The steep learning curve
A newbie slotter on a six lane Ninco club track
Race night 24
Week of the 28th November 2016
Class : Ninco sport and GT
A pair of Ninco ford GT
Car A " medley" ProRace
Factory standard chassis and body with factory fitted lightweight interior
Avant Carbon axles front and rear
Ninco race bearings in the pod
Sc0025b Scaleauto motor
NSR "for Ninco" angle winder crown (purple 33 and pinion 12)
E1 tyres glued on Factory pro race rear wheels outer dia. 20mm
Z1 tyres on Scaleauto monza magnesium wheels outer dia 16mm
Factory prorace guide blade
NSR .2 mm copper race braid.
NSR soft sidewinder suspension on the Ninco prorace pod with 20mm long 1.6mm steel countersunk bolts
Damping gel on all three springs
Car B "Falken" light weight
A new build with the objective of having two " ready to go " cars for each class.
Config as above except:
Non-suspension (suspension on order)
Rear wheels trued and glued NSR ultras
Factory Ninco crusher motor (originally from the medley)
Blue NSR crown with 12 tooth pinion
Tested both cars and the medley came out as the best performer
The horsepower from the sc0025b was very , very good, combining punch and top speed.
The suspension was working properly, no need to leave the body shell to "rock loose" , a technique I'm probably going to abandon on suspension cars as a relic of the pre suspension slot car age. Loose bodies always seem to make the cars rattle around the track like a bag of spanners and that just does not sit well with my idea of a "good car"
The car behaved well right out of the pit box and started putting in good lap times.
I took my own lesson learned from pervious sessions and put the car away awaiting the races and used the time to test other cars in my pit box.
First race in the inner green lane, came 3rd , a very good start in a very bad lane.
However, that good start was not to last, finished between 4th and 5th in all other races.
Some problems appeared on the car during the night that did not show up in race one.
A. The return of the dreaded power de-slot.
The car de-slotted twice off the start line wrecking two races.
I suppose no one can complain that they are short of power when the motor can lift the front of the car clean out of the slot from a standing start.
Other racers add ballast weight to their cars to stabilise this kind of behaviour but that's a path I don't want to go down until all other possibilities have been exhausted.
A technique I usually use to combat this is to loosen the front pod's suspension, allowing the motor kick to be absorbed by the spring. However, the front spring was already loose giving me no options to improve the start line behaviour.
The power deslot behaviour was probably exaserbated by the use of a new damping gel which is stickier than the silicone gel I would normally use. I am now thinking that the damper gel is too thick for use on the front spring. Adding goop is easy, removing it is not, especially between races so I did not even try.
Our club uses rheostat controllers only so nothing could be done on the control the power deslot from the controller itself apart from consciously ramping up the power slowly at the start guaranteeing a bad start.
B. Guide blade bottoming out.
For two of the races , two sections of the track proved problematic with the car jumping as the guide blade bottomed out.
The prorace guide is deeper than the regular one and combining that with NSR race braid left the underside of the guide blade bottoming out causing some spectacular aeriel mavouveres during warm up.
By race three, I decided that fettling the blade was necessary and got the carpet knife out wedging the front very slightly and removing some depth. Problem solved.
C. Tyre evolution during the night.
As the tyres bedded in and I applied more and more zippo to them to smooth them, the grip really came up.
I'd never driven a slot car that has too much grip but by race 4 this one certainly did and probably contributed to the power de-slot issue. I must make a new undertaking not to add to much goop to the tyres during the night. A tyre that maintains the same characteristics all evening has to be better than one where grip is a changing and unknown quantity.
Finished the night 12th of about 18 racers so not a bad result but "could do better".
This car is clearly close to being competitive now and there are more issues with my fingers and my monkey brain than there are with the cars. I am always amazed how other drivers at the club can handle being harassed around the track in the middle of a pack of close running cars, but still keep their cool and still win the race. I have to figure out how to get my head into that zone.
For me, making a car more and more "NSR moslerlike "in its behaviour is a winning strategy and I will be following the full NSR retrofit (gears tyres and suspension) for every class where this is permitted. More knowledge brings a more diligent method for setting up, leading to repeatable results. I have to remind myself that I am chasing guys who have been at this for decades.
I bought a "metal" variant slot it controller this week (£100) on special discount at top slots
Completely not permitted at the club where I go weekly, but a one-off visit to another club a couple a few weeks back opened my eyes to the possibilities for better control. Next year I am hoping to compete in the UK NSR GT3 championship and /or the slot it challenge. Both of these championships permit Pulse width modulation based electronic controls, so turning up with a rheostat controller at these events would be a decided disadvantage. The learning curve gets steeper still 😳