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.