2014 IFMAR Worlds Summary – 1/12th

I have been thinking about writing a post-race summary from IFMAR worlds for the past couple of weeks, but I finally decided that it is time to get it done!  First up is my summary of 12th scale worlds, with a summary of the ISTC portion forthcoming.  I actually created a huge list of ‘lessons learned’ from both the 12th and ISTC portions of worlds.  A lot of the items are more for my own private consumption, though, and I probably won’t share them publicly.  Attending worlds has really made me realize what is necessary to compete at that highest level, so most of my focus now is on making those changes and putting everything in place for success over the next couple of years.  It isn’t an instantaneous process, but attending worlds has really opened my eyes about what I need to work on, what I am doing incorrectly, and what changes I need to make to my ‘program’ (I hate that term) in order to succeed.  We will see whether it all works out!

Overall, I had a pretty good time at the 12th scale portion of the event.  I either finished 25th or 26th overall (depending on who you ask and how you calculate the score), right about where I expected to be.  I think that if I had done some stuff differently I *maybe* could have squeaked into the top-20, but I would have had to be very lucky for that to happen, realistically speaking.  As it was, I ended up in the same main as Rickdawg, Josh, Mark Stiles, Fernando, and others.  All said and done, I am pretty pleased with that.  The mains were pretty interesting, as evidenced by me finishing ahead of both Josh and Fernando in both of them.  Nothing too crazy, though, I think both of them just really struggled with rear traction.

I think a lot of people on the internet were really vocal about the grip we had for worlds, with a groove never really coming up and traction being pretty low for the entire event.  Notice that I said a lot of people on the internet were vocal about this.  I heard some people talking about it in the pits, but I frankly didn’t hear a ton of discussion about the grip from people who were actually at the event.  Just about the only folks I heard complaining about it were a group of US drivers pitting upstairs, who all seemed to be very frustrated by the amount of traction and couldn’t figure out to just shut up and wheel.  I even heard some European racers say that this is exactly what they expected, seeing as we only had 12th scales running (no rubber tire.)  The Yokomo guys certainly didn’t seem too bothered about it, as their cars seemed to have gobs of traction, even towards the end of the run.

My car was pretty good for the event.  I struggled a little bit with losing the rear end in the last two minutes of the run, which made it difficult to stay on top of the car and really push (especially in qualifying.) Overall, though, for my skill level I think it was all pretty good.  The one thing I did encounter, that I have struggled with before, is that at big events I sometimes find it difficult to focus on the car and how it feels.  I often get caught up in nerves and trying to do well, and will finish a run without really knowing what I liked or disliked about the car, which makes it a lot more difficult to prepare for the next run.  I need to work on this.

Most of my changes over the course of the event focused on three areas:

1. Trying to retain rear side bite over the full eight minutes, without having to baby the car

2. After I made the car retain more side bite, how could I add steering back in without losing the rear again?

3. Figuring out my motor/speedo settings, since I was getting eaten alive on the straightaway and felt like I had no punch in the infield

To address the first area of concern, I basically took the Yokomo approach and made the car ridiculously soft.  I used Yokomo Purple side springs, an AE Silver center spring, and Speed Merchant .018 front springs.  If there had been a groove, I am sure I would have had chassis rub on all edges of the chassis, even up by the front wheels.  It really was that soft.  By making it so soft, though, the car was really mellow and rolled a lot in the corners (rather than sliding), which helped it retain traction over the eight minutes.  I know some guys at worlds theorized that going stiffer is better in lower traction, but considering that going stiffer with a mod 12th (such as stiffer side springs) can make you burn through rear traction even on a high grip surface….I am not too sure why they thought this would work on low traction.  I think some folks were pretty desperate!

By making the car so soft, though, I also lost a lot of steering.  It was super easy to drive, but I found myself waiting for the car to turn through most of the infield, which is a pretty good sign that the car is slow!  I resolved this one by just applying additive to more of the fronts.  Rather than the quarter width I was doing before, I decided to apply additive to half width and also increase the overall time that I let the additive sit from 10 minutes to 15 minutes.  This really seemed to help, and this is how I ran the car for the last qualifier and both of the mains.

Now, motor and speedo settings.  Worlds is a large enough event that I was able to rely on the expertise of the LRP guys who were in attendance.  There was Jurgen (the owner of LRP) and Ales (pronounced Alesh, who is the European tech for LRP.)  Between the two of them, and Jurgen’s copious notes, we were able to figure out a good speedo and motor setup!  We ended up lowering torque timing and increasing initial drive (to make the low end more aggressive), taking out the turbo (since I wasn’t hitting it anyway), adding more boost (always a good thing), increasing the ramp (so the boost came in earlier), and adding motor timing (from 27.5 to 32.5).  Overall, these changes made a big difference!  It was pretty incredible to set my car down (for a qualifier at Worlds, nonetheless) and after one warm-up lap make the ‘holy shit this thing is fast’ signal to Jurgen and Ales!  I can’t thank them enough for the support they provided, both at the 12th scale and the ISTC portion of the event.

Here is a quick rundown on what products I was using for the 12th portion of IFMAR worlds:

Chassis: VBC Lightning 12, with battery transverse.

Body: Protoform AMR-12

Radio: KO Propo Eurus

Servo: KO Propo RSX12

ESC: LRP Flow, v4.7 software (worked flawlessly for the entire event, and with help from Jurgen and Ales it just kept getting faster!)

Battery: LRP 6600 (these packs were incredible, seriously)

Motor: LRP 4.0t, with the 12.0 mm option rotor

Tires: Pro One R/C Blue rears and Blue fronts

And for those that are curious, here is my entire setup sheet from the event:


That’s about all I have for the 12th scale part!  Overall, sure, I wish I had finished in the top-20.  Realistically, though, I think I finished exactly where I  expected to.  For my first IFMAR worlds, I am definitely pleased with it!  Not so much the ISTC portion, though, which I will work on writing about next week…