Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Done and Dusted

Well QLD Titles is over for another year and part of me is glad it is. It was a great event on a really challenging but fun track. It was good to catch up with a few people and good to be on a totally new track, but given how little I get to race these days, all tracks are unfamiliar to some degree.

I did intend to be more detailed with a race report etc. I took pics of most of the results sheets and kept notes on my car changes, but as I drove home on Monday I started to realise that it was just going to become a "coulda, shoulda, woulda" type thing and that didn't interest me much and I didn't think it would interest anyone else either.

Practice went reasonably well given the 4+ hour drive before hand and a bit of laziness on my behalf with car setup before I got there. I also wasn't sure the old, but unused, set of Sorex's I'd dug up as practice tyres were part of the issues or not. On the setup board back at the cabin that evening and I'd been trying to run with no rear toe and that obviously wasn't a good idea. I also wasn't happy with the diff action but I discovered I'd forgotten to bring all of my oils with me so I left it alone.

Saturday qualifying and I was mildly excited at the prospects of what was to come and a quick morning practice showed a proper setup was making a positive difference. However the first actual qualifying run lasted exactly one lap before a massive change in car handling surfaced. Back at the table and it was clear the front belt had flipped off the tension-er and because the belt is so loose without it, instant 2WD. Now I had flirted with running a 2WD car for the whole event but that's a bit different to suddenly switching from one to the other mid lap. I adjusted the belt tension-er a little tighter and waited for round 2.

That lasted just 3 laps with the exact same result and problem. As I inspected the car back in the pits again, I noticed that the custom tension-er was flexing as the motor spun. This had NEVER happened running 17.5 and I was struck by how difficult it must be for manufacturers to develop cars to cover all classes. At this point I honestly thought the weekend was over as I wasn't sure how to fix the problem with out access to all my bits and pieces at home, but I was instantly pissed at the idea of sitting and watching for 2 days. It was obvious I needed to come up with some sort of brace but with only what I could find in my toolboxes. An old plastic servo mount from and MO3 and a hand drilled hole added to it let me mount it between the motor mount and the carbon tension-er mount. The result worked well and I didn't have any more issues with the belt for the rest of the weekend.

Qualifiers 3-5 - Not much to say other than if I could've combined my fastest laps with my best consistancy I "shoulda" been in the 20 lap bracket pretty easily. Not bad considering everything but I didn't so I wasn't. Handling was a mix of good low speed steering but with high speed under-steer and just a touch of rear instability in the transition from high speed to low speed corners. A few changes to droop and rear springs helped but I think the diff action needed addressing sooner than I eventually did. The single biggest change that had a positive effect was moving the body forward 5mm. This helped the high speed under-steer very obviously.

An offer of a Reedy Sonic 13.5T had me changing motors and fitting a fan on Saturday night. Another debate with the diff ensued but I didn't do anything about it then, Sunday morning and a wet track held things up for about 3 hours. Practice once the track dried out and I finally succumbed to my doubts and decided to refill the diff. However some locally sourced oil that was supposed to be 3000Wt definitely wasn't  and totally screwed the handling. Because I'd forgotten my own 3000Wt oil I was forced to used 2000Wt which ALSO changed the car handling.

Finals - Probably the less said the better. 2 DNF's and a DNS rounded the finals out. The car was fast but I felt the lighter diff oil made the car balance change as the tyres cycled during the run. The change in motor from the $40 Turnigy Trackstar to a $100+ Reedy also didn't deliver any obvious improvement in the time I had with it. 

On a personal level though, I have reached a bit of crossroads. As I've detailed in my writings before I've debated how long I can sustain my interest in 4WD touring cars. Sunday afternoon and before the 3rd final it became very easy to decide not to run. There was nothing to be gained, either personally or results wise, and any excitement from Saturday was long gone. Maybe if the 2WD car had worked better in Friday practice or if I'd decided to run F1 as well/instead, I'd feel a little different. All I know is that from now and for the imaginable future I will not be running 4WD touring cars again. I will turn my attention back to F1/LM and 1/12 where possible and I might also continue work on my FWD project. I have also decide that, again if possible, to go to the Australian On-Road Titles in 2015, just to say I've been. How I will achieve that I have no idea yet.

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