Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tuning Haus Party @ The Gate

I went out to the Tuning Haus Party at The Gate outside Cleveland Ohio.  Most of the summer I'm racing outdoors, but it was an opportunity to race F1 at a great facility in the UF1 format with  a good crowd of cars.  The race called for TCS spec tires (Pit 571 and 572) on Tuning Haus rims which is perfect for carpet.

Normally, I have been running my Tamiya F104 WGP outdoors in preparation for TCS events, but I brought out the Speed Passion SP-1 which I had been running on carpet on Pardus ties for some of the UF1 MIDWEST events.  The setup is definitely different for Pardus tires vs. the Pits.  I always felt you wanted to try to keep the rears happy with the Pardus tires, so rear traction was paramount. The Pit tires balance the cars a lot better and don't have such a big sidewall.

I ran my car at the local carpet track the week before to see what changes would be good for the Pit TCS tires.  Mostly I added some more droop front and  rear, and changed around the ball stud heights on the front end.

When I got out to the track the car was pretty good to start.  The layout was new at The Gate, so traction was just building up.  My home track tends to be lower traction in the summer, so I'm sure that worked in my favor at the beginning of the day.  As traction came up, my car was still good, and I didn't change too much going into the 3 minute qualifying period.  Mostly I was trying to figure out how much dope I could use on the front tires.  2/3 to 3/4 appeared to be what I could cover on the tire.

Anyway, I was able to qualify 3rd for the race.  I felt like my car had a little push during the qualifier, which I think may have been either traction  improving or my tire prep.  I might have wiped off the tires a little early, but I can't say 100%..  I think my best lap was an 8.5, but TQ and Tuning Haus proprietor Bill Jeric went 8.4 and I believe Mike Wise in the CRC rent-a-ride went 8.3.

The race was for me, a total FAIL.... In the first leg my transponder stopped working on the starting line, and though I was able to get it working at least momentarily, it only counted 5 laps in the 15 minute race.  Unfortunately, the format counts every race's results, so I was toast more or less. The bad part was that I was probably in 3rd place or so by my own reckoning.

Figuring I didn't have much to lose , I tried to put some more steering into the car by adding some camber and changing the arm angle on the front.  I lowered the front ball stud and raised the rear.  This was a bit of a mixed bag.  I also went farther with the front dope and wound up with a car that wanted to traction roll at the start of the race, and pretty severely at that.  I tried to manage the car, but it wanted to flip a lot for the first half of the race.  As the race progressed into the second half, and the dope burned off the tires, my car actually came in really well.  With all the flipping, I was was off the pace, but my car could run good lap times.

I went back to the pits and changed the front end around again.  I wanted to raise up the front of the arms to get the car to roll a little more so the car would get through the sweeper, and not have as much camber change.  I did keep some of the height on the rear ball stud.  On the SP-1 suspension, the rear ball stud height seems to control a lot of the overall amount of steering.  The car got onto the nose more as I raised the rear ball stud, but did seem more prone to traction roll.  One thing I did not do is glue the sidewalls of the front tire.  Normally that is a first step and I did not do it here.  With the Pardus tires I glued both sides of the tire so that I could get enough steering  without traction rolling.  With the Pit TCS tires, I think that I should have glued them as well, so the front end was a little less sensitive to traction roll.  I felt like it was hard to find the right setup for the front end - it was too much or too little.  I think I could get more steering out of the car if it didn't want to flip.  The only thing the car seemed to lack was a little steering and corner speed along with it.

For the third race I actually had a small bit of luck, at least enough to finish the race.  Traction must have come up even more, as on the first lap or so both the 1st and 2nd place cars traction rolled, allowing me into first place for a little while.  I was doing well until the first stop, when I caught a dot a little after I came out of the pit and rolled the car.  Mike Wise got into first, and I was in second, with Bill Jeric in tow.  I tried to hold off Bill as long as I could, but his car was definitely faster.  After a couple attempts, he was able to get by me.  By now Mike had a good lead, but near the end of the race, he had a side link go loose and he could only limp the car around, letting both Bill and myself by.  Bill Jeric wound up first in the final leg and I was able to get second.

1. Bill Jeric
2. Mike Wise
3. Ron Mick

Overall, it was a really fun race with an excellent layout by The Gate dudes.  VTA and USGT were also well represented.  For an indoor carpet race in the middle of summer, it was a big success and it sounds like it will be on the calendar again next year.

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