It's too bad that the r/c racing community has not embraced the concept of "change".
(hope I don't sound too much like Obama and Clinton by using their favourite new buzz-word)
Companies like Tamiya and Kyosho do a very good job of supplying hobby enthusiasts the world over with authentic realistic kits that emulate real race cars. Sadly this does not carry over into the world of organized r/c racing. The r/c sanctioning bodies have been in a rut for the last 15 years. At events staged by ROAR, EFRA, BRCA, and IFMAR etc we see cars racing that look nothing at all like the cars we see racing on SPEED TV or in racing magazines. Do they welcome change
- even if it's for the ultimate good of the industry? Absolutely not - they abhore it. It means discussions, it means debates, it means coming to an agreement, it means new rules, and it means possible criticism. It's much easier to do nothing.
In a few days the first major race of 2008 will be run - the 24 Hours of Daytona. This race will feature a wide array of famous drivers, new cars and new teams. It's a pretty cool race and has been for decades. Yea, I know the Daytona Prototyes (DP's) are a little funky looking with their bulbous cockpits and awkward window shapes - but what isn't
a little weird these days. When the DP's first showed up up a few years back they were rather homely looking compared to the svelte looking LeMans prototypes. Since then almost the entire 1:1 racing world (other than F1) has gone to cookie-cutter "kit" cars. Looking at the ugly NASCAR COT's, the Pinocchio-nosed IRL Dallara's, the bland looking Champcar Panoz chassis etc - all I want to do is yawn. Spec cars is all they are now. What a shame.
The DP class however has a half dozen different chassis brands, and yes they do look a bit different from each other. I like that. The sad fact remains, there are no place for DP type cars in the rc racing scene today.
The future of the r/c touring sedan
is without a doubt a bit questionable at this point in time. There are many problems plaguing that class and seriously hindering its continued popularity. In my opinion the time is right to start racing r/c cars that guys can get excited about. Cars that look like the ones seen on TV. A 200mm pan car is wide enought to be stable, but narrow enough to be racing on indoor tracks. It also allows for a very proportional looking cars - which adds to the realism factor and ultimately its visual appeal to the racing newcomer. (and that's important)
Think of all the cool looking LeMans Prototypes and DP's that could be developed for this class. It'd be pretty sweet!
Back when Associated released it's pancar/touring car kit (approx 7 or 8 years ago) I made a Protoform version of the Porsche 911 GT1 body (based on the car that had just won the 24 Hrs of LeMans). At the time I hoped it would be an ingredient to help that kind of a class "take off". It didn't. The timing was all wrong apparently. Everyone wanted the latest in hight-tech 4WD chassis - and parking lot racing was really catching on as well. It's true - a pan car was just not right for parking lot racing.
Well, my feeling is that this may be a better time to invest in this 200mm pan-car format. There would be less complexity (work), fewer back-ordered "trick of the week" 4WD chassis parts and less $$ expence for the average guy. Who knows - it just might bring back some fun
It's worth thinking about in my opinion. What do you think?
Dale Epp - Protoform Race Bodies