Balancing out advantages

RobinReliant Wednesday, 6/30/2021

So, end of the year I am moving and will have more space and a workshop.  I'd love to give my hand a try at track design with the extra space.

Obviously, I'm in the day dreaming stage at the moment... But what I want to do is three tracks designed to deliberately neutralize advantages from other tracks.  My goal is to have it so that no single car can do well on all three tracks...  To keep the competition exciting.

So one track might be fairly straight and the track surface is sturdy with no flex.  Optimal conditions for a heavyweight.   Another track will have flexible sections of road surface that sag a little and lots of banked corners... Y'know, things that will probably cause problems for a heavier weight car.  Maybe I'll have boosters leading to a steep uphill part at the beginning to further punish heavyweights.

Another thing that fascinates me is suspension.  I was reading about some great suspension builds on here so, I'd like to have one track reward suspension with a rough  road surface (would need to experiment how much I can get away with and still have most cars finish and not get turned around).   Then I'd like to make a track to punish suspension by having several drift corners on one track to slow them down .  You get the idea, one track will reward a design trait, another will punish.  

So that comes to my last element... Center of gravity.  Is there any way to design a track that DOESN'T benefit a low center of gravity?  Or is there no way to "punish" that?  I really want to build a track that rewards a high center of gravity if it is possible?  

Any other car balance facets that I can design to hinder on one track and help on a other?  What other traits can I work with to reward on one track and punish on another?

What about wheel spacing?  Any track styles give advantage to narrow or short cars?

My goal, and maybe I'm being too ambitious for a newbie, is three tracks that no one car can do well on on all three.  The winner across all three will be the one that can adapt best (and maybe not win outright any one of the tracks).


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Chaos_Canyon 6/30/21

We run 5 different tracks at the Canyon so I can pass on some of the things we've learnt, based on what you've mentioned above.

1) Don't have unsupported sections of tracks, it just causes problems for every car - if you want to 'punish' heavyweights, just having a humped section should be more than enough as they will likely get a lot of air and can be thrown off on the landing, but keep in mind this can mean that they take out other cars as well

2) Boosters are definitely fun, but throwing the cars up a steep uphill, you'll only be able to get 1 car through as the booster won't have time to get back up to speed before the next car hits it. It's no problem if the tracks are flat, but uphill is a lot harder. We run power to the boosters for our uphill track instead of on batteries to make them consistent and they still couldn't handle two cars in quick succession If you haven't seen it, you can check out the latest video here

3) I can't think of any track design the benefits a high CoG, without having a much wider stance applied to the car as well. They become inherently unstable the higher the weight gets so any cornering and they'll tip over and even straight drags could be less effective. The only way to really stop it would be to have sharp incline/declines where a super low vehicle would bottom out and postentially get stuck. But instead of 'Higher CoG' if you make it so standard cars make it no problem, that might work better. Five-O in our Outlaw series is really low and on certain inclines it can get hooked up

4) Suspension type cars will suffer in a standard road course regardless, as they get a lot of body roll in the corners. Our Outlaws series has 3 cars (built by Sharon Tarshish) that have suspension, and we've built a few ourselves for the canyon road track, and they all have body roll in the corners. The softer the suspension the futher the body rolls which can cause it to drag on the wheels etc which slows them down. Our Rocky Road track, which is the equivalent of a very course gravel road, still works the suspension cars but they tend to be smoother than non-suspension cars, but don't necessarily make it that much better, it depends on the casting

5) Corner angle, size and banking will greatly affect a car depending on its size. The tighter the corner the more it makes it difficult for longer cars. Less banking makes it harder for those with higher CoG and finally the size/width of the corner lane or track will affect what cars get through

Overall, I see what you're looking for, in wanting to make it so cars/racing is more even, but be careful designing a track where only certain cars will get down and all others will fail. If you are super concerned about that, then you could just make your tournament rules stricter to make it more even - like only have one casting that can be entered (like a Honda Civic Type R for example) and a max weight limit. Then the cars will be as even as possible and you can run them across all tracks no problem, then next time choose another casting etc.

I feel that would be more fun to watch, and much easier to build the tracks for. If you plan to run tournaments where the cars compete on all three tracks, it would be annoying as a builder to have your car not even make it down two of the tracks because they were purposely designed to make your car fail. But it's your track/s so you can do what you want, just my thoughts from my experience so far.

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RobinReliant 6/30/21

Thank you, a lot of good information there. My goal isn't to make cars fail. I'd want 80%+ to reach the end, but I do think some DNFs add to the sport as a spectator, as long as the large majority complete the course. My goal would be to balance out the advantages and disadvantages to slow/speed up cars so no car could win all three... Not prevent most from finishing.

Running tournaments would be nice as a long term goal, but really initially it would be all "myself" and just testing internally until I got a good solid balanced set of tracks.   

I strongly suspect that it will take me a lot of time, and trial and error before I finally get the balance right and knowing myself well, I suspect I'll probably trash my first dozen attempts, even if they kinda work.

I won't even try making the track look nice until I'm sure I'm sticking with it.

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SpyDude 7/1/21

Considering the punishment that a lot of racers too on the second leg of the Pro-Am series, you might want to think more about how you want to set up these tracks. A lot of cars got damaged, and a lot of people were VERY unhappy. It's one thing to design and build a difficult track ... it's another when you're responsible for running someone else's cars on it and making sure they aren't damaged.

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