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What Is Tuning?

What is tuning? Tuning is the process of optimizing your race car’s performance by making modifications. Tuning can fall into one of the following categories:

  • Minimizing weight
  • Minimizing rolling resistance
  • Minimizing aerodynamic drag

Consider the Specs

The race competition rules usually include a set of specifications, or specs, which must be considered while tuning the car. Specs usually have a minimum car weight. This is a race-ready car with paint, wheels, axles, screw eyes installed. Other specs might be:

  • Minimum/maximum car length
  • Wheelbase or distance between axles (min/max)
  • Body width at axles (min/max)
  • Thickness of body material around cartridge hole (min)

While tuning, make sure you stay within the required specifications or your car might be disqualified on race day. If you have removed too much material from the car body and have gone below a minimum spec, there is no going back.

Measuring Tools

Complying with a set of specifications requires constant measurement of a car while it’s under construction. You’ll definitely need an accurate scale, and it’s very helpful to have a set of calipers.

  • Calipers – Calipers enable you to get precise measurements very quickly – that’s why they are used by engineers, machinists, and other pros.
  • Digital Scale – Car weight might be the most important factor in race car performance. While you’ll want to minimize the car weight, don’t overdo it and get your car disqualified for being underweight. That’s why an accurate scale is critical. A variety of digital scales are available, and most measure in grams or ounces and can handle up to 600 grams (more than a pound).
  • Go/No Go Gauge – This is a quick and convenient way to check your race cars for TSA specifications. Use this gauge for measuring minimum and maximum requirements for front and rear wheel widths and diameters, body length, width, height, and screw eye and axle positions. Note: The TSA specs change from time to time and so does the Go/No Go Gauge, so always order one of TSA’s competitive-event guides online to ensure you are working with the current specifications.

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