6 October 2009

The story of my unluckiest slot car

"And now, for something completely different..."

Today I'll be showing you my GT-HRS2 that contested the championship with the same name. This series were launched to prepare the assault on the annual Porto 24 Hours race. Not that this model earned its place in my heart as bringing good racing memories - actually it was the opposite case: this car never had a good race, all due to some sort of bad luck involved. So, this is the story of my unluckiest slot car ever!

From the whole choice of models and brands, I bought the Corvette from SCX, the "Jos Menten" paintwork. Not that I liked it particularly, it was just a case of availability... and having seen the Corvettes performing damn well before, in HRS2 configuration.

So, this was my 3rd attempt to build a HRS car on myself, and 2nd time with the newer HRS2 system (the 1st one, I've already shown you here). Here are the looks of both "body and soul":

The hub inserts at the front are from the Slot.It Ferrari F40 - the regulations obliged all models to fit Slot.It 17mm diameter wheels both front and rear, so I took the front wheels from the F40. As you can see this is a "simple" anglewinder configuration with all-Slot.It material. I actually spent more time fitting this chassis to the car that actually preparing it for racing. I'm always afraid to glue it the wrong way, so I spend more time than really needed when fitting an HRS chassis to any body.

Still, this car had a very promising start, even without that much needed practice time. The series consisted of just 4 races and I already knew from the start that I would have to miss the 3rd. This car couldn't start the 1st race any way better: it scored pole! However, since qualifying took place on the "blue" lane of the CSB track, one couldn't jump to any conclusions on the real race pace of the models.

The joy of pole lasted 6 laps into the race, when the first "gremlin" decided to attack. I was having that feel of a loose crown gear, and a quick stop and check showed that there was nothing wrong with it - but the car behaved the same. So, off to the pits for a general check: it was the rear axle stopper's screw that came loose and couldn't be screwed again! Luckily I had a spare axle stopper at hand, but lost too much time on the pits - I had to remove the whole rear axle almost piece by piece. The problem was that "pre-race check": I tightened the screw too much and it gave way after some laps. So much for being careful... I don't quite remember the rest of the race, but I still had to visit the pits again for some reason. Anyhow, all these mishaps put me dead last from 10 runners - not even a lowly point to start the season.

The rear axle stopper was the first "traitor" that I had to deal with, on this car...

Well, so much for my first race, despite the pole. For the second round, I had progressed the car quite a bit, but so did others. I still eyed a good race, when all of the sudden, something new to me occurred. Since it was a cold rainy day, I decided to bring the car with me for work, but left it on my (real) car's glove compartment. It only took 15 minutes of odd sunshine for that day, to get the cockpit's temperature high enough for the chassis bending up! I only noticed it the first time I took it to the track: it was hitting the ground everywhere! In such short time left, I was forced to skip the race, as the chassis was still being leveled up again on a Slotcars Italia chassis bench (see here).

As I told before, I had to miss the 3rd race... so, while preparing for the last race of the season, having the chassis leveled up again allowed me to check that the motor pod was also bent up! Nothing that a new pod would fix - but there was not much time to adjust it properly to the chassis, so my Corvette was suffering a bit from rigidity.

To hell and back - the Slotcars Italia bench did wonders with this chassis...It is not very noticeable, but I assure you that this pod is quite bent!

For the last race, only 7 contestants appeared, but I was aiming for a podium finish. Alas, the rock-hard feel on the car didn't allow me to do any better than 4th, but hooray for a clean race (at least clean from any mechanical issues).

The last race this car contested was a 4 hours endurance, again for preparation of the 24 Hours race. For this last race, this time on the GT Team's track, the pace was fairly better, but still a bit away from the faster cars. Nothing that caused any big concerns on an Endurance race, but we could do with more pace, that's for sure... The car started very well, at the end of lane #1 we were 2nd overall from 6 teams. Unfortunately, the other teams started to show their real power and we had to concede 2nd place and we faced serious opposition for 3rd, which we lost on the very last lane - the mechanics letting us down again! This time, a very unusual problem: the whole front assembly unscrewed! Nothing that ever happened to time on the huge amount of practice laps this car did - and even so, I had the screws fixing reinforced with superglue, so that they wouldn't (hopefully) unscrew! That ended up our chances of finishing on the podium, so this car said farewell to racing with a low-profile 4th place, 22 laps behind 3rd place.

The front mounting that let me down on this car's last race...

So, the sad story of a car built with care. I'm sure my next HRS will do better, if the "mech-gods" don't throw any more issues on the car's way... Until then, see you next time!

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