By Mike Garrison
Welcome to LiveRC's weekly column, "Talk-It-Up Tuesday!" Here we spend a little time talking with industry icons including racers, manufacturers, team managers, developers, promoters, and everyone in between! Sit back, relax, and go behind the scenes as we interview them all!
For this week's Talk It Up Tuesday we sit down with PR Racing USA's Canaan Yingling to discuss the PR Racing brand in America, the new SB401-T truggy, new 2wd buggies coming soon, and more!
LiveRC: Welcome Canaan to this week’s edition of Talk It Up Tuesday! For those who may not know you, tell us a little bit about when, where, how, and why you got started in R/C racing?
Canaan: Thank you for having me. Like lots of people, I originally started with some basher vehicles growing up, and as I got older I was looking for something else to do besides just going in the back yard hitting some wooden jumps, or doing speed runs in parking lots. A buddy of mine told me about a local indoor clay track, so I just had to go try it out. I went to Jake’s RC here in Topeka, Kansas, and I was absolutely hooked from the very first lap! Little did I know at the time just how much it would change and affect my life.
(Photo by Scott J Wilson Imaging)
LiveRC: You are now working for PR Racing, and a large part of the brands representation here in the United States. What are your primary roles at PR Racing?
Canaan: Well my official title is “PR Racing USA Technical Advisor", but it’s really many things. I’m the USA Team Manager for PR’s distribution teams, factory driver, help manage social media platforms, product technical support, and I help design and test new products.
LiveRC: A lot has changed over the past few years for PR Racing in America. The brand was primarily sold through Hobby Pro USA, but is no longer. Who, where, and how is the best way to purchase PR Racing products in America now?
Canaan: That’s probably one of the most asked questions I get, but the best places to go would be our East Coast and West Coast Distributors. TheRCproshop (Thercproshop.com/shop) and Vendetta Hobbies (Vendettahobbies.com). The factory has been in talks with everyone’s favorite team manager Billy Tylaska, from Nemo Racing USA, into expanding the reach of the PR products in the USA.
LiveRC: One major step for PR’s representation in America was the signing of off-road racing legend Adam Drake. Has signing a big name driver like this benefitted PR Racing as you guys had hoped?
Canaan: Absolutely! Almost everyone racing today knows the name Drake. Add that with his on and off the track capabilities, skills, and knowledge it’s a win win. He is a big part of helping us produce our most current platforms.
LiveRC: I personally drove one of the original SB401 4wd buggies years ago, and was really impressed with its performance, durability, and overall build. How has the SB401 evolved over the years to handle the changing track surfaces, driving styles, and demands of today’s racers?
Canaan: The platform has changed a lot as the high grip tracks are so popular and dominant now. You really need it to be able to carry speed in all sections of a track. What’s amazing to me about the 401R is how much better it is on the medium and loose grip tracks as well. The chassis lets you fine tune for the perfect amount of flex, while the updated Type R shocks soak up all the ruts and bumps while letting it have overall lower center of gravity. It is just a better overall platform from our previous versions for today's tracks.
LiveRC: The 1/10-scale truggy class is something that has really taken off in popularity recently. PR Racing is only the second manufacturer to release a competition truggy kit since the launch of the Tekno RC ET410. What made PR Racing decide to join the class?
Canaan: Well what most don’t realize is PR has produced a ST 4x4 since early 2015, but just like tracks, the class has changed drastically since then and have gone to a truggy style of truck (which I prefer by the way). With already having most of what was needed, and the class popularity, it was a pretty easy decision so we focused on the best possible performance and what customers were asking for.
LiveRC: Can you tell us a little about the new truggy and how it compares to the SB401-R buggy?
Canaan: Overall, they are very similar as they share the same chassis, and the same low center of gravity focus was carried over as well. We wanted all the benefits we learned from the 401-R but in truggy form. The chassis needed beefed up, but we still wanted the great side to side flex of the buggy version. We added a “Thin" style top deck for added durability that’s needed with a bigger vehicle. It still allows the side to side flex we were looking for. We changed gear ratio to better accommodate the bigger ST tires. It comes with a center gear diff with ultra-hard outdrives to handle the big power the truck needs, and of course truggy style body with longer suspension arms and longer dog bones. It comes with 2 full sets of wheel hexs, one set is to use PR wheels and the other is for use with AE style off set wheels while keeping the correct geometry. It is missing a few of the aluminum parts that come standard on the 401-R, but that was to help keep the overall price of the kit low. The rear composite hubs have an extra suspension pin hole to adjust the rear width.
LiveRC: More and more manufacturers are releasing separate 2wd buggies; one for dirt racing and one for carpet racing. Are there any plans to update the existing PR Racing 2wd buggy and/or release separate dirt and carpet models in the near future?
Canaan: We are in the process of releasing the V3FM EVO for carpet/turf and the V3MM EVO for med to loose grip tracks. Some of these updated parts are already available as option parts for our current line of 2wd buggies. The new kits will incorporate all the changes and some things we haven't shown yet. As of right now the release date isn’t set.
LiveRC: What are some of the difficulties trying to grow a “new” brand in America against brands that have been established and known for decades?
Canaan: There are many factors that go into it, but a lot of times it's people’s perceptions of brands and products that really aren't true or right. Most think since they are fairly unknown here that means they are cheap or not good quality. That is the farthest thing from the truth. When a person finally sees one in person they are usually blown away by its fit and finish, and by what all is included. Once you get past that, it’s really about availability and trying to get products on the track and on hobby shops walls to give locals that support. That is one area PR is really trying to change going forward. They are committed to the American market and making it easier to get access to our products, as well as having more of a factory presence at some of the bigger races across the country.
(Photo by Scott J Wilson Imaging)
LiveRC: Will PR Racing have any drivers in attendance later this year at the IFMAR 1/10 Off-Road Worlds at Hudy Arena? If so, who?
Canaan: The plan is to go, but we are still working out scheduling and availability.
LiveRC: You obviously have spent plenty of time with all the PR Racing vehicles, which is your personal favorite and why?
Canaan: Man that’s a tough one. I normally would be quick to say the 2wd V3FM Type R, but the 401-R and 401-RT have put a big smile on my face every time. It's hard to beat the fun of the vehicles and how easy they make it to drive. It would have to be a tie between the 2.
LiveRC: What are the goals and plans for PR Racing in America for the remainder of 2019 and beyond?
Canaan: Definitely working on the availability of the products as well as our factory and distributor teams to have a bigger presence at races across the country, big or small.
LiveRC: Thank you for joining us today Canaan! We are anxious to see the future for the growing brand, and what is coming next. Is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Canaan: Thank you for the time and having me. I would like to thank Ethon Chao from PR racing for having faith in me and giving me an opportunity, as well as Ultraline Hobbies Raceway and Jake’s RC for giving me and others a place to race. Last but not least a local racer, Jason Porter, as he was one of the first people to talk to me and help me when I first started. He has shown me how to be professional and is someone to look up to and emulate, even if he doesn’t know it.