Thursday, October 6, 2016

Japan Tour 2016 - Recap and Directions

I'm still buzzing from my Japan trip. So a little recap should keep the buzz a little longer.

Neo reinforced the scale focus that I have for RC drift. While you can drive an RC drift car at speeds up to 100kph, focusing on a scale 1/10 speed of 10-20kph provides so much more time to enjoy the way the cars look, move and having a super scale diorama circuit with elevation change... Well, that's makes all the effort put into a body extra special as it moves through the landscape! 

WIN'S also had an awesome feel. Their community focus was amazing and the slow scale speed combined with minimum proximity was among the best feelings. Scale speed here is defined by driving style. The diorama circuit feel also was really appealing and one noticeable thing here was the lack of a long straight, and it wasn't a bad thing at all. 

Circuit Dr. highlighted the different classes that are appearing in RC drift. The separation between 1000hp D1 and 400hp Street Tune and even 180hp '86 tune. While you can run fast, all you need is a few guys on the same page and tuned similarly, the smiles are there.

The larger circuits like Shift still cater for Ketsukaki (CS) and that means more speed. PRO RC style hasn't disappeared completely and that translates to competition. Competition means speed and intensity so I found myself missing the scale side a little and heading towards the RC end of the scale. I'd have loved to meet more of the locals here to get a better read on Shift. Next time.

My Silver DRB-REW is converted from a chassis that is over 5 years old. So without renewing every component (before my tour), my older machines struggled for that outright pace and 100% perfection. Faster circuit highlighted the extra level that still exists. Perfecting your chassis means not having the most expensive, but it means having components that work and are adjusted to perfection. That's competition level tuning.

But, I had so much fun at all tracks because the people are amazing. When the competition is not on, the fun is still the point!

Iroha provides that unique balance between scale and competition. Very similar to what we achieved at GCRC. The track looks like a small race circuit and could be fast, but the focus is on similar chassis tuning for long multi-car team enjoyment and that's a defining factor. There's a bit of a standard speed that allows continuous trains.

I remember the straight, flick into 90 degree entries every lap. A no pressure fun environment where chassis tune and smooth running leads to repeatable performance.

Hikotech was another scale environment. The track involvement from a bumpy and sloping surface changes the pace. Gradient bringing speed changes on uphill and downhill, but as I have learned on all tracks, the way you drive them has a major effect on how they feel and your overall enjoyment.

Tetsuijin's drift lounge was another amazing experience. This really highlighted a more competition desired style and focussed your attention on your car position, car speed, aggressive initiation to achieve the ultimate sliding reward.

Do I have favorites? Yes, all of them! All were different and challenging in their own right. Elements of all these places fill my head. But the common things I really enjoyed were these. 

A scale venue is a visual reward. A good looking track adds to the senses.
A surface without too much grip rewards the driver's skills and the mechanics tune.
No carpet to be seen. Speeds on the scale end of the spectrum allow the closest proximity.

RWD was a real focus on my trip. Over 95% were RWD.
Chassis can be anything. Plastic chassis performance was as good as full alloy when...

maintenance and setting is treated as important. Chassis suspension should allow responsive movement.
Electronic setup is just as important as mechanical components.
Body replicas are awesome.

Drivers are smooth, aggressive and ultra respectful. All three always together.
Driving line greatly changes the speed required. 
The community feel in driving styles and circuit manner is amazing.  

and so much more.

Another Japan Tour 2017? I think it might be done.

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