Ronald Volker topped the first round of controlled practice at the Touring Car World Championships in Florida, the Yokomo driver fastest over 3-consecutive laps from the Tamiya’s of Marc Rheinard and Viktor Wilck. Having set the pace in yesterday’s open practice Volker’s team Naoto Matsukura had a very short lived start to Day 2 as he managed only two timed laps before hitting the boards at the end of the straight and popping a tie rod.
Also recording the fastest 5-minute time, again Rheinard being his closest rival, Volker said he ‘wasn’t too happy with (his) driving’. Starting off with a ‘perfect lap’, he said he drove too aggressively resulting in him hitting the boards on lap 2 so that effected his outright 3-lap pace. Following the early error, the German said he switched his focus to running the practice like a qualifier but felt he ‘pushed too hard’. Very happy with the performance of his LRP powered BD7 2015, he said while they will just make some ‘tiny’ tweaks to the set-up for the second of the three controlled practices the big focus will be to work on his driving.
Rheinard said as an overall run ‘it was pretty good’ but a spin at the end of the straight on the first lap effected his 3-lap pace. The 3-time Touring Car World Champion believes the spin was due to his set of controlled Hot Race tyres slightly bigger than normal centre line. Not permitted to trim this before the run he said for the future he will need to consider doing some extra warm-up laps. Team-mate Wilck said while he was able to find a bit more steering than he had yesterday, his TRF419 was ‘a bit loose’. Putting this down to the hot temperatures for CP2 he will change shock oil.
Japanese TRF driver Akio Sobue set the fourth fastest time, the 19-year-old very happy with his 3-lap pace. Looking to make his car a little easier to drive for the second practice he will go up in with the front roll centre as well as going from 45 to 47.5 weight shock oil.
‘A lot better’ was how Alexander Hagberg summed up his run to the fourth fastest time. The Xray driver said his T4 was much better today but added he didn’t drive very well as it took some time to get used to the set-up change. Changing the cars rear suspension geometry this gave the car better high speed steering and the Swede was confident they were now ‘definitely going in the right direction’.
Kyosho’s Christopher Krapp completed the Top 6, the German saying his new car was fast but a little difficult to drive. Fourth fastest over 5-minutes, He changed to a thicker diff oil which during the run he felt he needed to change back but on reflection plans now to run it again and try to adapt his driving to ‘work with it’. Giving the car good steering but at the loss of rear traction he will instead make a rear end set-up adjustment to try cure that.
Seventh fastest, Yannic Prumper said he drove better than yesterday and it was just all about track time. Unlike his Yokomo team-mates, the German didn’t get to test at the Kissimmee track prior to the event, and he said he is still trying to get the lines perfected in particular which sections of blue painted curbing you can and cant drive on. In terms of his BD7 he said it was ‘pretty good’.
‘Think its OK’ was Paul Lemieux’s reaction to his 8th fastest time. The American said while he is working to make his Xray a little less sensitive, it was ‘mainly all about driving out there’.
In between Lemieux and Canadian racer Andrew Hardman, who completed the Top 10, Atsushi Hara said his Yokomo was not as good as yesterday. Re-adjusting his roll centres, the former World Champion said this was better but going to a softer shock spring made the car ‘too easy to drive.’ For CP2 he will revert back to the standard spring set-up he ran yesterday.
Defending Champion Jilles Groskamp could manage only the 12th fastest time behind Meen Vejrak. The Tamiya driver said’ for 3-laps not so good but overall no so bad’. The Dutch ace felt he ‘didn’t drive very well in the beginning’ and while he was faster at the end of the 5-minutes he needs to find more pace from his driving. Suffering a number of overshoots in corners he will change his Orion speedo profile to slightly less power for the next run.
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Friday, October 10, 2014 - add a comment
Tamiya’s large factory team here in Kissimmee are running the recently announced TRF419, the latest in a long line of World Championship winning touring car chassis from the Japanese manufacturer. Only some very small detail changes over the TRF 418, the new car has the motor mounted slightly further back, meaning new belts, and sports an all new rear gear differential. The diff has updated internals with a bigger pitch crown gears that make the car more stable and help improve the car’s corner speed.
Like the other new cars it has a one piece motor mount and included flex options thanks to multiple mounting holes in the chassis and block. There are slightly larger bore shocks and the lower suspension mounts have pins for locating them and preventing them from shifting in a crash. The mounts also have differently positioned mounting holes, in an L configuration instead of straight accross the mount, which helps increase flex in this area. The car is expected to be released in early December.
Friday, October 10, 2014 - add a comment
Kyosho are making their debut with their new touring car platform, the as yet unnamed chassis (TF7?) sports a number of neat new features. Said to be 85% new the most notable feature is the floating battery mount which is mounted to the centre line by 2 screws which like the popular floating servo mount stops the battery from interfering with the chassis’ flex. A single piece motor mount and central axle mount ensures that there is equal flex left and right and offers mounting holes on the chassis plate to adjust the cars flex in this area. The motor has been mounted 8mm further forward and the belts have been changed to cater for the new larger diff and spool.
Other new updates include a one-piece anti-roll bar mount, a new carbon steering brace as well as lower shock towers and slightly larger bore shocks. Finally there are new shorter suspension arms to help the car turn better and the option to install their active rear suspension system. The car should be available at the beginning of next year.
Friday, October 10, 2014 - 1 comment so far
Team Yokomo has stamped its authority on Day 1 of the Touring Car World Championships in Florida with their drivers filling the Top 3 spots on the time sheets at the end of the four rounds of practice. While the timing is based on 3-consecutive laps rather than overall 5-minute pace, most drivers running two cars during each practice, the Japanese manufacturer has still laid it down to their rivals at the Kissimmee track. Improving his P3 topping pace by almost 4/10ths of a second, Naoto Matsukura headed the times from Ronald Volker with Atsushi Hara improving by almost a second in P4 to move up to third. After crashing & breaking in P3, Viktor Wilck is the closest to the pace of the Yokomo trio taking his Tamiya to the fourth fastest time ahead of team-mate Marc Rheinard.
While a low setting sun caused drivers in the fastest two groups some issues with visibility, Matsukura joking he was young enough to not have issues seeing the track, the 21-year-old said his car felt better in cooler track conditions of the final run. Running just one car over the 5-minutes, recording 18 laps and the fastest lap of P4, he said his focus was on driving trying to run a clean full round and other than one small mistake he was pleased with his driving. Overall he said it was a ‘good first day’.
Wearing sunglasses to try and reduce the glare to the right side of the track caused by the setting sun, Volker said this left the rest of the track dark and as a result he struggled to get his rhythm. Not able to run as consistent as he wanted, he said the pace of his DB7 was alright and he is confident going in to tomorrow’s 3 rounds of controlled practice.
Trying to make his car a little less nervous for P4 by changing the roll centres, Hara said this made his BD7 much easier to drive but maybe it was too much. Running in front of Matsukura on track he said his team-mate was able to catch up a lot through high speed corners and for tomorrow he will go back a little in the roll centre adjustment.
Wilck was pleased with the first of the his two TRF419s he ran in P4. Having crash the second car in the earlier run breaking a servo & C-hub he said the car still felt ‘broken’. Planning to just focus now on the first car he said tomorrow they work work on fine tuning its set-up.
Dropping to fifth having been third fastest at the end of P3, Rheinard said he messed up his opening lap when he hit the curbing and this had a big effect on his 3-lap time. Feeling the last heat also had the advantage of the sun being lower, he said changes to his first car improved it but the second car was still better.
Christpher Krapp ended Day 1 sixth fastest, the Kyosho driver saying his first car was really good and he will focus on that for tomorrow. The German said the pace of the new as yet unnamed car was really good and he just needs to work on tightening up his lines. He said they will work on diff set-up tomorrow with the timing of the run having a big effect on what oil to run.
Yokomo’s Yannic Prumper ended the day 7th fastest. Pulling a front wheel off his first car he said his second car, the same one as he used to set the 5th fastest time in P3, was the better of the two.
Former World Champion Andy Moore ended the day 8th quickest despite again crashing his new HB Pro 5. Effected by the glare of the sun, the British driver made heavy contact with the apex at the end of the straight. Having made changes to his set-up for the run he said the car felt a little better before his altercation.
Defending World Champion Jilles Groskamp finished off the opening day ninth fastest. The Tamiya driver said he had a better pace with his second car, the timing only registering the transponder of the first car run, and based on his timing he had a Top 3 pace. Admitting that Yokomo are fast, he said while others are faster at the beginning of their runs he has better consistency and he was looking forward to the first full 5-minute times.
Competing the Top 10 was reigning nitro touring car World Champion Meen Vejrak. The Yokomo driver said he has struggled with getting a good feel for his speedo. Running Scorpion electrics, he has had to change motor for the event as Scorpion doesnt have an IFMAR approved motor. Running a Hobby Wing motor the Thai driver is still trying to fine tune his ESC setting so as to give him a good feeling both with the throttle and brake feel on the radio.
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Friday, October 10, 2014 - add a comment
Team Yokomo are setting the early pace at the Touring Car World Championship in Kissimmee, Florida, with Naoto Matsukura fastest over three consecutive laps from team-mate and pre-event favourite Ronald Volker. With four Yokomos in the Top 5, Atsushi Hara posting the fourth fastest time and Yannic Prumper 5th after 3 rounds of practice, it is Tamiya’s Marc Rheinard who is the closest challenger taking his new TRF419 to the 3rd fastest time. Defending Champion Jilles Groskamp managed the 9th fastest time.
Having relinquished his 1:12 World title to Rheinard yesterday, Matsukura said it was a ‘good start today’ to the Touring Car event. Runner-up to Volker at the Warm-up Race at the Full Throttle RC Raceway track back in April, the Japanese driver said he is liking the new track layout but added he needs to work on the consistency of his new BD7 2015. Happy with his pace over the first minute he said the performance drops off too much towards the end of the 5-minutes adding that is something they need work on.
‘Everything good and working fine’ was how Volker summed up the early practice runs. With Yokomo, Tamiya and Xray doing extensive pre-event testing, the 4-time Euro Touring Series Champion said it was good there was a new layout for everyone describing the layout, which features a shorter straight as ‘good’. The German said the key to the track is the left/right leading onto the straight where he said its possible to lose a lot of time. Commenting on his car, he said they were working good with him running two cars each round to work on the ‘finer details’.
The same track as where he claimed the first of his three Touring Car World titles, Rheinard described the track as ‘fluid’ adding he really likes the section coming on to the straight. Getting it ‘perfect’, the German said you could gain a lot but added it was hard to do it perfect every lap. Commenting on his car he felt it was working ‘pretty good’ for the first few runs.
Hara said his driving was his biggest problem feeling he is still driving too much like he would in buggy, his last big event being the 1:8 Offroad World’s in Sicily 2-weeks ago. Conducting one day of testing with his BD7 in Taiwan before travelling out to the US, he said that track had ‘zero grip’. With the former World Champion complimenting his team’s sharing of set-up information, he said his car is working good and most improvement is going to come from the driver.
‘Getting better’ was how Prumper summed up his three runs. One of the few factory drivers to not test at the track, he said having started off with the same setup as Volker switching back to his own set-up for P3 left him a lot more comfortable with the car. The German said the problem with Volker’s set-up is that it doesn’t suit his driving style.
Debuting HB’s all new Pro 5 chassis, Andy Moore said for a new car his early pace was ok. Only his fourth day to run the car, the 2006 World Champion said the other 3-days testing took place in Thailand where conditions where totally different. Running through a plan of set-up changes in the first three rounds, he said based on that they now had knowledge to try further set-up changes. With most drivers liking the challenge of the section leading onto the straight, the British driver would be a victim of getting it wrong as in P3 just he pulled the screws out of steering hub after hitting the boards.
Team Xray’s Paul Lemieux set the 7th fastest time. The American said his pace can get a lot better through his driving. Watching both Matsukura and Volker do their runs he said they are running what don’t seem like proper lines but they’re going faster. He plans to continue to work on this but said his brain keeps telling him the tighter lines are slower.
Sitting in between team-mates Akio Sobue and Viktor Wilck on the time sheets, Groskamp said Practice 1 & 2 felt pretty good but the others stepped it up in P3. Trying a different set-up for the third run having picked the best of the two cars he ran in other runs, the Dutch driver said it didn’t feel as good. Running just 1 car in P3 to get an idea on how it felt over the full 5-minutes, he will revert back to his earlier set-up and again back to back both his cars having made heavy contact with the boards last time out.
Wilck said his practice was going ‘OK’ adding he didn’t really get 3-good laps together in P3 before he clipped boards coming onto the straight which broke a C-Hub and his servo.
Kyosho’s Christopher Krapp set the 11th fastest time but said the second of his cars was actually faster. With the timing software only registering the transponder of the first car a driver runs, the multiple Worlds finalist described his start to the event as ‘solid’. Happy he has pace to mix it with everyone but Matsukura & Volker, he said they are so much faster and he needs to try and find out how.
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Thursday, October 9, 2014 - add a comment
Team HB are making their race debut here in Kissimmee with their all new Pro 5 platform. As to be expected it is somewhat of a conventional layout and configuration but as with almost all touring cars on the market it is the details that matter. With only the rear uprights and the front driveshafts carried over from its predecessor the car has been completely revamped. Up front the steering knuckles have keyed carbon levers for adjusting the Ackermann, the floating steering servo mount features an integrated antenna holder and battery stop.
The motor mount has been lowered and integrated with the centre pulley mount and through its three top deck mounts can be used to adjust the flex of the car. Probably the most unique feature on the car is its infinitely adjustable inner camber link mount. Completing the changes are big bore shocks, guided lower suspension blocks and bigger pulleys. Factory team drivers Andy Moore and JJ Wang, who are using the new car here, have been extremely positive about the Pro 5’s performance in pre event testing and even with limited practice here in Florida are already very pleased with their new ride.
Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 6 comments