Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Now it can be told! The TCS Nats Story Part 4

Sunday came and it was basically make or break in the last qualifier. The one advantage I had was that I would be up front in the B for this race, and I wouldn't have to contend with the usual last round banzai moves that happen at most races in the A qualifier.

As luck would have it, the sun was out for my qualifier, and the track temperature seemed to favor whatever I was doing with tires. The car was driveable, fairly fast even. I got into the lead on the clock, and had a good run, up until the last few seconds. I was trying to get around a backmarker who may not have known I was leading. I managed to get tangled up for a couple seconds, but nothing really bad. I won my race, and had fast time for the round until the A group came up. The A heat came out, and luckily, my time wound up being good for 4th or 5th in the round, which was enough in combination with Saturday's runs to put me 8th in the A main. Not too bad after all...

I didn't have too much strategy for the mains. Realistically, I had no shot coming out of an 8 spot. I knew my car wasn't really fast enough to compete with the top cars. I was a couple tenths off on hot lap, and they were doing more of the fast laps than I was. I just figured I would see if could get a few spots better than I qualified.

I switched to the 3200 battery for the mains as well, not knowing if the 1800 would make an 8 minute race. Based on what I was putting back into the battery for the heat races, I was leery of trying to push it.

The first race went off pretty well. The start was a bit chaotic, and I was able to take advantage and pick up a couple spots while everybody shuffled around. The problem was just that my car couldn't hold my position. I went backwards toward the middle of the race, and wound up finishing 8th, where I started.

After the first race, I wound up putting some lead near the back of the chassis just because the larger battery biased a little more weight on the nose. I didn't really change anything else. I felt like if the track came to me I could maybe get a couple places off the start and try to hold on. It just depended on the car.

The second A was a good start for me. I was able to get up to 5th on the first lap, and fell back to 6th. One of the top five cars got spun off the start and wound up getting behind me and then passed me. At some point, another car caught a curb or something, and I wound up finishing fifth. That was my best race of the mains, and it was also the best my car worked beside the qualifier in the morning. The tires actually seemed to get better as the race went on (???). I was still a lap off of the pace, but finishing 3 spots higher than my start was nice.

For the final A, I figured I would just go for broke. I put the 1800 back in, as if I didn't finish, it wouldn't matter anyway. I also decided to try a newer set of tires with the same insert, thinking maybe they might be a little better.

The third A was basically a washout for me. The tires were definitely not as good as the original set. The way things turned out, I could have brought one set of tires for the whole weekend. The first set I had done a ton of running on at home were the only ones that seemed to work. At one point in the chicane going on the straight, I got blasted pretty hard. I'm not even sure what happened (probably my fault anyway), but I rolled it around the track in 10th place for the rest of the race and tried to stay out of the way. The one good thing was that the 1800 made 8 minutes with no problem.

What can you take away from all this long winded baloney?  Well, I would say for F1 at the Tamiya track, tires are the #1 tuning area far and away.  It's very critical, and the insert is a big part of it.  I was told stock inserts are what work, so I guess that's the place to start.  If you plan to go out there, I'd recommend trying to practice on a sealed parking lot or maybe even a tennis court with no traction enhancement, just blow the dust off.  The other part of the equation would be to just get the rear end of your car as planted as possible.  Being able to use the throttle is key, and if your car is loose, you're done.  A safe car you can bang the wheel back and forth on is what you're trying to achieve.  As they say, "You can't fire a cannon from a canoe..."

I'll be back to try again in 2011...

Videos of mains:

No comments:

Post a Comment