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.
With final preparations well underway for the first race of the Euro Nitro Series, the organisers of the exciting new championship for onroad nitro racers today announced that reigning 1:10 200mm World Champion manufacturer KM Racing will join the series coming onboard as a Primary sponsor of the two race ‘Pilot Series’. Set to release its first 1:8 Onroad contender, the K8, which is currently under going final development testing, KM Racing join Xray, Shepherd Micro Racing and Novarossi as the key sponsors of the inaugural season of the ENS.
KM Racing will be pinning their hopes of a successful ENS campaign on two time 200mm European Champion Dario Balestri and new signing Adrien Bertin. The only driver to be a World Champion of both 1:8 and 1:10 200mm, Bertin will contest both classes at Race 1 of the ‘Pilot Series’ at the Hockenheimring in Germany which takes place over the weekend of May 31–June 2. The French ace, who is the man behind Team Orion’s engines, will play a major part in the development of KM Racing’s K8 1:8 chassis.
World famous Italian engine manufacturer Novarossi are to support the inaugural Euro Nitro Series, the multiple reigning World Champions joining Xray and Shepherd Micro Racing as a Primary sponsor of the exciting new nitro onroad series. The sport’s most successful maker of RC racing engines, Novarossi will have a very strong representation at both races that will make up the ENS ‘Pilot Series’ the most notable of whom will be reigning 1:8 World Champion Robert Pietsch.
Created by the organisation behind the hugely successful Euro Touring Series, the concept for the Euro Nitro Series is to establish a number of high profile 3-day events that count towards crowning an overall 1:10 and 1:8 Champion. Aiming to replicated the motto of the ETS, ‘World Class racing for Everyone’, the ENS is open to drivers of all levels and already Race 1 (May 31 – June 2) of the ‘Pilot Series’ at the Hockenheimring in Germany is close to attracting a capacity entry.
Shepherd Micro Racing is the latest company to get behind the inaugural Euro Nitro Series, the German chassis manufacturer signing up to become a primary sponsor of the ‘Pilot Series’ and committing to field an international driver line-up at both races. With their headquarters located just 15km from the Hockenhiemring, which will host the first ever ENS event in one months time, it was Shepherd’s annual European Nitro Challenge which lead to the creation of the Euro Nitro Series.
Having contested a number of Euro Touring Series races during the nitro season’s traditional winter break, Shepherd owner Patrick Schäfer saw the potential for a similar concept in nitro onroad and offered his company’s event to the ETS organisers setting in motion the creation of the new series.
For Race 1 of the ‘Pilot Series’, which takes place over the weekend of May 31-June 2 in Germany, Shepherd has entered an eight strong team with top Italian drivers Michele Romagnoli & Andrea Pirani and World Championship Finalist Simon Kurzbuch heading their challenge in 1:8.
In 1:10 Touring, the team will be headed by former World Champion Daniele Ielasi who at last year’s European Nitro Challenge finished on the podium. The Italian will be joined by Schäfer himself, who was winner of the 2011 European Nitro Challenge, former European B Champion Patrick Nähr, electric touring car ace Freddy Südhoff and top international Austrian racer Gerhard Kandelhart.
In addition to Shepherd becoming a Primary sponsor, it was also confirmed that the company’s Sonic engine brand will also support the inaugural ENS as an Associate sponsor. Receiving a very positive reaction since details of the series were officially announced last month, Race 1 of the Euro Nitro Series has already attracted 110 entries with registration still open.