This is the second in a series of posts on “Getting started” racing with us at Launceston R/C. As we noted last time, it’s not aimed at the experienced racer, but more those contemplating trying out racing for the first time, or moving to a new class.
At Launceston R/C we’re committed to keeping our track suitable for both on and off-road cars, and today we’ll take a look at the flat-track racers – touring cars and “mini” chassis cars. As with all our indoor racing at Rutherglen, our Touring class is for electric chassis’ only. At this stage it’s “all in” but down the track as numbers allow we’ll look to split touring cars from minis, or possibly introduce motor-based classes.
Read on for more….
The Basics – Touring Cars
Tourers and minis are fundamentally different. Touring cars are 4wd, offering more traction, more cornering speed, faster acceleration. Tourers are 190mm wide and there are a wide range of bodyshells available to fit your chassis. Some opt for their favourite touring car, or sports car, but most will choose bodyshells that are aerodynamically optimised to produce the best handling (yes, aero matters a great deal in 1/10th TC racing!). The bodyshells widely accepted as the best in the world come from US company Protoform, and the best of their shells (for most conditions) is the Mazda Speed 6. Bodyshells are supplied clear and painted.
Under the bodyshell, there are an enormous range of chassis available, and a similar wide range of electrics to power them. In terms of competition standard touring cars, the leading chassis at the moment include the Tamiya 416x, XRAY T3, Schumacher Mi4-LP. But there are also strong options from Team Associated, Kyosho, Top Racing, Hotbodies and plenty more. Most are 4wd with belts providing the drive from front to rear, and are designed for 10th scale sized brushless motors powered by 2s LiPo batteries. While the above named chassis are the primary contenders in ‘competition’ racing, perhaps the best choices for Rutherglen at present might be sealed drivetrain chassis such as the Tamiya TA05, or second hand Team Associated TC4, Team Losi XXX-S or HPI Pro-4.
Traditionally, touring car racing is split into a number of horsepower based classes. At the lowest end of the spectrum is “540”, a class based on the very cheap Johnson or Mabuchi 540 motors often provided in kits from companies like Tamiya and Kyosho. 540 racing is cheap, and can be quite close.
The next step up is called “Stock”. In this case Stock refers not to the chassis, but to the motor specification. A Stock motor is an approved brushless motor of 17.5 turns. Superstock is a close cousin, also running a spec brushless motor, this time of 10.5 turns. Beyond that is the open class called “Modified” in which anything (within the construction rules) goes.
For the moment at least, we are not running these classes, but an all-in situation. While that theoretically means you can run as much horsepower as you want, the reality of grip levels at Rutherglen is that anything much faster than a 17.5 turn brushless motor will be largely wasted. Whatever motor you have on board, come and race with us.
Tyres for TC racing in Australia are almost universally rubber. Leading tyre manufacturers are Sorex and Team Much More. Both offer a range of tyres suited to different temperatures, and labelled as such. The higher the number (eg Sorex 36r), the hotter the track temperature the tyre can withstand. Over winter something like 24-28 will be suitable and should provide reasonable grip and life-span.
The Basics – Mini Racing
Mini racing is awesome! Based on the front-wheel drive Tamiya M05 chassis (usually supplied with a Mini bodyshell), this class is tightly controlled so that cars and motors are always very similar. It’s a great place to start racing with us at Rutherglen as the cars are widely, and cheaply available. Tamiya started this class with the classic Mini bodyshell, but there are now a heap of other shells available. The modern and classic mini shells remain a popular choice, together with the Suzuki Swift. HPI also have a suitable mini chassis (the Switch), but in our view it doesn’t match the Tamiya M05 for quality or performance.
For the moment it’s run-what-ya-brung, but over time we’ll be encouraging our mini drivers to conform with a widely used set of rules developed for mini racing all over Australia. That includes a standardised ESC and brushless motor system. The ESC is the Hobbywing 35a unit, while motor is also from Hobbywing and is a specially marked 13t motor. If you want to get one of these systems for your mini, Feral Batteries in Sydney offer the package for $120.
For all the speed secrets of mini racing, hit up rc-mini.net. Based in Melbourne, these guys know everything there is to know about making Tamiya M-chassis cars go fast.