Monday, 17 November 2014

The count down is on

Its not long now till the racing season is over for 2014. For some, that will mean break that extends well into 2015. For others it will last just long enough to pacify the Christmas demands of partners, wives and children and then it will be on again.

Meanwhile, the Toowoomba club has been trying to make up for meetings lost due to weather. There is a lot to chose from here when it comes to which weather causes a meeting to be cancelled. There is something slightly masochistic about racing at night when its 1Deg C. Maybe next year we'll try a few day time meetings when it might be a touch warmer.

This week's meeting was the exact opposite -HOT!!. The forecast was for 37Deg and the outside temp gauge in the car read a balmy 38 as I drove to the track. Numbers were down a little, even compared to normal, but there was 4 cars in each class so a track was set up (slightly simplified to reduce the work load) and racing commenced. All considered  it was a good night with some close racing amongst the TC's and the Mini's being a little more restrained for a change. Lap times for the TC's were in the low 10s range. My F1 was in the TC mix just to make it interesting for everyone.

I made some major changes to the F1 for this meeting and for the future. I converted it back to 190mm and updated it a few areas. Keen readers of this blog (yeah right) might remember I tried running the F109 in 190mm guise before and wasn't keen on it. This time however, it was a completely different beast, but I can't tell you why. Certainly some areas are different (different side spring arrangement, RM-01 steel axle), but  it was only a tenth or so slower than the 17.5 TC's and was easy enough to drive for my consistency to be consistently around 0.4 for the first time in AGES. It wasn't perfect - it was a little unstable on highspeed turn in - but over all it was probably as good as its ever been, especially on the slippery Toowoomba track. As always, repeat-ability will be the gauge of real progress, so here's hoping for the next meeting in 3 weeks.

The only disappointment was the Sweep tyres. I tried the V2 Super Soft rear with the Hard front. The balance was no where near as good as the Ride R1's, with a lot more initial and mid-corner steering followed by a loose exit. It also wanted to swap ends at high speed with any more than slight steering corrections. As I didn't have time to do any testing with different combos (eg Ride fronts/Sweep rears) I am reluctant to make any definitives about which was causing what. However, over all I am not impressed with the Sweep tyres - the inserts are a pain -  they need cutting to size and who has ever glued inserts to the rims first?? I never have with an on-road tyre in my experience.

The fronts are also super tight on the recommended Tamiya rims (I had to use a small screwdriver to force the bead into position) and if the inserts were glued to the rims first I think it would be almost impossible to fit them. Yes they are significantly cheaper and have a better scale appearance than the Ride tyres, but the convenience alone makes the Rides a better option. I have read that Sweep is currently working on pre-mount versions with (possibly) some compound adjustments. If the price stays low they might be worth playing with some more but only time will tell.

I've also been letting a few things churn around in the brain that I might put down on cyber-paper before the end of the year. I should be safe - don't think I'll be bumping into anyone important before the new yearSmiley

Sunday, 9 November 2014

I know what I did last weekend...

... or how to destroy an F1 car in 3 easy steps

1) Drive it on a track which has a weird surface/grip level, gets no prep other than track barriers to mark it out, and the grip varies wildly from one meeting to the next - not much can be done about this. Its the same for everyone but it does make it particularly hard on the RWD cars. In fact at one stage I was something like 6 laps slower than I had been the meeting before. A few radical setup changes got that down to, a possible, 3 laps slower before disaster struck.

2) Drive with a bunch of touring cars - Again no ones fault, just what happens in smaller clubs with fewer numbers. Actually, its partially my fault for doing 26-27 laps the meeting before, only 1-2 slower than the 4WD tourers, so we thought it was better to put the F1 in with them, rather than the smash up derby that is the Mini class.

3) Hit a steel pole at near full throttle - not as simple as it sounds and contact with a tourer a lap or so previous probably helped by knocking out a side spring, making the car a bitch to drive, even more than it already was.

It must be some sort of fate thing. I've hit those poles 2 times since I've been racing here, and both times I've destroyed, or done major damage to a car. The first time was the LCG which split the chassis in half across where the servo mounts and this time it destroyed the pod plates, diff hub etc. Given the F109 is now a good 6 or 7 years old as a platform and well and truly superseded (3Racing just announced an updated FGX), chassis parts have pretty much dried up. Luckily, I did buy 2 of them, and while one was cut up to do the 1/12 thing, luckily I kept the original pod plates as well as making one that was 1/12 specific. I am going to try both just as an experiment.

Fortunately, everything else I need is still available from them Tamiya parts line or I have parts I can use. I've decided to try the 190mm option again, so that takes care of a few parts and I am going to try some of the V2 Sweep tyres as I search for options that better suit the Highfields track. I am also going to try one of the new Exotek one piece diff axles to see if improves anything. It is supposed to be significantly lighter than the Tamiya original which is a 2 piece arrangement.

I've also been continuing work on my FWD project. CAD work as stopped on my original idea as I was looking at the old LCG chassis a few weeks ago and suddenly wondered if it was possible to fit a standard spur to the diff rather than the original diff pulley. To my surprise it does (it needed a Tamiya F1 spur adapter). This got me curious about how much the layout could be changed and pretty soon a direct drive FWD setup was laid out. I am going to mock it up on a piece of 3mm MDF first (not drivable obviously) as everything pretty much fits except for the front shocks. Thats a fairly large issue, but I've gotten to a point I just can't visualise the amount of space available without something physical to hold and look at. I am also trying to fit it all onto a 300x100mm piece of CF that I can get rather more easily than anything else. Fortunately (using that word a bit this post), the motor mount can hang partially in mid air with a separate bumper piece around it to help protect it a little, so all the important bits can fit inside that 300x100 shape.

But first I need so low tack craft glue...