RC Car Tips

RC Car Tips #76 - F1 vs Touring

RC Cars Pan versus Touring

Photo: Tamiya F1 pan car (left), HPI TCX touring (middle) and Tamiya 414 (right) on-road radio control cars. Click on picture for a larger image.

19 April 2011 - It's a Tuesday, gave my friend Ron a call, and we decided to have fun with our F1 cars. I brought my Tamiya F103 and a couple of 4wd touring cars while Ron brought two F1 and a 1/12 pan car.

RC Cars - F1, Pan

Photo: From left to right, Tamiya F103, Tamiya F104, Tamiya F103, Associated RC12.

Above are "pan" car chassis. Simple, lightweight and rear wheel drive. On a high traction surface (e.g. carpet) these are very fast and hard to beat.

RC Car - 2wd versus 4wd

Picture: Left is a 2wd pan car chassis. Right is a 4wd touring car.

It was a fun and relaxing afternoon of playing rc cars. I played until 9pm. Lucky that former Kyosho World Champion Ralph was playing and tuning his Tamiya TRF 417 touring car. With his help, laptime of my Tamiya 414 was faster by more than 1 second. Thanks Ralph.

Now for the tips.

General R/C Car Tuning Tips

Tip of the Week

I saw some racers at the track using old tire inserts on their steering wheel. Try it and see if you like the feel.

RC Car Tips - Transmitter Steering Wheel

Here are some tuning tips based on my experience. But there are many factors to consider (track, driving style, etc) and many philosophies to attaining fast laptimes. For example, our two fastest drivers are virtually equal in speed. But their rc cars are setup so differently, one is more towards a soft suspension and understeer, while the other is strong steering and harder suspension.

  1. Learn more about your car by making one change at a time. This is a time consuming process but you will be rewarded with a better understanding on how to tune your car.
  2. An understeering car is generally slow. Setup your r/c car with as much steering as possible without the rear end spinning out.
  3. Tune your car to your driving style.
  4. Learn to drive a difficult car, one that has a lot of steering.
  5. Tires and traction compound will be 80% of your setup.
  6. Get the help of a local fast driver. And if he is a former World Champion, even better ;)
Our fastest drivers spend 3 to 4 days a week at the track, constantly tuning, changing and testing. They are driven to reduce their laptimes. I learn a lot from them. Thanks Taka and Ralph.

Pan Car / Tamiya F1 Tuning Tips

Tamiya F1 Tuning Tips
  1. Set ride height to be level front to rear. Around 3mm to 5mm.
  2. Try to get as much mechanical grip as possible by setting up with soft t-plates, soft springs and light damping (20wt - 30wt).
  3. Soft rear tires and medium or hard front tire compound.
  4. A lot of tuning is done by t-plate and rear damper adjustment.
  5. Generally soft rear setting will give and understeering car. But my experience is a rear setting that is too soft may actually cause oversteer.
  6. Once balance is good (no oversteer, no understeer), more speed can be added by the use of "traction" compounds.
  7. A cheap traction compound is WD40. Spray it on your tires (foam, rubber) and you should notice improved grip.
  8. I personally use NASA (i.e. Mighty Gripper) for racing.
  9. Full traction compound on the rear tires, 1/3 inner front tire. If more steering is desired, you can go to 1/2, 3/4 or full compound in the front tire.

Touring Car Tuning Tips

RC Touring Car Tuning Tips
  1. Rubber tires with thin inserts and lots of air gap will usually provide more grip and faster laptimes.
  2. Use the best traction compound for your track.
  3. Bodies make a lot of difference. Popular is the Protoform Mazda Speed 6 and LTC-R.
  4. Put liquid paper (i.e. white out) underneath your chassis. This will help you see which parts of your chassis scrapes the ground. You can then adjust accordingly.

Hopefully these tips get you in the ballpark. Then ask your local fast driver for help.

Thanks for reading. Spread the word.

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