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As a follow up to the actual Pace Car race demo video in this link https://www.slotforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=50963&p=2323941 I have been tweaking my new Slot.it pace car setup to get it to go faster and provide more challenging races, I don't like to lose
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, but I do like it if I can programme a pace car that can win races, if you know what I mean
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.it makes racing alone in these COVID-19 lockdown times much more interesting
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I get a lot of questions asking how to setup up competitive pace cars so I thought I would share my latest Easter tinkering, the answer is of course persistence, and using Sectors to suit your own track and tweaking each sector individually as the car runs around in Test mode. I reckon it is like real race car setups, you can change the slightest thing to get a big improvement and then the smallest tweak in the chase for perfection unwinds everything.
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If there is any interest I could try to do a full tutorial from start to finish, although I hope the above will be of assistance to those who want to try and get a competitive pace car running.
 

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Great tutorials Phil!

I have spent hrs setting up pace cars. Then I change a bit of track and have to almost start over...

I have an issue with some cars changing speed from cold to warm motors.

I can get a car to work great around the track when its cold, but after 25 laps its blowing corners and changing lap times.

I have been trying to run the car at practice for 20min or so, then start setting up the pace car.

My Joker Lap really messes things up!

Enjoy,
Shad
 

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Great video, can we hire you? Yes we were (are) so proud of this, thank you for using it how it was meant to be. A lot of people give up to soon but practice pays off as you demonstrate so well.
@shad:
If I remember correct you can adjust speed (throttle) of pacer while it drives with lc and brake (1 up/1 down) if you find it gets too fast or slow in time.
Also I think it can negotiate a joker lap if it has pit in and out sensors. Set a constant speed for that part and stop time 0. It might work, but you can't have a pitlane and joker with sensors in 1 track. Also depends were start-finish is.
 

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Great video, can we hire you? Yes we were (are) so proud of this, thank you for using it how it was meant to be. A lot of people give up to soon but practice pays off as you demonstrate so well.
@shad:
If I remember correct you can adjust speed (throttle) of pacer while it drives with lc and brake (1 up/1 down) if you find it gets too fast or slow in time.
Also I think it can negotiate a joker lap if it has pit in and out sensors. Set a constant speed for that part and stop time 0. It might work, but you can't have a pitlane and joker with sensors in 1 track. Also depends were start-finish is.
Correct, you can substitute a pit lane for a Joker Lap, but cant have both (yet).

Pace cars work great if you stick with it, time and patience. They are fun!

Shad
 

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Great to see the pace car option being used so effectively.
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A lot of time was spent on perfecting it in the development phase. I did a video at the time of an RCS64 pace car versus a Scalextric Challenger - great fun.

The one thing that got me frustrated was when I changed the speed graph or braking in one sector it threw off the timing for all subsequent sectors and it was a bind to have to modify them all to compensate. In the end I just kept recording complete laps until I got one I was happy with and didn't tweak it.

Shad, I might be wrong as it's been a while, but I think you can set a target lap time to get round the problem of cars getting faster or slower as they heat up.

Cheers,
 

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Great to see the pace car option being used so effectively.
smile.png
A lot of time was spent on perfecting it in the development phase. I did a video at the time of an RCS64 pace car versus a Scalextric Challenger - great fun.

The one thing that got me frustrated was when I changed the speed graph or braking in one sector it threw off the timing for all subsequent sectors and it was a bind to have to modify them all to compensate. In the end I just kept recording complete laps until I got one I was happy with and didn't tweak it.

Shad, I might be wrong as it's been a while, but I think you can set a target lap time to get round the problem of cars getting faster or slower as they heat up.

Cheers,
I have played with the target time also. Its like you said, as I have had the same difficulties, if you have any sectors set up and you change 1 sector, it affects them all. By changing the target lap times, I think is similar, it speeds up in the wrong sectors or changes speeds in sectors causing de slots or missed lane changes.

I am still working with it to find the best solution.

Enjoy,

Shad
 

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Woke up this morning Easter Saturday, made breakfast and coffee's and wondered out to the garage to have a pace car race with my newly tuned up pacer, no warm ups just straight into it, cold track, cold motor and cold tyres.

30 lap race, I crashed 4 times trying to push too hard as I was behind most of the race and the pace car only crashed twice. With these Slot.it Pace cars I don't use the Autocorrect option in a race as the adjustment to make up lap times can have them go too fast in sections and crash too often.

Average lap time for me was 13.923 and pace car 13.942, my fastest lap was 9.792 and pace car 10.441. I won, but only just (to be honest I got the benefit of the pace car circulating at the fixed default speed of only 20 after a crash which allowed me to catch up late in the race), here is the RCS64 Race Result Report showing how close things were. 20200411_105542.jpg
 

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...I can get a car to work great around the track when its cold, but after 25 laps its blowing corners and changing lap times....

My Joker Lap really messes things up!
Yep the pace car characteristics do change as the weather, track conditions, motor temperature and tyre condition change.

When tweaking the sectors I try and not take it to the full limit (although I want to get as close as I can) this way I try and allow for these variables and the car can be at least 90% reliable during a race.

The beauty of this is that it is not a computer game, the cars are just like their 1:1 counterparts things change, tyres wear, tracks get dusty, motor temps change, this just makes the end result more enjoyable.

Now the Joker lap is a variable I hadn't thought about, is it possible to create a Sector that allows the normal lap and Joker lap to be negotiated at the same pace, although my brain is now starting to hurt at the down stream impacts of this.
 

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When tweaking the sectors I try and not take it to the full limit (although I want to get as close as I can) this way I try and allow for these variables and the car can be at least 90% reliable during a race.
You are 100% correct! I have learned the same thing. I push the pace car to the edge, then back it down and make it reliable.

I have found mine seem to start out a bit slower at first, but then slowly speed up. The real driver thinks they have the race but that pace car starts slowly increasing and the real driver get nervous and crashes!

I think the pace car becomes intimidating...
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I will experiment with that joker lap....

Enjoy,

Shad
 

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...I think the pace car becomes intimidating...:yikes:
This is it exactly, it puts you under pressure and you make mistakes, this is the difference between just doing laps on your own (which I do enjoy) and hard racing on the edge.

It does mess with your head though when the pace car I programmed doesn't crash and the car I am racing does 😨😭
 

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Yes please to a tutorial regarding setting up & modifying sectors. I can't get my head around how you can make a change early in a lap without it then throwing out everything "downstream" from that.

Here's hoping.

Graham
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Graham, that is why I tweak each sector at a time as the car is driving around in Test mode, I'll get Sector 1 working then Sector 2 and so on....... in the video there a ton of red lines that I have added (some very close to each other) that I have used then unused etc. during the fine tuning phase, but I leave them there because they come in handy if I have to resolve down stream impacts etc. or have to make small adjustments at a later date.

At the end of all this I have a car that circulates for ages in Test mode as I follow the yellow line and the car and tweak bits to improve the lap time, then I stop, let the car cool down, give the tyres a clean and then re-do, run a race and if needed re-do, then run another race and if needed re-do (or undo
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) until the car starts winning races
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and then it is on, one night I had 12 races before I cracked a win and didn't I enjoy my beer after that
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.

I'll try and do a whole demo video, it will be highly edited though because I'm not sure anyone would want to watch the whole hour or so it may take to get it just right. I'll make sure I include the key bits though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another 30 lap race v the Slot.it pacecar.

I actually broke the rear body screw post on the pace car last night while testing and racing and had to repair it this morning, luckly the bit of plastic that broke off the post was still inside the car so I could superglue it back into place and then bog around the whole post with epoxy, working all OK so far.

Anyway, back to the race the pace car won, I stuffed up my pit strategy and tried for a one stop changing from Hards to Intermediaries hoping to carry them through a predicted wet track. It didn't work the track got too wet, too quick and I had to adjust driving style (braking earlier and accelerating later). By the time it was evident I should pit to change to Wets the time in pits would have further destroyed me, so I soldered on, quite pathetic really :(.

Anyway the real interesting bit is the pacecar's best lap time of 10.708 was a bit slower but the average lap time of 11.599 (which included one pit stop) was insane.

This confirms Shorty54's statement that these pacecars "become intimidating" it just kept coming and as my tyres went on me, I couldn't maintain control at the speeds I wanted to drive. This was a seriously great race, even though I lost :) AGAIN! You can see my average lap time of 12.556 was effected by my poor tyre strategy :( 20200412_173841.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Next race, no excuses my pit stratey was good, both cars had 2 pit stops I lost by half the front straight, this was after a massive effort to reel the pace car in without crashing following a late pit stop on lap 24 of 30 to change tyres and splash fuel for the final stint. (I should have gone harder in those corners) Average laps times much closer, how do I deal with the fact I am beating myself :( 20200412_182801.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Add some traffic! ... but that probably needs an anti-collision/auto overtake system :)
And I still have the firmware you sent me 👍, I have been avoiding purchasing a Picit thingie due to lack of electrickery soldering confidence etc. But it is still on my radar, I tend to put these things off and then eventually do them and think "why didn't I do that earlier?" Like using a soldering iron, soldering in a digital chip, building and installing my own power taps, soldering track pieces together, doing the Riko APB power mod, doing the powered XLC flipper mod. You reckon I should be ready for the anti-collision mod by now 😎.
 

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how do I deal with the fact I am beating myself
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20200412_182801.jpg
Winning a race is all about keeping your laps clean and consistent. Your pacer does exactly that, while you are making tiny little errors while pushing harder and harder. If you forget about the pace car, and focus on your brake and acceleration points in order to keep a clean line so that you are not sliding all over, you'll find yourself catching up to the pace car much more quickly. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn. To go faster, you must slow down. ;-)
 

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Winning a race is all about keeping your laps clean and consistent. Your pacer does exactly that, while you are making tiny little errors while pushing harder and harder. If you forget about the pace car, and focus on your brake and acceleration points in order to keep a clean line so that you are not sliding all over, you'll find yourself catching up to the pace car much more quickly. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn. To go faster, you must slow down. ;-)
was a few years back but I won the only event I ever entered by slowing down.

I got the fastest race time of the evening (and won a nice car that started me down this insanity again) not by driving the fastest, but by going a tad slower and not crashing. others got faster laps, but couldn't string them together without spinning out.

the amount of alcohol meaning those who tried later in the evening had trouble telling the cars from the OMGSPIDERS!!!!! probably helped as well.

when mucking about with my own RMS on the mac I had a "record and replay" feature, never got it quite right (cars are all a bit different) but the idea was you were always racing against your own best lap. you get basically a one lap head start as the car goes slowly.. then every little mistake you make sees it catching you.

need to fiddle again, pace cars set up right, light shown here, are excellent to practice against
 

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Winning a race is all about keeping your laps clean and consistent. Your pacer does exactly that, while you are making tiny little errors while pushing harder and harder. If you forget about the pace car, and focus on your brake and acceleration points in order to keep a clean line so that you are not sliding all over, you'll find yourself catching up to the pace car much more quickly. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn. To go faster, you must slow down. ;-)
This could be directed at life in general, not just slot cars.

Enjoy,

Shad
 

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OK this pace car programming is getting additive, I just tried the "Recording a pacecar Without a Controller" method in RCS64 and after testing was putting it through it's paces in a race. (Slot.it McLaren F1 GTR Gulf livery)

RESULT- a sub 10 second lap 😲, 9.993 to be exact and that is on our twisty 32m track which has a lap record time of 8.631, I am so going to programe a pace car to achieve a lap record one day 😁 20200413_143234.jpg

EDIT - next race and it got a 9.901 20200413_145959.jpg
 

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