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Team Driver Tips: Preparing For a Raceday

Preparing For a Raceday
By Joel Valander

I start preparing for a race day early to avoid last minute panicking about missing parts or something similar. The only thing I leave for the race day morning is charging the batteries.

What do I do to the car itself then?

With an off-road car the most important thing is that it’s clean. Many people don’t seem to consider this important, but keeping the car clean reduces the wearing out of the parts and broken parts are easier to notice when the car is clean. So, it’s good to start the preparation with a proper cleaning. I myself use Muc-Off and WD40 that I blow away with compressed air. You can use a microfiber cloth to finish the drying.

I start off by disassembling the car: I take off the shock absorbers, diffs, drive shafts and bearings. At this point it’s good to check that the suspension arms and the ball cups move smoothly. When driving outdoors you often have to wrench them to make them move smoother.

If the bearings feel crisp they can be cleaned and greased again. For the greasing, I recommend Hudy’s Bearing Grease Red #106222. For races I usually replace the bearings with new ones in the most critical places and places that are most prone to wearing out. It’s good to have plenty of wheel bearings in the tool box.

Next, I take apart the drive shafts and clean them with a brake cleaner or equivalent. For greasing I use Hudy’s Graphite Grease #106210. The drive shafts have a huge effect on the functioning of the car and it’s good to clean and grease them often. I grease the drive shafts before every track day.  

Usually I build a ball diff for a 2WD buggy only for races. Once you’ve had the patience to do it properly, it will last for a long time. Gear diff is put through a lot on the carpet tracks, so I build it for every track day. During the bigger events where the time between the heats is longer, I build the diff for every second heat. There’s nothing special about building the diffs, careful cleaning and refilling the oil is enough. I only use Hudy’s oils for the shocks and diffs.

I also prepare the shocks for every track day. During races I might do more adjustments depending on the driving conditions. According to the manual.

And finally, the preparations I do on the race day. If the car functions well during test drives in the morning, the only thing I do is check that everything’s as it should and grease the driveshaft if it seems necessary. If the speed doesn’t seem optimal and the car doesn’t function as it should, I consider making adjustments. During races it’s a good idea to ask the more experienced and faster drivers for advice.

On a regular track day, I try keep the car in the same condition as on a race day to make practice driving as close as possible to the conditions on a race day. Having the car ready for race with the tires glued helps to avoid stress and focusing on the race is easier.

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