ARC R10 - Bradd Vercoe - TITC - RC Addict - 23-24.02.2013

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TITC 2013
Boosted 13.5t class
Bradd Vercoe
Titan ARC R10

Once again we make the trek back to RCAddict for this years TITC, Having made the trip from Australia with a big group of friends, we were once again presented with a beautifully manicured race circuit, this year sported a new layout, with patches in some spots I was worried the track would be hard to come to grips with.

This year I am driving the new Titan ARC R10, it has only been on the market for a few months, but using it around my home tracks I was confident I would have a strong reliable car, and was looking forward to meeting the owner Jones Chu and the rest of the ARC team. Josh Cyrul was scheduled to race and I was really looking forward to utilizing his immense experience but unfortunately family commitments didn’t allow this to happen.

My first prac day was Saturday the week before the event, before the rest of the team arrived. I started with a suggested setup from the teams experience at the Ride cup a few months earlier. For my driving preference I found the car to be undergripped, and just not balanced to drive. Every change I made took me closer to my home setup, Once I had it on completely I had a very easy car to drive, but I just could not get the lap times others were quoting, and as the grip came up the car became sensitive to traction roll in a couple of corners. The couple of R10 drivers who were there were very helpful with bouncing ideas off, namely Leonard Kee and Leonard Sim, both using differing setups, but was good to bounce ideas off. On Sunday when I was able to meet Jones and the Team he provided me with a different 2.5mm chassis, this was immediately a benefit giving the car the same steering, but with more confidence in the rear end of the car.

After chatting with a few people (namely fellow countryman, Ryan Maker) and checking out some other cars, we took a new direction in setup, once again the R10 performed flawlessly with zero car failures, yielded a car that was still immensely easy to drive, but had more corner speed, and started to yield the lap times I was hoping for. This involved generally making the car softer. Setup changes in these high traction conditions are quite difficult as we are used to racing on much lower traction tracks, and tend to find that the adjustments generally have the opposite effect here as opposed to home, so I took the safe route and stayed with a consistent, easy to drive setup as opposed to chasing for the ultimate in lap times, everything was going well and I was hoping for some good results this year. Off Track things went very wrong, walking back to my pit shed my foot broke though the decking, and I fell down and severely damaged my thigh, with very heavy bruising, but I was very lucky to not hurt myself more as I could have fallen further down the stairs, so I was pretty tender for the rest of the week (Marc Reinhard later also broke a decking board, but he was running and was lucky not to fall in)

Unfortunately things started to go pear shaped in the prequal races, First run was relatively solid, but 2nd run a slight tweak in the software settings bought an early end to the run with the ESC hitting an incorrectly set low voltage cutoff, ending my race early. This put me way back in the pack for the first rounds of qual. Come Friday morning car all prepped, looking forward to a good run on relatively new tires given my short run in pre qual, the first lap the car did half a spin through the fast chicane, half a lap later the car went straight and wouldn’t turn into the sweeper, somehow the centre of the tire had broken out, without even hitting anything. Second run on Friday I was told by the Hobbywing crew to update my software to the latest version, running the same settings as previously my motor cooked towards the end of the run. So 2 DNF, with 3 out of 5 rounds to count I was really feeling down, having a beautiful car to drive with small issues preventing me from showing its full potential.

With a fresh start on Saturday, feeling extremely nervous knowing I had to rely on all 3 of my remaining heats for a decent qual, starting in 89th, I knew it would be tough as the traction would only increase for the later heats. First run I was very happy with the car, but I made a small driving mistake touching a curb and landing on my roof, luckily I was able to recover fairly quick losing 3 seconds, I could hardly believe it when at the end of the round I had put in a 16th position in round. Race 2 I made a small change to the rear link, as the first round the car was a little tail happy, unfortunately the track changed and the car was understeering, although again extremely easy to drive, and I had a clean run to win my race (It was actually a blessing in disguise being in a low heat, as the race director called me through the traffic each race), once again I was happy with the car but not the race time, but was stunned to see again a good result being 18th in the round. The final qual, I was even more nervous, knowing I had a great consistent car and 2 very good finishes under my belt, again I was very lucky with traffic, and had a clean run, although again I wasn’t overly happy with the race time, but when the round had finished I was shocked to see another 16th in round. My imagination was going wild hoping for a top 20 final qualifying position, unfortunately it was not to be with the numbers revealing I had qualified 22nd, quite bittersweet as this is by far my best qualifying position at any TITC I have attended but so close to having made the B final, especially considering the event organizers had changed the rules immediately before the event, allowing factory drivers and previous A final contestants to enter the Boosted 13.5t class.

First final the car felt superb once again, having used my last set of new tires, I was able to pressure the TQ car into a mistake, and once past was able to pull out a large lead to take the win, with the final finishing position to be determined by the fastest race time, I was feeling confident that I could potentially take the C final win. Race 2 once again car felt good to drive but I was slowly losing ground on first place, and he had a clean run, with a number of seconds to 3rd place, I started to over think things too much and made a silly mistake which caused me to need marshalling, which put me down to 3rd place. Unfortunately the second final was a few seconds faster, later finding out that first place was on new tires, overall I finished 3rd in the C final. Again my best placing by far at any TITC I have attended.

After having a debrief with Jones, the majority of the other R10 drivers had changed to a 2.25mm version of the new chassis plate, which gave their cars a little more traction, wether this would have yielded better lap times or not is unknown, but I was very happy with the R10 for the entire event, with nothing breaking or wearing out during the entire event, the only issue I faced was in prac where a competitior decided it was a good idea to drive backwards along the track which damaged my upper and lower top deck, Jones came to the rescue with replacement parts to keep the car in top condition.

It was great to have the support of Jones and the ARC team, it is often difficult being a privateer at these big events with the top teams going fro the win it is difficult to get honest open communication, this is something I truly cherished with ARC this year. As the car has only been out for a very short period of time, I am confident that the future of Titan ARC is very bright, to come up with a car of this quality and calibre, at such a competitive price at its first attempt is truly an amazing effort. With some fine tuning and some clearer base setups for varying conditions things can only become more promising.

Video of the 2 C finals. I am the flouro orange car starting in 2nd place.