours later when I arrived
Since my last race meeting the new batteries arrived, so this meant I had set up the 190mm car. I used my 200mm car as the basis simply because it had gone reasonably well at the last club meeting in Toowoomba so I hoped I had a good baseline to work from. With everything set up and my nomination in, I picked up my new transponder and installed it in the car. This caused an unexpected  issue with the new transponder interfering with the Tekin ESC. This meant I missed the start of the first race while I sorted this out. Consensus seemed to be that the new AMB 4 transponders, with 3 wires need to be plugged into a channel on the receiver rather than the battery socket. Luckily there are probably few people running less than 3 channels these days.

The calm before racing begins

Round 1 -  Result : 11/ 8m 7.418s, Fastest Lap - 25.663s
I missed the first 3 minutes of the first round, but once on the track the car handled quite well, but there were a few issues, mostly with the diff setting allowing far to much slip and slowing me out of the corners. Nothing to difficult to deal with.

Round 2 - Result : 3/ 3m 1.138s, Fastest Lap - 26.573s
Well as you can see this round didn't go so well. I made two small changes - (1) Tightened the diff and (2) Added some more toe out. For some reason however, one of the front wheel nuts decided to keep tightening itself. Due to a little idiosyncrasy in the whole F1-09/190mm set up, the wheel nuts need to be just slightly loosened from fully tight otherwise it binds the bearings in the Ride rims. I only managed 1 flying lap and that was still amongst traffic.

This is where I can't help but be a bit critical of the organisers at Logan. A 15 minute final sounds like fun (and it is) and at a bigger event it adds to the spectacle, but on a club day to restrict the running to only 2 rounds before a final makes it VERY difficult for the occasional visitor to really get much done. Add to this the closing of the track between the qualifying rounds and the finals, not allowing any practice seems, to me anyway, a bit extreme.

Final - Result : 16/ 7m23.805s, Fastest Lap - 25.255s
A fresh nyloc wheel nut fitted, and another tweak to the diff tightness and I lined up 8th out of 9 for the final. The first lap went reasonably well - I made a good start and with everyone being careful I crossed the line for the first lap in 4th or 5th place. Then I got absolutely hammered on the next lap by people who have obviously spent too much time in touring cars bouncing off each other, and I mean hammered. The most obvious sign was the severe pull to the left, so much so the trims couldn't even start to compensate, which then made for huge under-steer in the right hand corners. Which is where the car finally finished the day after running wide into a track barrier and breaking the steering arm from the left hand upright. Back at the pit table the full extent of damage was revealed with about 15 degrees of camber on one side and maybe 40 degrees of castor on the other side, thanks to yet another bent turnbuckle. This track has something against my turnbuckle supplies it seems.

I can't say that really "enjoyed" day. An early start, a very cold morning, a frustrating race day and a damaged car - it could be quite hard to come up with many positives. However, I did finally work out how to make the LRP traction compound work, the new batteries performed well, the basic car balance seems good and, considering how badly out of whack the front suspension was, the lap time is actually better than it first appears. OK, I still ended up the slowest car, but that level of damage could easily account for 1 second, or more, per lap bringing the car into the low 24 second area and easily onto similar pace as the majority of the front runners.

Now I just have to wait and see what happens next. The Toowoomba club only races once a month and with all the Brisbane clubs running night meetings, and Toowoomba not having an F1 class I may have to refocus back onto touring cars, at least at a basic level to keep my driving skills up. The 2nd round of the Interclub is on the 15/16th June but I am not yet certain if I can attend and if I did I'd need to consider running more than F1 to make the trip worthwhile.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Race Report - 04/05/2013

This was the 2nd time visiting the Toowoomba track and the first time at night. Unfortunately, I was the only F1 there so it became more a test and tune for me rather than proper race meeting.

Also unfortunate was the failure of my new batteries to arrive. I had hoped that would arrive in time for this race meeting so I could start working on my 190mm car again. As it turned out, it gave me some more time to play with the 200mm car, and in particular the ESC settings. I am still determined to make the Tekin work for me as other people certainly seem to be able to make it work for them. I also went back to my tried and true tyre combination - TRG Rears and Shimizu fronts.

I also had a little play with making my 190mm car. Nothing serious just played around with battery position and mounted a Alfa World GT body. Hey - its either that or I get bored!

All set up and it was time to get things on the track. I had to decide whether to run in with the tourers or the mini's. Mini's were closer to the same pace so that was done. I also had a problem with a servo which needed soldering. The 190mm/WGT needed more work so it was benched. Being night time the temperature was dropping pretty quickly so I actually grabbed my tyre warmers out, which are normally used on my tourer. 

Round 1
A quick practice run showed up a little issue with the diff so I changed the thrust bearing from the standard bearing back to a proper thrust bearing. This race was all about learning the track (which was different from my first visit) and getting a feel for the car. The changes to the ESC throttle curve and neutral width were making quite a difference and the throttle response was much smoother. Paradoxically to achieve this, I had to make the throttle curve on the ESC more aggressive, but with the radio settings it actually worked better. I had also fiddled with the brake settings and this was also working more to my liking, allowing me to use the brakes to help the car turn if needed. 

The race was pretty uneventful given being the only F1. Its more about trying not to hit anyone or be hit. Corner entry speed was actually a bit faster than the mini's but I had to be more conservative on throttle application out of the corners and I was much faster in a straight line. The main point that came out of the race was the discovery the rear tyres came off the track, after a 6 minute race, colder than when they started out of the warmers.

Round 2
A change to a softer spring on rear main shock was the only change for this race and much like the first it was pretty uneventful. The spring change made the rear end more consistent over the race duration.

Round 3
For this race the main change was to the diff setting, allowing a little more slip. This change made the car more forgiving when accelerating out of the corners and meant I could drive it a little harder and get on the power a little earlier. However, without lap counting (was considered pointless given the situation) I can't be sure if the lap times reflected the car feel.

There is where the night ended. Due to a miscommunication with my partner I ended up packing up early and heading home. On one hand there was probably little point on finishing the night out as its hard racing only yourself. On the other, I could've tried a few more changes - Eg. changing the toe out to try and get a more aggressive turn in, one area I felt the car was lacking a little. The positive was that the car felt more like what I remember from WA. Ok, its on a different track from the Interclub but so were the tracks in WA. I guess I'll have to make another trip and find out.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Update on last race day

I started pulling my car apart yesterday to get it ready for the next outing and discovered that I had bent ANOTHER upper control arm turnbuckle! Same side as the first. I have no idea what actually caused it, but I am wondering if its not the end of one of the anchor ropes used as track barriers. Its the only thing I can think of that I remember hitting twice during the weekend.

After not bending one in a year of racing previous to this, its quite amazing to me to bend 2 in the space of 4 races.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Tough Day at the Office - Race Report 21/04/2013

Well after a week of prep and even longer anticipation, the actual day turned into a bit of a struggle really. I got the track conditions completely wrong and therefore none of the tyre combinations I had worked well enough for me to have any real impact on the results. Early signs looked promising, managing some mid 24 second laps in my shortened practice time, but then it was pretty much all down hill. As the track temperature rose the conditions moved outside the tyres performance range.

I arrived a bit later than I intended, mostly because I left later than I'd planned. There was not much I could do about the 2 hour drive, so I just had to setup as quickly as possible and try to get a bit of track time. I was trying a new Shimizu tyre combination based on info from http://rcformula1.com.au/index.php/tech-tips/tyres as well as the little bit of data I gathered from a quick visit to the same track a couple of months ago. The weather was supposed to be mild with temps in the low 20's, and in reality it probably never went over the predicted 24 degrees, but the exposure of the track and perfectly clears skies meant the track was bathed in quite hot sunlight and sucked in heat much faster than I was anticipating. Talk around the track was that it would get slower as the day went on.

My first practice run was encouraging with a couple of laps needed to scrub in the new tyres and then lay down a few fast laps. Car handling was good with just a little bit of entry push and then a little exit over-steer if I got on the power a little too hastily. I like to use steering dual rate to tune steering characteristics during a race, and the push was making me use more steering throw than I preferred. I wanted to test another tyre combo so I only did half a dozen laps and tried a softer front tyre. This gave me a whole heap more steering but its was almost too much and certainly on one particular corner, where the corner entry was preceded by some bumps, it was very unsettled compared to the previous combo. With racing starting in only 10 minutes I went back to the pits and changed back to the original tyres with a change to a softer spring on the front to try and add steering.

Race 1 - Result : 12/ 6m24.318s, Fastest lap - 24.613s
The drivers briefing revealed the first surprise of the day for me - 15 minute final. This hadn't been mentioned anywhere previous to this, or on the entry form. I wasn't upset, but only having 3, 6 minute qualifiers to sort everything out, considering it was also the first time I had run a 21.5 motor, was going to prove a challenge and so it turned out to be.

Most events I've attended in the recent past allow the drivers to do a couple of warm up laps before gridding up, to ensure everything is working and allow the race director to check transponders are registering. This is where I made my first mistake, clipping a corner marker. Initially there appeared to be no damage but I checked my trims and made a slight adjustment, then I gridded up. I started 1st thanks to random grid orders for the first race and I made a reasonable start. The first couple of minutes seemed to show everything going well. There were some fast guys in the field (including a former TITC class winner) so I was more than chuffed to hear my name being called out in 3rd position. It was at about the 3 minute mark that the car handling started to go away quite badly - the front became quite "darty" and the rear progressively moved to snap over-steer on corner exit, and that was despite using a function on my radio that helps me smooth my, sometimes itchy, throttle finger.

Back at the pit table, the front end damage that hadn't been obvious from the stand was now startling clear with a bent upper control arm turnbuckle. In all the time I've used the 3Racing front end, I've never bent one before. The end result was about 45 degrees of castor on one side compared to the other. It was probably surprising the car was as fast as it was. A quick repair was effected and also a change in gearing, going up 1 tooth on the pinion as it was obvious the difference in straight line speed on the long main straight.

Race 2 - Result : 3/ 2m14.506s , Fastest lap - 25.224s
I ran a longer warm up to gauge where I was with tyres and it was quickly obvious the combo I had chosen was not going to work for a 6 minute race, let alone a 15 minute race. I rushed back to the pits and changed the rear tyres for something I had more experience with but this was even less effective. I'd forgotten to pack my temperature gauge so I could only guess at the track temps but another racer I've known for years informed me they were getting into the 40+ degree area despite the cooler air temperature. This is probably also reflected in the lap times as, though more cars were dipping into the 23 second range, the fastest overall lap was only 0.1 of a second faster than the first race. 

I ran out of time to try anything else during the race but I manged to snag some practice time in the 10 minute break between rounds. I resorted to the the Ride A/B combination I had used in WA in the warmer weather and this appeared to be a step in the right direction. The car was much more stable but with a lot of push, but at least it stayed consistent, without a major change in handling as the tyre temps rose

Race 3 - Result : 13/ 6m24.453s, Fastest lap - 25.915s
This was all about trying to get a drivable car for the 15 minute final. I'd treated the front tyres with traction compound (something I HATE fiddling around with). It was obvious the track was slowing as even the faster guys were now struggling to stay in the 23 second range. I was managing high 25's and low 26's but it was a struggle to stay consistent, lacking patience with the under-steering car, something the F1-09 has never been. I was also now personally struggling quite badly with pain in my back, which had been giving me issues since a fall a week before.

Another ponder at the pit table and I decided the only change I would make was to the front steering knuckles, swapping to 0mm ones instead of the -3.5mm. In theory this should've given greater steering response and made the car turn into the corners harder. Also geared up one more tooth.

Final - Result : 32/ 15m19.442s, Fastest lap - 26.167s
By now the clouds had moved in and the sun had been blunted a bit. The track was still hot though and again this reflected in the lap times, with only one driver managing to match his earlier time. For me it was a case of circulating around and making the finish, which I was determined to do. The change to the car and even full treatment of the front tyres with traction compound really didn't achieve anything and the car was the slowest it had been all day, despite being much closer to the pace down the straights and not seeming to lack anything under acceleration. I just couldn't carry any corner speed if I wanted to make apexes and its backed up in the lap times and result - 5 laps behind the winner.

I have to admit I am disappointed with the result. I was never expecting to win, but to end up the slowest car in the field was never something I suspected might happen. I can pose some excuses like, having only my 1st "proper" race in 5 months, not having a lot of experience at that particular track, and first time running 21.5 but some of the other racers could also say any one or combination of those things.

As far as my driving was concerned the big disappointment was my consistency.  Being able to turn consistent lap times is something I've prided myself on in the past, but on this occasion it was severely lacking, being in the 1-2 second range. This can partly be attributed to car setup and track experience but mostly to crappy driving.

Setup wise I feel tyres was the big issue here. I simply didn't have a combination that was a close enough match for the track conditions, and any changes I made to the car to compensate were like a flea jumping on an elephant. Most of the fast cars were 180mm/190mm running the Ride R1 tyres and clearly, these ARE the tyres of choice at the moment, but using a 200mm car prevents me using those. I didn't get a chance to run my more traditional TRG/Shizimu combination. 

I also don't feel the Tekin RS ESC suits what I am trying to do with the car. For me, it lacks both throttle smoothness and strong brakes when used in combination with my car and radio, and nothing appears to affect that. With an under-steering car I should've been able to use the brakes to help turn the car but the Tekin brakes simply weren't strong enough. 

Whats next? Well I was informed of an online shop selling quality, name brand and ROAR approve short lipos for quite small amounts of money. Considering several of the cars in the field were using them I don't fear being sold a dud product. With these I can focus more on my 190mm car, which is probably a better way to focus rather than continuing to persevere with the 200mm car. The next round of the Interclub is not until June, but there should be a couple of club days and maybe another trip to Logan for a club day as well.

Of course if I buy a new chassis, whatever it may be, then it will be that I will focus on.