Tag Archives: handling

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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Emulsion Shocks

As THECar is now performing very well, we have began experimenting with other setup features that have been popular over the last few years. One such thing is the bladders. What we have found is that cutting the stock bladder so it is basically an O-ring, and building the shocks as emulsion shocks, the car feels more plush, and holds it’s line better in long corners, indicating that it has more grip, it’s slightly more locked in. However, the biggest difference is how it pops off jumps and lands. It pops less, and doesn’t want to ”double-bounce” on landing. It just lands and soaks it up nicely. It’s easier to drive the car specially in situations where you land a jump into a corner and have to immediately accelerate into the next section. The car settles faster and just goes.

If you look at the video above, the step on step off is one area where you notice a difference. The car lands and settles better when jumpin on, which makes jumping off easier, even though you do lose a bit of “pop” on the jump. When jumping off it is also easier to carry speed through the corner and into the next section.

Another area where the emulsion shocks were clearly better, was flat landing at 34 seconds, and maybe most evidently negotiating the following double double and accelerating onto the front straight. Where before you had to be careful, land well, and then accelerate, now it was a lot easier and did not require the same precision.

So for now we are running emulsion. I can see emulsion being worse on very high traction, or when you need more snappy response and “pop” over jumps. Again, both bladders and emulsion works, but emulsion is easier to drive.

Just cut the stock bladder...

Just cut the stock bladder…



…so it looks like this…


...and just insert it as normal into the cap.

…and just insert it as normal into the cap.


To build the emulsion shocks, you follow the exact same steps as with a regular shock with a bladder. I put a bit of oil in the cap too. I screw the cap on a turn or two, hold the shock at an angle with the bleed hole facing up, push the shaft in so 3mm remains visible, and turn the shock body slowly, letting the excess air and oil out. If you can feel the damping get harder as you move the shock shaft in when you are done, open the cap 3/4 of the way, with the shaft extended, and repeat the process. I build the shocks so they are dead. After working the shock for a few seconds the shaft remains where I leave it with 3mm visible.

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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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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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Jeremy Kortz Setup and 4.0 Stig Setup.


A couple of new setups posted, check them out here:

Jeremy Kortz

THEStig 4.0

Chris Marrale

Regarding the links, on high speed tracks, you may prefer running the link front and rear in the top hole of the stock towers, but we suggest always starting with the drilled holes, as on the sheet. When would you go lower? If the car feels squirmy and too soft, and gets loose at high speed. Please note you need to run more camber than normal with the high links!

For the eCar, for those of you running it as a White Edition, we have been running the SAME setup. Yep, works good!

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White Edition Setup 3.0



Been doing some more testing over the past few weeks, and discovered some new ideas and setups. THECar has improved immensely! I definitely recommend you do these modifications. We have already started developing parts so you don’t need to modify anything, but for now, if you want the best out of your car, please check this out and do the work! Here are the changes, and reasons for making them:

1. FRONT AND REAR TOWERS: We added more link holes by drilling holes above the existing ones, two more high rows on the middle column on the front, and, and two more rows above the inside column on the rear. I drilled some on the middle column too but have not used them yet. NOTE: It’s easier if you drill the hole furthest away first, and then add the hole in the middle. You need a sharp drillbit and not too much pressure, so you get the “inbetween hole”.

Use another shock tower as a template. You can use the front and rear together, but it is a lot better if you use two fronts or two rears as the holes on both sides match.

This is how bad I sucked on mine. I’m sure you can do better!

I improved a bit when I did the front!

The favoured setup has been to run the front link 1 up from the stock top middle hole, and the rear link two up from the stock inside top hole. Raising the links this way works wonders on the car. The balance of the car is good, and the big difference is that now getting on the gas stabilises the car. In the past, if you got in trouble, you had to be careful not to flip over. Now, one almost has to re-learn how to drive, and when in trouble, get on the gas harder to save it from getting out of shape or flipping over. The car stays lower to the ground is a lot less likely to flip over on high grip, or due to bumps.

Front preferred setup

Rear preferred setup

Please note, that you will have to re-adjust your camber. You will need to add at least 1 degree compared to what you ran before, maybe more.

2. UPPER LINK LENGTH: With the raised links, lengthening them front and back, so top outside on front, and top middle on rear, made the car easier to drive, specially in long sweepers, and on power. But testing back to back proved, that the short links were faster. It’s your choice! The car works the best when both links are short, or both links are long, not mixed.

3. FRONT SHOCK POSITION: One of the problems we wanted to get rid of, was how the front end tended to dive a lot in bumps and corners, off power, and how when attacking the track the front end was aggressive and overpowering. The initial steering unsettled the car. To solve this, we raised the front shocks up, which doesn’t help on it’s own, but combining this with using a bigger hole piston, and thicker oil, it worked great, making it possible to drive more aggressively, with the car remaining stable and predictable.

Front shocks stood up, bigger 1.3 pistons, and 101 downtravel!

The key to this is changing the piston, and making sure you get 101mm shock length for droop. The downtravel is the challenging part, as you need to grind the arm to add clearance, and also possibly the steering links as it is more travel than they offer as new. Trust me, it is worth the effort!

4. FRONT ARM POSITION: To combat the same front end issues, we tested all different arm positions, and concluded that running both front arm inserts in the highest position works best. This reduces steering a bit, but most importantly, helps keep the front end level, it doesn’t rise up so much when on power, and doesn’t dive so much when entering corners. The car is a lot better on power, and in sweepers.

5. STEERING LINKS, BUMPSTEER: We tend to run the link in the middle hole on the ackermann plate. Toe out is about 2 degrees, with the link set at 26.5mm with hard arms, and 25.5 with stock arms. As you are raising the link on the tower, you need to adjust the steering link too. The steering links have a longer flat side, please note the direction you install them. Inside is flat side down, outside is flat side up! In addition we run a 2mm shim between the ball and the ackermann plate to lower it.

6. REAR ANTISQUAT AND TOE IN: We run either 3 or 2.5 degrees of toe in, depending on the track conditions. Less if it is bumpy, or we need more steering. More if we need more rear grip, or less steering. We always use the top row now.

Top row, 3 degrees toe in.

For antisquat, the bumpier it is, the less we run. Running the toe insert all the way up, only allows for 1 degree of antisquat. If it is bumpy, like Vegas was, we reduce that to 0.5 deg, like in this sheet, .5 insert with hole up.

7. REAR HUB POSITION: Normally we like to run just 1 spacer in front of the hub, and 3 behind. In Vegas the track was bumpy, so we moved the hub back, so that it wouldn’t catch bumps so much. Moving the rear hub back reduces the bind in the suspension when on power, which makes the car better in bumps, and it also reduces rear grip which also helps.

8. +1 HEXES: The wider hexes add grip to the car. With the changes to the front end, we were now able to run the +1 hexes on the front for more steering. +1 hexes on the rear added rear grip and stability, so we run +1 all around unless we need more steering, and then we run them only on the front.

9. WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION: Part of the team run the arrows back, engine forward, which is 2mm from all the way forward. Personally in America at least, I prefer arrows forward, engine forward, which is the furthest forward you can get. Running it this way makes the car jump and land better, and I can push the car more without having the rear and get unsettled, by squatting on one corner and losing traction. The car has a bit of a push to it when entering a corner fast, and it feels safe to drive.

Mesh with engine all the way forward.

Running the engine 2mm back, puts more weight on the rear, and more grip, less steering in hairpins, unless you enter aggressively and the rear swings round. More pendulum effect. For Euro style tracks with more flowing layouts, the engine back is often more comfortable as it makes the car feel a bit heavier and calmer, which is good, but for USA, it’s all the way forward for me.

Whichever position we run, we keep the centre diff mount in the same position, 1-2mm from fully forward.

10. DIFF OILS: With the geometry of the car the way it is, it tends to like thick oils. Thicker oils add cornerspeed, and improve acceleration. Try thicker oils front and centre. For some reason, the rear seems to work best with 3000, but front, 10k – 20k, centre 7k – 10k. Don’t be afraid to run thick oils.

11. Pistons: We drilled the 7×1.3 pistons with a 1.3mm drillbit, there was a slight difference, so the holes are just a fraction larger. Barely anything, but it made a difference. Suspension is super plush! 500/300 oils have worked in temperatures ranging from 15-25C. Fahrenheit fools can figure it out. The suspension works well when it feels soft. Eventhough it feels very soft on the bench, it doesn’t feel that way on the track. Test for yourselves, but don’t be afraid of running oils that feel thin!

Why do I have to do all the work and then just hand over the information free to everyone? Then everyone wants the cars for free too. *sigh* :-p Get out there, get testing, let’s start winning!

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