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Friday, March 23, 2012

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HOW TO BUILD A CIRCUIT 
Building a racing course, even a simple one, lets you enjoy it far better than running a car in a large open space freely. You can make one very easily, i.e., by drawing lines with chalk or using empty bottles for pylons (when using a space of someone’s possession, like a parking lot; of course, permission should be acquired beforehand). To make race more fun, some knowledge of courses are required.
1. A TRACK BEFITTING THE CARS
You cannot expect thrills and excitement when running cars on a track that is too wide. Conversely, a too narrow track means you cannot enjoy the fastest racing. Considering car size and performance, suggested track dimensions are shown on the following diagram.



COURSE LENGTH
With electric powered cars top speeds at around 40km/h, this equates to a little more than 11 meters per second. Taking into account deceleration at corners, a car will lap a 100m circuit in about 15 seconds or less. The top speed of glow engined R/C cars can exceed 60km/h. The faster a car‘s top speed, the longer and wider the racing circuit should be.

COURSE WIDTH
Course width should be determined by the models size and the number of cars that will be raced at the same time.



*Areas distant from drivers should be made broader.
The farther away from drivers, the narrower the course will look, because of parallax. This can cause problems for drivers. To compensate for this, track sections in these areas should be 1 to 2m wider than other areas.
*Wider sections can be used for the pit area.
Make a very wide section near the drivers control stand to be used as the pit area for endurance racing and other events.

*Vertexes of curves should be made wider.
Cars are apt to deviate from the course outward on high speed curves, and inwards on low speed curves. The width of corners should be increased accordingly.
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STRAIGHTAWAYThere should be at least one straight stretch where cars can run at their maximum speed. If a car’s top speed is 40km/h, it will travel over 30 meters in less than 3 seconds. Drivers can relax and enjoy top speed driving on these straights. A longer straight may be desired depending upon the car’s speed potential. A straight of over 40m will allow drag racing, for cars designed with quick acceleration performance (a 400m full sized track is 40m in 1/10 scale).
2. TRACK CHARACTERISTICS ARE DETERMINED BY CURVES
Circuits are roughly classified in two groups; a high speed course where velocity is important, and a low speed course where control techniques are more important. The features of a track are formed with the number and characteristics of many curves. An ideal circuit conceivable is a mixture of high and low speed courses.

CURVES AND CORNERSCurves and corners can be divided into three groups in terms of their layout and a car’s possible passing speed. It is recommended to use at least one each of the high, medium and low speed curves, plus a complex one consisting of different radii, on the circuit.




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COMBINATION OF STRAIGHTS AND CURVES
A circuit’s characteristics can be changed by how the straights and curves are combined. A short straight between curves of different radii makes a kind of complex course. A high speed corner, following a long straightaway, emphasizes the thrill of high speed performance. A hairpin corner after a straight requires hard braking and careful steering control.

3. FROM THE DRlVER’S POINT OF VIEW
Apart from its size, the biggest difference between real cars and cars is the position of the driver. The following points should be fully considered.

SECTIONS FAR FROM DRIVERS SHOULD BE MADE SIMPLE
On a circuit, track sections distant from drivers look narrower. Therefore, these sections should be made simpler and wider. Put the demanding, complex corners and high speed curves as near as possible to the drivers’ control stand.

DO NOT OBSTRUCT THE DRlVER’S VIEW
Bridges and gates are often seen on real race tracks, and putting them on circuits creates a proper racing atmosphere; however, these decorations can often hinder the driver’s view. Avoid positioning them on or near corners, and always check their position by viewing from the control stand.

INCORPORATE A - STRAIGHTAWAY AFTER THE START
In competition, cars run in a tight group just after the start, and collisions are apt to occur. It is therefore desirable to have a straightaway long enough for the drivers to observe things from the start to the first corner.

4. TRACK SURFACE
For on-road circuits, it is not advisable to have bumps, recessed lines or bulges, as onroad cars have only minimal ground clearance. Some undulations and gentle slopes can be allowed, as long as they do not hinder a car’s running. Sand and dust on paved surfaces reduce traction excessively, and should be washed off with water or swept clean with a broom if possible. For off-road circuits, rough or uneven surfaces are no problem. On the contrary, slopes, jump areas, and banks add to the excitement of racing. Varying surface conditions require more advanced driving skills and proper car setting, thus providing a greater challenge and more total enjoyment. Pebbles should be picked up and tall grass should be removed from the course surface.

PLAN COURSE DRAINAGE CAREFULLY
Unless built indoors, drainage is very important for both on-road and off-road circuits. If possible, slightly raise either side or the center of the course, so that water does not remain on the running surface.

5. COURSE EDGESOn permanent circuits it is recommended to have shortly mowed lawn or artificial turf on the edges. The area between the course and its edges spaces should be level or have a gentle slope, with the outside being higher. This will reduce damage to cars if they leave the course and it ensures easy entry back onto the track. When the spacing between course lanes is very short, some fencing should be used to prevent cars from short cutting across the course.
If you build a temporary circuit using logs, boards etc., these should be 10 to 15cm in height so that the driver’s view is not obstructed. Painting these in light colors will help the drivers recognize the course, and it also enhances a racing atmosphere.

6. DRIVERS’ CONTROL STAND
ln order to provide the best view for drivers, a raised control stand is desirable. You can use large boxes, chairs, or a truck’s platform, but be careful of their sturdiness and stability. The larger a circuit becomes, the higher the control stand should be; however, too tall of a stand is inconvenient to get on and off, and ladders may be required. You should also consider hand rails for safety.

7. SPECTATOR SAFETY
cars travel at very high speeds and can cause serious accidents if they deviate from the course and collide with onlookers. To prevent this, fences of at least 50cm high should be used around the course. Glow engined cars emit noise during running and this can be annoying to others. When choosing a location to run these cars, be aware of the environment so that you do not disturb people around you.

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Copyright from TAMIYA RADIO CONTROL GUIDE BOOK 2005

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