Jason Ruona from JConcepts arrived at the track today and brought with him a number of new products. First up are these new Hybrid tires for truggy. Featuring the same mid-lug design with unique inner Crowbar center lug as the buggy version they are built for speed and will go the distance in long qualifiers and main events. Also new are the final version of the Inverse buggy wheel, which features a two piece design that allows the user to adjust the stiffness of the wheel through the use of screws holding the outer disc to the main wheel. Expect both products to be released very soon.
JConcepts are also giving the US debut of their new body shell for the Durango DNX-408. Used this week by factory driver Billy Fischer, who just received the shell yesterday, he is is happy so far with the handling of this new slick looking shell. Other new items on show from the Florida based company is a pre painted car stand in a matt black finish and a bottle of tire glue, which is supplied with a handy long reach nozzle to make gluing your tires easier.
With these ROAR Nationals such an important race for manufacturers, a lot of companies have brought with them some new products to showcase. Local company Pro-Line, based only 10 minutes from the Thunder Alley facility, have two new tires on offer. So new they don’t yet have the name on the tire sidewall. There is the new Blockade buggy tire and the Revolver 2.0 for truggy. The Blockade is an all new tire featuring a larger block with wider spacing between the rows along the circumference, giving good traction levels. Fitting into the range between the Caliber & Revolver tires and is great for racers running longer finals where durability is important. The Revolver 2.0 for truggy is bringing the same technology from the buggy tire, of the same name, to the larger format and is again ideal for longer finals.
The Losi team are run a new servo configuration on their 8ight buggies and truggies which sees the throttle servo mounted in front of the steering servo and which is connected to a lever system by a long track rod to control both the braking and carburetor. The new placement brings the weight balance of the car more to the front. There is no concrete plans for the release of this update but all the main team drivers are running this new layout.
Adrien Bertin has made his way over from France to take care of the CRF drivers and he has brought with him the new Team Orion Neo11 engine, a 3 port motor released to commemorate Jared Tebo’s win at the recent Neo11 race. Compared to the previously released 5-port engines, this new liner configuration is ideal for shorter tracks, such as the one we are racing on this week, offering plenty of bottom end torque. Adrien also showed us the new CRF crankshaft which sports a new shape crank bell and which has been lightened around the fuel intake area of the shaft. This crankshaft is being supplied as standard since the beginning of the year in all of the Orion buggy engines.
We already had Serpent chief designer Michael Salven run you through the new Serpent 966 Evo update package. Alongside all those new features listed, he forgot to mention the new front wheel axles as well as the new aluminum clutch bell which they have been trying out to see if it will go into production.
Mugen have a number of new parts here in Homestead including this all new clutch. The new configuration has the flyweights reversed compared to normal with the taper facing the clutch bell. They say this gives the clutch more punch as well as making it easier to adjust. Also new for the MRX-5 are some steel front bearing blocks which give additional weight to the car without the need to attach extra weights. New brake pads and a soft aluminum brake cam help give the car a smoother braking feeling as the previous version was a little to powerful and therefore aggressive. Finally Mugen also have some harder plastic parts specifically for this race, but racers like Robert Pietsch have opted not to run them as they prefer the flex from the softer parts.
Kyosho have their prototype Evolva chassis here which is sometimes being used by Lamberto Collari as well as by Takashi Miyashita. The Japanese driver is the main designer of this car but has left the company and so believes that this car will never be made.
Italian company Capricorn are giving their all new LAB-C801 1/8th scale chassis its big race debut at this event and so far it has been doing very well in the hands of factory driver Dario Balestri, who is currently sitting in the top 4.
Used by Atsushi Hara, Takaaki Shimo and Josh Cyrul, OS Speed have their new .21 engine here called the 21XZ-R. Featuring all new crankcase internals, as well as new crankshaft and piston liner, they have created a motor with more torque and better fuel economy. The fuel economy is proving an advantage as Hara and Shimo are inside the top 4, running only one stop. The engine also sports a lightweight cooling head which is lower than its predecessor, coming down over the crankcase. Its available from next month.
Sanwa’s new SRG-BRX high end competition servo is making its international competition debut. Fitted in the car’s of their team drivers including Keisuke Fukuda and the rest of the Japanese Mugen team, the X in the name stands for extra torque, especially in the furthest points of the rotation. This high speed servo also features metal gears and is ideally suited for steering and throttle for both 1/8th on road and off road.
Japanese company ZAC Project have released some new brass weights for the Mugen MRX-5, which are being run here by Atsushi Hara. They also have some new rear body stiffeners which are in use by a lot of the Japanese drivers.
Walking further through the pits we have come across a number of new items that are making their debut here. Mugen team driver Travis Amezcua is a running a new chassis plate for the MBX-6, which is 5mm longer increasing the cars wheelbase making it more stable. He is also running the new Mugen springs front and rear which feature less coils so are more progressive and help give the car more lift off the jumps. He has with him a range of 4 different hardness to choose from with these springs, which he says are a little stiffer also.
Juraj Hudy of Xray showed us his heavily updated XB808. Starting up front there is new aluminium caster blocks and steering blocks, with the caster blocks featuring 3 upper wishbone mounting positions for extra roll center adjustability. The rear end also sports new rear uprights that have inserts on the lower mounting pin which give you further options for adjustment. Continuing on the adjustment side of things, there are new wider aluminium lower suspension blocks that sport plastic inserts that allow a very wide range of adjustment and along with shorter rear wishbones the set up gives the car more steering.
In the drivetrain the central shaft drive cup sports new smaller sized bearings, the previous larger bearings used to collect dirt too easily. The central drive shafts are now also shorter because the drive cups are now no longer captured in the diff cases. For strength on the track he is running a front shock tower plate that reinforces the current carbon version as well as steel plates in the front and rear of the chassis to prevent wear.
Reds Racing are prototyping their new lightweight cooling head for their XR21T .21 buggy engine. Seen in the car of Italian Champion Fabio Boero, the new head offers a significant weight saving and more importantly it brings down the overall centre of gravity of the car.
RB are debuting their new longer manifold that manages to keep the mounting points on the engine and exhaust in the same position but stretches the pipe further rearward to avoid adjusting the exhaust position. The length of the new manifold is 204mm, which gives lots more bottom end power, perfect for the fast sweeping corner here coming off the pit straight. RB also off two shorter versions, which are already available.
AKA are here with their new Evo wheel, which is stiffer and sports a removable disc that increases the stiffness event further while creating a smooth internal surface that prevents the build up of dirt. AKA also have their new soft buggy insert here helps avoid the lateral deflection of the tire while at the same time increasing the vertical impact absorption for better handling in the bumps.
Team C Racing are debuting their new buggy here. Only finalised days before the event, it has only had a handful of laps done on it prior to first practice and we were told that it still requires more development work to bring it up to speed.
Continuing on with finding new stuff in the bits, we sat down with World Champion Atsushi Hara, who showed us his new self developed cab forward body shell. He has test this new body extensively and found it to have lots of downforce, thanks to not only the front cab, but the ridges going up the side of the cab as well as the rear winglets. This space behind the cab allows cleaner air to reach the wing for better balance, which he has found using one from another manufacturer. The body is expected to be released next month.
Also new is the fact that Hara is no longer a contracted Pro-Line driver, something both parties agreed to. This enables him to use whatever tire is best for the specific track conditions, which for this race, he believes the HB tires will work best for him.
Jason Ruona from JConcepts gave us a run down of the many new products that the Florida based company has brought with them for this event. As well as their new Inverse buggy wheel which we covered last month, they have their new Punisher rear wing. A flat deck, high-support design is matched with 4 different interchangeable side dams for increased tuning options. JConcepts also have a prototype of their Punisher RC8B fin body which helps increase high-speed stability, especially suited for this track with its high speed straight/sweeper.
Jason has also brought two new tires with him for this event, the Hybrids and the 3Ds. The former are a combination of the most popular JC tires available. A mid-lug design with inner Crowbar center lug, these tires are built for speed and high-speed control & handling. The 3ds are developed to be the ultimate Slick-groove tire, and combine the stability of a black groove bar tire with flexible pattern of finely spaced Double Dee lugs in one package.