Guide To Racing at Coventry Model Car Club
Race day preparation:
To race at the club you will need to have BRCA membership. Club membership is optional for racing (required for open practice at the club), but will entitle you to reduced race entry fees, and use of the tracks at weekend during opening hours. See the membership page for details on joining.
Once a member of the club, you can practice to hone your skills prior to race day, this will give you the opportunity to get familiar with the track layouts and try different setups on your car. There are 2 tracks at Cosford Raceway; an astro turf track for 1/10th scale cars, and a multi surface track currently being built for 1/8th scale cars.
There is a list of race dates on the website, which can be entered in advance by using the online pre-booking in form. By pre?booking, you can guarantee your entry on the race day as some meetings can be very well subscribed. This also saves a little time on the morning of the race as you will already have given your details through the online booking form. Remember, you will still need to book in at the track and pay your entry fee. For club meetings it is £6 (1/10thscale) or £8 (1/8th scale) if you are a member, or £8 (1/10th) or £10 (1/8th) if not; other meetings are a little more, such as MAM (Midland Astroturf Masters) and Dirt Masters.
Prepare your car for the event, example setups for your car may be found on the
manufacturers website, or try asking on some of the popular RC internet forums; most people will be happy to share their experience with you. Make sure you have charged all of your batteries, and have all your kit ready and organised.
There isn’t always a shop for RC spares at the track, so bring any spares with
you. If other racers are running the same make of car as yours, you could always
borrow some spares at the track if needed.
Arriving on the day:
What to bring: your racing kit, car, radio gear etc is a given, but there are a few other items that will help on the day:
Fold up table to work on your car
Chair (a fold up camping chair or similar)
Food and drink, although the club sometimes will have hot food for sale Money, for entry fees and if you need any spares
Pit man to help with starting your car and putting it out on the track
Booking in will close at around 08h45, so you need to arrive in plenty of time to set up and get booked in, around 08h00 will give plenty of time to do this. When you arrive, get your pit area set up and head over to the race control to book in. If it’s your first time racing at the track, it is worth mentioning this when you book in and pay, so that the race organisers can give you any help that you need to make sure you have a good day’s racing. Just remember that they have a job to do during the day, so don’t expect them to hold up the racing if you are late getting ready!
Get your car ready for racing, perhaps changing tyres or setup if the track conditions aren’t what you expected. There is often a short time where the track will be open to try your car before the racing starts, but remember that engines can’t be run before 09h00.
Once booking in is closed, there will be a drivers briefing, listen out for the announcement. The drivers briefing is usually held on the pit straight of the track that is being used. During the briefing information about how the day will unfold will be given, such as the number of rounds of heats and direction of the track.
The heat listings are usually available after drivers briefing, on the board next to the race control. Take note of the heat you are in and what race number you are, taking a stick on number to place on your car.
Don’t forget ‘Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance’, so make sure all
your batteries are charged up and wheel nuts are tight.
Keep an eye on the running order so that you are ready for your heat, if you are a beginner, you will likely be in one of the early heats. If you are running a nitro car, you will want to get the engine warmed up while the heat before yours is racing, as there won’t usually be a break between the heats. Once the heat before yours has finished, and the cars are clearing from the pit lane, take your car (or get your pit man to) to the pit lane and go up onto the rostrum and wait for the announcement that the track is open for your race. There may be a short warm up prior to your race, and then a rolling start for nitro/mixed classes, or a staggered standing start for electric classes. Once the race has started, pace yourself and try to keep it on the track! At the end of the race your number is usually called to inform you that you are finished, make your way back into the pits, but don’t be tempted to cut the track as some people may still be racing.
After the race:
Once the race is over you will be required to marshall for the following heat, your marshall point will be your race number. Don’t take too long to get to your designated point as penalties will be handed out if you’re late. You will hear the phrase ‘Marshall as you’d want to be marshalled’ at some point, basically pay attention and respond to crashed cars as quick as possible without putting yourself in danger of being hit by other cars. Marshalling isn’t the time to watch the racing, you need to focus on the area you are assigned to. Once the race is over, you will need to wait until the next person relieves you of your position, unless you are told to stand down by the race control.
Your results should be posted by the time you have finished marshalling, so go and check how you got on. Make any changes to your car ready for the next round of heats and watch a bit of racing. You’ll be surprised how much you will learn by watching other drivers.
There will be several rounds of qualifying, normally 3 or more depending on the time of year and the amount of daylight. Following the heats there may be a short break while the final positions are worked out, use this time to have a chat to your fellow competitors and pick up usefull tips. The final positions will be posted at race control, see what final you are in and get a new number if it has changed.
The final format will depend on the class you are running in, but generally the Nitro/mixed classes will have a Le Mans style start where your pit man will take your car to the track, and the electrics will have a grid style start, both formats will have a count down and then a buzzer/flag raised to start the race. Take your time on the first lap and keep it on the track, settle into a rhythm and enjoy the racing!