Ask anyone at the track why they race and you’ll hear comments regarding having fun or enjoying the competition or the social element of hanging out at the track with some buddies. The inherent competitive aspect of racing will most likely get down played and the fun will be emphasized, but let’s face it, we all want to win and it’s really hard to have fun when you’re coming in dead last. Check out these 10 racing and setup tips and you’ll be far more competitive and, in turn, have more fun.
1. Neutral Setup.The best place to start with your setup is with what is outlined in your manual. Go with the box-stock settings and install the popular tires at your track. Tires are the single most important aspect of setup–everything else is just fine tuning. When you do start making changes, make one at a time and see how it changes your vehicle. Keep in mind that many adjustments will hardly be noticeable to the average guy like you and me. What you should be trying to achieve is a neutral setup–not too much steering and not too little steering. You want a vehicle that steers but isn’t likely to spin out every time you touch the steering wheel. As you get used to the track layout and your car, slowly make your setup more aggressive.
2. Benchmarks.Too many racers worry about where they finish, even in qualifiers. All you should worry about is improving over your last effort. After your race, look at your lap times. Since consistent racers are fast racers, you should concentrate on improving your average lap times. When your average lap times get closer to your fastest lap time, everything else will fall in place.
3. Pass With Class. Drive your car as if it were a real car and you’ll be much faster. When you approach a slower car, plan your pass. You’ll both be slower if you smash right into the car in front of you. In qualifying, slower cars should yield to faster cars, but that doesn’t mean they have to pull over and stop racing so you can fly by. Plan your pass and be patient. The exit of corners is usually a good place to pass because slower drivers often overshoot corners and go wide.
4. Stay Late. The majority of people get to the track early to practice, but the best time to practice is actually after racing is over and the track is in condition you race on. When you get to the track early, it is often dry if it’s off-road or dirty if it’s on-road.
5. The Night Before.Being prepared is essential to being fast. Go through all your race gear the night before race day. Not only will you be less likely to forget something, but you will find problems when it will be easier to fix them.
6. Bring a Buddy Racing. To experienced racers, most of this will be common sense. They should, however, keep two thing in mind. First, common sense isn’t too common. That’s an old saying for a reason. Second, common sense seems to get thrown out the proverbial window when competition starts heating up. One of the best way to get us all using our common sense again is to bring a buddy racing with us. This is because we often practice what we preach when we know someone is watching.
7. Practice fast, Race Slow. This is one of our favorite racing maxims at RC Car Action. Go a bit faster than you think you can in practice to find your limits. You’ll build some skill when nothing is on the line and get a good idea what you and your vehicle can do. When you’re racing, slow down a bit and concentrate on being consistent. The fast guys are smooth and consistent. The slow guys are just driving as fast as possible from one crash to the next crash.
8. Take Corners, Don’t Overshoot Them. This is how you execute a corner properly: approach the corner and move to the outside and slow down well before the corner, start turning to the inside before you get to the corner, drive along the inside of the corner and start accelerating and then continue to accelerate of out of the corner. Sounds simple, but many racers fly into corners, grab a lot of brake, slide or push to the outside, basically come to a stop and have to accelerate hard out of the corner. This might look fast since they go flying and and accelerate wildly out of the corner, but it is actually the slow way around a track.
9. Walk The Track.Don’t trust your perspective from the drivers’ stand. Walk the track. look for imperfections that will trip your vehicle up and study face of the jumps to see where you should be lining up for smooth launches.
10. Have Fun. Having fun is really all about having the right attitude. Having the right attitude will also help you go faster. How so? Well, when you focus too much on beating the next guy or retaking a position you just lost or making up time after a crash, you often try too hard and end up falling back or crashing more.
Bonus Tip: When your vehicle is spinning out and you’re sure you have the right tires for your track, try a gearing change before tweaking the suspension. Install a larger pinion. This will smooth out your acceleration and make it less likely for your vehicle to break traction.