Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wednesday Jam Sesh

Joey busted out his camera this past Wednesday and took some badass pics of James and I jamming out on track. Here's the photo dump. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Team Tetsujin LB Works Nissan GTR R35

I bought this body some time last year, and after purchasing it I got caught up with work and just never found the time to start building it. A couple months back, I decided to hand it over to my homie Curt to have a crack at it. When it comes to bodies, he's a bit of a mad scientist, he builds some badass Frankenstein cars, so I knew my car was in good hands. You can check out his work here. The original plan was to spray it a midnight blue, but I quickly changed my mind to a pearl midnight purple, and oh man am I glad I did. Once Curt worked his magic on the body, I wasn't able to capture the colour thanks to my non existent photography skills. Luckily the homie Gaelen brought his camera out one night and shot these badass pics. So here it is in all it's glory after a few weeks of abuse. Huge thanks to Curt for the badass build, and Gaelen for the pics to finally do this thing some justice... I absolutely love this shell. I am a big 180SX/S13 guy, and this is probably one of the first shells I have truly liked aside from the previous mentioned shells. I still haven't gotten around to installing the exhaust or a license plate... but here's the pics. What do you think?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Kong RC Road Trip

Kong RC is a new track that opened its doors to the public last week, and is located just south of the border in Lynnwood, Washington. Our friend and local Kong RC runner Ryan put their track owner, Jay, in contact with Afro, and they have been talking to one another for a little while now. Prior to Kong RC's grand opening, Afro and a few other members from our club went down to lend a hand in setting up and testing out layouts for the track prior to their grand opening. When they came back, they had nothing but good things about the place, as well as the owner. Since then, I have been itching to make my way down there and check the place out, so this past Saturday, me and a few club members did just that.

When you pull up to the track, it's got a nice vibe going on before you even step inside... outside you are greeted with a pair of 86's parked in front of the entrance, the FRS belonging to Ryan, and the Hachiroku belonging to Jay. This was my first time seeing Ryan's FRS in person since he converted to the Rocket Bunny V1 over fenders, so I took a few shots of the cars before heading back inside.

Once you step inside, you get your first look at the huge polished concrete track. Kong RC did an awesome job on the surface! Jay said he wanted to go for that still wet look since we get a lot of rain in our areas, so he wanted his to capture that element with his track, and I think he nailed it. The surface really does feel like you're running in the rain, it's very slick and icey, and was an absolute blast to drive on. It's not far off of what we are used to at Afro's RC, but it's definitely a little more slick. The slightest taps can send your car into a slow motion spin, so proximity during tandems and trains is key. Overall, I loved this surface.

The track layout is also very well thought out. It's very dynamic, you can run a lot of lines, and the track changes considerably depending on what direction you run. There are also a lot of cool small elements and danger zones that add to the overall enjoyment of running on this track. The back straight is almost 50-60ft long too, allowing for some really fun high speed manjis, into full e-brake entries. Unfortunately I spent most of my time driving, and almost none of it taking pictures, so I'll do my best to get some better pics of the small details that make this track so fun to run on a future visit.

The pit area is also big, and spacious. You can comfortably set up your gear with plenty of room to work on your car. There is also an outlet available for almost every table, which adds to the convenience. I recommend bringing your own charger and power bars to run multiple connections. I'm not sure if down the road Kong RC will provide power bars, as the owner is still working on the track and surrounding area, but upon our visit, there weren't any power bars. There is probably enough space to seat 10-15 people, so there is a ton of space in the pits (the pic cuts off a lot of the pit area to the left).

Kong RC is also an official dealer of Yokomo, as well as Tetsujin and MST. They have a large inventory, which is great for locals running Yokomo or MST. It's always a bonus to have parts readily available at the track, so if you break down or need to run some maintenance, all it takes is a quick trip to the counter, and you're back up and running. It's also great for those who don't like to pay for shipping on multiple order from overseas to buy parts, and would rather buy something locally... no more waiting a week or two for parts. Kong can basically bring in anything you need when it comes to Yokomo, Tetsujin, and MST.

They also have a large selection of bodies from Yokomo and Tetsujin, carrying basically the full line of both, and they are very reasonably priced. Their bodies come out cheaper than buying from overseas, and paying for shipping, so it's great value for anyone in the area looking for top quality bodies.

Afro spent most of the day working on a new video series, so keep an eye out for that. Jay asked Afro to build his MST XXX-D VIP HT into a fully optioned RWD machine, so most of the day was spent getting this beast up and running. I'll get some more pictures of this thing on my next visit, since it wasn't finished until we were getting ready to leave. Once it's fully tuned, it's going to be an absolute beast though. I'd highly recommend one of these to anyone getting into RWD, this is a very well balance chassis, and just had so much grip when we were playing around with it after Afro gave it a quick base tune.

I didn't spend very much time taking pictures during this visit, as most of the time was just spent driving, so here are a couple pics that Ryan took of our tandems, and a few hard parked pics I took while everyone was taking a break... sorry for the lack of coverage, but driving was so much fun I all but forgot about taking pictures!

Overall I had a blast at the track, and highly recommend this place to anyone in or around the area looking for a spot to drift. I assure you it's worth the drive. The owner is very passionate about his track, as well as the hobby, and is overall just a super rad dude, with a great sense of humor. I totally get why him and Afro get along so well. The environment is super chill and laid back as well. I can't say enough good things about Jay and Ryan, and what they are doing for the hobby in their area. I hope the locals keep hitting up the track and showing their support for Kong RC, they put a lot of time and effort into making this place an enjoyable spot to hang out, make new friends, and just drift. I know I'll be trying to make a visit or two a month to show my support from north of the border! Thank you for all your hospitality during our day trip Kong RC! Hope to see you guys again around FD!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Rear Weight Bias Chassis

I'll be the first to admit, I was not a believer of rear weight bias RWD setups. I didn't like the idea of them. I didn't think that the performance gains over a conventional setup would be great enough to warrant the switch. I firmly believed that whatever a rear weight biased setup could do, I could tune a conventional setup to do. Afro has been running a diffuser mounted battery for about a year and a half now, maybe longer, I can't remember, but he slowly started converting members to start running their batters on their diffusers as well ever since. I was stubborn though. I didn't want to conform, and so I continued tuning my conventional setup to keep up with them. Slowly I started falling behind, no matter how well I drove, I was slower. So, during the process of building my second Doripake, I figured I may as well build it using a diffuser mounted battery, and see what all the hype was about...

It wasn't until I ran my newly finished Doripake that it clicked. This is quite possibly the ultimate setup when it comes to sheer performance, at least for our driving style and for our track layout. It was a pipe dream trying to tune my convention setup Doripake to keep up with this new breed of animal. I was like a pre-historic dinosaur in comparison, and I'm not putting that lightly... the level of performance you can gain out of your car by running a rear mounted battery on a RWD chassis is insane. At least at our track.

My initial opinions about rear weight setups was that it was going to have way too much understeer, that the rear end would snap way too hard, that it would have bad stability, and that it would be hard to catch the rear. I started out with a few tuning sessions in my driveway, about 30 minutes total, and quickly realized that everything I thought about a rear weight bias setup was wrong. I quickly came to the conclusion that I 'have' to try my car out at our local track, and get a real feel for just how good this chassis is in comparison to my other chassis. I already knew it was going to be better... but just how much better?

My rear weight bias chassis has minimal amounts of understeer, and while I admit that there is a little bit of understeer, being aggressive on the throttle makes it nearly non existent. The rear end is also firmly planted. The amount of rear end grip available while drifting is insane. You can throw your car into corners as hard as you like, and it feels like the tail will never come past the front end. I can't even begin to express how aggressive you can be with a rear weight bias setup, it's just crazy to me. You can put the pedal to the metal around most of the track, lifting occasionally to control your line, all while still maintaining the ability to run the walls. Even if I got it wrong, and was too aggressive, I could typically let off the throttle and the rear end would come back into line instead of going past the front end, allowing me to continue on drifting, laying into the power as went along.

So, basically what I learned during my visit to the track is that no matter how much I tuned my conventional setup, I was going to need to add weight to the rear diffuser in order to make it compete with this new breed of animal. Adding a ton of extra weights to a chassis is something I'm just not a fan of, but there's just no way around it, a rear weight bias chassis just offers so much grip and stability in comparison. In the exact same situation if I am pushing the absolute limits of my chassis running a conventional layout, my rear weight bias chassis is in a very comfortable zone, with performance to spare. What I've been getting at this whole time is that the rear weight bias layout currently reigns supreme in every way possible at our track, where we run a style very similar to Formula Drift. More power, more speed, more angle.

This setup might not work out as well for you as it did for me, but I firmly believe that if you're after absolute performance with your RWD chassis, a rear weight bias chassis is the way to go. I'll be going over some of my actual setup now, as I want to benchmark it, but keep in mind that what works for me isn't necessarily going to work for you. This is more so for me to be able to look back and see what my settings were, as I continue trying to develop my tune. Track surface, track style, driving style, there are just so many variables that come into play when tuning a chassis, but if you can walk away some points that help you out with your own rear weight bias setup, that's great. My setup has worked for me on asphalt, and a very slippery tile surface (very similar to polished concrete) so far. Now, let's get into the setup...

Tires: HPI Racing A-Drift
Offset: 7mm - Effective 8mm using MST brake disk wheel hubs.
Camber: -13*
Toe: 0*-0.5* (approximately)
Caster: 12* (approximately)
Ride Height: 7.5mm
Spring: Mikuni 34mm Medium Hard (PINK)
Bumper Weight: Overdose Bumper Support + 10g weights on lower wide position body post holes
Dampers: Yokomo BD7 Damper Set
Damper Piston: Yokomo 3 Hole 1.1mm Tapered Pistons
Shock Oil: 20wt Team Associated
Upper Shock Position: Lower Row, Second from the Outside
Lower Shock Position: 2nd Inner Most (WUN Type-3 Y-Arms)
Diff: 50g Weight in Front Diff Case
Other: When running a flat front tire setup, make sure at full lock, the lead wheel sits flat.

Tires: HPI Racing T-Drift
Offset: 3mm - Effective 4mm using MST brake disk wheel hubs
Camber: 0*
Toe: 0*
Ride Height: 6.5mm
Spring: Mikuni 34mm Soft (BLUE)
Dampers: Yokomo BD7 Damper Set
Damper Piston: Yokomo 3 Hole 1.1mm Tapered Pistons
Shock Oil: 10wt Team Associated
Upper Shock Position: Lower Row, Second from the Inside
Lower Shock Position: Second Outter Most Position (Vacula Suspension Arm Set)
Diff: Yokomo Solid Spool + Stock Plastic Gear Set
Other: Oversliders Rear Full Size Lipo Mount

Drive Train:
Spur: 78t 48p
Pinion: 25t 48p
Final Drive Ratio: 7.5
Other: N/A

If you have anything you'd like to add, questions, or if you want to share your thoughts on your own attempts at building a rear weight bias chassis, feel free to leave a comment.