Modified ESC & Motor setup for Mod rookies
As most of you know, my main class is and has been Stock / ProStock. For the 2023 TITC I actually needed to start in Modified class, as I'm banned from OpenBrushless after my victory in 2019.
It was my first major Modified attendance which worked out better than expected, but still I struggled a lot with the enormous power produced by a 4,5T motor.
The main reason that it's hard to drive is not the top speed. Its the immense amount of torque, which means you need to hit the trigger very gently.
Well and here is the main struggle for racers who want to make the step from Stock to Modified!
In Stock you need to drive "hard", which means you hit the throttle mostly very fast and hard to speed up the car with the limited power available. It's actually needed to be fast in this classes. Doing this for a certain time frame (months up to years) creates experience and also muscle memory. Its nearly never needed to hit the throttle gently in this classes, you can go all in in 95% of the time. The range on the trigger between neutral and full throttle is "new land" for many stock racers, including me 😁
The struggle then begins when you bolt in a Modified Motor and ESC setup which you find online from the Professional Modified drivers. Mostly are 4,5T-5,0T motors used and a certain amount of boost+turbo.
Important here - don't get me wrong! These setups are really good and perfect, a lot of time is invested into these setups to fine tune them. But these setups are IMHO not usable for Modified rookies. Clearly they are very well usable for advanced drivers in Modified and the professional racers, for the fact that they are THE BEST in the world!
Let me try to explain what I mean by a 1:1 scale example.
Imagine you own a 150HP AWD car and enjoy this a lot on the back roads or track days. With this you are always using a lot of throttle as you need to rev it high to have power and torque. Its safe to use, as with this power you nearly never get into the issue that the cars gets loose or has too much power to overshoot corners.
Now for some reason "you are forced to" drive a RWD car with 1000HP and 1200NM torque without any traction control. Can you imagine how hard it would be to hold this monster on the asphalt and still try to go fast around the track ? It clearly wouldn't be an issue for a professional driver which has a lot of experience from several years of racing. Nobody would be able to handle such a beast right away coming from a much slower class car which needed a very different driving style.
There are always intermediate steps needed to gain more experience and get step by step used to more power/torque and speed.
Also if you look back how the speed increased in all classes of RC racing the past 10-15 years, its somehow describes why the current professional Mod racers are totally fine with the high power and high torque settings. 15 years ago Modified was the speed of 13,5T nowadays. And with the ongoing development the class got faster and faster step by step till the speed of ~130kph which is possible at big tracks today.
Long story short:
If you want to try Modified, you likely want to start with a bit lower turn motor and less punchy ESC settings. I played around with a few different winds and settings and finally ended with a 6,5T motor and the attached ESC setup!
I really think this is a great start point as it has still a lot more power than Stock/ProStock and you need to manage a lot more with your throttle finger, but isn't as punchy as a 4,5T setup where the usable trigger range in the infield is in 2mm only. The TOS race past weekend showed that this my setting with the 6,5T matched the same speed as Lucas power settings with a 5.0T motor. Didn't miss any speed in the infield and matched the top speed on the main straight!
I will continue to "learn" and practice modified by this way myself and try to gain more experience till I'm also able to handle the lower winds with more power.
It will take time for sure, but I wasn't fast in stock class from day one as well!
Maybe this my post can help some racers out there to overcome the fear of Modified and actually try/enjoy this class as well.