Yokomo's Nicholas Lee is in Australia for the event and a heavy favorite in Modified Touring Car. Admittedly, just like many of the other drivers at the event, his experience on carpet is a bit limited. However, it's obvious he's done his homework, with a easy to drive car that's stable and smooth. Although his practice has been limited with the event only showing one round of practice in the books through part of Thursday, he's already showing great pace. He also sets up his Yokomo BD8 a bit different when run on the rug. We got a chance to sit down with this talented young driver and pick his brain about what it takes to run touring cars at such a high level and the changes he makes.
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You predominantly race on asphalt and only switch to carpet once in a while, but what has been your biggest learning curve when running on carpet?
- Nicholas Lee: On asphalt you have to be much smoother so that your tires don't overheat and make it to the end of the five-minute run. On asphalt, we often have the sun and the surface can get really hot. Since there's no sun when we run on carpet, it stays more consistent. On carpet you can drive much more aggressive than asphalt.
Do you change your electronics settings for carpet vs. asphalt or do you run them the same?
- We use a special rotor we use when running on carpet. We use a titanium rotor. We only use this rotor when we run on carpet. This helps with the drivability. It's smoother. We can still use a 4.5T motor on a small track because of this.
Do you use Boost or Turbo in your speed control settings?
- I use the "Blinky" setting.
How about Punch or other settings?
- We don't usually change our Punch settings. We just change the rotor. There's only one special titanium rotor and it's 12.5mm. The materials make it feel much different.
And you are now using the Yokomo RTC (Rear Toe Control) suspension in the rear?
- Yeah, it gives me more steering and more corner speed.
You always use that on carpet?
- Well, if you are lacking steering, this is where you want to go.
What else are you experimenting with?
- This time I chose to run an aluminum chassis.
This helps lower the center-of-gravity?
- I think it helps more with the stiffness and stability. It's a good balance with the aluminum chassis and RTC.
When running on carpet, are you doing anything different to your tires? Are you using tire warmers or anything like that?
- I don't use tire warmers. From my past experience when running on carpet, I usually leave the sauce on about 20 minutes before I run.
Do you stiffen up the car when you run on carpet?
- No, but this time I'm using shorter arms in the front. This makes the car roll less and has a more direct feeling.
Do you have advice for someone just starting out on carpet?
- I try and listen to others who have experience with the surface. Before I got here, others told me to run things like the aluminum chassis and the RTC system. I listened to them and made the changes. My car was really good on my first run out. If someone needs advice, I'd say come to me and we can sit down and figure it out. I'm here to help.