I ran all the cars for a half dozen laps or so at Mesa Roja, just to make sure there were no technical issues before Peter and I conduct the Qualy Session later this week. Don't take these times too seriously. I'm sure I didn't get the best out of many of the cars in such a short run.
On the long straights at the Mesa, some cars obviously had more top speed than others, whether due to gearing or weight differences or variations in the motors. Other tracks in the series, the tight ones like the Autodrome and the Targa Burnaby for instance, may favour other setups. The Mesa is a Ninco plastic track whereas the others are variously finished MDF, so grip comparisons will also vary. We'll only know the winner when all the races are run.
I will soon publish the Tech Inspection spreadsheet that includes all kinds of data for you to study and compare your choices with those of the other entrants.
I have completed the Tech Inspection on all the cars. At first pass, there were a very few, very minor transgressions. One car was entered with a guide slightly longer than the 21 mm maximum. A couple of GP2.5 cars were caught out by the narrower (6mm) maximum front tire width. The entrants were contacted and approved my modifications to bring their cars within the rules. As the issues were slight and easily remedied, there will be no penalties assessed. The GP1.5 #47 BRM of Newso/Terry "wears" an authentic race livery, but one that was raced in 1966 rather than 1961-65 period as required. In Terry's defence, the car (with that paint job) raced in the VRAA a couple of years back, before I instituted the "authentic livery" rule. Under those circumstances, I have assessed a one-time penalty of only 5 points.
Considering the complexity -- and length!! -- of the VRAA Rules, I am very pleased with the attention to detail displayed by the entrants as a group. Congratulations gentlemen! Posted Image
Here is the Tech Inspection spreadsheet for your viewing pleasure.
Here are pictures of the chassis/underside of all the entries in the VRAA 2015 Proxy Race:
The GP1.5 Class:
#4 Lotus 24 Climax - AMCC/the Grandkids
#6 Cooper T60 Climax - Charlesx/Chas
#9 BRM P578 - RIR/Peter
#10 Honda RA272 - Phil Kalbfell
#11 Ferrari 158 - Chrisguyw/Chris
#16 Brabham BT7 Climax - Stubbo/Alan
#17 BRM P578 - David Mitcham
#18 Brabham BT3 Climax - Mrossmassler/Max
#28 Lotus 21 Climax - Old23/Stewart
#47 BRM P261 - Newso/Terry
#69 Honda RA272 - Ferrari1950/Marek
The GP2.5 Class:
#5 Maserati 250F - Fastwagon/Chris
#14 Mercedes W196 - Old23/Stewart
#16 Maserati 250F - Aloha/Dale
#20 Vanwall - Charlesx/Chas
#22 Lotus 16 Climax - Chrisguyw/Chris
#26 Bugatti 251 - GAS41T/Rossko
#32 Maserati 250F - Phil Kalbfell
#34 Ferrari 801 - David Mitcham
#69 Vanwall - Ferrari1950/Marek
Get out your magnifying lenses and see what you can discover!
Post by Andrew Rowland on Sept 15, 2015 2:12:47 GMT -5
Thanks for all that detail sir! Fascinating stuff. I haven't fully read the rules to understand about motors but I find it fascinating that those times suggest the '60's cars with slimline motors are quicker than the large can '50's motors. (Or rather the motors in the '50's cars!)
Looking forward to see the results unfold. Cheers Andi
I believe that all other things being equal, the FC130 motored 50's cars would be faster than the FF050 motored 60's cars, but I intentionally wrote the rules so that the two classes might (I hoped) arrive at roughly the same performance via very different formulae. The GP2.5 cars have a minimum weight of 65 grams vs. no minimum for the GP1.5 cars, and they must also sit higher off the track at 1/8" vs. 1/16". It's early days yet to make any firm conclusions about whether I have succeeded in my intent. However, I note that the GP2.5 cars of Charlesx and myself logged times within a tenth of a second of their GP1.5 teammates.
The first round of the VRAA 2015 Championship returns to the high desert circuit of Mesa Roja. Veteran VRAA followers will remember that Mesa Roja is located in close proximity to the Top Secret Military Base known as Area 51. Lots of pretty weird stuff has happened here in past years, but things have usually turned out for the best. Nevertheless, for your own peace of mind, new entrants (and viewers) might want to dig into the VRAA archives on SCI to inform themselves of past events.
Race week began with the unloading of team transporters and the installation of the cars and personnel in the Mesa Roja pits and paddock. Scuderia Ferrari arrived with cars in both race classes aboard their custom built Fiat transporter. Good thing the winter snows in the Sierras had melted and road salt was washed from the roads otherwise the Fiat would have melted away from rust before the weekend was done!
After pre-season testing, Bandini's 158 in the GP1.5 Class looks to be an even bet to retain the championship this year. The story of the green men has been told before, but rest assured, they are enthusiastic motorsport fans who make an annual pilgrimage to Mesa Roja for the Grand Prix.
Musso's Ferrari 801 in the GP2.5 Class sure is pretty, but needs to find more speed if it is to run closer to the front.
A last minute replacement for Bonnier's sluggish BRM, the Mercedes team sent their W196 alternate entry to Mesa Roja aboard a high speed transporter after a charter flight from Stuttgart to Los Angeles.
Ten speeding tickets from the California Highway Patrol are a small price to pay for making it into the "show" just in time.
The 1950's 2.5 litre cars in the pits, waiting to practice. A colourful group of machines from Italy, Great Britain, West Germany...
...and even from France (who knew?)!
... Not to mention privateer entries with drivers from Sweden and America, too. Who is this Carroll Shelby anyway and why do his mechanics have the sign of a snake on their overalls?
While the GP2.5 cars took to the track for Qualifying, the GP1.5 entries moved into the pit stalls. Bandini's Ferrari 158, the RRC Walker Brabham driven by Bonnier, Bondurant's BRM and old Grime Heel's team BRM car...
...The two car Honda team from Japan and the private French BRM entry that has competed in the VRAA for a few years with limited success but much enthusiasm...
... The Team Lotus 21 of Jim Clark, the privateer Lotus driven by some guy named Roger Penske, Jack Brabham's new BT3 and Bruce McLaren in the Team Cooper T60.
Well, that's the story of Qualifying day at Mesa Roja...
What? You want the times? Really? Okay, if you insist...
As previously, the Qualy Session was run by RIR and Old23, each driver in one of the two lanes. The best lap in each lane was recorded and averaged together to give the Official Qualy Time that determined the starting grid. Here are the times:
I think this is the best representation of the qualities of each car across both lanes and two drivers. Of course, Race Day results may vary.
It's Race Day here at Mesa Roja for the first Grand Prix of the VRAA 2015 season.
Excitement is building as the cars take their places on the false grid, surrounded by reporters, mechanics and race fans. On the GP2.5 false grid, British racing green dominates the front row, the Lotus 16 on pole with the Vanwall alongside. Second row has the Maserati 250F of the Italian team lined up beside the German silver arrow Mercedes W196.
Third row sees a second Vanwall with the somewhat strange-looking rear-engined Bugatti entry in the blue colours of France.
The back of the grid has the bright red Ferrari lined up ahead of the two privateer Maserati of Bonnier and Shelby.
The whole grid is covered by less than a second, so we can expect an exciting contest in the upcoming GP2.5 race.
Meanwhile, over on the GP1.5 false grid, the tiny 1.5 litre cars are readying. On pole sits the private BRM of Bondurant alongside the Ferrari team entry of Bandini. Their qualifying times were mere hundredths of a second apart. Row two has two more privateer entries. The RRC Walker team Brabham of Bonnier and the yellow Penske Lotus 24 with less than a tenth between them.
Rows 3 and 4 have the Japanese Honda team cars of Ginther and Bucknam split by the Lotus 21 of Clark and the new BT3 of Jack Brabham.
The back of the grid sees Graham Hill's BRM ahead of the Cooper of Bruce McLaren and the privateer BRM of the Frenchman Trintignant. Only three-quarters of a second from front to back in The GP1.5 field.
The order has been given to clear the grids. The starter is ready with the flag.
The GP2.5's are ready to go.
And the GP1.5 cars are too.
Engines rev to a fever pitch! The flag drops! We are go, go, go!
Welcome to the Podium Ceremony for the winners of the VRAA 2015 Grand Prix of Mesa Roja! To the victors go the spoils, and race fans have gathered here in front of the podium from all corners of the circuit to celebrate and, if they are very lucky, to taste some fine Andretti faux Champagne as it is sprayed from the podium by the winners.
First up we have the top three in the GP2.5 category. Congratulations to our winner, Posted Image Chrisguyw's #22 Lotus 16, our runner-up, Posted Image Rossko's #26 Bugatti 251, and in third place, Posted Image Phil Kalbfell's #32 Maserati 250F.
Next, we have the top three in the GP1.5 class. It was a close fought battle with four cars on the same lap at the finish. Congratulations to Terry on his maiden VRAA win Posted Image with the #47 BRM P261, the second place trophy Posted Image goes to the AMCC's #4 Lotus 24. Looks like the Grandkids' whupping of Grandpa Phil has continued from the Tasman Cup to the VRAA! In third place Posted Image, just a nose ahead of Phil's Honda, is the #28 Lotus 21 of Old23.
Congratulations to the winners and "better fortune next time" to the rest of the entrants. Posted Image
And so, as the sun sets over the Mesa, the teams pack up their transporters and depart for the next race on the calendar.
Race fans from around the world and across the galaxy bid them adieu.
Until next year, this is farewell from Pista de Carrera Mesa Roja...
Many thanks to:
RIR/Peter for hosting the event at his beautiful Mesa Roja circuit, and for taking all the wonderful photos
McG for the loan of his superbly crafted scratchbuilt Ferrari and Mercedes Transporters
Marek, Bryan, McG, Brian, Peter, Christian and Stewart for driving and marshalling
Bella and Hunter, the black Labrador Retrievers, for their friendly company and continuing interest in slot racing.
Post by Andrew Rowland on Sept 23, 2015 2:25:18 GMT -5
Great report, thanks for taking the time. Wonderful photos too on a smashing looking track. Interesting to see that the GP1.5 cars are all very closely matched. I wonder if this is to do with year on year 'learning' on the part of the entries wheras the GP2.5 cars are rather more spaced out in terms of times perhaps reflecting the new class and the mix of scratch and rtr's.
Yes, very interesting results. Great job writing the rules, which have done the trick to keep the 1.5 liter cars just a bit faster than the 2.5 liter cars. And it is impressive how the 1.5 liter builders all seem to have optimized the formula.
Post by David Mitcham on Sept 23, 2015 6:33:30 GMT -5
Many thanks for the comprehensive and entertaining reports and photographs, Stewart. All the cars seem quite evenly matched and it appears it would take only small changes of set up (eg gear ratios and weight lshedding) to the back markers to make them more competitive . Looking forward to the next round!
Thank you gentlemen. The reportage was a big effort but I like to get the VRAA season started with a bang. I don't expect the other hosts (except Marek for the Season Finale at the Autodrome) will do anything quite so extensive. Fair racing, clear results, a bit of commentary and a few pictures or a video would satisfy me. I will attempt to copy and post here the essence of the reports filed by the race hosts on Slot Car Illustrated.
The GP1.5 field has certainly become closer and more competitive over the years we've been running this "formula". One factor is that, as the total number of entrants eroded, a core group has remained faithful to the VRAA. This year all the cars but one are from repeat entrants who have evolved their building skills over the years. The only "rookie" on the 1.5 grid this year is David, and he can hardly be termed a neophyte! In the two years that I've administered the series, my eighth as a participant, I've tried to attract new interest in the VRAA by reaching out to enthusiasts on this and two other forums in addition to its long-time home at SCI. Besides David, the three other first-timers are entered only in the GP2.5 class.
The GP2.5 class is in its first year and the cars show a wide variety of solutions to the parameters defined by the rules, and a large range of performance as a result. If the class continues, I expect we'll see future builds copy the chassis designs and technical specs that are successful this year and abandon those concepts that were less competitive. This will likely result in a tighter field. That has certainly been the case with the GP1.5 class over the last several years. Even so, there was a very noticeable difference in "feel" amongst the 1.5 cars at the first race. Despite the spec motor, there were faster cars and slower cars with similar weight and gearing. There was a range in the limits of tire grip as well. Most significantly, there are always cars that are easy to drive quickly, and others that or more twitchy and unforgiving even if faster on a single perfect lap. In a proxy race, the former will always prevail over the latter.
Unfortunately, Jay Hardy has had to withdraw as the host of race 2 due to personal circumstances. We may be able to fit his Grand Loop Raceway later in the schedule, but Round 2 will now be Dennis Sampson's Pebblestone Raceway in Irvine California on October 17th.