Tag Archives: advice

Back at it…


After a whole week of rain, and no driving, I was back at the track yesterday and today. I can definitely tell the difference between driving every day for a few days, then going to the track it just takes a tank and I’m back on the pace and I have the right feeling. But after a week, once again, the first day, I pretty much was just trying to find that feeling.

As I wrote before here, finding your groove is important, and this is one of the problems I need to overcome. I need to be able to drive at, or close to my maximum level quicker, somehow I need to practice this. What I have been doing now is, I go to the track, put it down, and immediately do 5 minute runs. I know my best times, and that’s what I need to achieve immediately, first try. It’s really hard to do, but if I can begin to pull that off, progress has been made.

The thing that I tend to do is drive too fast into corners, overshoot them, slow too much in the corner, and just be sketchy in general. Then at some point I realise I am driving like an idiot, I slow down a bit, focus on my lines,  my braking points and maintaining speed in the corners, flowing around the track, and suddenly I am on the pace. This needs to happen immediately and all the time.


Down travel re-visited

I wanted to write a bit more about droop, as this track has an excellent example of a section where reducing droop from the maximum we run really helped the car a lot. You can read the original, now also updated down travel story here.

So starting off with 102/123 shock lengths, the car was really good, but I couldn’t make it round the long on power sweepers, the section starting at 8 seconds and ending at 12 seconds. The car would not “stick” if I simply went full throttle and turned the wheel. It would rise up over the single jump and want to flip over, or I just could not get a round arc. Same goes for the next long on power right hander, it didn’t stay as flat and low.

By simply reducing the down travel, only 2mm in shock length, this made a significant difference to the car’s handling in this section. It remained as good everywhere else, no really big difference, as the track was smooth, and the jumps well built, but in these sections I could now just go full throttle and turn the wheel, and it would remain stable and lower to the ground, allowing me to without changing my driving, maintain a lot more speed and do so consistently.

This is why I say, start off with the most droop we run, and keep reducing because it will be faster. Going too far would make it bad also, with the rear end breaking loose suddenly in the off cambers, and it not jumping or landing well. Also in the long sweepers, the car would begin flipping over without warning. Droop makes this happen slower, and when you reach the sweet spot it won’t even begin to happen until you make a mistake.

I ended up running 100mm front and 121 rear. The setup sheet from this track can be found here.

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Smooth or Even Smoother Gearing


The difference between the Smooth Gearing 43/13, 46-48/13, 43/13, and the Even Smoother 45/14, 47-49/13, 45/14 is noticeable, but quite tricky to explain, because it’s not quite straight forward. In general, the 43/13 gearing is ”punchier”, you need less run up to jumps in order to clear them, as the car accelerates harder, it’s better for small tight tracks. The even smoother, 45/14 gearing maintains momentum better, but doesn’t accelerate as fast from a low speed to clear a jump for example. So you could say, smooth gearing, 43/13 for tight technical tracks, and even smoother 45/14 for large, fast, sweeping ”euro style” tracks, but you would be mistaken, and here is why.

With the smooth gearing, 43/13, the car accelerates more, but not initially. Say you let off the throttle for a corner, the car slows more, so it is easier to control. Then you add just a little of throttle, and the car won’t do much, at first, you need to pull the trigger or push the stick more, you need to get deeper into the throttle before the car really starts accelerating, so you don’t need to be so careful and precise. Basically you can stay in control, and drive around the track with more throttle applied.

If you look at the video above, the sections where this was really evident was the right hand corners at 9 seconds and at 16 seconds, where after changing to this gearing I actually stopped because I wasn’t pulling the throttle enough. Also at 13 seconds, accelerating up to the jump I needed to apply more throttle, however, let’s say I made a mistake in the corner and lost all my speed, I could now easily clear the jump, where before I had to maintain my speed. Finally, the whole section starting at 25 seconds all the way to the back of the track, I had to use more throttle, so it felt like I was driving more punched to go fast.

43/13 Smooth Gearing: Basically you can stay in control, and drive around the track with more throttle applied.

With the even smoother 45/14 gearing, the car naturally carries more corner speed, so you have to make sure to brake enough to slow down. Also, when you then just barely touch the throttle, the car will go a lot more, so you can’t pull the trigger too much, you have to ”baby” it around corners more. You also need to maintain your momentum and flow around the track. It’s not as good if you point and shoot, then you are better off with the smooth gearing, 43/13. However, it has been our experience, that average racers prefer the even smoother gearing, and that is why we include it as stock with the LV kits. It takes less effort, and less throttle to go fast, and traction is very consistent.

If you look at the video above, it’s the opposite to before, the sections where the gearing was really evident was the right hand corners at 9 seconds and at 16 seconds, where with the even smoother gearing the car will maintain it’s speed, and you just barely touch the throttle. Also at 13 seconds, accelerating up to the jump I needed to make sure to maintain my speed to easily clear the jump. Finally, the whole section starting at 25 seconds all the way to the back of the track, I was barely using the throttle while cornering, and it was easier to flow around this section and maintain corner speed.

45/14 Even Smoother Gearing: It takes less effort, and less throttle to go fast, and traction is very consistent.

The gearing isn’t really a setup change that is used from track to track. Both produce the same lap times, it comes down to driver preference. It’s hard for me to even decide on which one I prefer. The past couple of years I have been racing with the even smoother gearing, now I am giving the smooth gearing a try.

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The Difference Between Talent and Skill


If there is one thing that is apparent in today’s RC racing, it is that there are more fast and dedicated drivers than before, at least in 1:8th scale racing. The level of competition has increased dramatically, and that is good to see. Now I just wrote yesterday that I want to win, let’s take a look at what that will take.

Originally I started designing my own car because I wanted to get a job in the RC industry, that would last past my racing career. However, what motivated me was the thought that one day I could win. It would surely have been easier to do 10 years ago than now, I can tell you that much. I think at this point most people would say it’s impossible for me to win, because of two reasons, I don’t have the talent, and I don’t have the opportunity to focus on my racing. Both true statements, but I don’t think either one makes winning impossible. And that’s why I am still trying.

Talent and skill are different, and here is how I would define them, when it comes to RC:

Talent: This is evident when watching great drivers drive, specially when they have to adapt to a new situation. Talent is the “it” that some people have, it’s the perfectly timed jumps, the impressive corner speed, and the unlikely yet successful overtaking maneuvers. Talent is not something you can learn, you have it or you don’t, it is in-born, it is natural. Some people are immediately decent at certain activities, even if they have never done it before, others need to practice. That’s talent. We all have some talent, others just have more of it.

Skill: This is an ability that is built up by meaningful practice and repetition. At first you just rely on your talent, and when you practice you build up your skills. A lazy talented individual will eventually be beaten by a hard working less talented individual, because the hard working person is improving their skills, to make up for their lack of talent. But a hard working talented individual? That’s when you get someone dominating the scene.


How do you win?

I believe that if you don’t have enough talent, you can’t beat a talented hard working RC Racer consistently, it’s just not possible. The reason is that to win consistently you also need to win on your bad days, you need to adapt and adjust your driving when things aren’t quite right, and that is very hard to do. You can’t build up enough skill to do that. With talent you can adapt, with skill you have to have practiced and practiced each and every situation, and it is hard to adapt when you don’t have the massive built up experience of some new situation that you can rely on.

BUT, what you can do is you can beat them when everything goes right. When a hard working skilled, but less talented racer has a perfect setup, and a good day, they can beat anyone, maybe as long as the best talents aren’t having a perfect day too. And that’s what I am shooting for. I will never dominate, I will never win multiple races a year, but maybe, if I work hard, just maybe I can put it all together at least one time.

Think of it this way. Maifield, Cavalieri and Tebo are all extremely talented. How is this evident? No matter how hard you work, without talent you can’t basically be top 3 in every race you enter for 10 years. If you look at those three drivers, that’s pretty much how it has been. Insane results. Then you look at someone like Adam Drake, who works hard, and even according to himself lacks the same talent that some of his competitors possess. Drake has national titles, race wins, even against those three above, but no clear domination, not on the podium at every race. That’s because the skills are there, but the talent needed to adapt to less ideal situations in order to always be winning or close to it, isn’t.

So What Now?

Luckily for me RC is still somewhat underdeveloped, both in a business sense and racing sense. I should not be able to do what I am doing in the RC industry. There should be no way for me to compete with these companies, but I am. I can because most companies aren’t doing a very good job of marketing, sales and product development on the racing side of RC. I mean think about it, these companies have sales departments, marketing departments, multiple engineers in the R&D department, hell they even have a CEO. Now imagine one person does it all.  See what I mean?

Same goes for driving. I don’t think drivers are practicing enough, or smart enough. You look at Ty Tessmann or Robert Battle, and you can see their programs are solid. That’s why they are winning big now. But even there I think more can be done if you set your mind to it and think about ways to improve and practice even better and more effectively. Apart from them, to me it seems like most other top drivers seem to rely on talent a lot, and do some practice laps a few times a week. There is no deeper thought going into it. They are just that good.

Now that the White Edition LV is performing, and we have even more performance improvements in the pipeline, and now that the company is rolling along, requiring less input from me, due to streamlined practices, what I want to do is see if I can out smart, and out work the competition. It will require a perfect setup, a lot of studying both the car and driving, and dedication. It will require me being able to surround myself with the right people, and it will require some luck too I am sure. But we make our own luck. I will share what I learn, and my progress on here. There is a lot to learn from watching the best drivers on the track, and also a lot to gain from perfecting the setup of the car for oneself.

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Preparing for your main – THINK!


Today I attended the Spring Classic at Dialed In Raceway. For once in life, I made all the right decisions going into the main, and my car was AWESOME! I managed to win the race after a good battle. I figured it would be a good idea to highlight the things I think about and change for main events.

In America, for me the main event has always been very difficult, because the temperature drops a lot, the track is wet/damp, and it’s dark. Driving under the lights makes everything seem to happen a lot faster, and I just can’t adjust. But this time it was different.

The first thing to think about is temperature. If the temp drops a lot at night, you have to change to thinner shock oils. I don’t change the diff oils, only the shock oils. Today I went from 450/350 (30/27.5) to 400/300 (27.5/25). This resulted in the same feel as in the day time. I also went to Super Soft Grid Irons from AKA, instead of Soft Impacts or Grid Irons in the daytime. The track is clay, and it was damp with no dust on the line, so grid irons I figured would be the best. They were dialed (in).

The next thing to think about is set up. For the main, you need to have an easy car to drive. My car was good, but it could be easier to drive, so I went to 1 deg anti squat from 2. I did this because there were a few ruts on the track, and also, I wanted my car to be more forgiving, and smoother. As I mentioned before, I struggle at night, and I wanted a safe car.

I thought about camber, and swaybars, but did not change anything. The car was too good. I made sure the engine tune was good as it changes, normally leans out at night, and I just decided to try and not make any mistakes, even if I was a few tenths slower per lap. It worked perfectly and I won.

I did not need to change airfilter, clutch, or clutchbell bearings for the main because I only ran one qualifier due to a short rain shower, so that stuff was ready to go.

So there you have it. Think what will be best for you, look at the track, and try and make the right decisions. It’s all about YOU, not other people. You have to practice, and test, so you know what you need. All drivers are different, and the biggest mistake can sometimes be following someone that is very talented. They adjust their driving, I can’t do that, I have to adjust my equipment.


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Preparing For a Race – Keep it Simple


I was at Dialed In today, turned a few laps, and prepared for their Spring Classic race. And that got me thinking that it could be a good idea to go through some advice regarding that. Here are a few points to keep in mind.

Sometimes things get really out of control, like in the picture above. By preparing well, you can make sure that does not happen at the race. Get all of that out of the way before the race. Don’t try new things at races, new parts you haven’t run before, new setups, go with what you know. Keep it simple.

You need to keep your stress level as low as possible at races, and the best way to do that is to have everything done before the race. Glue your tyres, or at least one set so you can start the race on them. Charge everything, receiver pack, transmitter, glow ignitor and starter box. Make sure your transponder is in the car and it’s working.

As for the car, I think this is the most important part, and the part where a lot of people over think and over wrench, and a lot don’t do enough, or don’t do the right things. The way I build a car, the important bits will basically stay on for the lifetime of the car. This means that I never take them apart. I think it is silly to tear down a car completely for a rebuild. You only need to check hinge pins, re-fill the diffs, re-fill the shocks, change the clutch, and clutch bell bearings, put a newly oiled air filter on, and clean the car all up. You don’t need to take every screw out.

If possible, run your fully prepared car on a track for a tank to make sure everything is working perfectly.

Try and figure out who will be your pit guy before the day of the race, if you don’t have a permanent grease monkey.

Go to bed as early as possible the night before.


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Anti-Squat – Change That First

Assuming that you have a good suspension set up, you should not start changing that as soon as you feel that you suspension isn’t working right. There are other things you do first. One such thing is anti-squat.

For the White Edition LV, a good suspension setting would be grey springs all round, 7×1.2mm pistons front, 450-500 JQ oil or 30-32.5 Losi oil, 7×1.3mm pistons rear, 350-400 JQ oil, or 27.5-30 Losi oil.

Anti-squat mainly works when you accelerate, it stiffens up the rear suspension and stops the car from squatting. This makes the car faster on smooth high bite tracks, but when it gets bumpy the car starts bouncing around and the wheels don’t stay on the ground. The car also jumps better with more “pop” with more anti-squat. I think anti-squat also affects corner entry, you have more steering into the corner with anti-squat, specially if you are landing a jump into a corner.

But the downside of anti-squat is bumps, and that is why the first thing you should do if your car isn’t handling bumps well, is to reduce the anti-squat. Go from the stock 2 degrees to 1, and then if you like it, try just 0.5 degrees. The car will feel softer, you will have more rear traction, and it just has more of that “wet rag” feel. Wet rag is the term is use for a car that just sticks to the track and slides over all the bumps. Imagine dragging a wet rag over a bumpy surface, it’s just going to follow the surface perfectly, adjusting it’s shape to the track.

So why don’t you just run less anti-squat all the time? Because when the track is flat, or the traction is high, adding anti-squat is faster, the car squares up and accelerates faster out of corners, and will just be more responsive and carry more speed. That’s why.

The Video

Not the greatest video, but it’s something. Notice how the rear bounces higher in the first clips, and how the rear suspension doesn’t compress as much through the corner. With less anti-squat at 25 seconds, it jumps flatter into the corner and watch at 31 seconds how the rear actually absorbs the bump and compresses a lot. That never happens in the first two clips. Watch again!

Entering the corner, you can’t really tell a big difference, but actually driving the car, it really did make a difference in feel and confidence entering the corner. The most important fact about the last clips, is the very last clip. If everyone is using the same line, and it gets bumpy, CHANGE YOUR LINE! I literally just went 1 foot to the right, and it was perfectly smooth. That makes a difference. If you pick smoother lines, you will be faster, because the tyres will be on the ground more, and that’s what moves you forward, or stops you when braking.

Finally, below you can see a lap on the track. When it get’s bumpy, remember anti squat, and line selection.


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Driving – Throttle Control & Line Choice

Today I went to the Dialed In Raceway track in Victorville, which is north of LA on the way to Vegas. The track is medium size with really good dirt, good for testing and practicing driving. And driving is exactly what I will write about today. There is a lot to be said about having the right set up, but at the end of the day, the driver is key. Every single person out there can improve their lap times without touching their car. That’s a promise. All you need to do is take a minute and THINK about what you are doing, or trying to do. I’m being serious. How many of you actually think about driving, and line choice, and how you are using your throttle? Next time you go to the track, think about these things, don’t just drive, and I guarantee you, you will be faster.

Look and the lap in the video above, and then check out some of the sections that I break down for you. The only two things you really need to know about cars and how they work for this article, is that the car will be easiest to drive, and have the most grip, when the tyres are equally loaded. So if you can see your car leaning this way, up on two wheels that way, up on the front wheels under braking, popping wheelies out of corners, you can be sure that you aren’t getting around the track as fast as possible. Another thing to consider is the way tyres work, really simply put, forward bite, accelerating and braking is one way the tyre can provide traction. Side bite, so left or right, basically cornering, is the other way. Both of these can be maxed out, but not at the same time, if you want to accelerate and corner at the same time, it’s a compromise. While cornering, you can’t accelerate as hard as you can going straight, because some of the available traction is used up for cornering. (Google traction circle). Think of it this way. If you brake really hard and turn your wheel, what happens? The car just goes straight. If you accelerate really hard on a loose track, what happens? The car starts wandering sideways. So basically, you need to know that if you want to accelerate or brake as efficiently as possible, you need to do it in a straight line, and if you want to maintain your corner speed, you need to make a smooth round arc. And that leads me to the first section.

At the end of the straight you have a simple left 90 that tightens up at the end. Simple right? Yes, if you don’t care about going as fast as possible it is. So let’s break it down. Based on the above theory, it would make sense that you try and get the car to go in without upsetting it, just keep it level, and make a smooth arc. Braking brings the nose down, and the rear up, weight shifts to the front, the car is not settled and the tyres aren’t loaded as equally as possible. You don’t want to enter the corner like that. So brake early, brake very little, or don’t brake at all. For this corner, I don’t brake, I let off the gas and turn in, but I don’t let off all the way, and this is important. I may let off or brake a little when going straight, but when setting up for the corner I get on the gas slightly and keep an even throttle, because when the drive train is loaded in our cars, they are more stuck to the ground and hold their line. You often see people spin out mid corner, simply because they got off the gas, if they had kept the throttle steady they would have been fine. So let off at the end of the straight, and maintain a low amount of steady throttle around the corner, or if you are going too fast, simply roll through it. Then at the end where it tightens, quick tap of the brakes, turn the car around and get hard on the gas so you don’t do a 180. Getting on the gas hard usually stops your car from over rotating, so say you are rolling through a corner and you start to loose the rear, stab the throttle and you can save it.

Try and keep the car neutral on corner entry, maintain a smooth arc with none, or even throttle applied.

At 8 seconds, landing the 2nd double, and the two tabletops/rollers, and the left hander before the two big doubles, this whole section, ALL ABOUT corner speed. Everyone can go fast down the straight, not everyone can go fast around corners. The reason I am typically 1 second off the pace at any given race, isn’t because I’m slow on the straight, and often, specially in Europe not even because I can’t time the jumps, or because my car sucks, or this or that, it’s because me as a driver, I am not good enough to maximise my corner speed. It is very hard to do. You need to be on the edge of the traction circle I was talking about before. You need to get the most side bite vs forward bite you can at any given moment. You need to accelerate as hard as you can without loosing traction, you need to turn as hard as you can without spinning out. It’s not easy. Let’s break this section down.

If you look at the moment I land, to the moment I jump the 2nd of the two tabletops/rollers, it’s basically one long right hand corner. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Smooth arc, maintaining speed. I land in the middle of the track, and accelerate down the jump towards the apex, after hard acceleration I let off and use the throttle to control the car. I adjust the amount of throttle based on what the car is doing, remember I said without any throttle car’s can get unbalanced and even spin out? Sometimes rolling a corner is good, sometimes you need to gas it, it all depends on the situation, but the goal is to be able to use as much throttle as possible. This section is trickier because you have to time the jump going away from the driver stand right so you can downside it, all while cornering and maintaining your speed. At 11 seconds, notice how I intentionally made my previous long corner so I jump on the inside of the jump. This is so my line is better for the left hand corner before the big double. This way I can accelerate sooner, and harder, and have a very low risk of flipping over when landing the roller.

I think that’s more than enough information to digest today. More later.



If you are not good enough, you have two choices.

  1. Remain that way.
  2. Try to work harder and smarter than everyone else.

It really is that simple. After that what happens happens. But you at least know you gave it all you have.

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Down travel, or Droop

Today I went to Revelation Raceway for some testing. That track really is terrible in the day time. Sorry Dana. It’s dusty as hell, and loose, but then a high grip groove starts forming. So in one section, you can go from loose to high grip to loose again. In other words, very good for testing, and for improving driving, but definitely not the most fun. At night they water so then it’s a lot more fun too.

I wanted to see about testing different droop settings. I have actually written an article on the subject for VRC Magazine that you can read here. Now I would just like to clarify further, and give you the settings specifically used on the White Edition LV. I basically ran the setup I had a few days ago at Dialed in, which you can find here. The only change from that was that I raised the front and rear links back up on the hubs, which I preferred. I will write another story about that later.

Right now we always run the same shock positions in the arms, and either outer, or one in from outer on the towers, so measuring the shock length works well. People always think they can compare shock lengths to determine droop between different car brands. Forget about that, it doesn’t work. Watch the video below to see a way you can compare brands, or any shock position setup. Just do that with wheels on. I always check both ways, so I know where I am at, shock length and actual droop with wheels.

Basically, it’s always best to start off with max droop, and then reduce it, until the car starts getting worse. The reason is that reducing droop will always be faster, up to the point the car becomes erratic due to sudden loss of traction or twitchy handling. More droop will always be the safest and easiest place to start, so start there. Kind of how you tune an engine by starting off on the rich side.




Front Shock Length on LV: 99mm-102.5mm

Rear Shock Length on LV: 120mm-123mm

For the front, in order to achieve the right droop, you need to dremel the front arm as shown here. You also need to leave about 1.5mm of threads showing on the shock shaft.

What it Does

I mentioned less droop is faster, and here is why. Watching the video of a lap above, note the corners, coming onto the straight, and end of the straight somewhat, but specially the two long left handers at 20 seconds and 25 seconds. In sections like that the car will naturally carry more corner speed, and maintain a round arc with less effort by the driver. You can go from really focusing on maintaining speed in a corner to the car just doing it “by itself”. The tricky thing is, that if you reduce droop too much, it will again start being hard to maintain speed and flow.

With too much droop the car rolls a lot, and doesn’t stay as flat. You may have more on power steering, but it’s not as precise, and you need to correct your line choice. When the droop is correct, you just turn the wheel and gas it, and the car does a smooth arc. When you have too little droop, the car will feel erratic and stiff, and won’t hold it’s line either.

If you look at the left hander at 20 seconds, do you notice how I have to correct before the 2nd apex? In this video I had reduced the front droop too much, and it made the front end twitchy, and I just don’t have the talent to adapt my driving that quick, so I wasn’t able to do a smooth corner. Adding some more front droop would make the car easier to drive there with no change from the driver. But again, remember, having too much droop will make it hard to make a round corner in the same section, the difference is, that instead of being nervous, the car will feel unresponsive, and it will be hard to keep the arc correct.

If you look at 16 seconds, you can see it’s starting to get bumpy in that section. If you reduce the droop too much, the car won’t handle these bumps very well. Adding droop will make it just go through there like they aren’t there.

Reducing droop increases corner speed as I mentioned, but it doesn’t jump, and specially land as well. If you look at 8 seconds in the video, you can see that tricky double single jump. That’s the kind of section that will cause crashes and sketchy situations if you don’t have enough droop. Sometimes without changing anything in your driving, just adding droop, you will find that you stop crashing there. And basically every single jump on this track, if you have more droop, they will be easier.

And in case you are curious, after all that testing, going back and forth, I ended up running 100.5mm front, 123mm rear, still thinking on the way home that 122mm rear would have been faster. There is no right answer!

If you like these sorts of articles, breaking down one set up feature by using a lap of a track, let me know in the comments below, and share this story. Thank you. Otherwise I can’t be bothered to do these, and would rather have a beer or watch some Supercross, or actually both those.

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JQ Blog is Back


I will start posting frequent updates here, mostly to do with car setup, and driving. I will of course have to post some other stuff too hehe:-), but mainly it will be setup and driving info. THECar White Edition LV has proven to be really really good, which is a good thing of course. I will be mainly focusing on two things in my stories, setup, what the changes do to the handling, as well as driving technique. I have been working on this shit for 8 years now, and finally I am at the point where I feel that THECar is clearly better than me. By that I mean that where before the car was not handling the situations I put it in well enough, leading to mistakes or loss of speed and time, now it is handling everything, and I am the one making mistakes, or losing speed. THECar is now able to provide more than my skill level is able to deliver. A truly great situation to be in, and that means that it is time to try and perfect the set up, learn to drive better, and attempt to reach the top of the world, even if it is only for one race, one day, one time in my life.

I will be documenting my journey, so that all of you can learn what I learn, and improve your driving, and setup, and enjoy yourselves more too. Whatever happens, at least I will know that I gave it my all.

The more “diary” type entries and smaller ideas and tests will be posted here on this page (Advice Section), and the most important and helpful stuff will be gathered on the JQRacing website here.

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