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  • Writer's pictureRyan Lutz

Philippine Masters 2024

Updated: Apr 23

This past weekend I had the privilege of heading to the Philippines for the first time for the Philippine Masters 2024. This is an amazing facility located close to the capital city of Manila and the aesthetics of the track are nearly unparalleled in our world of R/C. I would arrive very early morning Wednesday and head to the track after a couple hours of sleep to get my first taste of this vegetable oiled track.

Philippine Masters Track 2024

Ample time is given for track time if you can be there to take advantage of it with many being there already days before me coming to grips with the surface. With a hard packed dirt covered with vegetable oil the surface remained consistent all week long with good grip while also boasting minimal tire and chassis wear. The weather was great as well with temps reaching the upper 90s with plentiful sunshine. And perhaps best of all for us drivers, was the paid for turn marshals who actually did a fantastic job and hustled and showed great effort whilst being out in the sun each day. They certainly made the drivers week more enjoyable!

Aerial View of Philippine Masters in Manila

As I got on the track I started with some MLW AKA Lux tires and worked on finding a grove around this constantly cambered and contoured track. I came with expectation of needing hard tires seeing the weather with high temps and sunshine and also knowing a higher grip surface. Come to find out after feeling off on lap times that those going fastest were using either clay compound or super soft or even ultra soft compounds in their respective brands. I was unprepared for this as I only had one clay set of tires and one SSLW set. So I did my best to work on setup a bit starting with my expectations and a variation of my S&B high bite setup. Then I began to try some things JQ suggested I try. I came with 30-20-20 in the diffs but moved higher yet to 50-30-30 (and even 50-40-40 for the Amain). He also had me try some different link positions and D block position than I probably would have tried otherwise. Overall a good learning experience to get out of my setup box I sometimes paint myself into.

Onboard Ebuggy Philippine Masters

Also after realizing my struggle with tire compound it’s always more difficult to say how setup may have transitioned differently had I brought the tires that would have been better for the surface. But I can only go off of what I actually felt at the time. So after a full two days of practice my cars were feeling decent but I still just lacked pace and was hoping it was just tires and not my abilities.

Kyosho MP10e TKI2 Ebuggy Ryan Lutz

Well come Friday morning we had some more open practice before we would begin seeding. At someone’s suggestion I applied WD40 to my tires and used a heat gun to open the pores of the tires and get it to soak in. This softens the tire and the oils help it also grip more on an oiled track. I immediately found a second per lap and was much closer to being on pace. Clay would have still be better but at least now I could be relatively competitive.

Amain Drivers Philippine Masters 2024

Most of my story here is the lead up because once actual racing happened I was pretty consistently in the same 3-5 positions for most all the runs. We did two runs of seeding and then one qualifier on Friday before heading to a banquet for all the racers. They really put on an ‘event’ and it’s more than just racing but a fun time of hanging out with friends and meeting people from other countries with over 16 countries in attendance at this years event.

Shuttle Bus from hotel to track Philippine Masters

Saturday brought with it 3 qualifiers and I ran the same set of MLW Lux in 7 of my qualifiers total between nitro and Ebuggy and just kept applying the WD40 and by the end they were pretty soft and I was getting some good lap times.  I still had in my mind though that I wanted that clay set and I ran them in Q4 of nitro buggy but was afraid to sauce them and they were better for corner speed and acceleration but were a touch off without sauce. I just didn’t want to burn them up as I still had plans for the hour long final with them and they now had about 15min on them. Once qualifying was over I would settle into 5th in nitro buggy and 4th in Ebuggy.

Ryan Lutz signing autographs

Saturday evening brought A1 of Ebuggy. I chose to run my one set of SLW Lux tires which I sauced and heated and they were ok but I think it showed me that multiple runs on the tires with multiple sauces to soften them more was better than a fresh set sauced. I ran a pretty clean run but just didn’t have the pace of the top 3 and stayed in my 4th position the whole race.

Track surface Philippine Masters

For A2 on Sunday morning It would be my second run on the SLW tires and they were getting better. I had a decent run going running in 3rd before making a mistake near the end and falling to 5th. Finally in A3 I ran my Insta360 Go3 and crossed the line in 3rd every lap and captured some awesome race footage of this beautiful track.

Finally the stage was set for the one hour long Amain nitro buggy final. I chose my set of clay compound Lux tires with about 25min on them and put a quick light sauce of WD40 on them. From the start everything felt pretty decent and I worked my way into 3rd and was running tight with Hara for quite a while. I got by him on lap 14 but gave it back a lap later with a mistake on the front left before the loop. I followed close behind again for a few more laps until lap 18 when He made a mistake which collected me and had me facing backwards on the back section and I then got hit head on by Alex and fortunately didn’t break but fell down to 4th.

Went a couple more laps before running out of gas on my pit in lap right before the line. So that ended my chances up front. Got fired up and ran the rest of the hour out but was a bit bummed to not be in contention anymore. In the end finishing 7th but happy to finish another hour long main and get that experience again as we don’t get to do them too often.

Ryan Lutz Kyosho MP10 TKI3 Nitro Buggy A-main

Overall if I look past the results I had a great time at an amazing facility. The hospitality of the Philippino people was awesome. I’d like to give a huge thank you to Edward Sio for having me out to his event. 🙏

Asian Buggy Championships

Set-up Notes:

Temperatures were in the upper 90's. Track was treated with vegetable Oil making a consistent smooth surface with good grip levels and minimal tire wear.

Ryan Lutz Set-up Sheet Philippine Masters Nitro Buggy Kyosho MP10 TKI3

Ryan Lutz Set-up Sheet Philippine Masters Ebuggy

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