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The Japanese motor industry has globally gone from strength to strength since the mid 1960’s when they began exporting cars on a mass scale.
It’s hard to think of a motorsport that doesn’t have a legendary car from the tiny nation: In Group C LeMans we had the screaming rotary Mazda 787B. The Group A era Nissan R32 GTR that dominated touring car racing in the early 1990s. The incredible rivalry between Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution and Subaru’s Impreza in the WRC between the mid 1990s and late 2000s
Japanese manufacturers are also hugely popular in every segment the road car market from city cars to people carriers to trucks and SUVs to sports cars. They have a reputation for being tough, affordable and often at the cutting edge of technology.
It’s no surprise then that second hand car websites are full of cheap older Japanese cars. Because of this they have become hugely popular with banger racers and at Brentwood RC we would be racing models of some of these Japanese cars.
The rules for entry were pretty simple; the shell had to be Japanese. There were no upper or lower limits on displacement, age or size and thus there was a big variety of cars racing from the tiny K11 Micra:
To the seemingly massive Toyota Previa. These two were in my heats and I believe they were the first long wheel based cars I’ve raced against. They weigh a bit more and so seem to come out on top in the heavier impacts, but being tall I couldn’t resist trying to tip them over a few times as we were going around!
There were a few classics ranging from Datsun 240zs to Nissan Bluebirds and what I believe to be Toyota Crowns.
By far the most common car was Toyota’s Supra line. The whole range of represented including the Mk2 Celica-Supra. A rare machine these days!
The Mk3 fro the late 1980s was a very very good looking car and well equipped but the 7M engine it was fitted with suffered frequent head gasket issues. Sadly I’d imagine these failures are what caused many to be subjected to the banger circuit.
There was also the Mk4 Supra with the legendary 2JZ straight six. These made up the majority of the field.
(This white car was incredible. All the signage was done with water slide decals. I kept my eye on the car throughout the course of the evening and surprisingly the decals didn’t tear much in contact.)
My car was also a Mk4 Supra. This was the same shell as what I used at the Autism Awareness meet, the report of which you can find here, which only suffered light damage. I resprayed it Brooklands Green but for some reason the paint didn’t react well to the primer I used and it dried matte. It did the job though!
In support of the bangers were Formula 2 stock cars and 2 litre stock cars.
The F2s have winged chassis (which are wider than the straight chassis’ used on bangers and 1300s and are more heavily armoured than the “production” stock cars. They also run counter clockwise which makes a change. Driving an oval in the opposite direction must feel weird. I’d imagine it throws you off at first. Another class for me to consider in the future.
The 2 litre stock cars seem to be the crème dela crème of oval track rc cars. They are allowed to run differentials, powerful brushless motors and a LiPo or a standard G2 with NiMh 6 cell battery (which I would imagine for a short track like Brentwood is probably a little more manageable) and like the F2s can also have winged chassis’.
There were 27 bangers booked in in total which were split into 2 heats. One field of 14 cars and one field of 13 respectively.
I found myself in the field of 13 cars.
My heats went well. In the first race I finished in 5th which was a nice surprise.
In the second race I got caught up in more crashes, including a huge head on with one of the Toyota Previas which nearly launched me from the track! I still managed to get 7th, which is pretty average.
The third race was the nicest surprise though! I managed to stay out of trouble to take third place! My first podium on the RC oval!
The final was “all in” so all 27 cars would be on track at once which was brilliantly chaotic! Somehow I managed to finish in 6th out of all which I think is a fairly respectable result.
I’m continuing to learn lots of little things that make sense retrospectively. For instance, the bangers have a lot more grip than the RC drift cars and a turning circle that’s no where near as tight. Therefore once you are spun out it can be a bit difficult to turn yourself around on the track, especially with traffic coming around the track! It’s a lot quicker and safer to just reverse to the next corner then turn around rather than trying to do it mid straight.
I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and evolve my skills on the oval. I’m really enjoying this journey and I’m hoping you’re all enjoying reading it with me!
Now for the all important after shots. This Mk4 could go happily again with some repairs I reckon. It’s an incredibly tough shell! I’m not sure if I will run it again, but I’ll hold onto it just in case haha!
Finally, I’d like to give a shout out to Midge’s RC Spares and Shells who sell tonnes and tonnes of V12 bits. They currently have motors in stock for under £10! I had to pick one up for the 1300 which is having some motor issues.
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By Richard Francis