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Tamiya TRF420 MiCC Race Report and Carpet Set-up

Recently I was racing at the excellent MiCC 2.1 event in Telford. The Micc has quickly established itself as one of the great indoor carpet events in the UK. Its a slick operation and the track is massive. 


Round One hadn't gone to plan, as I found myself in a mixed heat so it was impossible to put in a lot of quick laps in qualifying. However I still managed to get out of the lower heats for the final, so when the racing was seeded for this round I found myself in a fast qualifying heat so I could actually concentrate on pushing the TRF420 and finding speed. 


Despite the early start I uncharacteristically made the venue in good time for the practice round. I had not really changed any of the settings on my TRF420 from the previous round as I was still convinced that I had found a good base set-up for high grip carpet thanks to the test days I had driven at both MB Raceway and Force Raceway


Practice went well, the Tamiya felt great from the start. The layout was more flowing than the previous round and the crew at MiCC really exploited the size of the track with an excellent sweeper at the end of the straight, this led into a suitably twisty section, a smaller internal straight and then more twisty stuff that challenged you to get the best possible line to carry speed back onto the straight.  I finished the practice confident that the car was good for the first round.


With a clear head and my thumbs limbered up and ready to set some good lap-times I was looking forward to round one. I took my place on the podium and blipped the throttle to warm the tyres. The car jolted away, and then stopped! I tried again it did it again, with less vigour.. then the final time I throttled the car just remained stationary on the track. Luckily a marshal picked up the car and took a look, initially bemused as to what could be the problem, they soon spotted that it was the pinion had come loose (Doh!). 


My pit buddy Andy quickly got the car and ran back to the pits to tighten the pinion. The car was placed back on the track, but I had lost well over a minute. I started to put in the laps and the TRF420 was quick straight away. As the lap counting had started for me once I crossed the line the first time it was still just predicting my 5 minute run. The commentator was mentioning me being the fastest in the group, however I had to stop after 3 minutes when my qualifying heat was over, so I obviously was down on laps. I was frustrated that I had messed up with such a silly issue, but was pleased at the pace I was able to get with the car. 


Campachoochoo time, Brown sauce for the Win.. 

The qualifying at MICC is based on your best three of four qualifiers. With this in mind I knew that I couldn't take any unnecessary risks in the remaining three rounds as I wanted to ensure I got a satisfactory overall position. 


In round two I drove a steady but decent qualifying time, the car was just so planted and easy to drive I started to creep more and more towards the kerbs to reduce my lap times. I could tell that there was more time to gain by doing this, I decided to remain cautious and just get a solid run under my belt. 


Round three and I experimented with the gearing. Many of the runners in the 17.5 class were running much lower F.D.R's than me. I was running 4.1 and other drivers told me they were running around 3.8 (I found out later that most would settle on 3.7-3.5 FDR)


I compromised and went to 3.9. The straight / sweeper combo was really long so I would be losing a good amount of time with a much higher FDR so I had to try it out. As you would expect the TRF420 was quicker. The grip was so good I didn't have to ease up for the sweeper and I could keep it on full throttle until the tight hairpin leading into the infield. I improved again on this round, but I made a few small mistakes whilst looking for a faster line through the double hairpin onto the smaller internal straight.

 

Represent! Although I did bump into another Tamiya Racer at the event :)

The fourth round and I went lower with the FDR (3.8) and moved the lower motor mount screws back to the two outer holes. The TRF420 was brilliant, I had plenty of steering and rear end grip was hooked up unless I dropped the anchors hard and set it off into a fast and controlled rotation. I was still trying to be cautious, although I was enjoying myself so much I did venture further onto the kerbs. The TRF420 was settled at all points and it only made me keener to push harder. I still held back from getting ultimate pace as I wanted another clean run. I was rewarded with my best run and the best lap was now over a second faster than the start of the day. 


I found myself 5th in the B-final. I was happy with that as I had to play it a little safe, and the quality of some of the drivers there always made reaching the A-Final quite a steep task (For this round anyway).

 

Erm. can you spot a theme with the food... it's almost like that was the only food delivery app we could work :)

Being in the middle of the grid for a race is never much fun, you either want to style it out from the front, or pick up the pieces from the back. I was at ease to know that the racing gods were the ones to decide if I would make it around the first series of corners intact. 


On the sound of the tone the whole pack launched away. I made a great start, a couple of drivers ahead clashed and I was ready to take advantage, I reached the hairpin and Smack! I was hit on the inside and the car was send flying. Unfortunately I lost a lot of time and positions as I recovered from this. It was compounded by a piece of battery tape that somehow had got stuck around one of the rear wheels.  I thought initially that the car was broken, until I spotted the tape flapping about. This had put me pretty much at the back of the grid after the second lap. I didn't give up and had some good battles in the race, and ended up in 6th. Not in the top three where I wanted to be, but that's racing. 


Here is the video of the Final


Findings

The ZooRacing Wolverine was great. I had plenty of steering and stability. I had mounted the shell at the neutral position, as the TRF420 lets you move the body 2mm forward if I needed more steering. In the end I just left it where it was. 


I had mounted the shell with internal rear bodyposts. Thanks to the RCMaker parts. I will cover those in a bit of detail another day. I really like rear facing bodyposts as they help reduce body-tuck. I also think that they must help the air get to the rear wing to ensure that it is more efficient. 


A nice smooth rear end!


Here is my set-up. 

As you can see it's quite soft for a high grip track. The car does roll a little but it stays firmly on the track and despite providing a lot of steering and grip. I never experienced grip roll, even when pushed hard at the end of the straight. 


If I wanted more aggressive steering I would stiffen the rear of the car with 2.7 or even 3.0 springs. I would also go to 500 oil if the track was warmer and the grip went up a level. 


The upper front brace helps take a little 'Bite' out of the steering. I found that the feel was better to have more camber at the front and run the brace, than to take it off and run more conventional 1 or 1.5 deg setting. 


Importantly I had a great days racing at the MiCC. Catching up with lots of friends at the track and then battling against each other on the track is a great buzz.  The Tamiya TRF420 was superb all day. No breakages, no movement or tweaks and I had no worries about keeping up with the other chassis at the track. I also knew that there was more speed available. If I had banked the first qualifying round I could have pushed a lot harder in the fourth round to really explore the limits of the track, and it seems my F.D.R was still really high compared to a lot of other 17.5 racers. 


Next up Round 3, the only issue is that I might not be able to race this class as I am on the reserves, so I might race something all together different.. but it will still be a TRF ;)

TRF420 3678441221599179580

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