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EXTREMELY impressed!

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  • EXTREMELY impressed!

    I have already listed some of the reasons why I was impressed with my new MR Slotcar McLaren when I took it from the box and took it apart. After taking it to the track yesterday, I am now no longer just impressed: I am now convinced that this car is a legitimate contender for top honours in the performance stakes. And by this I mean that this has the makings of taking on the dreaded NSR Mosler.

    Just a recap:
    • I gave an overview of some of the things I appreciated about the car in this thread.
    • As is my wont, I prepared the car at home without ever having it on the track. When I started working on it, it had never turned a wheel in anger.
    • THE FIRST TIME ON THE TRACK, I was able to get a lap time that has only ever been beaten by one of my cars: an NSR Mosler.
    And to give you an idea of the work done to the car:

    1. I did the hot water and oven thing to flatten the chassis: it was slightly bowed front to back. It is now perfectly flat.
    2. Installed a thin B-Nova adapter for the guide to lower it somewhat. This was done to ensure the guide sits fully in the slot and also allow me to adjust the front wheels lower to gain clearance. In retrospect I should have used the middle thickness one for more clearance.
    3. Removed the pins on the front axle and installed 4 x grub screws
    4. Removed the screws and spacers on the pod “outriggers” and glued some thin foam pieces on the chassis. This behaves like a poor man’s suspension kit…
    5. Added a couple of thin spacers on the front axle to widen the front track: I tend to be a bit of a pain when it comes to not only performance of slot cars but also appearance: I prefer the wheels to properly fill the wells.
    6. Glued and trued some PGT tyres (21126’s). I love the fact that there is lots of space out back to put on a pair of decently wide tyres without any problems whatsoever.
    7. Glued two .020” SCC nylon axle spacers on the front body mounting point on the chassis for extra clearance.

    In spite of all the above, when I put the car together the front tyres could still bind when the body "rocked" on the chassis. Part of the problem was that I am a very firm believer in body float, so this (combined with the single front body post which allows the chassis to “rotate” around the mounting point) makes it a bit more challenging to get the right clearance. For the short term I just replaced the front tyres with 17x10 low profile zero grips. I have to tell you I really do not like these very low profile tyres: they just look wrong to me, especially on such a pretty car as the McLaren. I did this purely because of a lack of time: I was determined to have the car ready to run at Luf’s on Friday evening and just ran out of preparation time! I will do some further work over the weekend to get the original tyres back as that just looks so much better. I have been thinking that some form of “stops” to limit the movement of the front of the chassis could be the answer.

    I did not add any weight (I tend to avoid doing that if I can, even at the expense of lap times. Silly I suppose but whatever…). I did however pre-cut some lead to place in the chassis if it seems like it would help when I ran it . Turns out I just did not bother...

    As I always do with a new car, I predicted what lap time I expect the car to do at Luf’s. This is a habit that can backfire badly but so far so good... For this one I predicted a time of 7.2 seconds. Note that this would place the car in the top 10 of my (how embarrassing…) 235 cars that I have timed. Probably a bit bold for a totally unknown quantity that had never seen the track but whatever: some people call public statements like this by many names:
    • Gut feel
    • In engineering terms this is known by the TLA (three letter acronym) as a WAG ("Wild *** Guess"). In other words you have no idea but think so in any case.
    • In advanced engineering terms it becomes a SWAG: because you have some empirical or other basis to trot out your WAG, it now becomes a "Scientific Wild *** Guess"!
    I will stick with "Engineering judgement" as the basis for my prediction as the others sound so harsh...

    Turns out that I was a tad conservative. Right from the first corner I could feel that this would be a sweet running car. It felt rock solid, whisper quiet and just "right". And lap times immediately started dropping rapidly. This was the first car on the track at our weekly races and Luf's track does tend to pick up some dirt, so I had to run it a bunch of laps and clean the tyres (moist paper towel only) every now and then but once the dust cleared: 7.011 seconds! The only one of my cars that has ever gone faster is an NSR Mosler (go figure...).

    Note also that I did absolutely NOTHING to the car once I got to the track: did not tweak any screws, no weight, no nothing. Just put it on the track and ran it.

    Extremely impressive for the first time on the track I thought. And it was not just how quick it was: it was also hugely impressive in how easily and comfortably it did it. It really corners like it is on rails (or maybe even in a slot?).

    What's that you say? "Big deal, you have done all that work to it and it is still slower than your Mosler." Fair comment I suppose. But you have to take a few things into consideration:
    • I had been running this specific Mosler (and 2 other NSR Moslers) for probably two years before I got to this lap time.
    • Up until a month ago, the best lap time that I had ever done with one of my NSR Moslers was 7.348 seconds, with the two others doing 7.486 and 7.386 respectively.
    And just to give you an idea what I had to do to my Mosler to get to the best lap time:
    • Replaced the rear wheels with SCC 12mm wide wheels (did not have to do this with the McLaren: wheels are fine)
    • Glued and trued tyres
    • Glued the motor (did not have to do with McLaren: not required)
    • Screwed the motor to the pod (did not have to do with McLaren: comes with countersunk screws already in place)
    • Installed B-Nova adapter
    • Replaced guide with wood guide (did not have to do with McLaren: installed guide is fine)
    • Replaced pod screws with smooth shank screws (did not have to do with McLaren: comes with smooth shank screws)
    • Replaced body screws with smooth shank screws (did not have to do with McLaren: comes with smooth shank screws)
    • Taped pod (this is analogous to the foam suspension I did with the McLaren)
    • Installed SCC adjustable front axle mounts (did not have to do with McLaren: just added grub screws. And in fairness: I do believe the latest incarnation of the NSR chassis include this as well)
    All this not to dis the Mosler (which is a phenomenal slot car!) but rather just to show that the amount of work to be done to the McLaren is no greater than what you have to do to a Mosler to get it to perform to its potential.

    Note that the motor is "softer" than the rip snorting NSR King motor in the Mosler. On a long track, this will definitely be a disadvantage. However: on most tracks that most people run on, I would expect this to be an advantage as it is more controllable.

    And while I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder: the McLaren is just a much prettier car than the Mosler in my eyes.

    Final thought: well done Mr. Mosetti sir: this is a lovely, lovely slot car.
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