The dust has settled and the first round of the new season is already in the books. With 230 entries, the race in Apeldoorn was a huge success and a great show for RC racing on a very high level. As always, the products used by the drivers are very interesting, and today we like to talk a little bit about trends and performances we have seen on the ground of the AMCA Apeldoorn.
Strong debuts for many new platforms
We saw many new cars on track at ETS RD1 in the Netherlands. Some did brilliant, others only average. But whenever a new car is racing at a big event, a lot of attention is on the teams and drivers as a lot of customers from all around the world are making their buying decisions based on the ETS results.
Starting with the FWD class, we can say that the new Xray T4F-2024 won the race in the hands of Adam Izsay. He started from pole position and had a lot of work to do to keep the Mugen of Max Weffers and the possibly fastest car of Robin van Gog (Awesomatix) behind him in the triple A-Mains. But in the end, Izsay made it a perfect debut for the new Xray car.
Schumacher`s ingeneer Andy Murray from Great Britain drove the new FT8 FWD car and tried a lot of different setups, as the track in Apeldoorn was completeley different to everything they have in the UK. Murray made the A-Main but had no speed to fight for a top spot taking P11 in the end. He will be back with an improved setup for sure as he is a very experienced guy in setting up fast race cars.
The touring car classes had four new cars in the window of interest: Mugen Seiki`s MTC-2R, the ARC A10-2023, Yokomo`s BD12 and the Awesomatix A800R. All teams had a lot of work to do to get their cars up to speed. In the end all drivers had some good results with the new cars during the ETS season opener!
Starting with the Mugen MTC-2R, we can report that it was competitive right from the start of the weekend. In practice, Ronald Völker was very dominant, until he lost some pace when racing started. Robert Pietsch and Eric Dankel showed great speed in practice as well, and Remi Callens completed the Mugen guys hitting the top 10 in every round of practice. In the end, Eric Dankel had a magic weekend, drove very impressive, and placed his Mugen ride on a very strong third place on the podium. Völker was able to do some damage limitation with P4 in the end and Remi Callens finished on a strong P9 after some great runs durng the whole weekend.
The MTC-2R seems to be a good car which is working great out of the box. Sören Sparbier was in the Pro Stock A-Main with the car even after he had not the cleanest qualification runs.
The Awesomatix A800R was not the newest car in Apeldoorn as it was already released in February. But it was the first official ETS race on asphalt for the team and therefore a lot of attention was on the Awesomatix ride. Did the team deliver? Oh yes!
With a complete podium in the Pro Stock class (Bultynck, Ellerbrock, Mächler), and a total of 4 cars in the A-Main the comany nce again showed that the only way to victory in Pro Stock goes over Awesomatix. In the modified class, Marc Rheinard was able to seal the TQ spot in qualifying, with Lucas Urbain lining up in third place. Rheinard had a lot of bad luck in the triple A-Mains and dropped down to P7, but Lucas was flying the flag to the finish line with a good second place behind Schumacher`s race winner Michal Orlowski.
The A800R is a rocket on asphalt and will be in contention for the win at every race due to the strong team and their knowledge about the car.
Yokomo was running the new BD12 on the track where they started into last years season with a race win (Yannic Prümper) at the BD11 debut. This time, the Yokmoo team had three cars in the modified A-Main, but it looked like they never found that last piece of performance to fight for the win. However, with Christopher Krapp (5th), Yannic Prümper (8th), and Loic Jasmin (11th), they left the track with a solid team result.
The highlight for Yokomo was the fourth place for Dominic Vogl in the Pro Stock class. He was competing against the Awesomatix and Xray cars in the A-Main and did very well indeed. Let`s see what the team can do at the next race in Aigen – a track where Christopher Krapp won last season`s race for the Yokomo team.
Last but not least, the new ARC A10-2023 was on the line in Apeldoorn. Henrik Heitsch and Torsten Baggendorf raced the new car and Baggendorf was able to qualify it directly into the 40+ Masters A-Main with P8 in the end. Henrik Heitsch had a good speed in Pro Stock (5th place in one round of qualifying), but missed some racing luck to put the car into the final. He finished in the Pro Stock B-Main which still is a good result. For ARC, it would be super important to add another top driver to the team for scoring good results constantly.
Searching for the ultimate power source in all classes
Batteries are one of the most important and crucial things in RC racing. No matter if modified or stock racing – finding the best battery for every track and class is a key to success.
Let`s talk quickly about the Matrix Modified class. In Apeldoorn, the traction was very high, and in combination with the very grippy Matrix tires, the drivers pushed their electronic packages (speedo – motor – battery) to the absolute limit. That caused some drivers having a little trouble with power and runtime in the last minute of the race. And as nobody likes to run out of power in the year 2023, many drivers used a battery with a higher capacity for the races.
For example, the LRP/Nosram team switched from 5700mAh to 6700mAh batteries. Other teams did the same as ORCA drivers used 6390mAh instead of 6090mAh power sources. The Gens Ace drivers used their 6000mAh battery while Eric Dankel had an EZ 6100mAh LiPo in his car. On the Sunpadow battery of race winner Michal Orlowski, we found the capacity of 6500mAh.
When looking back on the last years at Apeldoorn, Bruno Coelho once won the race with a 5300mAh pack in his Xray car. But as the Modified drivers now drove ONE lap more in qualifying (meaning them to be 14 seconds faster over 5 minutes), it is easy to undertand that everybody had the demand for more battery power at this years season opener in Apeldoorn!
In the Stock classes, we noticed that most racers had big batteries in their cars. When looking onto the tech charts of the A-Main finalists of Pro Stock, FWD, and 40+ Masters, LRP and Nosram clearly dominated with 65-70% of drivers using their products.
Gens Ace, Sunpadow, EZ Power, Ruddog, EAM, and Orion had been the other brands in the finals. Capacity wise most touring car drivers used 9400 or 8100mAh packs, but also a EZ 6800mAh pack made it into the Pro Stock A-Main. The FWD racers used capacities between 4100 and 4900mAh on the track of the AMCA Apeldoorn. One thing is clear: All stock drivers are looking for the lowest possible internal resistance in their batteries to get the best punch over 5 minutes when running on track.
What is the trend right now?
The list of allowed body shells at the ETS is making it a lot easier for the drivers as they don`t have to select a shell from ALL available bodies on the market. However, drivers must still decide what they want to use and we have seen some new bodies performing well, and also some facts from last season have been confirmed once again!
Touring car body shells
In the Matrix Modified clas, all A-Main finalists used a body from Xtreme Aerodynamics. The Twister, and the Twister Speciale had been mountedon all the 11 cars on the grid. These two body shells are very similar in handling with the most significant differences being the rear wing, and the section around the side windows.
Some drivers have used the Twister wing on the Speciale, or vice versa. Another wing option (for example used by Lucas Urbain) was to use the wing of the ZooRacing Wolverine on the Twister body. In the end it comes down to the driver’s personal preferences, but it is interesting to see how much experimentation is going on with aero components.
That all drivers used the Xtreme bodies in the 0.5mm version should be somethign we don`t have to highlight as it has become state of the art in modified racing!
The Awesomatix Pro Stock class was in the hands of the Zoo Racing Wolverine Max body – the same procedure as last year. With 9 out of 11 drivers using the 0.5mm Zoo Racing body in the A-Main, the statement is clear that the Wolverine Max is still a must have for Pro Stock racing. However, Schumacher driver Mattia Collina used the Xtreme Speciale and finished sixth overall while Xray`s Jacques Libar trusted in the new Red Hawk, also from Xtreme, to finish in eight place. We will follow the trend in the Pro Stock class to see if we will see more drivers using different bodies at the next race, or if the Wolverine will still dominate.
By the way, the 40+ Masters class class winner Renè Kölbel used the Protoform P63 bodyshell. It also worked flawless on track and it was already the third race win for Protoform with the P63 as Manuel Stankowitz used the body last season to win the 40+ class in Andernach (Asphalt) and Hann. Münden (Carpet). Elibert Sievers used the Xtreme Red Hawk, and Torsten Baggendorf wheeled is ARC car topped by the Blitz CLA body shell.
What we have learned: The Xtreme Twister (and Speciale), ZooRacing Wolverine Max, and the Protoform P63 are the bodies to have when it comes to ETS racing. A good alternative is the Xtreme Red Hawk, the Bittydesign eptron, the Blitz CLA, and the Mon-tech Zero 2.
FWD body shells
This was an interesting one! Last season, the talks had been only about the ZooRacing Gorilla and the Blitz YRS. Now, we have seen more different bodies than ever in the A-Main of the Hobbywing FWD class. With four different manufacturers sharing the FWD class, we saw Protoform, Bittydesign, Blitz, and Zoo Racing batteling it out for the win. In the end, the Protoform Speed3 was able to take the win in the hands of Adam Izsay (Xray). It was the first outing for the Speed3 at the ETS and with 5 drivers uding the body in the A-Main, the Protoform crew around Eric Epp in the USA will have a happy week in the factory.
Another body that many drivers liked a lot was the Bittydesign CA45. With 2 bodies in the A-Main and one on the podium (MAx Weffers), the body was also seen a lot on track in the lower mains. The Zoo Racing Gorilla and the Blitz YRS both qualified for the A-Main two times, and had been around in the pits as well.
It was a super interesting weekend for the body shell scene in the FWD class, and the next race in Aigen will be another showdown to find the “best FWD body” for the track in Austria. Let`s see if the Xtreme Italia or the Mon-Tech Civic will play a bigger role there, or if the fight for the win will be again between Protoform, Bittydesign, Blitz, and ZooRacing!
Something new FLYING on the SKY of the ETS
The radio topic was (almost) no reason to talk about in the last years as most drivers used Sanwa products, with a small number of Futaba radios also seen at the ETS. For sure, Sanwa is still the most used brand and we are seeing almost everybody walking onto the driver stand with an M17, MT-44, or the older M12 model.
But something has changed at ETS RD1 in the Netherlands and we felt like a shock of power (to say it Star Wars style). Out of nowhere, Flysky stepped onto the ETS stage and their actual Noble Pro radio was able to TQ and win the race in the Pro Stock class with Olivier Bultynck, collecting another TQ (and possible win) in Modified with their big signing Marc Rheinard, and had another double A-Main (Pro Stock & Modified) with Tim Benson who also used the Flysky Noble Pro.
Not a bad debut on the big ETS stage for Flysky, the company from Shenzhen, China. They have also become an associated sponsor of the ETS very shortly before we kicked off the season, and we once again like to welcome them in the circle of the ETS supporting companies.