The subject of rc touring sedan racebodies and lexan thickness has been a bit of a grey area for a couple of years it seems. Judging from the number of questions I receive every week (from racers and race promoters) regarding this whole topic it would appear there’s a fair bit confusion still out there.
I'd like to try to explain my perspective on the topic for those of you who may still have questions. (Forgive me for going into such detail - it's the only way to keep it all in context impo).
Since starting in this business back in 1992 the normal gauge of lexan for rc “race” bodies was .030 lexan/polycarbonate. Lets call them REGULAR WEIGHT (RW)
Yes - there were exceptions – on occasion where we pulled heavier bodies for oval racers and by the end of the decade we were pulling .020 thick bodies for 1/12th scale. ( a 1/12th on-road body is smaller, lower, and has a shape that gives rigidity and integrity to a body pulled in .020 – the lexan is not stretched severely either)
Approximately 5 or 6 years ago Mark Pavidis did some pretty thorough testing with .020 lexan sedan/touring style bodies – for Protoform. He found that the cars definitely reacted positively to the lowered center of gravity (especially on carpet) however there were numerous negative aspects to the .020 bodies to deal with. I refer to these as ULTRA LIGHT WEIGHT (ULW
1 - The bodies would distort at hi-speed giving an inconsistent feel. Occasionally the fenders would tuck under – requiring extra time and effort to support the bodies inside and shoo-goo critical areas.
2 - They were more difficult to paint. A super fine touch was required or the exacto blade would cut of weaken the body. Future a-mains sprinkled with one-color paint jobs was inevitable if the ULW bodies became popular. Just not professional looking impo.
3 – The bodies were prone to damage even off
the racetrack. Just stacking them up after production would end up putting wrickles is the bodies at the bottom of the stack. We only could assume that shipping damage was inevitable as well.
4 – Although the .020 bodies were intended for the “serious” racer, we pretty much knew that they would end up in the hands of many a novice racer who was looking for the “hot set-up” and had just spent his last 20 bucks. These same guys would tear them up in the first night of racing and would be disappointed or angry (at Protoform) We were just not interested in giving ourselves a “black eye”, so to speak.
5 – We assumed the general quality of the racing would probably suffer as well due to new “body issues” like body tuck and turn marshals possibly doing further damage if they were not being carefull.
6 – Added expen$e for the average non-sponsored racer. With the shortened service life of the .020 body, he’s simply need to buy more.
With the “pros and cons” all tallied up – the cons were ahead 6 to 1 so we unanimously decided the .020 ULW
sedan body was not
something we wanted to produce or sell - ever
. It was simply bad for sedan racing in our opinion and we just never wanted this "negative stuff" associated with Protoform Race Bodies. We resisted all requests from sponsored racers to have “special” bodies pulled for them on the sly as well.
Approximately three years ago it became apparent that some of the race bodies produced in Japan were lighter than the ones we produced – anywhere from 20 to 30 grams lighter. Some of our sponsored racers asked if there was a way that we could produce something of a similar weight. In an effort to remain competitive in the racing world we found a source to supply us with .025 lexan. Our first test bodies resulted in an approx 30 gram savings and non of the negative side effects of the .020 bodies. When we felt confident that we could produce these in volume and still feel confident about the quality. We gave a few select sedan body styles a new part number and designated then as “LIGHT WEIGHT” (LW
) racebodies. We've had good success with them and to this date have not received even one complaint about “body tuck” or the other negative aspects associated with the .020 bodies. (even though I'm pretty sure there are probably a few that have had a issue with them at some time)
As most of you know a couple of years ago Parma decided to produce their Alfa and Mohawk sedan bodies on the ULW
.020 format. Since then these bodies have totally dominated carpet racing and became a “must have” component in order to being competitive in pro level carpet/foam sedan racing. However, those same six negative aspects (mentioned above) that we predicted 5 years ago also became a part of the foam/sedan racing scene.
Please understand – this is not an attack on the fine folks at Parma. I have the utmost respect for Paul and Mike @ Parma – something I can’t honestly say about most other rc racebody manufacturers. They simply had a different perspective on the issue and did what they thought was expedient. They had every right in the world to do what they wanted to do. My main issue was this: Why do something that is hurting carpet/foam sedan racing at a time when it’s in decline? The class needed a transfusion of good ideas
at this juncture of time.
Because the rc sanctioning bodies have stated that they don’t want to be involved in setting rules or standards concerning body weight or lexan thickness, it seemed like it was an issue that needed to be worked out by manufacturers and race promoters..
The good news is that this has been happening
Parma has decided that they would pull they new generation of Global Body Spec bodies (for carpet/foam) in only “RW
” .030 lexan. We at Protoform have followed suit and only
offer the carpet/foam specific R9-F body in a “RW
” .030 thickness version.
The promoters of the IIC Race in Vegas and the US Indoor Champs in Cleveland have already stated that there will be no more UTRA LIGHT WEIGHT (ULW
) bodies allowed in competition. (Although Scotty may have inadvertently called them LIGHT WEIGHT bodies in his rules package. Honest mistake)
We will continue to produce the majority of our sedan bodies in RW
and will continue to produce select rubber-tire-specific styles in both RW
as well as .025 LW
(with a separate part number).
If you should have any questions in regard to this specific topic please feel free to post them here. Any body manufacturer is free to respond – whether it be Parma, Ride etc. Personally – I will not be able to respond for at least the next 4 days.( I’ll be at the GoodGuys Street Machine Nationals in Columbus – woo hoo!)
I hope this is helpfull.
Best regards - Dale Epp – Protoform Race Bodies