Having been to the JConcepts Indoor Summer Series at the Outback Raceway in Chico, Ca recently. I had a few recent interactions with some new drivers and would like to share some of my notes for these random interactions.
This race had a full tech inspection aside from chassis boxes to measure dimensions of the car itself. It wasn’t a “National” level event so this should have been pretty straight forward. Being one of the local “know” guys I was asked to help clarify a few things for those providing the inspections and to show a few tricks to speed things up. What I witnessed was I’d say 50% of the participants not knowing how to event take their motors apart, let alone know what was being checked and then how to re-assemble their motors! Now granted fair warning here, I’m old. Wait what I mean to say I’m old school…. Well old too I suppose. We used to tear down our motors in both stock AND modified classes nearly ever run for maintenance. This was normal. Granted todays’ drivers are blessed with near zero (I said NEAR) maintenance motors. But take it from a tech official, manufacturer and fellow racer; learn to work on your motors. I had two guys come to me with non Tekin motors which were “running rough” or “sounding weird” terrified to take them apart only to find out all that was wrong were bad bearings. “When I asked when was the last time they took it apart to clean it?” The response was “You have to clean ‘em?” Yeah guys, it’s like anything else on a race car. Do yourself a favor, do your fellow racers a favor, and especially do the tech officials a favor before you make your way to the tech table, learn to service your equipment. There’s nothing to be scared of, and I’m 99.9% sure that if you ask your favorite manufacturer for a bit of help on “how to” do something, they’ll be glad to help.
Another conversation I had was with a fellow competitor who had watched my stock truck qualifier trying to see where I was gaining time on him in comparison to his run. He felt that my truck actually looked slower than his, but yet my lap times were faster. Perplexed a little I asked him to identify his truck so I could watch the next round and help him out. So as I watched I noticed that he was nearly clipping every inside corner trying to make the track as small as possible, his truck looked like a slot car! He had good car control but he was .5 off average fast pace lap times. I also noticed his truck sat much lower than mine did and he didn’t carry much speed over jumps. Back in the pits I found his ride height was 5mm lower than mine! His chassis was showing signs of major scrubbing all along the bottom. In comparison mine was nearly spotless. I also suggested he give the corners 12” of room and to focus on taking the turns/apexes with the intent of using little to no brake input, forcing the truck and the driver to take the corner at speed rather than scrubbing the speed to take the corner tighter. Ifmar qualifying would allow this to happen with little to no penalty being on his own clock. He agreed and went out for round 3. He picked up nearly .3 right out of the gate. A few minutes into the run once he got used to the adjustments, he dropped another .1 to finish the round with a top 10 run! Yes he was excited.
This final conversation was helping trouble shoot a random shut down on a racers car. He was racing the ultra-competitive stock class and this guy was no newbie. He was running a Tekin RS Gen 2 esc and Redline Gen2 motor so he had my full factory attention. His car would run strong for 4 minutes than lose all throttle control, retain steering control, but nothing else. The esc wasn’t showing a thermal over heat and nothing else on the car looked out of place until I noticed where his motor fan was being plugged in. Now let me put the cart in front of the horse for a moment. **Never plug in an accessory to your cars electronics that you’re not 100% sure it’s designed to be plugged into.** This driver had plugged in his motor cooling 25mm high speed fan into the “Ez Port” on his ESC. Now remember this was a Tekin RS Gen2, not the Tekin RSX. The RS Gen2 does NOT have a fan output port whereas the RSX does. This was causing the esc to shut off due to the load being on the programming port where it was not designed. Yes the esc was fine, and yes the “Fix” was to plug the fan into an open port on the receiver. And finally yes the car ran full speed without issues from there on out.
So where’s the “Tip of the Week” in all this? Simple, the tip is “Less is more.” Often times the simple things are what trips you up, keeps you off pace, keeps you from having fun and will make you more frustrated than herding cats.
Engineers spend countless hours, weeks, months designing the products that we all use and enjoy. Re-engineering the car often times isn’t the answer, plugging things in or wiring things the way there were NOT intended is likely going to cause problems. And sometimes taking the “easier” way around the track will provide you with a faster lap, faster overall run, and a trip to the A-main!
Good Racing and thanks for reading,