August 20, 2016

Track Focus – Fengtai Sports Center


Track Name – Fengtai Sports Center
Host –  Car Modelling Association of China
Country – China
Location – Beijing Fengtai
Direction – Clockwise
Surface – ETS Carpet

RC Racing’s biggest prize is to be decided in the world’s biggest economy for the first time as China plays host to the 18th running of the 1:12 IFMAR World Championships.  Held in the Fengtai district of Beijing, the indoor race, which will be followed later in the week by the outdoor Electric Touring World Championships, is taking place at the Fengtai Sports Centre.  Built originally to house the softball stadium used during Beijing’s hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games, the centre is also home to the Fengtai Science, Technology and Sports building in which the Car Modelling Association of China have built an superbly presented temporary carpet track.  Such is the level of organisation for the Fengtai government funded running of the World Championships there is a staff of 30, half of whom are volunteers, to look after the 56 entries which is actually a 25% increase on the entries for the last 1:12 World Championship which were held in the USA.

Under the guidance of the Race Director Max Lim, the 6-day build has resulted in a meticulously detailed track that covers and area 30 metres wide by 24m deep. Positioned 4 metres in front of the driver stand, the layout was penned by Lim who said much of the track’s influence was based on driver feedback who favoured ‘a more technical’ layout. Using ETS black carpet, which they had brought in especially from the Netherlands, Lim said the considerable depth of the track has allowed the layout to also be ‘really fast’.  As a structure, the track sits 15 centimetres off the ground with each square metre of the track standing on 4 feet.  As lane dividers the track uses locally made plastic box piping which has been screwed into place.  Cut to 1-metre lengths Lim said this allows for quick & easy replacement should they get damaged by cars, him adding ‘we used this material so it takes the impact rather than breaking the cars’.   With the hall having 5 rows of sky lights providing natural light, this also presented a shadowing problem.  With the addition of banks of lights not a option as the building’s roof is not certified for the weight load, two star shaped light balloons hang above the track instead.  With two 2kw bulbs in each they provide a well defused light.

Giving his first impression of the track, reigning World Champion Marc Rheinard described it as, ‘a pretty nice track and it’s a good size’.   With the early fastest lap times in the region of late 12-seconds, the German continued, ‘the layout is tricky, there are many chicanes and everyone is crashing.  I think consistency is the focus rather than being fastest over a lap because every time you crash you risk tweaking the car’.  Thinking further ahead, he concluded, ‘its missing some passing points for the finals’.

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