I’ve been really looking forward to this series – great racing, great company and it DOESN’T RAIN (unless the roof of the old sports centre gives out, I remember a couple of buckets were needed last season)!
Here’s this years fleet…
I do like to have matching schemes, so I painted up a fresh Blitz Mini GTi for the M-05. I re-masked the side windows to look more like a real Golf, the standard masks are way off, and I think the car looks a lot better for it. Still messed up the body hole positions, even after what seemed like hours of measuring and re-measuring – self adhesive body washers came to the rescue once again!
The ARC R10 touring car will be running in the new 17.5 Blinky class. The M-05 is in the Mini Formula class which is more or less the same as last year although touring-style shells have been formally banned (only a couple of people were using them anyway).
Not much to say. I’ve only run the car once since my disaster at the SPC, and that was at a very small club meeting where all I learned was how many different ways I could get punted by lapped traffic (the answer is LOTS). So I was starting from scratch again with the diff, and the diff is perhaps the biggest part of a Mini’s setup. I started the day with the broken-in 3Racing gear diff running 100k oil – in practice it was far too stiff and the car wouldn’t go in a straight line, cornering was OK though. After the second round it was clear that the track conditions weren’t going to get grippy enough to make the diff driveable, so I put in the standard-build TA03 diff. Too loose, and I was losing a lot of speed out of the corners. Despite this I did end up in an unexpected TQ due more to other cars difficulties than my pace – the top 5 in the class were all setting pretty competitive times, so I knew the finals would be tough. For the first final, I went back to the gear diff, but the lack of stability made it very difficult to race with, and after a shocking first lap with a body tuck, I could only finish 5th. For the second final, I mixed some 7k oil in with the 100k oil, which did seem to make the diff easier to drive, albeit perhaps a bit too loose. I still had a terrible first lap and ended up 3rd at the buzzer. There is definitely more to come from the car, 30k and 60k diff oils were ordered as soon as I got home, hopefully one of those will be the answer!
Again, I haven’t really had any meaningful running with the car on carpet yet, just a couple of races at the same punt-fest club, which ended up with me cooking my good motor and ESC. That hasn’t stopped me tinkering with the car – the main change I’ve made since the outdoor season is to fit Tamiya shocks to the car, simply because they are easier to rebuild. The XRAY-style bladder-in-cap design of the ARC shocks just wasn’t working for me, I couldn’t get a consistent build from shock to shock, and drilling the caps actually made it worse because there was no air pressure to stop the bladder from collapsing as you screwed the cap on. I’m using ARC springs though, no complaints about them whatsoever.
I’ve also tweaked the steering setup, mainly to get more even throw and linearity. I’ve fitted a Tamiya servo saver (which requires taping the servo in place rather than using the outside servo mount), fitted with an M’s Racing servo horn. This is 4mm longer than the Tamiya part at 20.5mm centre-to-centre, and it means I can get the steering linkage at a right angle to the horn, and still get even throw to full lock. I have also swapped the 3mm spacers on the rack for 0.5mm spacers to give me straight steering links (which requires a short ballstud). My EPA’s are now around 90% each way, whereas with the original parts I was at 90% in one direction and 120% (the maximum on the radio) in the other.
Finally, I’ve swapped all the screw-through balls for ball-studs which have a wider range of movement – temporarily using Tamiya parts on the inside camber links. The ball-studs are 1mm higher, so I have reduced the camber link spacing by that amount.
Anyway, onto the racing. Practice was fine, setting good laptimes albeit with a car that felt a little slow at 4.06:1 with the HPI Flux Pro motor timing at 15deg. Towards the end of the run I dropped the steering rates down to 90%. For round 1 of qualifying proper, I quickly realised that the rates change was a mistake as I clattered various barriers, so I put them back at 100% and had a solid run from then on, managing third in round. I had geared up to 3.82:1 for that run, but the car felt very sluggish through the infield, so I went to 3.94:1 for the second round of qualifying. I also felt the car had a little too much understeer, so dropped down to a white front spring from the red. The car was still a bit slow, but I put in a solid run to snatch provisional TQ by just under a second. I left the car as it was for the final round, and another solid run saw me secure TQ with a slightly faster run of 26/307, which would have been good enough for the top half of the C-final in 13.5 boosted.
The first final started well, and I managed to get a small cushion over the second placed car as he battled with the other cars. Unfortunately, about three minutes in I found a lapped car facing the wrong direction in the middle of the track, and I couldn’t avoid him, and those two seconds lost were just enough for Jay M. to turn a clear deficit into a clear lead, and I couldn’t do anything about it. The slow speeds of 17.5 are a blessing and a curse – it makes for close racing, but it also makes it hard to shrink a gap!
The second final also started well, but I was a bit untidy through the first couple of laps which let the third place qualifier get onto my tail, and then get neatly past as I clipped a barrier trying to defend. A lap later, he lost a little time with a backmarker and I managed to sneak back into the lead, before my rival hit the sweeper hard and put himself out of contention. From then on, it was a clean run for me, winning by three-quarters of a lap. All in all a very pleasing start to the Blinky championship.
Here is a setup for the TC – cwic_setup_21_10_2012 – the Mini wasn’t right, so not worth sharing.
Looking forward to the next round in just under three weeks time!