15 August 2009

Presenting: The CSB slot track!

The CSB slot track is my next presentation in respect to the slot tracks in Braga. CSB stands for "Clube Slot de Braga" - Braga Slot Club, and has been in activity from late 70's, which makes this club older than me! I joined the club only recently as a member, but I've raced on their actual and previous tracks before joining.

The current CSB track has been placed in April, after a change in the location of the CSB headquarters. Basically, the previous shape was kept largely unchanged, with additions made to the lenght of some straights and a change of the final turn. The track consists of a 40 meter 6 lanes Carrera 1:24 track, holding a total of 8 turns. Voltage is set to 15 V, and power comes from 6 individual DS power supply. Timing and lap counting are the "responsability of a DS-300 system.

Like I did previously for the GT Team track, here's the diagram of the CSB track:

(click image for larger resolution)

A lap around the CSB track:

The CSB holds the longest straight section from all tracks in Braga, with the main straight being 9.25 meter in length. Cars are usually fitted with a somewhat long gear ratio to take advantage of the long straight, specially since the track's braking strength is high.

Drivers are met with Turn 1 after the main straight, where speeds are at their highest. It's a simple 90 degrees left turn with tight radius on the left sided lanes. Cars running on the external white and black lanes need only slight braking, depending on the magnetic downforce - some hard-tuned beasts only need "flash braking". The left sided blue and yellow lanes require more solid braking.

Turn 1

Exiting Turn 1, drivers enter the pits straight, a short 2 meter section, until they reach the most important section of the track, in terms of laptime. Turn 2 and Turn 3 form the "Esses". These are two wide radius turns. Turn 2 is a 240 degrees left turn, attached to a 150 degrees right turn. The middle lanes can be done at consistent speed, but the outside lanes are quite a challenge, changing from wide to narrow angle - the wider angle sections need high speeds, and correctly balancing the speed through the "Esses" can make a difference in laptime.

The "Esses", coming after the pits straight.

After leaving the Esses, cars go through the back straight, parallel to the main straight, but run on the opposite direction. This is the second longest straight section of the track, with almost 4 meter in length. This makes the approach to Turn 4 needing more attention, since this is a tricky narrow right turn, with 120 degrees radius. While not being demanding in terms of technique, it needs a stable car and solid braking, specially on the tighter black and white lanes.

Turn 4

After dealing with Turn 4, drivers take on another short launch through a 2 meter straight until reaching Turn 5, the only 180 degrees hairpin on this track. This is not a very complicated section - most de-slots are caused by exaggeration from drivers. The exit of this turn needs to be taken cleanly, as the only sloped section of the track awaits the drivers.

Turn 5

After climbing the slope, cars face other tricky section, Turn 6. This is set after the change from slope to plain section, which promotes tendency for lifting the front. This bend has a 120 degrees radius and is narrow for the black and white lanes - these are the ones requiring heavier braking. De-slotting here is very punishing in terms of lost time, since track assistants are placed a bit far away from this section, for the sake of the driver's visibility of the track.

The tricky Turn 6...

The next straight section leads to the more technically demanding section, Turn 7, or the "Big Curve". This is the only sloped turn, continuously descending through its 270 degree radius. The main issue to deal with in this section is the change in turn radius - it starts wide, then narrows sharply, to have a wider exit section. Cars not only feel the radius change to narrow, but also a "vertical" change in slope - it almost resembles descending a staircase.

Turn 7, the "Big Turn", as seen from the opposite direction from driver's point of view.

After Turn 7, cars go through a short tunnel and head to Turn 8, or "Final Turn" (the almost 3 meter long straight section allows great visibility of braking points after the tunnel). This turn has a variable radius, with a wider entrance and narrow exit. Aproaching from the outside lanes, cars need very sharp braking to enter the turn, and then a slight decrease in speed for the exit, without braking. The innermost lanes face quite a challenge, but since they are not very grippy, cars can "power slide" through the exit to achieve better laptimes (not sliding too much, though).

Tunnel exit section and Turn 8, the Final Turn

So, this concludes our tour of the CSB slot track. In sum-up, this is a somewhat long track in perimeter, with few bends, but each one has a nature of its own, and the key to achieve good laptimes is understanding each turn requirements. Cars need a longer gear ratio since straight sections demand for it. Balance is also important, specially with some curves changing direction or radius, and even height as in the case of Turn 7.

Hope you enjoyed the visit to the CSB track. Until next time, see you soon...


  1. Another magnificent report about the CSB track.
    Just a small correction...
    English people, especially the sloters, usually call "curva" a bend and not turn.
    Turn is more related to "virar" (turn right) or "vez" (that's my turn).
    But anyway, keep giving us your outstanding reports.
    Sorry for taking you out yesterday, right after you helped me geting back to the track with a precious side touch.

    All the best,

  2. Ooops, that was a wrong "turn" then :)

    Now I remember... old circuits used to call "whatever bend" to their curves. Thanks for the reminder, Rui ;)

  3. More one very good Article.

    I'm sure that Hugo will revised the adjustments announced by Rui Costa.

    Thank's Hugo

  4. Greatings!

    Great post.

    The CSB track is indeed an excelent one, both fast and technical. There are many straigths in different lengths, that make for the "fast". And a variety of bends, both constant and variable in radius.

    For great lap times, I think that there are 3 critical spots:
    1) the "esses" - these are deceptively fast; in many classes, if the tires are "gripy" enough, the outside lanes (black and white) on the first part of the "esses" can be dealt flat out after a very short flash break at the end of the preceding straight;
    2) the big bend 7 - this bend is done descending and on top has a smaller radius exiting than entering; very well balanced slotcars are mandatory to do it swiftly;
    3) the final bend 8 - another variable radius bend, with smaller radius at the exit, although radius is larger than those of the "big bend"; the braking point is critical in order to set up properly the car to the following straight.

    Anyway, great track, great post.