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MEET THE MEMBERS OF SCI....Dr.Vanski

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  • MEET THE MEMBERS OF SCI....Dr.Vanski

    Dr. VANSKI, COME ON DOWN!!!! Van has been a very active member of SCI since I joined just over one year ago. His "MARTINI" liveried Monte Carlo graces the cover of the SCI 2008 Calendar. That particular car is loaded with sarcasm if you know where to look.

    So here goes Van:

    1) WIll you repost a picture of the car I mentioned above and tell us EVERYTHING about it including make of car, what inspired you to paint the car this way and give hints as to the jokes on the car itself?

    3) What was the first 1/32 set and cars that you bought? What made you interested in this particular set and cars?

    4) There are so many facets to slot cars, from racing to making your own cars. What is the biggest challenge to you personally?

    5) If you could meet a driver from any series whom you may not have met yet, who would you want to sit and chat with?

    6) Wood or Plastic? Mag or non-mag? Digital or analog? And why to each of these short questions.

    Good luck Van!

    KIITS,
    Lawrence

  • #2
    Since You Asked...

    Hi guys,

    Lawrence asked me to start of with a biographical sketch, so here goes:

    I graduated from Ryerson Polytechnical University in 1990 with a major in film/computer graphics. From there I got into the television industry working as a video tape editor. After a few years I was having a lot of trouble with my wrists (freakin’ one button Macs!) so I started looking for work that didn’t have me sitting at a computer all day.

    I found work with a visual effects company here in Toronto at first as a coordinator, then as a VFX director. I had the good fortune to work with some great people in the VFX industry which lead to two Emmy nominations and a Gemini nomination for the work we did. Nothing like firing a Champagne cork out the sunroof of a limo on somebody elses nickel! The triple whammy of 9/11, SARS, and Mad Cow disease killed off most of the MOW (Movie Of the Week) and TV Miniseries work that was coming to Toronto which was also the source of my VFX projects, so I got back into editing.

    Initially I worked for Discovery editing documentaries and features for their daily science show. You can see a rough cut for a piece I worked on for a show called ‘Megaworld Germany’ about Hermann Tilke the grand prix track designer on YouTube.

    [youtube]GoOYpYhd03w[/youtube]

    By the way, I have my own YouTube Channel called DVTV. Lots there for slot and 1:1 racing fans.

    I worked for over a year editing on-air promos for Comedy Network. After editing the opening for our Fall Launch last Spring I was recruited to work for the parent company, CTV. These days I work in the promotions department as an AVID editor cutting on on-air promos for shows that air on our network.

    I got into motorsports at a young age. My step-dad subscribed to Autoweek (it was a tabloid back then) and always brought home Road & Track. The first car I remember him driving was a Porsche 912 that he later upgraded himself with a 911S motor. I’d read everything car related I could get my hands on from cover to cover. We’d go on family trips to Mosport, and the first big race I saw was Sebring ’76. I had the good fortune to see the Chamionship of Makes 6 hour enduro at Watkins Glen the following year with him. Good times. My step-dad was also a driving instructor for the PCA (Porsche Club of America) so I’ve had the good fortune to be a passenger for a few hot laps around Mosport as well. I try to make it out to the ALMS race at Mosport every year, and have probably been to most of the Toronto Indy races. I’ve been to the Rolex 24 four times, the USGP at Indy in 2004, and the Canadian GP in Montreal several times.

    1. WIll you repost a picture of the car I mentioned above and tell us EVERYTHING about it including make of car, what inspired you to paint the car this way and give hints as to the jokes on the car itself?

    You sure like this car, don’t you Lawrence?





    Did you notice it hangs upside-down on the SCI calendar? I'm still happy to make the cover though - especially considering the competition!

    When I first heard about Bruce’s (Da Vols) Forums Cup I thought to myself “this is a race I have to enter”. I’m not a huge fan of NASCAR (though this may change next year depending on whether or not the involvement of Jacques Villeneuve can sustain my interest) and thought it would be fun to introduce European sponsors to an ostensibly American series. Bruce has been a big supporter of the Canadian Proxy Race and other projects I’ve undertaken, so I felt obliged to support his Rounder Pounder series.

    The selection of the Martini livery is a joke that functions on a few different levels (for me at least): typical classic endurance racing/Euro manufacturer (Porsche, Lancia) sponsor for an American team/series. Also, since NASCARS don’t have headlights, I thought the Cibie sponsorship was apropos, plus they were on the decal sheet I reworked for the car (Pattos 936 decal sheet). Since the Monte Carlo is normally aspirated, I left the KKK Turbolader sponsorship decals off the car. Besides, I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea…

    The car is a used Scalextric Monte Carlo I purchased from the Buy/Sell/Trade forum here on SCI without a motor or guide. Perfect for this project really since those are the items I would have swapped out anyhow. I used a Slot.it SICH10 guide and 21.5k motor. I retained the stock rear axle, wheels, tires, and spur gear. The only thing ‘trick’ about the car is my attempt at creating a poor man’s differential. Basically, I filed the inboard wheel smooth, sanded out the inside of the tire, and by using a dry lubricant tried to tune how much the inside tire would slip on the wheel. I thought this might be an advantage on the all left turn series the car was to be entered into. The jury is still out on that count. I’ll see if the diff even works still once I get that car back. The other rear tire was glued to it’s trued up rim, and trued once mounted. I shimmed the front axle for lateral play, and used the super glue trick on the rear bushings. Otherwise the car retains the stock interior which underwent some judicious filing and sanding to allow sufficient body float as well as shave away unneeded gram up high in the car. Sorry but I don’t have any photos of the inside of the car.

    2. There is no question two. WTF? Is this a trick non-question?

    3. What was the first 1/32 set and cars that you bought? What made you interested in this particular set and cars?

    The first set I got was the Scalextric Sport set with the GT40 cars. What got me interested in the set was a phone call from a friend of mine. I was laid up at home at the time. I had broken both bones in my left leg training for a mountain bike race so I spent about six weeks on the sofa until I could put some weight on that leg. A buddy called me from trackside at the Molson Indy in telling me about a vendor who had some Scalextric slot car sets for sale. By his reasoning if we bought two sets we could hook them up together to have one massive track and do some racing. Seemed like a good idea at the time - I'll blame the Percocet. By the time he went back the vendor had sold all of his stock so I ended up buying a set on ePay from Kerry Vanderz. I also bought my first RTR car which was the SCX Audi Crocodile. I travelled up to Raceworld once I was mobile again to purchase more track, and ended up coming home with a Scalextric MG Lola and Mustang as well as a GB Track Chevron. The Mustang and Chevron were each for a series Raceworld had going on then which is how I got involved with organized slot car racing.

    Getting back to Lawrence’ question: the appeal of the set cars was a big draw for me. Aside from the Porsche 917, the GT40 is an archetypal endurance racing prototype in my mind. The fact that the cars are lit was a draw as well. When I got that first set box out of it’s shipping box, I noticed how beautiful the artwork was on the lid of the box, and once I had the lid off, how incredibly beautiful and detailed the set cars were. WOW! They ran like a dream straight out of the box, too. Two for Scalextric. (****ed Percocet!)

    4. There are so many facets to slot cars, from racing to making your own cars. What is the biggest challenge to you personally?

    The biggest challenge is track testing. My wife and I live in a very small 1 bedroom apartment – less than 600 s.f. so setting up a track takes over a good part of our living dining room when ever I do that. Raceworld is about a forty minute drive from where I live. I did help local automobilia store Mini Grid set up their track but I don’t want to abuse their hospitality. I try to prepare as many things as I can on a race car working away at the dining room table. Track time is the ultimate determining factor though – and the best way to sort a car. This will change when we move into our 2 bedroom plus den condo (hopefully) next June. I’ll have the spare bedroom to set up my studio which will allow me to leave a track up on an ongoing basis. This will be great for testing and tuning. What not having a track has taught me is that there are a lot of basic things that can be done ahead of time that help the performance of any car. Also, patience is a virtue.

    Ultimately, guys who have their own tracks set up have better tuned cars and more time to practice. It's the track time that my trigger finger needs if I'm going to move up in the standings against some of the guys that I race with. When driving I work on my consistency. Coming off less even with a slower car helps me pass a few guys in the standings. Likewise for having a reliable car. In a team enduro this past year at ACE my good buddy Triggerhappy and I were able to make up a few places thanks to his hot laps and a very reliable Scaleauto Toyota that I had prepared for us.

    5. If you could meet a driver from any series whom you may not have met yet, who would you want to sit and chat with?

    I’d probably want to meet Michael Keyser. The Speed Merchants is probably the best documentary there is about endurance racing from the Golden Era of motorports. With the running of the last Targa Florio in 1973 there were no more true road races left. His film and book really allow the viewer to get under the skin of some of the great drivers of the time. I’d like to ask Mr. Keyser about what prompted him to write the book and make the movie. I’d also like to ask him about some of the technical aspects and creative choices that he made in the book and film.

    6. Wood or Plastic?

    Wood is good - plastic is fantastic. Both have their advantages. Some of the guys I race with thumb their noses at plastic complaining about the bumpiness associated with it. In the real world, not every track is perfectly smooth or dust free. Also, plastic is great for those with commitment issues (like me). If the track has decent power, good controllers, and is a fun layout with good competition and cold beer then it’s all good.

    Mag or non-mag?

    Non-mag, please. My good buddy Eric aka Reckless Racer and I had a day of reckoning after hosting our first RAA two years ago. We both agreed that racing mag cars was boring, and only led to damaging the cars in high speed shunts. I appreciate the value of mag racing to get new people interested in the hobby. Once people are into it though, I’d highly recommend getting rid of the magnets, slowing down, and having way more fun actually driving the cars.

    Digital or analog?

    In answer to the question, I definitely prefer analog but to be fair I haven’t had the chance to try the different digital systems out fully. I’ve tried Pro-X digital and wasn’t really impressed. The throttle response seemed ‘mushy’ to me for lack of a better term. I’d like to try SSD but from what I’ve read it seems like Scalextric rushed that product to market before it was ready. I'd hate to have to support his product at a retail level. The aftermarket mods that hobbyists have developed are mind boggling but indicate to me that the product wasn’t fully developed prior to release. Shame on Scalextric for turning their customers into guinea pigs as well as into their R&D department. NINCO looks like they have done a better job of it. At least the cars are more easily chipped for N-Digital. I doubt the dead strips are much hassle for non-mag racers (which NINCO's cars are excellent for). Carrera's new D132 looks like it has some promise. Those French guys racing DAVIC on their LeMans track have it going on! That's something I'd sure like to try!

    Ultimately, the cost of chipping my entire fleet of race cars is not worth going digital to me. I’d rather buy more cars than more chips as any guys in the Buy/Sell/Trade forum will tell you. Racing Analogue (as someone posted earlier today, we need a better name for this) is still loads of fun for me so if it ain't broke...

    But that’s just me.

    Van

    Comment


    • #3
      Shoot! Now when we meet for lunch I'll need to ask you for your autograph!

      Randy

      Comment


      • #4
        I've been following the good Dr.'s exploits ever since I found this place a couple of years ago. I've spent hours glaring at his various track designs...prolific he be. I remember seeing a picture of the extended GT40 set on his wood floors and thinking that is the largest figure 8 I've ever seen. I have to have that. He's been instrumental in my toy track & car developement...or lack there of.

        I've also had the pleasure of meeting Vanski in real time...he's a goodun but enough about him.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Van. I just miscounted the # of questions. Great answers too and very insightful, but now another question from ME:

          You have to pick 1 car from your fleet and tune it for a world championship race that has the same 4 classes of cars as the RAAce 2008. Which car would you pick and why?

          KIITS,
          Lawrence

          Comment


          • #6
            "Analogue" indeed should be replaced - perhaps "heritage" track...

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rolltidevet View Post
              ...You have to pick 1 car from your fleet and tune it for a world championship race that has the same 4 classes of cars as the RAAce 2008. Which car would you pick and why?...
              First, let's narrow it down to a class choice. LMP1 most closely parallels a class I already race in. LMPM and GT1 & 2 are developmental dead ends for me in this regard since the rules do not relate to any series that I currently race in and I wouldn't have a lot of cars to choose from.

              I'd pick my Scaleauto Toyota GT ONE to compete in your hypothetical LMP1 championship. I'm running with a ProSlot body on the SclaeAuto chassis so that deals with the 'no vacform interior' rule. The Scaleauto chassis has everything a racer could want in terms of features: it's light, has adjustable front axle ride height, a braced long can motor pod, lots of room for lead placement, and set screw wheels. I'd probably go with Slot.it brass boss gears and Ortmann old-formulation tires.

              Is that what I'll race in LMP1 next year? Nope.

              Comment


              • #8
                Cool.

                You have an awesome job Dr. V.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Nice job, Dr. V, and I love this quote, especially after hearing about your childhood.

                  "In the real world, not every track is perfectly smooth"

                  Least of which, Mosport!?!?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    And yes Van! I really love that Monte Carlo because it IS so radically different. And the humor you put into it is terrific.

                    KIITS,
                    Lawrence

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PeteN95 View Post
                      Nice job, Dr. V, and I love this quote, especially after hearing about your childhood.

                      "In the real world, not every track is perfectly smooth"

                      Least of which, Mosport!?!?
                      Least of which, indeed! I was at a race there in '77 (I think) - either Trans Am or Camel GT. We were sitting on the grandstands at the top of the hill that the Andretti 'straight' runs up across from the dreaded 'hump'. What blew me away at the time aside from the three foot long flames the 935s blew out the exhaust upon downshifting, was the little 'chirp' that followed the fastest cars as soon as they hit the braking zone going into the corner 8-9-10 esses. These cars were catching air in their run up the hill - and then touching down going into the braking zone while belching flames out the back - awesome! Fortunately the hump has been ground down after a failed attempt to install a styrofoam chicane there. I say fortunately because if that weren't done, we wouldn't be seeing the awesome ALMS cars there now.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Pleased to meet you...

                        Van, it was a pleasure to read what you wrote about yourself. Nice to fill in some of the human being behind the avatar. The weird thing is, we seem to have more in common than just a slot car hobby and an approach to it -- Porsches, PCA, Mosport and "the business". Though I guess I've got some years on you.

                        Keep up the good work. Hope our paths cross at a track someday soon.

                        Old23

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Look out Old23!!! You may be "MEET THE MEMBERS OF SCI......Vol.6!!!!! In fact, you will be #6.

                          This has been a really fun part of the forums for me. So far, Alan Smith (Scaleracing), PeteN95, DaveKennedy, myself (RollTideVet), and Dr. Vanski have been on the hot seat. I don't know about ya'll, but this has really been fun getting to know our members better.
                          And please don't hesitate to ask these guys questions.

                          Dr. Vanski has nearly 6000 posts. That may be more than Alan himself. Van is an integral part of SCI. What some of you don't see is that he helps the mods/admins patrol the board against spam assassins. This helps to keep our site uncluttered with junk which would slow it down. Thanks Dr. V!!!!!

                          Another question Van: Do you have any experience in 1/1 racing? And if so, what was your level of involvement. AND, IF NOT, what would be your dream to be involved with 1/1 racing?

                          KIITS,
                          Lawrence

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rolltidevet View Post

                            . . . Dr. Vanski has nearly 6000 posts. . . .

                            KIITS,
                            Lawrence
                            5,200 is nearly 6000? You can count my laps anytime, but stay away from my lap times!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dr vanski View Post
                              It's the track time that my trigger finger needs if I'm going to move up in the standings against some of the guys that I race with. When driving I work on my consistency. Coming off less even with a slower car helps me pass a few guys in the standings.
                              Seems to me you might be underestimating your ability a bit, or maybe just modesty, but you seemed to be getting around that tri-oval in Daytona pretty darn quickly!

                              One question that should probably be added to all the "Meet the Members" posts, how did you acquire your moniker? Sometimes, there's a good story lurking behind a screen name. What's yours, Van?

                              Comment

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