2013 IFMAR World Championship
September 30, 2013 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Despite an amazing final lap challenge by Japan's Naoto Matsukura, USA's Steve Hartson wins the last of three "A-main" races to secure the International Federation of Model Auto Racing's (IFMAR) 2013 1/10th Scale Electric 4wd Offroad Championship!

The electric-power offroad 1/10th scale Worlds is arguably the premier event in the IFMAR calendar, though nitro-powered 1/8th scale offroad and 1/10th scale electric onroad racers might disagree.

This year's event was held in Chico, CA at A-Main Hobbies' Silver Dollar R/C Raceway (some track pics here).

Hartson's victory came after four rounds of qualifying which determined which ten drivers would face off in three five-minute "mains" that would determine the winner.

Full race videos:
A-1 main
A-2 main
A-3 main

"Under the Hood" of Hartson's winning Team Associated B44.2 (including chassis setup sheet). The name Associated may bring back some memories for those who had the very popular original RC10 buggy, which came out in 1984.

More photos!

The previous week Jared Tebo guided his Kyosho RB6 to the 2wd championship. This is actually the more popular class but at the Worlds level the focus tends to shift to the faster 4wd category.
posted by mullacc (51 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm so happy this exists.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:24 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is neat, and also looks rather difficult.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:26 AM on September 30, 2013


That first video is surprisingly intense.
posted by mhoye at 11:46 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


that first race is a stunner, though [SPOILER ALERT] I'm left wondering why the two "course workers" righted the two leaders after that last lap fracas. Had the rest of the field just failed to make it into the final timed lap, and thus were no longer in contention?
posted by philip-random at 11:47 AM on September 30, 2013


man, to be able to steer from a distance the right way, at such speeds, that's a neat talent..

I almost wonder, should flipping over be a DQ ? Seems almost cavalier that the course officials will right you back up and off you go.. If you take a jump to fast and wreck, seems there should be more of a punishment than the time it takes a person to flip you right side up again.
posted by k5.user at 11:51 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


that first race is a stunner, though [SPOILER ALERT] I'm left wondering why the two "course workers" righted the two leaders after that last lap fracas. Had the rest of the field just failed to make it into the final timed lap, and thus were no longer in contention?

They did that repeatedly in the other videos too -- it seems to just be how a flipped car is dealt with: it's turned over as quickly as possible by the course workers, regardless of what else is going on in the race.
posted by brainmouse at 12:02 PM on September 30, 2013


philip-random: You are right that the rest of the field failed to make the last timed lap. BUT...the "marshalls" are supposed to right any crashed vehicle ASAP with as little interference to other cars as possible. Sometimes the results are unfair but it tends to be the least-bad method. The marshalls are almost always other racers.

k5.user: I think it's just too difficult to handle the cars without crashing to make flipping a DQ. I've seen races with no marshalls but they tend to be seen as a fun sideshow, usually for a prize or some money. And they are terribly boring.
posted by mullacc at 12:03 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


mullacc, do you race? Can you give us any insight as to how these cars are built? How much does an average car cost at this level? Where are the drivers standing? What kind of suspension do these things have? What features does a typical controller have other than forward/reverse left/right?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:06 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


That first video was oddly mesmerizing. I wasn't expecting that. Cool.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:13 PM on September 30, 2013


To get a sense of the skill level on display at Worlds, I think this video is very informative. That is Ryan Maifield (finished 3rd in 2wd and 9th in 4wd at Worlds) practicing at an open track with lots of traffic. His ability to dodge slow and erratic traffic is amazing.
posted by mullacc at 12:15 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ye gods! It's just like Super Off Road!
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:19 PM on September 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Where are the racers? I'm curious what their perspective of the track is. Are they at ground level or up above or...?
posted by dobbs at 12:23 PM on September 30, 2013


The drivers' stand is visible in this overhead shot. It's along the top straight away. If you squint you can see people standing there. The drivers are about one story up. Here's a close up of the drivers' stand.
posted by mullacc at 12:28 PM on September 30, 2013


I'm left wondering why the two "course workers" righted the two leaders after that last lap fracas.

In the olden days the marshals used to run on the course and douse the overturned car with lighter fluid before dropping a match but it got too expensive.
posted by dobbs at 12:31 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks mullacc.
posted by dobbs at 12:32 PM on September 30, 2013


The track is 200' x 100'. So at the far-end the cars can be tough to see.

Interestingly, you might notice that some cars have antennas and some do not. The 2.4ghz radio technology used nowadays no longer requires long antennas like the older 75mhz radios did. But some drivers like to use the old antenna tube as a way to see the car when it goes into blind spots.
posted by mullacc at 12:32 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


The brief glimpses of Ryan in the practice video holding the controller look like it's just throttle (trigger) and steering .. And the "jam opponent radio" button, but that one is hidden ;)

Dobbs -- I was wondering, do the nitro versions have more spectacular crashes ?
posted by k5.user at 12:33 PM on September 30, 2013


When I play mario kart I often start watching the wrong screen and end up sucking for ages without realising it. I can't believe that no-one does the equivalent here - and there's only one screen!

I also really enjoyed that one little car jumping over the other one and landing just in front of it in the first video.
posted by Ned G at 12:36 PM on September 30, 2013


The brief glimpses of Ryan in the practice video holding the controller look like it's just throttle (trigger) and steering

Yeah, when you're moving it is just a trigger (back for throttle and forward for "brake"; no reverse in racing) and a wheel. The radios have all sorts of settings that relate to the sensitivity of the controls.
posted by mullacc at 12:37 PM on September 30, 2013


Ye gods! It's just like Super Off Road!

I'd say it is more like RC ProAM.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:40 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really love how the on-course race officials are wearing little yellow safety vests.
posted by xbonesgt at 12:43 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


"the course officials will right you back up and off you go" - Everyone plays by the same rules, so all is equal.
posted by Ardiril at 12:49 PM on September 30, 2013


I have no idea how Hartson and Matsukura fit into their cars much less withstood the G-forces.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:51 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Like this, but with fewer explosions.
posted by plinth at 12:51 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


This makes my inner-12-year-old squee! Thank you!
posted by mfu at 1:04 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


The R/C videos reminded of those competitions where dogs run an obstacle course. Like little terriers......
posted by lstanley at 1:13 PM on September 30, 2013


ahahahah that was awesome and i want to be shrunk down and strapped into one of those things
posted by nathancaswell at 1:17 PM on September 30, 2013


The video game this is most like is called Sprint, by Atari in the pre-Space Invaders era, and is one of the oldest commercial video games of all. 90s-era updates were Super Sprint, Championship Sprint and Badlands.
posted by JHarris at 1:37 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the videos says they are going "62 mph, which is like driving a full scale car at 620mph." That's some amazing coordination.
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 2:19 PM on September 30, 2013


I don't think it is like driving a full scale car at 620mph, I think that would be impossible as our fastest nerve impulses are at about 300mph. I think it's more like driving a full scale car over really difficult terrain at 62mph when you're not sitting in it. Still an amazing feat of coordination. (/pedantry)
posted by Ned G at 2:51 PM on September 30, 2013


The outcome of that first race seemed determined by the technique of the blue car's marshall. When he placed it down he advanced it ahead of the yellow car and advantageously on the inside of the curve.

Controversial!
posted by surplus at 3:32 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


"our fastest nerve impulses are at about 300mph" - By that logic, we couldn't fly jets.

Instead of thinking comparative velocities, compare instead the g-forces.
posted by Ardiril at 3:43 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


This makes me want to break out my old N64 and play some Micro Machines with my friends!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:10 PM on September 30, 2013


That was a way lot awesomer than I had anticipated. Thanks!
posted by petebest at 4:21 PM on September 30, 2013


mullacc, do you race? Can you give us any insight as to how these cars are built? How much does an average car cost at this level? Where are the drivers standing? What kind of suspension do these things have? What features does a typical controller have other than forward/reverse left/right?

I've only raced a few times casually, so I don't have pro-level gear but I've been into RC since 2000 or so. The cars are made of a mix of composite plastics and metal parts (usually anodized aluminum, occasionally titanium for things that might break). The body is essentially just a shell made out of clear Lexan plastic that protects the expensive internals and providing aerodynamics and downforce. Fun Fact: the paint is actually on the inside of the bodies so it doesn't get chipped and scratched.

As for what it costs, the following prices are for what the pros use, keep in mind that they always have the best stuff from their sponsors. The rolling chassis (that is, the frame, suspension, wheels, gearbox, body) costs between $250-600 for a pro-level model depending on the scale (1/8 or 1/10 for competition) and class (2wd buggy, 4wd onroad, 4wd truck, etc). Top of the line speed controllers and motors will run you $250 for a set, a radio can reach $600 (but can be paired with all the cars you have). Top-of-the-line steering servos are about $150. The really staggering thing is the amount of spares pros go through, especially on fresh tires (which are glued to the wheels, so you need more of those too), fresh motors, etc.

As with most things, it's what you make of it. You can be competitive with cheaper gear, in the end driving ability and the correct setup for the track conditions make a huge difference vs buying the "latest and greatest".

The suspension on an off-road car is a modified double wishbone suspension Where the upper wishbone is actually just a turnbuckle (a double-threaded rod that allows adjustment)

To elaborate on mullacc's response, the fancy radios have things like data acquisiton, end point adjustment, making the steering/throttle response an exponential curve instead of linear (e.g. 10% on transmitter is 10% on car but 80% on transmitter is 100% on car)
posted by JauntyFedora at 4:25 PM on September 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


So do you think my wife would buy that I bought one of these for our 9 month old?
posted by JPD at 4:25 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Forgot to mention, the shocks are oil-filled with internal dampers and coil-over springs.
posted by JauntyFedora at 4:27 PM on September 30, 2013


Ha - we just got a simple RC Car for our 8 year old. Not sure yet who loves it more - him, me, or my wife...
posted by nubs at 4:28 PM on September 30, 2013


This is much more interesting than NASCAR, I'll say that...

mullacc, is there any kind of penalty if somebody launches their car hard enough to land halfway across the course?
posted by ardgedee at 5:10 PM on September 30, 2013


mullacc, is there any kind of penalty if somebody launches their car hard enough to land halfway across the course?

The penalty is the cost of broken parts and time spent in the pits fixing your car instead of practicing.
posted by mullacc at 5:16 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's mine. :)
posted by mullacc at 5:21 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


ardgedee, do you mean effectively cutting a corner (or an entire section of track) by jumping over it? I would imagine if that were legal you'd see it happening quite a bit in the posted race videos.
posted by bizwank at 5:33 PM on September 30, 2013


JauntyFedora, that is awesome.
posted by JHarris at 5:36 PM on September 30, 2013


I just dusted off and charged my RC10 a few weeks ago when I got invited over to a friends new house that has a huge dirt pile. A bunch of his friends showed up with current generation buggys and trucks and I was amazed at two things: 1) Lithium Ion battery packs make for absurd power and run times but 2) it's wired how little most of the tech has changed. I guess when it comes down to it vehicle technology, of which these are just miniatures, really hasn't changed either over the years other than driver safety and comfort which doesn't factor into the models.

xbonesgt: "I really love how the on-course race officials are wearing little yellow safety vests."

I was thinking the same thing, but I'm betting getting hit by one of these in the ankle when it's going 60+ mph isn't going to feel to good.
posted by Big_B at 7:19 PM on September 30, 2013


What, no POV cameras? I know, it'd be ill-making, but I'm curious. If they could pull off >= 60fps and low enough latency (1ms?), it might be a reasonable/fun way to pilot these amazing cars... but probably not a winning way to do so.
posted by dylanjames at 8:11 PM on September 30, 2013


dylanjames: here's a gopro video from my local track. Just a practice session though.
posted by mullacc at 8:55 PM on September 30, 2013


mullacc - thank you! That was way more watchable than I expected. Very neat.
posted by dylanjames at 8:57 PM on September 30, 2013


dylanjames: awesome. That video capture was far more stable than I expected.
posted by MillMan at 12:54 AM on October 1, 2013


Err sorry, should have thanked mullacc for the POV video.
posted by MillMan at 1:23 AM on October 1, 2013


I was really hoping to see grown men sitting astride 1/10th scale offroad cars driving round a track. Disappointed.
posted by memebake at 1:33 PM on October 1, 2013


> The penalty is the cost of broken parts and time spent in the pits fixing your car instead of practicing.

I meant something more along the lines of -- since the course doubles-back on itself at a couple points, what kind of penalty would come from a car bridging the gap rather than following the course around. I assume there'd be some kind of penalty, since it's not really something nobody would notice.

Incidentally, the perfect camera angle is a crane shot from behind the vehicle and about 12 (scale) feet up. This is from my considered expertise honed on literally minutes of playing Need for Speed on the PS 2.
posted by ardgedee at 2:53 PM on October 1, 2013


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