I started racing in 2000, and started studying Mechanical Engineering in 2003. In 2005-2006 I got interested in designing my own parts, just for fun. I helped HoBao develop their Hyper 8, and I started thinking that maybe this is something I could do in the future. Then one day my friend showed up at a race with his own batterybox. He had made it at work, turns out he worked at a prototyping company. I asked if he could make some parts for me, if I designed them, and he said yes. That’s how it started. I didn’t like the radiotray on my car, so I made a smaller box for the battery, and a separate receiverbox that fit on top of the laydown steering servo in my new Hyper 8. Throughout the year I made some other parts, including shocktowers, and some lightened parts. Then I hit the wall, because I had figured out ways to make the car better, but couldn’t really modify the car enough to get the best result. So I started designing a car, just for the hell of it. Then my interest faded because I didn’t think it would ever be made, and it was taking a lot of time and effort. Then spyshots of the Losi 8ight were released…
·I made my own radiotray for the Hyper 8.
·I made a body also, together with my friend. We made a model by hand out of plaster,
then made a silicone mould using the model, cast some really hard plaster in it to make a stamp,
that was then used for the production of a few prototypes.
After the Losi pics were leaked, I had a serious discussion with myself, which unfortunately could not be solved by negotiations, but ended violently with some punches to the face, for stupidity. There were a number of things that I already had in my design, or in my head, that were also on the Losi, including the XX-4 front end design, steering system (except the way to adjust Ackermann) and the separate battery and receiver box style radiotray, and this was a bit disappointing as I wouldn’t have the first new generation car including these things, but it was no big deal. However, there were also a couple of features on the Losi that solved some of the problems with my design brilliantly. The problem was, that they were so simple that I was embarrassed. I mean why didn’t I think of turning the diff around and flipping the teeth to the other side of the gear, in order to get the engine much closer to the centreline? WHY? I felt as stupid as someone who just entered a hockey rink with the shields for the blades still on. (Yes I have done that too!)
Then in September of 2006, I proved that I really do suck at motocross and completely destroyed my left wrist. I had a cast for 6 weeks and was stuck doing nothing. So I finished the car design. Well not 100% but pretty much. At the Nurnberg Toyfair 2007 I actually had a 100% built rapid prototype car with servos, engine and all linkages, in order to show some people what I had created. Unfortunately I was too late, and nothing happened. 2008 and 2009 THE Car was supposed to be made by 2 different companies, but it didn’t work out for various reasons. But those years weren’t wasted, THE Car was just delayed. 2008 I spent testing all the cars I could get my hands on. Some people misunderstood and thought I was jumping around, changing sponsors, and that I was not loyal, but that’s not what was going on. I wanted to try all the cars, in order to learn, and get ideas of what to do, and what not to do on my own car. For example LRP lent me a car for only one race, I got it at the race, raced, and gave it back. Other times I got cars to test, or bought them. During 2008 and 2009 I tested Kyosho, Mugen, Xray, HotBodies, LRP, HongNor, Team Magic, Team Associated and Losi. I gathered a lot of information from them that helped me develop my own car. I don’t mean just copying, some things I copied, like the places for Velcro on the Mugen sideguards, or the way the Ackermann is changed on the Losi, but mostly the results were used for developing own ideas further, and finding the direction to go in some cases. I tried a lot of my own parts on these cars, or mixed and matched them in order to learn more about what makes a car tick. For example what the different steering systems do. I will write more about this in a future column.
·I built a Hong-Nosi, a HongNor with a Losi front end and steering for the 2008 Euros warm up. ·
I wanted to test the front end design, and the steering system on an old-school car. It was super
stable, but still lacked abit of cornerspeed. I think I TQed or got 2nd in one qualifing round. It was fast!·
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I also managed to get a driveable prototype made. This was invaluable to the project. Actually driving the car, with as many of my own parts as possible was fantastic I thought. I have to admit that it was a pile of junk the first time I drove it. I didn’t have all my own parts, so I had to for example modify Losi shocks to fit since they weren’t a suitable length, but were the closest to what I needed, and I used hobao and xray differentials. I also got to test my own lightweight and small diffs, and saw that they do in fact have potential, but at this stage I felt it would be better to make a solid, working car with normal, proven diffs, and later focus on the bigger innovations, which potentially need a lot more work to get right. After the initial tests, I realised that my ideas had potential, but the prototype needed to be built better in order for me to get any reliable results.
One day I will make them that small.
In the end I managed to run a lot in Finland, and for a few days in Greece and Venezuela, with a prototype with all my own geometry and parts, apart from borrowed and modified shocks and differentials, and less meaningful parts as far as the handling is concerned, like for example turnbuckles, and driveshafts. All of this happened during 2006-2009. So at the time that I started my company, all that was really needed was to produce THE Car. I had updated it for the n:th time, based on my findings while testing, and there was nothing I could think of doing, without re-designing the whole thing. Either it ws going to be made right then, or not at all. I chose to get it done, and that’s what I have been working on since the end of 2009.
At the 2006 Worlds in Indonesia, I qualified 8th overall, (I think), and once the track
got bumpy for the mains, my car was the best its ever been. I was leading my semi by about
7-10 seconds and would have bumped easily to the main, when my engine cut. 🙁 I was running my
own body, radiotray, shocktowers and arm holders, and hyper 7 front arms on my hyper 8.··
In the next column I will tell you more about the production of the various prototypes, and after that about the actual testing itself.