SPC-UK/HPI Formula Ten Challenge UK Round 1

Wed, 31st March 2010

The first round of the Super Production Cup has taken place, with the first-ever HPI Formula Ten Challenge! Two heats of Formula Ten drivers competed with nearly-stock cars, using a minimum of options including the HPI Saturn 20T motor, oil-filled dampers and Bridgestone Potenza rubber tyres. Even RRCI's own Dez Chand earned a podium spot in the A Final!

Read the full race report on the Radio Race Car website! Join the HPI Formula Ten Challenge at the next round, check out the official SPC-UK web page here and sign up! Check out this excellent on-board video from the Formula Ten!

Read on for a report from the racer's perspective: Arriving at 8am for booking in, 56 racers turned up at Melbourne near Donnington in the UK Midlands for the first event in the HPI-sponsored Super Production Cup Series. This was the first major series event at the new purpose-built Ardent Raceway, which features a 30m x 16m track with organised pitting, race control, catering, shop and children's play area open 6 days a week, and is set to give a big boost to RC cars in the UK! The Super Production Cup for 2010 has grown from the 2008/9 Tamiya Series and is now sponsored by HPI, Much More & Comet RC; it aims to cater for club racers with several control classes of racing at 8 events from the Midlands to South of the UK. Control classes allow reduced cost racing and with even speeds and easy to drive strong cars makes for competitive and fun racing where skills such as racing lines, overtaking and consistent driving can be put to good use or learnt depending on your ability! For 2010 the new class of F1 cars, sponsored by HPI, attracted the bulk of the entries with 13 cars in the restricted HPI Formula Ten class and 19 cars in the Open class, allowing Tamiya & 3-Racing cars to add to the spectacle. Basic rules meant all cars had to run HPI Saturn 20T brushed motors and rubber tyres. For overall coverage of the event see Radio Race Car editor Dez Chand’s web report, plus his cool on-board camera footage from a Formula Ten car on YouTube! From a personal point of view and representing HPI at this first race in the F10 class was Robin Davison from the Products Department:- Typical of many club racers I race no more than once per week at our local Derby Club with its usual mix of car types & driver abilities. For me the F10 challenge allows me to visit other venues and hopefully race closely wheel to wheel against similar cars in the friendly atmosphere of fellow hobbyists. Its ideal for father & son day out or an opportunity to race an interesting true scale car being a F1 & motorsport fan myself. Being the first event of the series I did not really know what to expect in terms of competition or performance, testing of the F10 in standard kit build running soft Bridgestone HPI race tyres had shown it to be fun to drive and surprisingly fast. We had naturally tried out a few allowable tuning tweeks to help improve things but really driving ability makes the most difference to lap times. Sharing this experience with the rest of the field to help everyone achieve fair & even racing was the main objective, if I could do well overall then that's a bonus. Tuning for the F10 is purposely restricted but here are a few tips & tweaks we have tried: - Using the soft Bridgestone tyres is a must to get grip for our UK low temperature tracks. Treat these with standard tyre additive for rubber tyres across the full width of the rear tyres initially and none on the front, once tyres have scrubbed in adding additive to the front inside ¼ then half or more will increase steering. Beware as on high grip tracks too much front grip causes grip roll unless smooth steering inputs are used. - Fitting bearings to the front axle and differential helps reduce friction and free play. - Adding the oil filled damper shock calms car down slightly with throttle or brake changes although not strictly necessary as eventual F10 winner did not use one. - Removing the spacer washers under the front upper inboard wishbone end helps a small amount of steering. - For smooth tracks running lowest ride height spacer gives 5mm ground clearance - Front kits springs 0.4mm thick can be replaced with 61699 Hot Bodies spring 0.55mm thick which help steering turn on high grip tracks. - Adding 20g of lead under the chassis front between the wheels adds grip & steering in long fast corners. - Check the motor tightness regularly because initially the plastic mount can compress and allow the motor to move in a crash. - In high grip conditions fitting 2mm spacers between the wheel & hex adaptor on the front helps to reduce grip roll and smooths out the steering response at high speed. Fitting spacers on the rear axle next to the pod bearings helps further if necessary. - Use kit gearing for Saturn 20T motor with 17T pinion & 87T spur, gearing up to 17/75 is no faster and not as kind on the motor. As for the race round 1 of qualifying placed me third with 17 laps and a best of 17.09 seconds which was my best 5 minute run so far, fastest with 18 laps & 16.67 seconds was Chris Clarke running a completely standard car except for 2mm spacers on front wheels to increase track width. For round 2 I added additive to to inside third of the front tyres and improved to 18 laps and 16.29 putting me second again behind Chris now on 19 laps & 15.64. For round 3 up to 2/3 additive on the fronts managed 19 laps and 15.77 but alas Chris now managed 20 laps and 15.26 which was to be the best run for both of us on the day with Andrew Clarke less than 1 second behind me in third place. At this speed Chris was faster than the Open Class Tamiya & 3Racing cars and I would have placed 4th overall. Round 4 saw me set off late after going to the line with no Crystal which was in my other car, not very clever but luckily the other leaders did not improve Final 1, something of a novelty for me to line up to start especially in an A-Final and second. These can be a bit of a first lap lottery and although Chris & I got away cleanly Andrew and the others were held up so that 6th place Stan Chodzzynski jumped to 3rd and hounded me to lap 8 when the pressure got too much & I ran wide letting him slip into second, on lap 16 I managed to take second again only to grip roll on the last corner at the end of the last lap and let Stan back through to beat me by 1.2 seconds. Magnificent, exciting and exactly what even stock class racing is all about! Final 2, Chris had a slow start and I held back so as not to crash only to be engulfed by cars behind coming out 6th, fighting back to 5th we were just to even to gain any significant time back with the top 8 cars excluding Chris all lapping within 0.7 seconds per lap of each other. Overall it was an enjoyable day out placed 4th overall, the car was easier to drive without crashes than the touring cars or 1/12 scale I usually race allowed me to concentrate on lines & overtaking. I for one will be looking forwards to remaining events outdoors at some of the main UK race track venues.

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