Washed out by wet weather which caused the cancellation of controlled practice yesterday, competitors at the opening race of the new Euro Nitro Series again woke to rain this morning in Germany however at a drivers briefing held at 11:00 and lead by Race Director Uwe Rheinard it was agreed that racing will get underway later this evening. Forecasts for the area are showing that from 15:00 local time the weather is set to improve and based on this information it is hoped to be able to get racing underway on a dry track at 17:00 or earlier if conditions allow. Planning to run three rounds of qualifying today it was agreed to set a cut off time of 18:00 irrespective of the track conditions as to start any later would not leave enough time to fully complete three rounds of heats. Unlike the normal qualifying format used in onroad nitro which decides the grids on a drivers overall fastest time, the ENS will use the same round by round points system common to electric touring car racing which should, if the track is still drying, make for a fairer qualifying. With the weather for tomorrow, Sunday, giving a dry day it is planned to have a fourth round of qualifying with a driver counting their best two rounds from the four.
Chassis Name – Shepherd Velox V10 Pro Engine – Sonic Radio/Servos – KO Propo/Futaba Remarks – Shepherd are debuting a new 1:10 touring car at the opening race of the Euro Nitro Series ‘Pilot Series’ in Germany called the Velox V10 Pro. 70 percent of the car’s parts are new such as the lower wishbones, suspension mounts, front and rear bulkheads and drivetrain parts. The car now features an adjustable front roll centre using different plastic inserts in the aluminium suspension mounts which allows for easy roll characteristic and weight shift changes. Another new features is the front wire-type anti-roll bar with suspension-side pivot ball mounting, a new smaller front diff and a small and very lightweight aluminium steering bellcrank with adjustable Ackermann set by shifting the steering lever forth and back.
Coming to the rear end the updated version of the Velox V10 features redesigned lower A-arms that point towards the front in order to reduce the wheelbase by 2mm. This also relocates the lower shock mounting position to increase the damper performance and to make for improved shock protection in the event of a crash. Swinging over to the upper camber links these are now made from a ball cup and turnbuckle construction over the previous full arm design. Last but not least come new rear low profile bulkheads and a slightly reshaped lower chassis plate. The new parts help reduce the weight of the car by around 60 grams compared to its predecessor.
With the weather forcing Day 1 of the new Euro Nitro Series to be postponed, Red RC took the opportunity to go and visit the headquarters of Shepherd Micro Racing, a company who has played a big roll in the creation of the ENS. Located less than 10km from the Hockenheimring, the venue of the opening race of the ENS, company boss Patrick Schafer was on hand to greet us and show us around their impressive building. Originally opened by his father as a model shop in 1998, complete with its own indoor asphalt track & pit area, the building took on its current guise in 2005 when Shepherd Micro Racing was formed, then as the distributor for the Speed 1:8 Onroad chassis produced by the famous Picco engine company. Taking over that project from the Italian company, in 2007 the company produced its first car the Velox V8 and now as an established onroad nitro manufacturer also produces a 1:10 200mm chassis.
What was the hobby shop has now been turned into the offices & nerve centre of the German company which in addition to creating its own cars is also a distributor for Awesomatix electric touring cars, Matrix tyres, MLC Fuel and Sonic Engines. The track at the rear of the building now houses the kit packaging area, stock warehouse, a small machining area and a self contained race team workshop. With all part production outsourced, the only manufacturing done in-house is that of the brake pads due to the specialist material & process these require.
An established racer on the international onroad nitro scene, his interest in car racing starting in 1989 when he took part in the then popular Santa Claus Cup, Patrick Schafer’s key role in the company is design. Graduating with a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering, he is responsible for creating all the CAD drawings required for the production of the various parts that go into each kit. In terms of staff Shepherd employ six full time staff in addition to having a number of part time workers.
The much anticipated new Euro Nitro Series will start a day later than originally planned as racers woke to a very wet morning in Hockenheim, Germany, leaving organisers no choice but to postpone Day 1 of the event which should have seen 5 rounds of controlled practice. With the weather down for the day and set to improve mid morning tomorrow, Saturday, it is hoped to be able to get the event officially underway at around lunchtime. Sunday’s weather is giving perfect conditions for racing. Despite this morning’s conditions one driver decided he could do with some wet practice, bravely taking to the track with his touring car but his first attempt on the soaked track lasted just two laps before the engine decided it had consumed enough water. Today’s weather is in total contrast to yesterday’s set-up day when the sun shown down on the home of Formula 1’s European Grand Prix with many drivers including most of the main contenders able to get in some track track time as the host club ran a day of open practice.
Veteran onroad nitro racer and chassis designer Michael Salven has given the Euro Nitro Series a firm vote of confidence as final preparations are made for the opening race in the all new series for onroad nitro racing which takes place this weekend. A former World & multiple European Champion, the German said all the racers he has spoken to are very excited that the organisation behind the hugely successful Euro Touring Series are bringing their concept to nitro onroad and while they have high expectations he is confident the ENS will be a success and will put the ‘fun back into racing’ helping to revive the onroad nitro racing scene just like the ETS has done for electric touring cars.
Salven, who himself will contest both ENS ‘Pilot Series’ races, made the comments following the announcement that Serpent are to join Xray, Shepherd, Novarossi and KM Racing as primary sponsors of the new series. A pioneering company, Serpent played a huge role in the development of the class that kick started the hobby of rc racing, the first 1:8 Onroad World Champion being crowned in 1977. Some of the technology which is the norm now in nitro onroad such as the Centax clutch, the 2-speed gearbox and the the INS-Box were all Serpent innovations.
With the use of tyre additive in recent years having had a very detrimental effect on nitro racing across Europe, Salven said the Euro Nitro Series’ adoption of a controlled spec tyre is going to be key to the rebuilding of the class and everyone will be watching to see how it works in the ENS. At Race 1 of the ‘Pilot Series, which takes place this weekend at the Hockenheimring in German, 1:8 drivers will use a Matrix tyre while the 1:10 cars will all run a tyre provided by Enneti.
Race 1 of the Euro Nitro Series officially gets underway with controlled practice on Friday and culminates with 12-car 45-minute Mains on Sunday. 10 drivers will qualify directly for the main event with the 11th & 12th positions on the grid to be filled by the 2 drivers with the fastest race times from any of the lower finals. All the action from Hockenheimring can be followed on RedRC where regular updates will be published throughout the weekend.
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