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Raceday & practicing - Q&A

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Old 10-04-2015, 03:25 AM
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Default Raceday & practicing - Q&A

Hi,

Interested to know people's race day & practice routines. That is when you get to the track for race day what is your most regular routine. *Focus on how you setup before you start, how you check gearing, brake strength and in what order.

We have 2 qualifiers then 3 mains. What is the best way to approach the day. If you get there early enough I could run the car for 20 minutes minimum up to 1 hour before the racing starts.

Can you suggest how someone should prepare, or let's say "warm up" and setup the vehicle on a race day. If we could just focus on 1 class for the day. What are the must do setups items and what is the best way to address this.

I'm very keen to hear everyone's strategies and hopefully draw on those with many years experience so that I the newcomer can do what I can to optimise my setup and Raceday feeling confident iv check d as many boxes as possible and am ready to attack the first qualifier with confidence.

Also how do you approach a practice day in this regards? How do you get the most out of your practice sessions?

Rather then a car specific thread - I'd love to get a thread going on racing and practicing. Looking for those with lots of experience to share their knowledge.

Feel free to talk about any topic regarding racing & practicing. There is a lot of discus on setups, troubleshooting understandably. Not enough on the hardest and what I experience as the most enjoyable part of rc.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:57 AM
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Indoor Driving Tips, Part 1

Written By: John Adams, Engineering Manager, Horizon Hobby
Posted: 2004-02-02

Here in the Midwest, one of the few types of RC car racing that takes place during the winter months is indoor carpet racing. From October through March, indoor racing on carpet is very popular in this region. And next to my obsession for 1/8-scale gas cars, carpet on-road racing is my favorite class. Indoor on-road carpet racing is precise, fast, clean, competitive and fun. At Horizon we have a group of about a dozen staff members that include some of the top aerobatic and jet aircraft pilots in the country and, when the weather turns cold, we all break out our cars and head to the local carpet track.

At aerobatics contests, I don't have a prayer of beating the likes of Mike McConville, Peter Goldberg, or John Glezellis. However, it's a different story at the carpet track! Never mind that I've been carpet racing seriously since 1979, while these guys just dabble from time-to-time. Truth be told, I have more fun watching them do battle with each other for Monday's bragging rights at the office than racing myself. Throughout the following week; it's comical to have each of these guys individually sneak into my office asking about tips on how they can go faster to beat their work buddies the following weekend.

Each season I hold a seminar at the local indoor track that covers driving techniques, setup information, and motor and battery tips. Our web team got wind of this and asked if I'd write some of this information down so that they could put it on the site, so here goes.


Driving Techniques

Most beginners and even some experienced racers aren't totally sure what they are supposed to be thinking about and concentrating on while practicing and racing or even the purpose of practice. The following tips should help.


Practice

The primary purpose of practice is to learn the track and to evaluate how your car is performing. During those first practice laps, I think of my car as a tool that allows me to learn the exact location of what I call "goal points". I call them goal points because it's my goal to place the inside front tire directly on that point every lap. Many racers call these apexes, but I think of them as an exact point on the track. For me, these exact points are normally about 3 inches from the edge of the board at each corner. The distance out from the board where you envision your goal points is dependent on your skill level. Again, the goal is to drive such that your inside tire passes directly over all of these points every lap. The more accurately that you're able to judge these points and the more confident you are of their exact location, the better/faster you'll be able to drive.

The key to effectively learning the track layout is to learn the exact location of these goal points. During those first practice laps, don't even try to go fast but simply concentrate on accurately placing the car conservatively outside these goal points. With each lap you will develop a greater sense of the exact location of these goal points and as your confidence grows, you can begin to drive a tighter line with the eventual goal of consistently hitting every point on every lap. Remember your primary goal at this early stage of practice is to engrain the exact location of these goal points in your mind. (Not to beat your buddies and win practice!)

Once you're fairly confident of the goal points' locations, it's time to start evaluating your driving. As you drive through each corner, think about how successfully it was negotiated. Did you hit your goal point? Did you maintain a high corner speed? Obviously, you don't have much time to contemplate these issues as your car races around the track, but start to develop a sense of how each corner goes. Then, on following laps, work on improving the corners that you don't feel as good about and continue evaluating yourself on each corner. In summary, evaluate your performance in each corner while you're racing, and with each lap try to get closer to your goal point and to improve corner speed.

Because practice is so important, on the day of the race you need to arrive at the track early to allow plenty of track time for practice. It's a good idea to pre-charge 2 practice battery packs. Your car should be totally ready to run when you arrive at the track. Normally the track has the least traffic early and that's the best time to learn the track.

So what should you focus on when you're qualifying? The same thing! Focus on your goal points and evaluate your performance in every corner. Tighten up your line until you can consistently hit every goal point with your inside tire. Also focus on maintaining a high corner speed. Oh yeah, watch out for traffic!

So what should you think about during the main? Again the same thing! Hit your goal points in every corner and evaluate your performance in every turn. Focus on tightening up any corner that you're not satisfied with and be sure to maintain a high corner speed.

By the way- DON'T UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE DRIVE INSIDE YOUR GOAL POINTS. This is called a crash! The goal is to drive up to and eventually directly over (with the inside tire) the goal point, but never, even if you've established the goal point well outside the edge of the corner, drive inside the goal point. This sounds obvious but you must engrain this in your head and when you do, you will greatly reduce the number of crashes. Think of it like this, "If I never get inside my goal point, I can't crash on the inside of a turn." I know this sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many racers miss their goal point on the inside as often as out!

Several full-scale road racers and go-cart drivers commented on how similar their driving techniques are compared to RC car racers. It seems that full-scale racers commonly refer to "goal points" as "hitting the marks." Interestingly, these full-scale racers are focusing on some of the same fundamentals as RC car racers.

This time, we'll go into more detail about driving techniques, including creep and getting consistently good starts.

Creep!

No, I'm not talking about the guy that took you out during the last qualifier. Creep is a technique that many top drivers (especially in stock class) use to help maintain corner speed. When you let off the throttle, the mechanical friction and residual inductance of the motor create a slight braking effect. This braking causes a weight shift to the front of the car that can cause the car to over-steer entering a high-speed turn (the rear end wants to come around). While some expert drivers prevent this by not letting off the throttle completely when entering a high-speed turn, many drivers find it easier to bump the throttle trim up to the point that the car rolls slightly under its own power when the throttle is released. I've been using creep for years and it's especially helpful with stock class sedans in maintaining high corner speeds. Try it! I think you'll like it!

Getting Off to a Good Start

With electric races lasting 5 minutes, (8 minutes for 1/12 scale) getting a good start that gets you to the front of the pack is critical. And while that first turn pile-up seems inevitable, it's amazing how top drivers seem to consistently emerge from that first turn, laying near the front of the pack virtually every time! The key to consistently good starts is developing a good starting strategy and technique.

Develop a Starting Strategy to Your Specific Condition

Not all starts are alike. The strategy used when starting from the pole in a widely spaced staggered start is very different than starting from the middle of the pack in a crowded heads-up start. It's important to develop a starting strategy that offers the best chances of emerging from the first lap chaos near the front of the pack.

Important factors to consider when planning your starting strategy include:

Starting position (pole position, middle of the pack, bringing up the rear)

How much the cars are staggered on the grid (space between cars)

The available traction

How well your car accelerates and how well it handles during acceleration

Knowing the driving habits of the racers directly in front of and behind helps!

Relax and Stay in Control

Realizing that everyone in your race is nervous (not just you) helps. Having a starting plan, and going over it in your head on the drivers stand just before the start, helps to gain confidence and calms the nerves. It's only natural to be tense, especially during the start. It's important to relax, stay calm and maintain precise exact control so that you can effectively carry out your starting strategy. Relax and listen for the starting tone then put your plan into play.

Fight for the Inside Line

Most races have staggered starts, which greatly reduce the chances of the dreaded first turn pile-up. But no matter how much the cars are spaced apart, there always seems to be a pile-up on the first lap. Recognizing the signs for making a pile-up likely to happen is important. Typically when a gaggle of 3 or more cars are within a few feet of each other fighting for position, there is going to be a pile-up. While it's best to stay in front of or at least a safe distance behind, if you find yourself in this gaggle of cars, remember this rule: In heavy traffic always stay on the inside of the turn. In fact, do whatever is necessary to get to the inside of the turn. The car that's on the inside has a distinct advantage and will get through the mayhem first and best. That's because when any bumping, sliding or crashing occurs, the momentum naturally carries the car(s) to the outside due to centrifugal force. In this case, the inside line is definitely the winning line and to consistently get through these first lap pile-ups you either need to avoid them (not always possible) or fight through on the inside line!

Make Your First Laps Your Smoothest (Not fastest) Laps

It takes a couple of laps for most drivers to settle down into a rhythm to begin turning consistently fast laps. I've seen several racers (and even top level pros) that go-for-broke on the first corner, with "broke" being the operative word! Your first laps should be focused on getting through traffic and establishing a position. Focus on being smooth and accurate, allowing a little extra distance off your goal points. Within a few laps, your confidence and rhythm will automatically come and you can start cutting those awesome laps-but you've got to get to this point first. Your best opportunity here is to focus on being smooth (not fast) for the first lap or two. Also realizing your competitors face the same issues of taking a lap or two to fall into a rhythm helps and, if they make the mistake of going-for-broke on the first lap, it can be to your advantage.

Standing Starting Practice

During practice, make a few standing starts from the starting line. Evaluate the traction, how your car accelerates and how it tracks/handles. Does it pull to the right or left? Doing a couple of standing starts during practice will prepare you for the real thing during the main, giving you the confidence to rip-it if the traction is there, or to roll-it if the surface is slick.
Make sure you're comfortable with the traction or you may end up with none.

Starting Strategy Scenario

Okay, so now you've qualified 4th in the A-main. The cars are staggered 5 feet apart and your 4th on the grid. Traction is awesome and in practice your car leaps off a standing start in a straight controlled line. The two guys ahead of you in 2nd and 3rd have been your racing buddies for years and they can be trusted in a close side-by-side battle. The guy behind you in 5th is new at your track. His fastest lap time in qualifying is 2 tenths of a second slower than your best laps. Strategy?

You'll want to be quick off the line to get away from the driver on your tail. Joining the group of guys in front of you is your goal and you'll try to catch them quickly after you've settled into a rhythm. Listen carefully for the starting tone, then full punch the throttle and feel confident that your car will accelerate straight away. If the racer from behind catches you on the first lap, be cautious and let him go by. You're faster and you can pass him later. His driving style is still unknown and you can't afford a crash in these early laps. Focus on being smooth and let the rhythm come to you, then tighten-up on those goal points. Remember to avoid the gaggle of cars that can result in a pile-up and, heaven forbid if you're in that gaggle, get to the inside of every corner. With any luck, you'll be fighting for second place among your buddies on lap number two.
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:07 AM
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Petit RC page with some pictures

http://petitrc.com/Tech/IndoorDrivin...RacingTips.htm
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:12 AM
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Great post. Thank you.

Now to completely round off a guide for the new players.

What are people doing for car/pit setups when they arrive and through out a race day.

What do you setup first, on the car and/or on the pit table? Love to hear from experienced guys who have a routine sorted.

Thanks.
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:33 AM
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Check ride height, camber and toe every run.

What I adjust depends on what I want from the car.
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Volition View Post
Great post. Thank you.

Now to completely round off a guide for the new players.

What are people doing for car/pit setups when they arrive and through out a race day.

What do you setup first, on the car and/or on the pit table? Love to hear from experienced guys who have a routine sorted.

Thanks.

New track or Home track ?

My home track , I go back to my set up sheet and just make sure everything is right where I liked it last time. Check every screw in the suspension , motor mount , wheel nut etc .I try not to "practice" or "warm up " to much on race night . I have had a broken car send me packing before things even start too many times.

New tracks , if its similar to my home track I just run the car the way it came off the track last time . I look at droop , steering , and dampening. Make small adjustments and run a few more laps . I never change gearing ( or haven't had to ) . The most important thing to me is having all my tools , boxes , etc in my pit set up the same every time and not making large changes once racing starts .

Don't forget to have fun and talk sht with the buddies, most important part if you ask me ...
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Volition View Post
Great post. Thank you.

Now to completely round off a guide for the new players.

What are people doing for car/pit setups when they arrive and through out a race day.

What do you setup first, on the car and/or on the pit table? Love to hear from experienced guys who have a routine sorted.

Thanks.
1 Week prior, I check the car for damage and cleanliness incase I need to get parts.

2 days prior, make a plan on initial setup and check the car and document starting setup. Take the setup sheet incase I make changes at the track.

1 day prior, charge practice batteries, check car outside (sidewalk) for pulls, steering, etc. make final tweeks. Check tool box and equipment. Pack and be ready to go.

I try to arrive at least 2 hours early to the track. Once at the track I setup pit the same way each time so when emergencies happen you are not looking for tools or parts.

Put the race batteries on charger, get water for tire cleaning.

If track is ready for practice go for it. Walk the track looking for hidden bumps or off bank corners, etc. If track is still wet from morning soak, I wait until a few others have packed the groove a little before I go out.

First time out I cruise around looking for bumps and holes that I may have missed. Practice taking jumps fast and slow, same for corners, I am not racing nor practicing I am looking for the best lines. Also watch the fast guys and their lines. Work on following those lines.

I have 3 vehicles and do the same for all three checking to see if my initial setups are good. Make adjustments and return a second round for some hard core practice seeing how far I can push my car on each section. Make adjustments as needed.

When within 20-30 of start, sit back and relax, clean tires, visit with others. Enjoy your time, don't stress it just a hobby and unless your name is Rivkin, Maifield, Tebo, or anyone those others you wont matter if you finish first or last unless your having fun.
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:52 AM
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Show up 20 minutes before the first heat.
Charge lipo
put in buggy
race
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by EricW View Post
Show up 20 minutes before the first heat.
Charge lipo
put in buggy
race
Or be like Jason Snyder at his local track
I have seen him show up for the last qualifier, laydown TQ and win the A

Once he showed up so late he never ran a heat. Was placed in the B main, bumped up and won the A
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Old 10-07-2015, 11:03 AM
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I never heard of 2 quali and 3 mains...whats that's all about?...I only know 3 quali and 1 main....
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Old 10-07-2015, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by skinned View Post
I never heard of 2 quali and 3 mains...whats that's all about?...I only know 3 quali and 1 main....
It's a major race format, Main A1, A2, and A3. Usually one throw out and best combined finish is the winner.
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Old 10-07-2015, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by EricW View Post
Show up 20 minutes before the first heat.
Charge lipo
talk smack to others
put in buggy
get out scale and weigh buggy
race
Fixed it for you lux
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:05 AM
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Made me laugh and there is truth in humour.

I'm assuming you've raced at these tracks for a while and have your cars prepared and know what to expect. Do you make time to play with vehicles setups, motor timing, gearing, etc. if you were going to an unfamiliar track and had a brand new car. I assume you would set it up stock. Then what setup items, for the car, radio, motor timings, gearing would you step through and in what order.

I'm new to rc and want to leech some lessons from those with experience. I'm just lazy and want to make it easier on learning to drive, racing and mucking around with the setups. I like the technical/gear side of RC , as well as the racing. So I do want to play around with tuning.

Which settings do I start with. I've got a b5m, 17.5t stock motor and esc. So I've got to workout my brake epa, will I use drag brake and various other ESC settings. I've got to workout my gearing and motor timing, which tyres to use, what car setup. Do I use expo on the Tx? Yes or no? Then there is the car geometry, shocks, shock springs, diff tightness, slipper tightness.

Where do I start? I'll set everything up stock first, and I plan on driving as much as possible. But which of the items above should I work out first. I'm guessing start with gearing and motor timing. Yes? I don't want to wreck the motor straight away.
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:32 AM
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There are some basic things that a lot of newer people, and even some slower but seasoned people aren't understanding.

Whether it's a new layout, different track, or change in weather; majority of fast guys have a base setup they start from. You pick the tire to the conditions/track/temp, and then set the car down and drive it. From there, most are only going to make VERY minor changes, and that's it. They setup their line, entry, and exit speed around how the car and the track are feeling. They aren't spending all day moving shocks 20 times and changing springs, oil etc.

Snyder gets this - indoor tracks don't have changing conditions, he knows where he wants a car, and how he wants it to react. His setup will be 99.9%, and he doesn't need a practice run to make sure of it. Hence why he isn't showing up three hours before race time and putting down 100's of laps.

Most importantly...Have fun.
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Volition View Post
So I do want to play around with tuning.

Which settings do I start with.
Go to this link, read everything Fredswain wrote, then do what he wrote. You can stop at around page 75.

His method works and results in a car that runs great. You should also be able to figure out how to adjust your car for different tracks by reading and following all his tips.
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