Well, now I’ve finally managed to fix this site and be able to post again (long story, but now all solved) thought it was time for an update,
It’s a busy period to cover. First up on the event list was the NSW state titles, this year to be held at the (very large) Whalan track. The main straight is very big (21.5’s take around 7s to cover it’s length!), so it was up with the boost and turbo to bring the speed in mod…as Clarkson would say…Pooooooowwwwwweeeeeerrrrrr!
I spent quite a few weekends ahead of the titles testing a large amount of different settings, as this would also be the first event I’ve been to run on Volante tyres… It’s fair to say that by the time the titles rolled round, the tyres appeared to have resolved the majority of their issues, but my practice was really badly disrupted due to tyre failures, as I seemingly ended up with more than my fair share of belts being blown out. Not trying to use that as an excuse, but it certainly didn’t instill a huge amount of confidence.
Car setup, I pretty much ran with what I had previously been using at SMA, with the main exception being X/E rear blocks to reduce rear toe-in and free the car up, as well as a heavier (5K) diff, and rear shocks stood up one hole, all in the aid of getting on power steering.
As for the titles itself…well, lets just say a combination of weather, an inexperienced club, and afforemented tyre concerns led to a pretty unsatisfactory event. As for my performance, I was looking good for fourth after the first two rounds of qualifying, then made a couple of wrong changes on the setup and slipped to fifth. But overall, a disappointing event, and not an experience I’d like to repeat anytime soon.
With that on the way… next up was the MuchMore Masters at SMA at the end of May. With a lack of Mod drivers around in Sydney at the moment, my usual class got canned, so I had to drop back to 13.5t stock. This was an interesting experience, as it had been a loooong time since I had run stock. And with no real practise time (a trip back to the UK, along with poor weather again cutting short any chance of that), I just started out with the SMA setup I had been using most recently. This involved making the front wider (D/C front blocks instead of C/B), narrowing the rear (removing the 0.5mm axle shims), and then tweaking the roll centres and wheelbase. I also found adding more flex by going to only two screws in the bottom of the motor mount seemed to work well to help grip up the rear.
Overall, the event went pretty well. Unfortunately again bad weather intervened, delaying the start of the event, and making for a really long day at the track! I ended up qualifying sixth, and finished seventh. Never really got a handle on the right tyre prep for the cooler conditions and slower speeds. And there was some incredibly questionable driving from a particular person who should know a lot better. C’est le vie…
Actually, that setup isn’t entirely accurate…as for the last final, I decided to go a different route again, and widen the back of the car again by putting the axle shims back in, and adding another 0.5mm ontop of the rear hub (for a total of 4mm). Overall it felt like far more steering all over, but wasn’t as quick… but there was potential.
And so onto today… having had a few weeks off racing, it was back to SMA for a day of practise, testing and tuning. The TRF team have been racking up the racing miles recently, and I’ve been paying close attention to their setups. A couple of things have stood out… X/E are the rear blocks of choice everywhere, with C/C for the fronts, and generally more leaned in shocks all round. So today was a day to run through that lot and a load of other settings, and see what worked and what didn’t. I started out with the last final setup from the Masters, and worked from there.
First up on the list was flex – I wanted to check a few different settings on the motor mount. 4 screws, 2 scews, and also removing the top deck screw. Whilst the 2 screw setup seemed to give most grip, the 4 screw felt most consistent to drive. The 2 screw would go all wooly on occasion, and the rear would snap away. Four screws wouldn’t do this, but did make the car a little looser. Removing the top deck screw on the four screw seemed like a bit of an in-between, helping to grip up the rear a little more, with a little less steering and rotation. End result was I just stuck with four screws and the top deck screw
Second on the list was shock position. When I first got the 419, I found that standing the shocks up over the standard kit settings seemed to help grip the car up, and improve the response. However today, this setup seemed to be causing the car to stand up too hard out of the corners, as well as being very very reactive on initial. Going down to hole 3 on the front and rear shock towers smoothed the car out throughout the whole turn, and also helped to keep it flat. Chalk one up to team TRF 😉
Third item on the agenda was the suspension blocks, trying C/C on the front, as well as X/E on the rear. I started out with the kit C/C & X/F combo, thinking that losing the arm sweep would help to remove some mid corner… and it did! High speed I was now needing to put more lock in to get the car through the middle. I wasn’t so convinced on this change vs with arm sweep, but in wanting to try out other changes I decided to leave the straight pins for now. The next alteration was one I really didn’t expect much from, going down to 2.5° rear toe with the X/E rear blocks… but damn I was wrong! This really helped to free the rear of the car up, but without making it too loose. I was very surprised with this result, but it’s definitely staying on the car for now. Chalk another to team TRF :p
Fourthly, it was into the wheelbase (again). Marc’s Reedy race wining setup had a bit of conjecture over what was actually used, as there were two versions of the winning setup… one with a more usual wheelbase setup, and one far longer. After a couple of runs adjusting from where I had been (2.5 Front and rear), I ended up on the same settings as posted up by MarcR (2.5F, 2.0R). Going shorter on the front robbed the car of steering, with a noticeable drop in laptime. Longer front and rear was just plain slow, having to wait to get on power. If anything, the settings I ended up on had a little too much rotation for the conditions, but I was happy to leave that for the time being.
Next was ackerman and bump steer. Now with the C/C front blocks, having lost some mid corner, moving back to the kit ackerman settings helped, and also aided in smoothing out the steering feel. This is going to be something I need to revisit (along with arm sweep) at a later date. The same goes for bump steer. Removing the bump steer shim did have a small effect, but ultimately slower. Needs to be tried out again.
Last run of the day I gave X-Gear Pink springs a run out, as these have been popping up on more and more setups recently. Now I had originally thought these were close in rate to a the popular HPI Silvers. However side by side, it was pretty obvious they are a fair bit softer. On track, well,the feel was just like a Silver, but softer! A bit more movement in the car, with a noticeable drop in on power steering. Maybe one for lower traction conditions, but for now the Silvers are still my preference.
And that pretty much covers everything for one day of testing… not too bad for 9run 😉 Did feel like I had made more good progress, and pace seemed pretty decent. Still a few more things to tick off the list (arm sweep, ackerman, bump steer)
Till next time