October 18, 2023

’23 1:8 GT World Championship Chassis Focus Index

With our first ever 1:8 GT World Championship now in the books (well published online at least), we have put together a full index of all the chassis we photographed for our ‘Chassis Focus’ during our time in Sydney.  Only the second running of an IFMAR World Championship for the category, it was exciting to have such a variety of manufacturers represented at the race with the cars having come along way from their beginnings as modified 1:8 buggy chassis.  Hong Nor become the second World Champion manufacturer, Sworkz having taken the inaugural title in 2020.  In 2025, GTe looks set to get full World Championship status giving manufacturers the opportunity of achieving Worlds double.

Toni Gruber – Hong Nor X3GTS ’23 WC Edition

Jeff Hamon – Serpent SRX8 GT’23

Paolo Morganti – IGT8 GT 2021

Bernard-Alain Arnaldi – Genius GT8.23

Peter Jovanovic – Capricorn GT2

Joern Neumann – Sworkz S35 GT2.2 FTE

Natanaele Senesi – Xray GTX8 ’23

Michael Kocher – Raptor

1:8 GTe

Natanaele Senesi – Xray GTXe ’23


October 14, 2023

Gruber is GT World Champ with master class Down Under

Toni Gruber is the new IFMAR 1:8 GT World Champion, the Hong Nor driver taking his first World title with an absolutely dominant and perfectly executed drive in Sydney, Australia.   Disappointed at missing out on the TQ in qualifying but managing to book his direct starting position in the final by winning Super Pole, the German driver led the 1-hour final from start to finish after getting the holeshot on Top Qualifier Alex D’angelo.  It was to be a difficult race for the Genius Racing driver, his race hampered by flame outs resulting in 6th place at the finish.  A lap up on the entire field after 20-minutes, Gruber extended that to 2 laps by 40-minutes, with the attention on the battle for second between home hero Jeff Hamon and his young Serpent team-mate Andrea Catanzani who put in a sensation drive in the Semi final to go from last to winning it.  A driver to call time, his 2-speed needing adjustment, Hamon had to start the race from the No.11 box on the grid as a result but worked his way through to second with World’s rookie Catanzani marking his arrival to the world by completing the podium.  For out going champion Joern Neumann it wasn’t to be a good race, the Sworkz driver suffered a number flame outs during his refuelling stops and after an off 17-minutes in some slow marshalling saw his engine stop costing the German a lap.  In the end he would finish 8th 12-laps down on Gruber.

Admitting himself he was ‘still in the zone’ and that enormity of his win would ‘take time for sure’ to set in, Gruber explained, ‘in the 20-minute practice (for the TQ and Super Pole drivers ahead of the Semi finals) I was on used tyres and Alex was on new so I saw then we had good pace for the final.  I don’t know if it was luck or I had a faster reaction than Alex but I got the lead at the start’.  With cloud cover arriving at the John Grant International Raceway just ahead of the final, he continued, ‘The weather helped out with the cooler temperature and with this I knew we would be safe with the tyres.  Towards the end I was on the back straight and Jeff was on the front straight so I could see the gap each lap so I just focused on driving with no mistakes to the end as I had 2-laps on him.’  With his engine tuner & former 1:10 Nitro World Champion Daniele Ielasi struggling to keep the emotion of his driver closing in on the World title, Gruber was also feeling the nerves, ‘I was more nervous in the last 3-minutes than I was at the start.  I was just hoping nothing would go wrong with the car.  It was a clean race and nothing happened. You need this luck, no issues, just drive’.

Asked about his race to second position and his call for the 10-minutes during the warm-up , Hamon said, ‘I needed to adjust the gearbox but it worked out alright because starting at the back I missed the first lap carnage’.  Having suffered a flame out on all his fuel stops in the Semi Final, he said it was all good in the final ‘thanks to Zac Ryan’.  He continued, ‘I did my own thing really in the race. It was awesome racing and it was a lot of fun especially when (Race Announcer) Leonard called me a shark.  I am super pumped for the whole team’.  Asked about tyre wear having had greater wear than Neumann in the Semi, he replied, ‘my car was awesome on tyres.  I saw Joern do a change (in the final).  He was like the test dummy and helped me decide I wasn’t going to change.’   He concluded, ‘Congrats to Toni.  Clinical is the only word to describe his win.  It’s extremely well deserved’.

Catanzani described his race as ‘difficult’, adding ‘I think I had a bad set of tyres’.  He continued, ‘In the Semi the car was really fast and now it was super difficult to drive when you push.  I was only able to do a 18.0 (second lap) and before I could do a 17.5 (seconds).’  He added, ‘we planned to change the front tyres but the rear was so loose the fronts were not doing as much work’.  The 18-year-old, who like the rest of the podium finishers will travel to Japan later this month for the 1:8 Onroad World Championship concluded, ‘For was my first Worlds I finish on the podium so I am happy’.

The only other driver to manage a 17-second lap in the final along with Gruber and Hamon, D’angelo said, ‘I am happy for my first experience.  I did the maximum I could and I want to thank the guys who crewed me but I missed having my father in the pits.  I am 17,000 kilometres from home and doing it all on my own.  I did not have my father talking to me during the race and help me to decide strategy.  It was a great result anyway but I hope for a better position the next time.  Congrats to Toni and to everyone for a clean race and nice battles’.

October 14, 2023

Neumann title defence on with Semi win

Qualifying only 14th, Joern Neumann’s defence of his IFMAR 1:8 GT World Championship title is still on after the Sworkz driver took victory in the first of the Semi Finals in Sydney.  Starting from sixth on the grid, Neumann worked his way to the front chasing down the Serpent of pole sitter Jeff Hamon.  With no fuel stops allowed before 7-minutes, when Hamon and Neumann pitted they would both suffer flame outs.  On the second stop, Hamon was in earlier than Neuman but once again flamed out something the Australian would suffer on all his stops.  With a clean second stop for Neumann, this would give him a lead he would not give up.  Starting from the pitlane after a problem in the warm-up, Italian Gabriele Paloschi would get past his Serpent team-mate to finish second, the Top 3 securing their spot in the 1-hour Main event.  Unfortunately for Peter Jovanovic, having run second for the opening 5-minutes, he ran was over when he stripped a gear on his Capricorn.

The second Semi final provided plenty of drama starting with Andrea Catanzani suffering a flame out that in normal terms would have ended any drivers hopes of progress.  Losing almost 2-laps, the young Italian charged back to the front with a new lap record as his engine tuner Giovanni Crea from Gimar signalled his pace was too much.  With Genius Racing’s Bernard-Alain Arnaldi leading for 2/3 of the race despite flame outs on all his fuel stops, once Catanzani got by the Frenchman he backed off the pace but even still lapped the entire field taking the chequered flag right on the bumper of second placed Arnaldi.  Despite a broken rear diff, Xray’s Natanaele Senesi competed the Top 3.  With the grid for the final at the John Grant International Raceway completed the drivers with the fastest to race times outside the top 3, it was great to see Michael Stone, a key figure in making these World Championship happen, book his place in the Worlds most important race along with fellow Aussie and Xray driver Ari Bakla.

Summing up his performance in the Semi Final, Neumann said, ‘it was good.  I just kept it safe for the first 7-minutes and after that pushed a little and once I got up to second I just managed it to the end.’  Looking to the final he continued, ‘we will make a small adjustment for the final and hopefully the car will be even better.  One hour is very long and anything can happen we have a good car.’  It was interesting to see Neumann and Hamon comparing tyres at the of the final, Neumann looking to have better wear.  Hamon, who is not sure of the reason for his flame-outs, which kept his pit crew extra busy, said his car was ‘average’ and watched the performance of the others will change bodyshell for the final.

Asked about his race, Catanzani said, ‘the start was crazy.  After the flame out I have to push a little bit but in the end it was all good’.  Posting a 17.534 lap time, he said, ‘the car is like perfect now’.  Asked what caused the flame out, he said, ‘I drive a little slow for the first minute and the engine got cold which changed the tune.’  He continued, ‘For the final I will just do maintanence on the car, charge the battery and then we are good to go.’

October 13, 2023

Chassis Focus – Jeff Hamon (Serpent)

Chassis: Serpent SRX8 GT’23
Engine: Gimar Venus
Radio: Sanwa M17
Servos (Steering/Throttle): Sanwa XB2/XB2
Body: Blitz GT6
Tires (handout): PMT Q3
Fuel (handout): Runner Time 16%

Running the car as standard the only changes of note are that Jeff has used T-works screws and Avid RC bearings in the car build.

October 13, 2023

Neumann wins 1:8 GTe World Cup


UPDATE – IFMAR 1:8 GTe World Cup Podium revised

Sworkz’ Joern Neumann has won the IFMAR 1:8 GTe World Cup in Australia repeating the feat he achieved in Miami almost 4-years ago.  Qualifying second for the race in Sydney behind the Xray of Top Qualifier Natanaele Senesi, the German would have a terrible start to A1 going off onto the grass in the first corner as his team-mate & nitro mechanic Herfried Pucher from fourth on the grid took the early lead.  Half way through the 6-minute encounter Neumann would take the lead before going on to win by a comfortable 5-seconds as Pucher just held off Senesi for second.  In A2, Neumann nailed the start getting the holeshot on Senesi but Senesi would make a late charge in the race closing the gap until he was hit by a backmarker allowing Neumann to cruise to the overall win.  While the title was won, as the reigning Nitro GT World Champion which he will try to defend tomorrow, Neumann wasn’t going to get the opportunity of track time pass him by and appeared with a different bodyshell in A3 to test it for his nitro Semi final.  On the track Neumann took the win narrowly from the Capricorn of Peter Jovanovic but the Australian was later handed a 1-lap penalty for ‘Un-sportmanship’ for failing to re-address early race contact.  This gave Senesi second for A3 but overall Jovanovic was runner-up with the Italian completing the podium.

Your 2023 IFMAR 1:8 GTe Cup Champion.

A very happy Team Sworkz.

Joern on his way to victory.

The A-Main driver line in Sydney.

October 13, 2023

Chassis Focus (GTe) – Natanaele Senesi (Xray)

Chassis: Xray GTXe ’23
Motor: Hobbywing Xerun G3 2800
ESC: Corsatec CTX-8RS
Battery: LRP Graphene4 9400mah Stock Spec
Radio: Sanwa M14
Servo: Senesi V60
Body: Blitz GT5

Securing the overall 1:8 GTe World Cup TQ here in Sydney, Natanaele is running a number of Senesi Motorsport parts on his Xray.  It is fitted with a carbon fan support, carbon ESC plate and the rear anti tuck side supports which he also runs on his nitro GT.