Remarks – This year’s Electric Touring Car World Championship also features the Formula World Cup and Serpent have brought a brand new car to battle for honours in South Africa. David had his first roll out of the car in China in the days before making his way onto Welkom for the race. Officially still a prototype, it was finished just the night before he arrived to test in China, the car is the basis for their upcoming kit release which will be known as the F110 S4. Key features of the car are a new rear wing mounting system which is now mounted to the main chassis plate and not to the pod as before. A new battery mount means you no longer need to remove the shock but can remove the battery from the bottom of the car. The car has also moved away from using side links to using bearings which David says makes the car more linear especially when cornering and accelerating at the same time. With their previous car having no top deck the new car does which makes the car ‘drive more precise’. The servo mount is all new and mounts vertically to the top deck and has two servo positions. The shock is also new to the car.
Chassis – Awesomatix A800X MMCX Motor – Hobbywing V10 G3 4.5T ESC – Hobbywing XR10 PRO Battery – Team Silverback Siren HV 6400 Tires (handout) – Team Powers Radio/Servo – Sanwa/MKS HBL 575 SL Body – Protoform Type S PRO-Lite
Remarks – Freddy is running the latest Awesomatix A800X equipped with the MMCX Middle Motor conversion set here at the Welkom RC Arena. The car is also equipped with the just released new additional Long Arm Set. Freddy has chosen to use the Mid Motor car reporting a better steering response and more overall rotation. Freddy is also using a new rear Stiffener on the Chassis which is specifically designed for the MMCX to offer more flex options. Diff and dampers are built with the new Rubber Ball pistons which are made of special anti sticking Rubber for a better volume compensation.
Bruno Coelho is the fastest man in South Africa at the end of the opening day of the 10th running of the IFMAR Electric Touring Car World Championships. The Xray driver was fastest with his time from the penultimate round of the day’s eight rounds of free practice moving ahead of reigning champion Ronald Volker. Volker who was fastest for the first part of the day with his Round 4 time standing his best of the day would top the final practice but overall was 3/10ths off Coelho, a margin that is smaller that it sounds given the fastest 3-consecutive laps is 1:10.736. Christopher Krapp backed up Yokomo’s form at the Welkom RC Arena by posting the 3rd fastest time of the day posting his best laps in Round 7. While drivers reported the otherwise pretty consistent track to be slightly slower for the final practice, Freddy Sudhoff managed to improve on his time ending the day 4th ahead of Swedes Viktor Wilck and Alexander Hagberg.
Summing the first day of four at the Worlds, Coelho said, ‘It was OK. Our 5-minutes is very good. We tested this in the second last round but we are still trying new stuff on the car. It’s practice and we have plenty of it to try things so no point making excuses later that we didn’t find the right set-up. For the last practice we tried two different things on two different cars but both were not so good. Tomorrow we will go back and take a different direction in the final two free practices but we also plan to test in the controlled practices too’. Winner of the Warm-up Race, he said with conditions different to that race held in April, they are ‘trying to find a better set-up for the conditions now’. Asked about traction levels today the ETS Champion said, ‘I think they will stay like this so that is why we need to improve the set-up’. Pointing out ‘rear traction’ as the main area they need to improve he said, ‘when you hit the throttle the first few metres are the problem so we need to make it easier to drive’.
Having been running two aluminium chassis versions of the BD8 which feature a number of new parts, Volker said, ‘I decided on a car and while I was not always running on new tyres I feel pretty confident its good for all conditions, new or used tyres’. With Yokomo’s new touring car designer Matsuzaki Hayato as his mechanic here in Welkom, the German added, ‘we keep changing small things on the car but overall its going well but there are still a few small things combined we need to try to find the set-up I want. Bruno doesn’t have the gap like at ETS so it is looks promising’.
Krapp was pleased with his first day of action saying, ‘we improved every round except the last one but the track was slower’. Having tried both aluminium and carbon chassis cars in the early practices he opted to run carbon because ‘it felt more comfortable’. Describing himself as pretty close to the lead pace, the German added, ‘the plan is not to change much on the car now. I think I can gain a lot of time on the right side of the track. In the fast chicane you can gain a lot but there is also the risk you lose it all. I already improve there and I am happy with my first day but the right side of the track is an area I can still be better and I will work on that tomorrow’.
‘The car is excellent’ was Sudhoff response when asked to sum up Day 1. The Awesomatix driver continued, ‘we have been making small differences in the set-up and it feels more confident every round. If we could get a small amount of mid corner steering then it would be perfect’. The German added, ‘Over 5-minutes it is super consistent’. On track conditions he said, ‘the last one was slower, everyone was slower but I think that was because the hall was colder, before that it was pretty consistent’. The final practice ended just before 19:00 local time when there is a sharp drop in temperatures with it getting particularly cold at night.
Summing up the first day, Beijing podium finisher Wilck said, ‘It is hard to improve. We tested many things but didn’t improve and that’s a little frustrating’. The Serpent driver said, ‘we need a little more steering. We tried many things but then it starting getting loose and we didn’t have enough forward traction. We have two more (free practices) to go so we will go back to our set-up from earlier and then go in a different direction. Today we only made shock and spring changes’.
‘Average’ was how Hagberg described his day’s performance. The Xray driver added, ‘we are still trying to fine tune the set-up and the track is changing a bit so it’s hard to keep up but hopefully tomorrow we will figure it out.’ Asked what was the key element he was chasing in the set-up he responded ‘more steering’ continuing ‘the base set-up was better towards the end of the day but we are still missing 1/10th to fight for the top position’. Behind the newly crowned 1:12 World Champion Awesomatix’s Loic Jasmin ended the day 7th fastest ahead of Xray’s Dominic Quek, Yokomo’s Meen Vejrak and Jan Ratheisky, the Xray driver setting the pace in the Formula World Cup class that is running along side the Touring Cars here in South Africa.
Ronald Volker is the early pace setter at the 1:10 Electric Touring Car World Championships in South Africa. With four of the opening day’s 8 scheduled free practice sessions complete, the reigning Champion’s Yokomo was fastest over 3-consecutive laps of the impressive Welkom RC Arena track from Bruno Coelho. The 10th running of the Touring Car World Championships, this will be the first title to be decided indoors since the inaugural Worlds back in 2000 but such is the size of the brand new facility the fastest laps seen so far are taking a rather lengthy 23-seconds. Behind Volker and Coelho it was Freddy Sudhoff who was third quickest ahead of Viktor Wilck who completed the Top 4 to represent the fourth of the manufacturers with factory team representation at the event. Behind Wilck, Christopher Krapp was 5th fastest ahead of new 1:12 World Champion Alexander Hagberg.
Summing up his first half of the day, Volker said, ‘we are testing two cars every run and both are quite different in set-up, more than usual’. Running a BD8 which feature a number of new parts and material, both expected to form part of Yokomo’s upcoming new touring car kit release, the German added, ‘this is the first time running this car so we are trying many things. One car has a lot of potential and just needs some fine tuning so overall it going not too bad’. He concluded, ‘I’m confident for the rest of the day’.
Winner of the Worlds Warm-up race back in April, the track then not completely finished, Coelho described practice as ‘going ok but not perfect yet’. The Xray driver continued, ‘we are working on the car to get it better. It is not like the Warm-up. Then the rear was sticky and the car was pushing a little. Now the rear is loose and there is not a lot of steering so its the opposite. We are working on fixing that but we still have four runs today to so I think we can do it’.
‘So far so good’, was Sudhoff’s thoughts on the early practice. The Awesomatix driver who didn’t attend the Warm-up race but subsequently travelled with the Russian manufacturer for testing at Welkom RC Arena, said, ‘we almost using the same set-up we used at the practice session here and now just need some fine tuning’ He added, ‘You don’t know who is running new or used tyres so its hard to compare but appears to be going good for us’. Starting off running two cars, both the rear motor and mid motor set-ups, he said, ‘I liked the mid motor because it had a little more initial steering so I will keep this for now and fine tune the set-up’.
Wilck described the first four practices as ‘a little up and down’ due to ‘trying things’ adding the traction increasing a little each run was adding to the challenge of fine tuning his car’s set-up. The only one of the leading drivers to not have travelled to South Africa prior to today for track time, the Beijing podium finisher said he is still looking for the balance between steering and rear grip. Running Serpent’s 4X EVO with the same new rear end he used in the ETS, he said the set-up is ‘pretty close, I think and it is now down to the finer details’.
‘It’s going pretty good up to now’ was Krapp’s reaction at the halfway stage of today’s practice. The Yokomo driver added, ‘we are still trying both alu and carbon chassis car so I’m actually happy to be up there in the Top 5 but I am not sure what (chassis) to use. Ronald is running just alu but I am trying carbon too. The times are the same on both but I think if the traction comes up carbon will be good. I hope to decide tonight’. Commenting on the ‘super smooth’ surface, the German feels the Worlds layout is better than that when he attended the Warm-up race saying, ‘for me this layout is better. It is not as risky as the Warm-up was. I like it’.
Wrapping up the 1:12 World Championship earlier in the week here at Welkom RC Arena, Hagberg said, ‘its not too bad so far. I am trying to find a good feeling for the car’. Asked if the switch from his 1:12 car to touring car had caused him much issues he said, ‘the first run felt a bit weird. It was like driving a bus but I got used to it quickly.’ Asked his thoughts on the layout, the Swede replied, ‘It a great layout. It’s technical and it’s still fast. They improved the curbing from the Warm-up and they are more forgiving for the average guy. The organisers did a great job with the track’. Running two cars each run, he said, ‘we are still trying to decide which is better’.
Track Name – Welkom R/C Arena Host – Antonio Caroli Country – South Africa Location – Welkom (2.5 hour drive SE of Johannesburg) Direction – Anti-clockwise Surface – Indoor asphalt
2018 marks the 10th running of the 1:10 Electric Touring Car World Championships. Reaching such milestones should always be a special occasion and thanks to one man’s vision that it definitely happening as the event is set to take place on its greatest stage yet – the Welkom RC Arena. When announced during the previous World Championships, hosted by China, that South Africa was going to be the destination to decide who is officially the World’s No.1 driver, what has greeted drivers on their arrival to Welkom didn’t exist, it wasn’t even an architectural drawing. With the build started in July of last year, the final result is a track that can firmly lay claim to being the planet’s most impressive indoor onroad facility – yes the 2018 IFMAR World Champion will be decided on an indoor track for the first time since the inaugural running of the event at Yatabe back in 2000. Don’t however let that fool you into thinking that means it is a small track – there is nothing small about Welkom RC Arena. The building covers a floor space of 3500 sq metres, the huge track, which is up there with some of the best known outdoor tracks in size, is laid out in an area 70 metres wide by 32m deep for a lap length of approximately 320 metres. The facility also boasts a second floor which houses its restaurant and seating covering a total of 1200 sq metres. The high drivers stand is 20 metres long and has a unique feature in that each of the 14 drivers positions are separated into individual cubicles.
The visionary behind this impressive Welkom RC Arena is Antonio Caroli. An RC racer who is also the distributors for Xray in South Africa, when he originally made his application for the World Championships it was to be held at an existing track which he intended to expand. On working on plans for the extension they couldn’t get the existing structure to work quite how we wanted and so the decision was made to use adjacent land and build from scratch with a whole new project. In July 2017 the build was started. The asphalt was the last major part of the construction to be completed with a section of the first floor level designed to be higher in order to allow the specialist machinery access to lay the race surface inside the completed building structure. With the official Worlds Warm-up Race held at the end of April, Antonio said the track was only 75% complete then and with the asphalt laid only 2-weeks earlier this is one of the reasons the event hasn’t attracted more participants. Given the efforts Antonio has put into creating a world class facility for our hobby and the industry it is a real shame more drivers are not here to be part of the event. Having also constructed an outdoor dirt track as part of the facility Welkom RC Arena will apply for the 2020 1:8 Offroad World Championship and based off the show it has put on so far its would have to be a very serious contender.
Asked his thoughts on the venue, reigning World Champion Ronald Volker replied, ‘An awesome, amazing facility’. He added, ‘its a long lap and a good layout although I am not sure about the red and yellow curbing. You want to go on it for a shorter lap but sometimes they can make the car unbalanced’. On specific areas where time might be lost and made on the track he said, ‘the chicane (on the right side of the track) is narrow and you enter it fast so you could touch it and fly off there but there is no specific bit where you could gain time. All the performance is in the car’. Winner of the Warm-up Race, Bruno Coelho said, ‘It’s an amazing facility. There are no words to describe it for people that are not here’. He continued, ‘It is a big track with a 23-second lap time. Its got fast parts, its got technical parts but you cant use the curbs. You might make a tenth over the curbs one lap but lose 3 or 4 tenths the next time round so its best stay off them. The driver stand is high which I like and the divides are a good idea’.