A single will have more torque and a quad will have more top end. Basically, the more wire you put on the arm, the more mass and momentum it will have resulting in more speed....while the less wire, the less mass and therefore more torque.
A single is going to produce more power because the energy only has to travel through one strand, so the resistance is only in one wire......wheras on a quad, the energy has to travel through 4 strands, thus there is more resistance.
I think you'll pretty much the same amount of run-time out of any configuration.....however, the single is a power sucker and if your batteries aren't up to the challenge, a single with on a LOW (key word) turn motor will dump you in the middle of a race. A 17 single is no problem......a 10 single is a ton of power!
So, with a 17, you could really get away with any wind configuration. remember, less winds=torgue.......more winds=top end.
TQ Racing Wire