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Sidewinder versus Inline; the Great Debate Continues!

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  • Sidewinder versus Inline; the Great Debate Continues!

    In every conceivable test I have performed on my track, or laboratory as it has been called, the C1/Prototype inline has always been marginally faster than the sidewinder, no matter which Slot it car I would use.

    Using an identically setup sidewinder/inline Slot it C9, I tested 9 different brands and compositions of tires, on five different paint surfaces.

    The paint surfaces ranged from Rust-Oleum Textured, Chalk Board, and three different textures of Latex paint.

    In every one of these tests using this C9, the inline setup was always marginally faster.

    Proponents for the use of a sidewinder have never offered anything but their opinion, not a single measured test result or a measured race result to back up their belief.

    Their misconception about the inline torque effects on the handling of a road race car, have been disproved numerous times.

    My opinion about this debate.

    The only difference between two identically prepared cars, one a sidewinder, the other an inline, is their weight bias.

    But the advocates for the sidewinder say, these are just tests, letís see what happens in a real race.

    In the 2009 Slot it shoot out, the two fastest cars in the first two races, were equally prepared cars, one a sidewinder, the other an inline.

    The only difference between the two cars, other than the motor mounting configuration, the sidewinder was 5 grams lighter, but 3 grams heavier on the rear tires.

    At the first race on a plastic track, this inline car was equal to, or faster than all of the sidewinders entered in the race.

    In the second race, the two fastest cars were a sidewinder and an inline.

    In all of the handling aspects of this race, the inline was marginally faster.

    On the skid pad 2.02 to 1.67Gs; and on the race track, 6.549 to 6.646 seconds qualifying, 6.578 to 6.626 seconds fastest race lap.

    And finally, 6.656 to 6.720 seconds average lap time for the entire 8 minute race.

    In every aspect of the second race, the inline was marginally faster.

    My opinion about the actual difference between the inline and sidewinder.

    Of all the cars I drove in the 2009 Shootout, the sidewinder had a slight tendency to over-steer in the transition from full brakes to constant power in the turns.

    This slight tendency to over-steer, probably cost less then a tenth of a second a lap.

    I believe this slight tendency to over-steer was caused by the weight bias of the sidewinder.

    Dave

  • #2
    Intresting topic. I 'am currently painting a Slot.it Sauber C9 white kit and will try a sidewinder setup in it. I have Slot.it Sauber C9 inline and want to compare them on my routed track.

    Comment


    • #3
      In building cars for numerous proxy races and club races, I have built both inline and sidewinder chassis Slot.it cars. In all occasions, my sidewinders have been quicker both on the skid pad and on the track. Just recently I built an inline Slot.it 956 for NHDungeondweller. Using 1408 Super Tires, this car ran an average of .880 on my skid pad while my sidewinder 956 with the same size Super Tires runs .840. The quickest car on my skid pad and record holder on my track (and many tracks across the north east) is a Slot.it 956 with a sidewinder.

      To me, the Slot.it sidewinder is the hardest car to build. There is little to no room in the wheel wells and as soon as you start to loosen up the pod to get enough float in the car so the rear wheels do not pick up off the track, the tires are hitting. Finding the correct amount of body float and pod float to keep the rear tires planted yet not hitting the body is challenging. This could be why some people do not find the sidewinder to be quicker.

      I currently have the Forum Cup proxy cars and I'm in the process of testing them. The sidewinder cars are quicker and more consistent than the inline cars both on my track and on the skid pad.

      As Robert had pointed out, the sidewinders seem to be more consistent in cornering which I believe is due to the flex in the inline pods. The inline Slot.it pod (specifically the pod for the S can motor) flexes causing what some of us know as the Ninco hop, only not as much as the Ninco cars. This cannot happen with the sidewinder pod.

      I will admit that I have had issues with Slot.it pods as they are far from consistent. My impression is the gray pods have far more flex than the black pods. I also have an issue with loose bearings in all of the pods. Whenever I have consistency issue with a Slot.it car (or any podded car), I always look at the bushings and more than not I find a large amount of play in the bushings. Also, the motors do not fit well in the pods and should be glued in.

      There are many things that play into the performance of a car. Even though I prefer Slot.it sidewinders, there is a growing trend to run the Scaleauto Toyota. The lightweight body, flexible chassis, and all of the room in the wheel wells make this an extremely easy car to build and it is exceptionally quick. This inline car is not far behind my best running Slot.it cars both on the track and on the skid pad.

      No matter what people argue here, there are many things that impact each one of use including the amount of traction our track has, the voltage we run our tracks at, the controllers we use, etc. Anyone looking at this information should experiment themselves and try to find what works well for them and not others.

      Comment


      • #4
        I've run quite a few proxy races on my 61' wood track, and the winners are sidewinders mre often than not, built by many different people, using Fly, Slot.It and other types of chassis design, including homebuilt brass and steel. On my track, the SW's (and shallow angle, small-can AW's) feel more stable to drive through the corners, more consistent, and are easier to drive at higher speeds than inlines. There are exceptions, but in general, the rule holds.

        The race result data is huge, and you can look into proxy race results here on SCI, over the last few years, and see the trend, on many tracks, in many proxy races, under all kinds of race conditions.

        I have tuned several inlines up to speed, but have found that conversion to SW brings even more speed. As I have said elsewhere, my belief is that the minor torque reactions of a car transitioning in and out of a corner upset the IL more than the SW. When a car is riding the feather edge of grip, going so fast it passes through a corner in the blink of an eye, only a few grams of force applied to one side of the car or the other can cause a spinout or a flip. It doesn't take much. Those uneven IL forces are undeniable, simple, and have been demonstrated many times in many experiments going back to the early evolution of the cars we race, when SW's and shallow-angle AW's came to dominate road racing in the late 1960's.

        The current wide angle, heavy/high torque/long can AW's seem to combine the disadvantages of IL and SW. The closer the AW motor gets to being parallel to the rear axle, the better it runs.

        Comment


        • #5
          Don't forget that the top two cars in the Shootout last year were SW cars. Also, the AW and SW cars dominated the GT1 class in the RAA. The GT2 class was also won by a SW. The 2007 and 2006 RAA GT races were won by SW cars and the 2007 VRAA was also won by a SW car (didn't Pete's sidewinder car win in 2006?). In all honesty, this years Shootout is the first proxy where the a SW car has not won (yet).
          Of all the cars I drove in the 2009 Shootout, the sidewinder had a slight tendency to over-steer in the transition from full brakes to constant power in the turns.
          I respectfully disagree with what you are trying to test. All cars are different and trying to drive a car that was built by someone else on another track without adjustable brakes is not a fair comparison. Most competitive racers know and understand the advantages of an adjustable controllers ( I hope Kurt isn't reading this). I have been racing slot cars for 16 years now, both commercial and club racing and I have never seen a winning driver not have an adjustable controller. The subtle braking differences in each type of car can be easily compensated for with an adjustable controller.

          Again, for all of those people looking to gain a competitive advantage, don't believe what I tell you. Look at all of the races and all of the postings around the world. Look at the results of the races and what people are using. Experiment yourself and you will find out what works well for you and on your track. Don't be afraid to experiment with every configuration.

          Comment


          • #6
            Since I got back into slot cars a few years ago, and primarily raced Slot it cars, I started to see on the pages of SCI that the majority of cars were being converted to sidewinder.

            Seeing this trend, I thought there was some great advantage to the sidewinder.

            When I got my first Ferrari 312, I was really impressed with the way this car handled, I then converted my R&D car to a sidewinder.

            I was disappointed when the R&D car was marginally slower than the inline on the skid pad and race track.

            The car itself drove and ran smoother, but I was still getting better lap times out of the inline.

            Over the years, I have run numerous tests on my track and I still havenít found any gain with the sidewinder.

            That was the main reason I entered the shootout, to see how my inline would compare to the sidewinders when run on the other tracks.

            Dave

            Comment


            • #7
              Smokeio

              I wish I knew what your are respectfully disagreeing with as far as my testing goes.

              The quote you cut and pasted is from my opinion about the shootout race held at my track and has nothing to do with braking.

              The over-steer occurs when the car transitions from brakes to power, not the amount of braking force.

              I have adjustable brakes on my track.

              By reducing the braking force of any car, you increase itís braking distance, therefore increasing itís lap time.

              I find it better to learn to drive each car and get the best performance that the car can produce and not reduce the brakes for ease of driving.

              The only thing I have ever seen adjustable brakes do, is increase the lap time whenever someone has tried them on my track.

              Dave

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by davejr View Post

                . . . the main reason I entered the shootout, [was] to see how my inline would compare to the sidewinders when run on the other tracks.

                Dave
                So why did you withdraw the car from the Shootout, after only one race on another track?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Can of worms....

                  All cars are different and trying to drive a car that was built by someone else on another track without adjustable brakes is not a fair comparison.
                  So the CPR race at Suzuka was unfair? Because I chose to run each car with full brakes on my adjustable controller? If all the cars are treated the same why is it not a fair comparison? If a host has to adjust the controller settings for individual cars how does that make a fair comparison? All entrants have the information available to them on what the tracks are like, if they choose to build a car with super brakes by dialing brakes out, you can't help a car that has less brakes because of the gearing! Full brakes is full brakes, you won't change the gearing to improve brakes for someone, but dialing brakes out on a controller is fair??

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Robert

                    This was the reason I entered this race, I wanted to see how my car would perform on all of these other tracks.

                    But, when the race organizers informed me that they were no longer going to insure the car shipments because they would lose money;

                    This is when I made my final decision to withdraw my car from this race.

                    When I shipped my car to them for the first race, I insured my car for $200.00.

                    After my segment of the race, they refused to insure all of the cars for just their retail value, or about an $11.00 premium for all 21 cars in the race.

                    Two, maybe three of the cars I received for my segment of the Shootout race should have never passed pre-race scrutiny.

                    This is when I first started questioning my further participation in this race.

                    Dave

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OK, I see.

                      I've shipped many boxes of cars for proxies with and without insurance; in any proxy we ran, we never had a problem that insurance would have helped. Nothing was ever lost, and the rare car damage was limited to minor, repairable body parts dislodged due to poor packing. It is amazing how strong slot cars are, and how reliable most shipping is.

                      Letting go of a proxy car is tough. The anxiety can get high in the first year of proxy racing. I've seen this in myself and in others. It took me a couple of races to adjust to the idea that the car would be out of my control, (including shipping issues). My first proxy cars could only be driven really fast by me or certain drivers. Eventually I learned to build cars that could be driven by anyone, anywhere, under all kinds of race circumstances (thus my preference for sidewinders over inlines, where feasible). Moreover, I resigned myself to the idea that I might lose a car someday. It hasn't happened yet (knock wood)!

                      As for illegal cars slipping through tech inspection, that would be a problem, I agree. For the integrity of the race series, and to keep the credibility of the whole world of proxy racing, if someone has a beef about something, it's best to raise the issue in the threads, and let it be discussed, before acting. Most issues can be resolved. That is my opinion, based on years as entrant and/or tech inspector.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Robert

                        I have shipped over 1400 finished model aircraft all over the world. Only three were lost to damage, one was valued at over $1000.

                        I would hate to tell that client that I didnít insure the model because of the 1% premium cost, especially since he had paid for the insurance in the first place.

                        As I understood the entry fee for the race was to cover this expense. When they only charged $20, I had my suspicions that they didnít understand the costs of shipping.

                        I tried to keep the incident about the cars not meeting the rules confidential between myself and the organizers, knowing there is no way to rectify the situation now.

                        But he kept insisting I was accusing them of cheating, and that there was nothing wrong with the cars because they were ignorant to the fact the motors were above spec.

                        Dave

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I suppose then the motors that we under thier rated power were illegal as well? De-tuned for better handling? and why exactly hot-rod an orange can when they could have simply swapped in a yelllow can? - am very interested in the answer....

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As I understood the entry fee for the race was to cover this expense. When they only charged $20, I had my suspicions that they didn’t understand the costs of shipping.
                            It certainly wasn't my understanding, Dave. Rarely are Proxy Cars shipped from one track to another with full replacement cost insurance; it's not normally feasible in my experience, and I have participated in many proxies whilst also (along with RL & Smokeio) running last year's RAA.

                            I tried to keep the incident about the cars not meeting the rules confidential between myself and the organizers, knowing there is no way to rectify the situation now.

                            But he kept insisting I was accusing them of cheating, and that there was nothing wrong with the cars because they were ignorant to the fact the motors were above spec.
                            But having a motor that performs above spec isn't against any rules, and it's widely known that there will be variances. And being ignorant of actual motor performance is the norm; to the best of my knowledge, Tech Inspection for the GPR, CPR, Forums Cup, RAA, IPS, DUPR & VRAA (that is a lot of different proxy series) as well as the Shootout has never involved measuring specific performance as a condition of acceptance in the race.

                            Other than this non-issue, would you tell us which cars didn't meet the rules, and why?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I apologize for my ignorance about proxy racing.

                              I also apologize for my ignorance about racing rules.

                              I assumed when you establish a rule for motors in a race car, it meant something.

                              All of the car’s motors sent to my segment of the race were in the range of Slot it’s specifications according to Robert Livingston’s motor list, except for two orange motors.

                              One motor ran at 24216 rpm and made 10.7 watts @ 12 volts, the other ran at 26254 rpm and made 11.3 watts @ 12volts.

                              This made a big difference in on track performance.

                              Since this is a non-issue, why have any motor rules at all. They don’t seem to mean anything.

                              None of this made any difference to me because my yellow motor was making 11.6 watts, and would outperform all of the cars entered in the race.

                              But what about the guys that entered the other 13 cars with orange motors, is this fair to them?

                              Dave
                              Last edited by davejr; 04-06-2009, 02:07 PM.

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