By Aaron Waldron
Major races are a great chance for manufacturers to try out prototype components, and of course the ROAR Electric Off-Road Nationals is no exception. I scoured the pit area for new gear being used by the major manufacturers present at this year’s event, and here’s what I found:
The JC squad has new B64-specific front wheels at the Nats, which are production samples and should be released soon. Because the B64 uses different front hexes than the B44 platform did, JConcepts drivers previously relied on either the Associated-stock front wheels or the JConcepts wheels for the TLR 22-4, which employs a different offset. The new B64 front wheels match the dimensions of the kit wheels, and will be available in packs of four.
New pre-production slick-type tires from Pro-Line Racing called the Inversion (named for the inverted Positron tread pattern) are being developed for indoor clay tracks, and should be available shortly pending some slight mold revision.
Pro-Line Racing also has new 4WD front rims for the B64 (with the flush axle hole) and XB4 (dimpled axle hole). New front wheels for the 22-4 2.0 are coming soon.
Carson Wernimont is also using the new Elite body on his Yokomo YZ-2.
TEAM LOSI RACING
Though none of the TLR drivers are racing an actual production-kit 22 4.0 SR, the official photo buggy built for the company’s studio shots is here for people to check out. As noted in the kit’s press release, it comes with TLR’s lightened drivetrain components as well as typical option parts like hard-composite arms; machined shock hardware; aluminum shock caps, ball stud washers, anti-squat block and toe plate. The kit’s value is bolstered by omitting the stand-up transmission included with the standard 22 4.0 kit, which drops the sale price of the SR to just $300 - making it the first TLR 2WD buggy to be priced lower than a comparable offering from Team Associated in several years.
The low-profile 22-4 2.0 body released earlier this week is being used by several TLR drivers here in Maryland, including Tanner Denney’s buggy seen here. Based on the style concepts of the shell used on the 22 4.0, which Frank Root of Team Losi Racing said has been well-received, the cab is smaller and positioned further back in a “mid-cab” configuration. Root explained that new-generation vehicles and suspension setups have reduced the need for aggressive cab-forward body designs, which offer increased grip but don’t change direction very well, requiring instead body profiles that promote greater fluidity when transitioning through different track sections.
TLR drivers at the Nationals are also using optional suspension arms for the 22T and 22SCT platforms, made of higher-glass composite material called Stiffezell. Root explained that the arms flex less, making the vehicles more consistent and predictable, and perhaps the most noticeable improvement is that the vehicles land from jumps better. The Stiffezell arms are visually identical to the standard parts but are marked with an “SZL” and should be available by the end of the year.
Team Orion drivers at the ROAR Nationals are using the new HMX10 speed control combined with the Ultimate Modified motors — which were just approved by ROAR a little over a week ago — like the setup seen here in Ty Tessmann’s XB4. The motor’s can, sensor, rotor and stator have all been designed to optimize efficiency and consistency.
Both defending 4WD champion Ryan Maifield and teammate Carson Wernimont are running a shaft-driven prototype buggy derived from the YZ-4, which team manager Robert Itoh said is tentatively called the YZ-4S (S for shaft). It’s completely different from both the previous production version as well as the prototype that Maifield used at the Desert Classic earlier this year. The YZ-4S is being developed for the team to use at the upcoming IFMAR Worlds in China, and is intended to be used on both dirt and carpet/turf tracks. The Yokomo team asked me not to take any body-off photos.
On their YZ-2DTM 2WD buggies, the Yokomo drivers are also using a new steering rack to change the Ackermann geometry. The servo mounting area is bolstered with new aluminum braces, and they’re running a wider rear suspension pivot as well.
Team Trinity drivers competing in the spec classes at the ROAR Nationals are using the new Monster Max motor, which uses the same can as the previous Monster but with the red insulator removed to increase ventilation. The biggest change of the Max motor is a new stator design, which Trinity’s Kevin Abbott yields the lowest resistance of all spec motors available (17.5-turn stators ranging from 17.5-18.1 ohms, 13.5-turn stators ranging from 10.4-10.8 ohms, and 21.5-turn stators ranging from 27.5-28.3 ohms). The team drivers racing here this weekend are also using an optional ultra-high torque rotor (#TEP1119) with a longer magnet offering higher-gauss strength. The Monster Max motors are available now in standard production, Team Spec and Certified levels. The purple foam pit mat used for these photos is also new, sporting an assortment of Trinity’s current product logos.