Let's look at some smarter ways to ask setup questions and learn things from our peers to lower lap times and reduce confusion. #TheUnprofessionals
Alright so you are confused about a concept or your car isn't doing something you want it to do on the track and you want to reach out for help. Totally understandable and acceptable but in the age of social media let's take a second to look into smarter ways of receiving information. The most common thing people do is also the thing I would recommend the least. Do not ask the brand's public Facebook group or forum unless you have 0 other resources left. Most of the people mean well and are trying to help but asking people how to make your car better at a certain thing 'more low speed steering' will bring 1000 different random responses 75% of which are incorrect. Beyond that you have the trolls who are actively trying to confuse you. In my opinion this should be a last resort.
Here is what I would recommend:
- Before you ask anyone anything, write down your setup, the whole setup!
- Also take notes on what the track is you're racing at, the grip level, surface, and even a picture or two.
- Having the setup and the track information will help anyone who helps you to figure out what you need way more effectively.
- Ask around, find out who is knowledgable on your brand, most brands have people who will answer questions to the best of their abilities and are happy to help. Guys like Frank Root (TLR), TJ Eller or Kurt Wenger (Team Associated), Adam Drake (Mugen Seiki Racing), Matthew Armeni and Jared Wiggins (Tekno) etc. are great resources and would love to answer your questions.
- If you don't feel comfortable asking those people, ask who is knowledgable at your local track and ask them if they know or if they know someone who would. Most people are flattered that you would ask them and are more than happy to help.
- Write down the results, give yourself a playbook of what worked for you and what didn't.
Here are some other general rules I have or recommend:
- If you want to try a 'Pro Setup' or a setup someone else recommends, pay a lot of attention to the setup sheet. Make sure you copy everything and I mean everything (read the notes on the setup even), if you get lazy and decide you don't want to do something then the setup likely won't work the way it was intended and trying it was not as useful as it could've been.
- If a pro setup doesn't work that is totally alright and understandable. Those elite guys are orbiting the track often times more than 2 seconds a lap faster than the majority of people. They force the suspension and the car to do things at a rate and a pace that normal people don't.
- Product brands are important: if blank driver uses Associated oil and you use Losi oil you need to make sure you know what the conversion is or the setup won't feel right. If you have to drill piston blanks, make sure you are using the same drill bit kit, often times these kits are a little off from each other so Brand A's 1.3 is 1.3mm but brand B's 1.3 is 1.25mm. These things are important, those are just examples but they apply more often than you would think.
- Listen: this is a personal frustration of mine, but if you ask me questions and then do the exact opposite or argue with me about the answer, then don't bother asking. It is one thing to ask critical questions because you want to understand better or to ask for ideas while explaining that you may not use them, but no one wants to help someone who is argumentative or frustrating.
In summary, questions are totally alright and most people are happy to help, but there are certain things you can do to help yourself. Write things down, be prepared, and be willing to actually follow the recommendations and do the work!