Since this gets asked often I decided to consolidate some of the information that I have sourced over the past several months under a heading that will come up when doing a search.

Every system, ESC and Motor combination, is unique and could/may react differently to timing settings, Here are some BASIC GUIDELINES.

1. The ESC controls the timing advance on sensorless, brushless motors.

2. Wye (Y) wound motors can be run with advanced timing to theoretically increase performance. It is questionable how much performance is really gained at the risk of overheating your motor

3. Delta (D) wind motors generally do not fair well with advanced timing and are prone to overheating easily if timing is advanced beyond the lower ranges.

4. Running lower timing advance will reduce amp draw and keep motor temps lower, it is generally advised to run at a lower timing advance to reduce stress on your components.

5. If you choose to experiment with increased timing advance settings, start low and work your way up while monitoring performance, amp draw, and component temperatures.

Here are some excerpts from other web sites and manufacture documentation that support the guidelines listed above.

From Another RC Forum
From my conversations with Castle techs the timing is as follows:

Timing change in a brushless motor through software can be compared with twisting the top part of the can of a brushed motor to advance the timing.

With BL unsensored motors the timing is automatically and constantly varied within the software. Changing the setting with the CastleLink only changes the range around which the automatic timing varies.

With increased timing you theoretically get a bit more power out of the motor at the expense of efficiency (ie: more heat). What's really happening is that the point at which the motor would usually fire (the position of the rotors alignment with respect to the magnetic N/S poles of the magnets) is moved forward in degrees (think 360 degrees to complete a full circle) to produce stronger push/pull forces.

My understanding though is that it is not as significant a change in a BL motor as it is in a brushed motor because timing is control automatically by the ESC anyway based on the ESC's knowledge of the rotor position. You may only see a few percent increase in power (pretty negligible).

A few threads and articles around pertaining to the Neu/MMM combo and general rule of thumb has been up to about 3* of timing advance for the Delta wound motors and between 5-10* for the Y wound motors. Apparently the Delta wound motors don't take as kindly and will heat up a lot more.

All things being equal - with the power of the current BL setups - especially a 1515 motor which can easily crank out 3+ HP on strong batteries - I don't really see the need for more power in an already overpower setup.

You'd really probably need an Eagle Tree to see the difference in settings, but I've tried 0* and 3* on a 1515/2.5d with 6S and can't tell any difference. I usually just run timing at lowest setting.

From Castle Creations Mamba Max Manufactures Documentation
From the guidelines above, if the batteries are controlling punch, and gearing is only controlling top speed, where does that leave timing advance to come in for a brushless system? Timing advance in brushless is controlled within the ESC itself instead of rotating the endbell on a brushed motor. Brushed motors are very sensitive about where they are set, and can show large performance (and wear) differences with just a few degrees back and forth. Brushless systems are completely different. Imagine if you could tune the timing of your brushed motor “on the fly” thousands of times per second while you were driving to get the best performance from the motor each time you hammered on the gas out of a corner, feathered the throttle through a sweeper, or goosed it through a long set of doubles. Well that’s exactly what’s going on inside your Mamba Max ESC! What you’ll find when you experiment with timing advance settings, is that going up or down from the normal setting will cause two reactions. With each step down from normal, your motor temp will go down and the top speed will go down about the same as dropping a tooth on the pinion. Going up, it’s just the opposite – it’s like adding a pinion tooth, but the motor temp will go up.

Over time with testing, we’ve found it’s best to use a lower setting in order to keep motor temps in check, especially with very very fast setups. Like we talked about in the section above, it’s best to use gearing only for top speed and not necessarily bump up the timing advance to go faster. Where we’ve found this setting most useful at the track, is having a basic setup on the ESC using the normal timing advance setting, and the correct pinion for the track. As track conditions change (either a dirt track going away as it dries, or a carpet track coming in after several rounds) instead of changing the pinion to match the track, just plug in your ESC and drop the timing down for a slower track, or raise it for a track getting faster.

Timing Advance Warning:

Higher advance makes the motor run hotter, and the higher the Kv of the motor, the hotter it will get! Too high of an advance setting will give the same results as too much advance on a brushed motor – you will actually LOSE power and speed while the motor cooks itself! If you want to go faster – JUST GEAR UP! (PROP UP!)

From Castle Creations Drivers Ed Guide - page 32
8. Motor Timing
Advancing the timing on an electric motor can have varying effects. Lowering the timing advance will reduce the amp draw, increase run time, reduce motor/battery temperature, and may slightly reduce top speed and punch.

Raising the timing advance will increase amp draw, decrease run time, increase motor/battery temperature, and may slightly increase top speed and punch.

If you are after maximum top speed, it’s better to “gear up” to get it rather than advance the timing too far.

For brushed motors, always keep this setting on NORMAL and use the end bell of the motor to “tweak” it to max RPM per the motor’s instructions.

Setting 1 : Lowest
A maximum efficiency setting giving long run times and cooler motor temps. Very useful with
high Kv (low turn) motors to increase motor life and reduce motor/battery temperatures.

Setting 2 : Normal (Default)
The best mix of speed, punch, and efficiency for all motors.

Setting 3 : Highest
Increases amp draw, reduces run times, increases motor/battery temperatures, and may increase top speed/punch slightly.