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.

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