Oscar Jansen from Team Orion showed us some new products coming out from the Swiss company including the new metal geared servo, which we profiled a few weeks ago. Also on display for the first time is the company’s new electronic speed controller, made in close collaboration between Team Orion and Japanese company KO Propo. Suitable for use with 4 turn motors without the heatsink, it can be used with the most powerful types of motors when the heat sink and cooling fan is mounted. Available very soon.
As expected the laps time for the second free practice of the 1:12 World Championship improved but the big surprise was the pace of Teemu Leino and the new Xray XII. Atsushi Hara once again topped the lap charts with an improved time of 12.639 but making a huge leap forward was Leino. Having been 3/10th of a second off the pace of the pre-event favourite, he is now just 4/100th off thanks to a simple change of body.
Hara found 3/10th to remain the fastest of the 58 runners competing here in Thailand for 1:12 scale World Championship honours. The Japanese ace said that track conditions had made it a lot faster and his car now had good traction but the balance still needed fine tuning.
Changing from a Speed 8 to a Speed 12 bodyshell seemed to work well for Leino. The Finn said the car didn’t feel any better but there was a big difference in the end to his lap times. Another Xray driver to find a chunk of time was American ace Paul Lemeiux. The RC America driver pretty much changed everything on his car for run 2 which transformed the XII. A different T-Bar, front springs, tyres and change of additive allowed the US Touring Car Champion to run a 12.899 lap time putting him 6th on the time sheets.
Hideo Kitazawa lost ground to fellow Hot Bodies driver Hara in the second run, producing the third fastest lap time with a 12.759. Marc Rheinard (12.820) managed to go faster than his Tamiya Touring Car team-mate Jilles Groskamp (12.865) in the second practice but the German thinks his Hot Bodies may be tweaked and hopes this might explain his lack of pace compared with Hara. Andy Moore who was expected to be Hara’s toughest challenger for the 1:12 scale title suffered radio interference and so had to pull up during the run.
LRP Electronic are here in force with Reto Koenig and Jurgen Lautenbach on hand to help their team drivers get the best out of their electronics this week. On Friday we had the first exclusive shots of the new Vector X12 brushless motor from LRP and of course that is the motor that the team are using here during the 1/12th scale Worlds.
Also new is the company’s prototype ESC, called the SXX, which is making its race debut here at the RCS. Much smaller than the previously available Sphere TC spec ESC, the new controller uses a metal plate set into a plastic frame, to which a heatsink fan combo can be applied but currently isn’t necessary for the 4 cell 1:12th scale class. The new ESC, which is also here in Nosram colours, features a revolutionary copper core cooling technology to keep the internals at a low temperature, while the controller software now has 10 power profiles to select from for finer adjustment of power delivery. Also new is what the company calls X.Brake which provides stronger braking, and it too has 10 adjustment settings which can be set by the 2 new externally mounted buttons. Expect a March 2009 release.
The cars have finally hit the track here in Thailand marking the start of the 2008 IFMAR World Championships and as predicted it was Atsushi Hara and his Hot Bodies that posted the fastest lap time from fellow Cyclone 12X driver Hideo Kitazawa. Hara produced a best lap time of 12.931 compared with Kitazawa’s 12.964 despite reporting his car as being a little twitchy. Planning some small changes for the next outing, the Japanese ace said track conditions this morning were not very good, as a result of yesterday’s rain, but that it should improve during the day.
Running a new prototype speedo from Futaba, set for a release early next year, Kitazawa said his car was lacking a little on rear grip but was confident he could match the pace of Hara. Jilles Groskamp was the only other driver to break in to the 12 second lap times despite not finishing his run after a problem with his front steering which was caused by a loose screw. Having spent all day yesterday building a brand new CRC chassis for the event the Dutch driver was surprised at how good the car felt first time out.
Fourth fastest in terms of lap times, with a 13.118, was young Yokomo star Naoto Matsukura followed by Marc Rheinard and Andy Moore. European 1:12 Champion Rheinard (13.125) is suffering with an understeering which is resulting in it being ‘edgy’ to drive. The German will soften the front springs in an attempt to improve the feel of the car but will also change the T-Bar on his Cyclone 12X. Moore (13.194) also suffered similar handling finding his car very aggressive on turn in. The current Touring Car World Champion, who chunked a tyre during the run, will run a softer front end which should settle the car.
1:12 scale debutants Xray had a promising first run with flying Finn Teemu Leino producing the seventh fastest lap time (13.270) at the controls of the prototype XII. Leino reported the run as being OK but said on asphalt the key factor was going to be having the right tyres. Completing the Top 10 it was Surikan, Hupo Honigl and Juho Levanan.
As mentioned yesterday on our news page as well as in our 1:12th scale introduction piece, Xray are the latest manufacturer to enter the market, with the XII. We were able to get up close and personal with the LRP X12 powered example belonging to Factory Xray driver Alexander Hagberg from Sweden. Already in it’s second version, following feedback from the team after a recent test at the RCS track, the car is in appearance at least very similar to other brands on the market. Chief designer Juraj Hudy, who has limited experience of the class, says that while the car may be similar in appearance to others out there, that is more a reflection of the state of development of the class which has seen chassis design developed to a point where extra performance can only be found in small refinements. Featuring a T-bar, which some believe would be more suited to a lower traction surface, as opposed to the trailing link design seen on the CRC and Associated cars, the cars debut later today will be closely watched by all racers and manufacturers present.
More images of the XII can be found in our event gallery here.
So the stage is set for the 2008 IFMAR Electric Onroad World Championship here at the Radio Control Speedway in Bangkok, Thailand where there is great anticipation for what should be two thrilling World title battles. The first title up for grabs is 1:12th which kicks off tomorrow (Sunday) with free practice. One thing for certain is no matter what the outcome there will be a brand new champion of the world as defending Champion David Spashett has not made the trip to Asia to defend his title and although five times World Champion Masami Hirosaka is here, he will not race, opting to fully focus his attention on trying to lift his first ever 1:10 Touring Car title later in the week.
Despite two of the greats of 1:12 scale racing missing from the entry, the battle will be no less intensive with some of the sports biggest names out to add the 1:12 title to their CV. Defending touring car champion Andy Moore, Atsushi Hara & Marc Rheinard head a very strong Hot Bodies team. Hara, who proved himself as one of the sports great all round drivers when he lifted 1:8 Off Road World title earlier this year, has conducted hours of testing here at the RCS track, mainly focusing on finding the perfect tyre. Yesterday the team spent the day at the track gluing that ‘perfect’ tyre which many say is going to make it just a matter of whether it is Hara or Moore that takes the title come Tuesday.
While Hot Bodies are confident, the line-up from their rivals cannot be overlooked. Back to back Japanese National Champion Naoto Matsukura is certain to be a force with his Associated with Hara rating his 14-year-old fellow countyman very highly. CRC have a capable line-up in current IIC Champion Hupo Honigl and Jilles Groskamp, while former two time European Champion Simo Ahoniemi heads the hopes of defending World Champion manufacturer Corally. Associated have a mixture of experience and youth with top US racer Rick Hohwart joined by young Finnish hopefuls Juho Levänen and Christer Andersson, the latter making his 1:12 debut here.
New to the 1:12 ranks, Xray are an unknown but the Slovak company doesn’t do things by half and with the likes of Teemu Leino, Paul Lemeiux and Alex Hagberg driving the new XII they could pose a threat. The team have conducted pre event testing of the prototype car at the RCS, after which it is understood a number of design changes had to be made. We will have to wait till tomorrow to get an early indication of how the newcomer stacks up.
Directing the proceedings for the next eight days here in Thailand is Scotty Ernst who we asked to predict the outcome of the 14th edition of the 1:12 Worlds. The legendary American race announcer thinks Hara and Moore are starting with a distinct advantage thanks to their tyres but believes Matsukura, Hideo Kitazawa and Hagberg could join the Hot Bodies duo on the podium. Having announced at the TITC race here previously, Ernst said the narrow track will produce good racing but feels rain will come into play during the championships. Right now (16:45 local time) we are experiencing very heavy rain at the track!
The first cars are due to hit the track at 09:00 tomorrow (Sunday) morning with three free practice runs of ten minutes followed by two controlled practice sessions. As part of our live coverage, which is supported by Speed Passion and LRP, we will be bringing you regular updates throughout the day with all the news and views of the drivers on Day 1 of the 2008 IFMAR ISTC Electric Onroad World Championships.