25 November 2004

Battered, bruised, but for once unbeaten

After a year since its first visit to the racetrack, my BMW Mini has finally won a race, although as the driver I guess I can take some credit. About 20 race meetings have taken a toll on the bodywork as you can see, but she's (why are cars female anyway?) running pretty sweetly with a tendency to nice controllable oversteer.

Mini top view

Mini front end
And lest anyone doubt it, perhaps having heard of or witnessed my somewhat 'percussive' style of driving, here's the evidence, as photographed by my friend and roving correspondent David.

If you've read this far you might actually be interested, so let me tell you a little about the car. It's a Tamiya 1/10 scale front wheel drive BMW Mini, which comes in a kit costing about $330 Australian (around $25o US at the moment), but that's with the clunky mechanical speed control. First mandatory upgrades are metal ball bearing races to replace the plastic ones in the kit, then an electronic speed control (mine's made by GM and costs about A$100).

In a stock racing category, you are only allowed a limited selection of approved upgrades (called hop-ups) before you're non-stock. My hop-ups include aluminium front uprights, toe-in rear uprights, oil-filled shocks with short springs, and an upgraded servo saver. Tyres are presently HPI belted radials on the rear, next-to-no-name brand sponges on the front, and racing pack is a GM-VIS 2400 mAh NiCd, with a 3000 mAh NiMh for practice and backup. Controller is a Sanwa Blazer AM pistol grip, with Sanwa servos.

The car is pretty quick even though the tyres I am running are a little smaller in diameter than the stock tyres run by some of my competitors. My guess is it will push about 40 km/h. The only real problem is that my driving is, er, how do I put this without insulting myself, utter crap, though it is improving. And that applies to my 1/10 scale car as well.Go to eebahgum!

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