Invisible Speed

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If you have been reading this blog, you will know that this year I was finally at the point where I felt THECar was good enough to win any race, the company was at the point where I could take some more time to focus on my driving, and that my goal was to fine tune the car, and learn to drive better. Improving my driving is the only way I can ever achieve my ultimate goal of one day winning something with my own car.

What I want to write about today is what I like to call invisible speed. You do everything the same, but you are slow, or you are fast, and you can’t figure out why. If you lose a 10th of a second or even less in the critical accelerations on a track, you can easily notice a 1 second loss per lap. How to gain time here?

Spinning the tyres tends to be slower, the more you spin the tyres, the slower you accelerate, but if you don’t spin them at all, you are going too slow. It’s a balancing act. This is possible to test on a slippery track. Approach a jump out of a corner and smash the throttle, then take the same line and smoothly apply throttle, you will jump much further.

It is one thing to work on this with your driving, and that’s a thing I have been focusing on lately, but another way to approach this issue, is to work on your engine tune as I wrote about here, and your clutch. The power delivery can do the work for you, and when you combine a better mechanical power delivery with a better in tune driver, you will go faster!

Fullspeed RC have such an awesome track to test on here right by the Helsinki Airport!

Fullspeed RC have such an awesome track to test on here right by the Helsinki Airport!

David Ronnefalk won the Euros at Reims in France. That track is the slipperiest damn surface ever invented. I tried his car after the race and noted how strange his engine felt, super slow and smooth pickup of power, and to me the clutch felt broken. At the time I thought this is how he likes it. Fast forward to a higher grip track, I again tried his car and this time the engine and clutch were snappy and powerful. Put 2 & 2 together, fine tuned engine powerband and clutch to the conditions = Go faster, win Euros.

Today I grabbed a carbon shoe off a JQ RTR 🙂 and ran one carbon shoe, and 2 alu shoes, all with 1.1 springs (JQ springs run softer). Went out, car felt slow, did a good time anyway, with 8L 5:05. Leaned out the low end a bit, went faster. Then just drove and got used to it, did a run that honestly felt slow, I noted that the car was easier to control in the corners, I could apply throttle and the car would maintain its line and just increase it’s speed slightly in the corners, but overall I still felt slow. Crossed the line with a new track record, 9L 5:36. I didn’t learn to drive better in the last 2 days, I didn’t drive any differently, I found the right engine tune and clutch setting for the conditions. And maybe for my driving style too at this track.

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2 thoughts on “Invisible Speed

  1. Jimmy Deprez says:

    Did you notice a difference in the fuel mileage at all? If you have the clutch engage at a lower RPM at the bottom or below the engine’s peak torque curve it can sometimes be a natural reaction to open the carb more (more throttle finger) out of the corner trying to demand more out of the car in some sections. This can decrease the fuel mileage. If you apply less fuel out of the corners and try to also match the carb opening with the engine loading then it is possible to use less fuel and keep the engine from running hot. Sometimes by 30 degrees with no change in lap time. What I mean by this is that you’re using your clutch to delay power to the wheels in order to allow the car to accelerate out of the corner; my theory is that you will also want to slightly delay your throttle finger to not dump excess fuel into the combustion chamber. You can dump all the fuel you want into the chamber when the engine is below the peak torque curve and the engine will not go any faster. In fact you will need to burn the excess fuel once out of the corner further hindering your straight line speed. This is important in mains as it can open up options to possibly eliminate fuel stops and prevent the engine from vapor locking in longer mains. While talking about clutch setup it is also important for the driver to understand they have everything to do with that setup. Managing the carb opening to be optimal to the track conditions in conjunction with managing the engine temp during the main is critical. This may not be a thing that pros deal with so much as their throttle finger may be intuitively adjusting. However, I see a lot of club racers in my area over heat engines due to clutch setup understanding. The main thing is to understand what your throttle opening position is doing in different areas of the track and how it works with the clutch/traction package. As proof, give your car to a driver who can run similar lap times and record engine temps and fuel mileage after 5-10 minutes.

  2. Mikey D says:

    Wow great read man.

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