Interview: TITC F1 winner 2012
12 April 2013
How does it feel to win F1 at TITC, the largest electric on road event in our region, against a class field including former Modified World Touring Car Champion Andy Moore? We interview Ed Clark to find out.
Unfortunately Ed wasn't able to return to TITC in 2013 to defend his 2012 title. We caught up with Ed to find out about his 2012 win:
RC Formula1: How long have you been racing RC cars and when did you first race F1?
Ed Clark: I started racing RC cars back when I was 15, so over 15 years now! F1, I actually only picked it up to race just over a year ago to compete in the Super GP1 series in Shanghai.
RCF1: What are the highlights of your racing career so far?
EC: By far the biggest highlight of my racing career was winning the F1 class at the 2012 TITC. 20 minute final, tyre changes (performed by some ace pitmen!), and with Andy Moore and Hideo Kitazawa in the field, I think that’s a result I’ll never better! Second on the list would be making the A-final in the Pro-stock class in 2009 BRCA series at Cotswolds, even coming close to leading a leg from tenth on the grid thanks to cunning tyre strategy. After that would be winning the 13.5 class of Carpet Wars back in 2008, my first championship.
RCF1: What was your first F1 car?
EC: First F1 car was a Tamiya F104 X1, and it now resides in a glass box as it was the victorious weapon of choice at the TITC.
RCF1: What do you like most about racing F1?
EC: Personally, I just think the cars look great going round the track. And when you get them right, they can be a real hoot to drive. Very rarely do I come off the rostrum without a smile on my face having driven one… and that’s the whole point of the class.
RCF1: What brands of equipment do you use on your F1?
EC: Speedo: HW Extreme stock
Motor: Trinity D3.5
Radio: Sanwa Super Exzes+ X (Pommy stick user!) and RX-451R
Battery: Intellect 4400mah Shorty LiPo
Servo: Savox 1251MG
Optional parts: R-Sector LiPo top-deck and wide track kit
RCF1: Are there any hopups or mods that you feel are essential / highly recommended?
EC: One of the biggest things for an F1 is to get the diff right. Replacing the bearing in the diff with a proper one-piece thrust race (Tamiya part# 53136), packed full of AE Stealth grease helps massively. Also, using ceramic diff balls, and lightly sanding the diff rings with some 600 grit wet & dry sandpaper is a good thing to do for a super smooth and long lasting diff.
From a durability standard point, I much prefer using 3 Racing T-bars for the 104’s, as the Tamiya ones are susceptible to cracking on the cut outs. A 1.3mm is a good bet for a starting point, with the centre screw backed out 2 half turns.
I also use the R-Sector wide track kit, this seems to really help the stability of the car in lower traction, and give more corner speed.
RCF1: How do you prepare your car before an event?
EC: Quite simply, it’ll give it a full strip down, with every part inspected, and replaced if needed. If it’s a really important race I’ll replace parts as a matter of course (usually plastics) even if they don’t appear to need it. Then I’ll steadily re-build the car, making sure everything is free but not loose, with the correct range of movement. This is especially important on a pod car, where any snags or tightness can really affect the handling. I also always check the car with the body on and full electrics installed, as even a wire snagging on the shell can have a negative effect.
RCF1: Which team or driver do you support in full scale F1 and how do you rate their chances in 2013?
EC: Has to be McLaren really, as I’m a Button fan. He may not be the ultimate fastest driver, but he knows how to control his pace and play the long game. Nice chap too!
RCF1: How do you start making set-up changes when you are at the track? What settings do you change first and what settings makes the biggest difference for you to get a good result?
EC: Given most events these days are controlled tyres (a good thing in my opinion as it removes another variable), I’ll start out with a base setup from previous experience, and then work from there. Normally I’ll try and come to the track with a plan (my infamous ‘list’ of settings) to work through, but depending on how the car responds this can change. Thankfully with F1’s there are limited set-up options, but normally I’ll look to front camber, front spring, roll damper oil, and T-bar screw as major changes. If the traction is really low, then I’ll also start to play with weight as well, adding to the rear to gain traction if needed.
The roll damper was a change I was playing a lot with at the 2012 AARCMCC Nats F1 demo class, using it to tune the car to the conditions.
Below - Ed at the 2012 Nationals
RCF1: What tyres do you prefer and do you use traction additive? If so how do you use it?
EC: Currently, I’m really liking the Ride R1’s. They give an "understeery" nature to the cars, which can make it easier to be consistent lap after lap. They also last a long time too.
Additive wise, I use Tyre Tweak, with a pretty simple procedure of clean the tyre with brake cleaner, then whack on the additive, full width front and rear on the Ride’s for about 20 minutes (if there’s time!). Then clean off before the run, and this is the important bit, get quite a few warm-up laps in. The Ride front’s take a little time to get up to temperature, so giving them some laps before the start of the race will get them in the zone, and stop it being an understeer monkey for the first few laps!
RCF1: Please explain your driving style and what suggestions would you make to less experienced drivers?
EC: I always hate this question, as I find it really difficult to describe, but I suppose I always try and be smooth and consistent, and for whatever reason it seems like my style suits F1’s! The thing to remember with an F1 is throttle control, and using it to help steer the car. Chucking the car at the corner tends not to work, being smooth in also helps to be smooth out, and keep the corner speed up. You’ve only got two driven wheels, so mashing the throttle isn’t an option to make up lost time, as going sideways isn’t going forwards. If you’re struggling in this aspect, don’t be afraid to turn down the speedo settings and/or add some throttle expo to the radio to help.
Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask advice, if the car is hard to drive, get a local fast gun to drive it and check it over, could be something simple that’s been missed in the setup.
RCF1: Australia is enjoying renewed interest in RC F1.What would you recommend we consider in order to best grow the class here?
EC: Keep going as we have been! Realisticly, F1 will never be the ‘main’ class like touring cars, so keeping that in mind, setting up rules that are simple, easy to follow, and produce good fun racing should be the priority. I do firmly believe that rubber tyres, and blinky speedo’s are a must in this regard. Rubber’s do (to an extent) negate the width issue, and no one wants to be spending more time on a second class than their main one.
RCF1: What do you think the highlight of 2012 was for RC F1?
EC: Can I say TITC? The general growth of F1 worldwide has been pretty good, with UF1, RC Formula1 here, Super GP1, and so on… plus plenty of manufacturers making new cars show that the class is growing nicely.
RCF1: What are you most looking forward to in 2013 for RC F1?
EC: More of the same! Good, fun, enjoyable racing. Unfortunately can’t make TITC this year to defend my title, but plenty of local racing to keep me amused!
RCF1: What is your normal day job?
EC: I’m production co-ordinator for a composite component manufacturer, mainly making carbon fibre parts for different industries.
RCF1: Do you have any sponsors or people that have been key to your racing career that you’d like to thank?
EC: Salton and Angelo at Hobbywing have been good and supportive to me, along with Chris Delves back at Horizon Hobby in the UK. Obviously should thank Antoni Caretti and Craig McPhee, the ace pitmen!
And generally anyone else who puts up with my ramblings, and very poor jokes!
RCF1: If there's anything else you'd like to say that you think our readers might be interested in please feel free.
EC: Whenever you’re having a bad day, remember it’s only toy car racing for bowling trophies! Have fun, and here’s to a good 2013!
RCF1: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Ed.
Published in Racing Lines magazine April 2013 #199 pg 34-35