Yes, I know. I’m starting my updates with Race 5 of the 8-race series. I’ve had a lot of questions about this series, the racing, and the cars and thought it might be helpful to someone running F1 (or wanting to get into F1) about the changes we make to the cars on a track by track basis. So here it is; I will post a little about the series race after every event.
UF1 Series 2012 – Race 5 – Surf City, Huntington Beach, California
I have only run the F1 cars at this track twice. My first visit here, I had a not-so-good showing in the first main as my Tamiya F104 just didn’t have grip the FGX cars had. So, the 2nd two mains I ran the FGX and won both rounds.
For Race 5 of the 2012 series, I knew that my FGX was going to be the car I wanted to start with. I did run the F104x1 and, while it did seem to work really well, the FGX and it’s IRS just seemed to be the hot ticket.
The track hadn’t fully heated up yet so I used my MuchMore tire warmers to get them up to temp. The car was great from the first lap and, although I didn’t set the fastest lap (a F104 with a gyro installed did – more on that later), I was only a couple tenths off. The FGX felt excellent and could carry a ton of cornerspeed. It wasn’t the fastest on the straight but certainly had the best drive off the corner which most of the other cars on the track did not.
Main Race 1
I didn’t make an changes to the car for race one. The track was up to temp now to so I only heated the tires up slightly before doing my warm up laps. I got a good start and settled into 2nd behind the gyro’ed F104. I knew he wasn’t in the points standings and, the way we are doing the points this season, there was really no reason to push for a 1st place finish. My concern with the FGX is how delicate it is, so I made REALLY sure to carefully make my way around any back markers. Using my peripheral vision, I was able to see the pit lane very easily and make my stops with no problems. I finished the first race witha 43 lap run. My teammate, Mike Kennedy, has issues with his ESC which put him out after lap 14. This hurt us in the Team Championship, putting us some 27 laps down to the Repsol boys. Fortunately their runs were’t stellar and we gained a couple points back with my run. We’d have some work to do in Races 2 and 3.
Main Race 2
During the middle of the day, the Surf City track does loose a little grip so I was hoping that my FGX could pull off some good points. I added about 1 degree more of rear camber to the FGX in hopes that I could power out of the corners a little faster than the first round. I slotted in again behind the lead car but right around lap 23 something happened to his car and I was able to capitalize on that. Everything was going fine until a bad crash on the straight had my FGX tumbling all the way to the end. Panic time set in, but thankfully the damage wasn’t too bad that I could continue. After a few laps I was able to get back in the groove. Again, delicate laps netted me a good finishing time that helped make up a few more points on the Team Championship. Since Mike’s ESC took a dump, we decided he should us my F104x1 then risking an older ESC he had laying in his travel box. He dropped the car on the track in between rounds and was satisfied that it would work well for him. A few adjustments on the radio and the boy pulled off a great 42 lap run that picked up 2 more points for the Team Championship. We were now only 16 laps down to the Repsol team.
Main Race 3
Traction is at its best during this time at Surf City. Because of that, I knew that I could set my camber back to it’s original -1 degrees and turn up the power. I needed everything this little FGX had to try and pull off a win that could help get points back up on the board. For a 3rd race in a row, I dropped in behind the leader and let him set the pace. My car was good, and we freight-trained around for about 3 laps but I knew that, at this pace, something could go wrong if I made one mistake. Since we had pulled a good lead out on the rest of the field, I pulled back the reigns on the FGX and settled into cruise mode. I don’t need the win, I need the points. I finished the race in 2nd but 1 point ahead of the Repsol team, cutting their lead to 15. Mike had a good race 3, putting in a solid 42 lap run with my car and picking up one more point on the other Repsol driver; only 14 behind now!
My results in this race exteneded my lead by 17 points. With 3 races to go, nothing is said and done. A bad crash could drop me WAY down the points so I have to keep the car in the middle of the track and go for a finish, not a win. The next track, Monaco (SpeedTech), is a brutal track with zero grip and large curbs. I’m not sure what car I’m going to run yet; the F104x1, the FGX or the new F104v2. Each will have it’s quirks, but I need to FINISH each race so the v2 might get the nod.
Now, on to a issue that has been creating quite a controversy over the past couple races; using a gyro in your car as a driving aid. Basically what the gyro does is auto correct your car should it start to loose grip. It senses your car getting out of shape and takes over the steering to keep in in line. My problem with that is the rules state ‘…in the spirit of real Formula 1.’ Well, Formula 1 hasn’t used driving aids in some time. In fact, all of RC racing has banned the gyro for any racing event (except maybe drifting, which is really what it was created for in the first place). Using the gyro almost completely removes the need to LEARN to tune your car for track conditions. You could have a crappy set up and crappy tires and the gyro will assist you around the track. Plus, it’s another $30-$40 you now have to spend to keep up with those that are running it.
The argument is that it doesn’t make that much of a difference. If that’s so, then remove it! The F104 that TQ’ed Race 5 is using a gyro and is a full lap faster than 2nd place. He’s a good driver, but ever since he installed the gyro he is on the next level; it’s an unfair advantage. Thankfully, Lightfoot is going to give it a try but the problem is that he is going to run it in his FGX. That car already has an advantage being as it’s IRS; the results may not be as crucial as if it were tested in a t-bar car (like the F104).
I have a gyro here just in case but refuse to use it (so far). I want to win this thing without it to show that it is not needed. The guy using it is a good driver, he is. But the fact that he is using a gyro (and it seems to be ok with the series) is upsetting some people to the point they’ve already said they won’t be back next year…especially if the use of it is legalized. Ok, off my rant-box. I hope the UF1 Series updates will eventually help some people to understand and tune their cars to win.
Caster: Plate all the way forward
Camber: -1 degree
Ride Height: 4mm
Tires: PS0561 Pit Shimizu
Springs: Tamiya blue
Camber: -1 degrees
Camber Link: Short/rear
Shock Oil: 50wt
Ride Height: 4.5mm
Anti-Roll Bar: 5
Tires: PS0565 Pit Shimizu
Motor: Thunder Power 21.5
Battery: Reedy Shorty LiPo
Position: Full forward
Pictures courtesy of UF1 Series.