xrayxrayHome XRAY homeXRAY X-shopXRAY X-forumRCAmerica
supportsearchcontactguestbooksite map
newsproductsaboutusworldwide headlines

 


Several RC magazines around the world have asked us to write a monthly column. With the kind permission we will re-publish the column at our web site too so all of the XRAY fans can read the latest news and behind the scenes information. Enjoy.

Archive:
Column #1 - Behind the Scene Stories

Column #2 - Worlds Flashback

Column #3 - T2'007 Debut

Column #4 - Designing the T2'007

Column #5 - Worldcup Review and NT1 Testing

Column #6 - Developing and Designing the NT1

Column #7 - Developing and Designing the NT1 - Part 2

Column #8 - Back to the Races

Column #9 - XT8 Truggy Development

Column #10 - Touring Car Development

Column #11 - Bling-bling Mentality

Column #12 - Hot Summer Washout

Column #13 - New Electric Touring Car

Column #14 - Off-road Development

Column #15 - My micro love

Column #16 - Back in the Dirt

Column #17 - Worlds Preparations

Column #18 - 808 Tests & Stress

Column #19 - Excited for the Worlds?

Column #20 - Statistics, Expenses Sheets, Production Analysis, Calculations…

Column #21 + Column #22 - Euros + Euros + Worlds

Column #23 - The Busiest Season Ever

Column #24 - In Between the Worlds

Column #25 + Column #26 - Well Developed or Overdeveloped?

click to enlarge
(click to enlarge)

Column #27 - Back to The Future
When I thought at the end of the 2007 that it was the busiest year ever, I did not expect all the challenges, issues, new projects and fully loaded racing calendar we would be facing in 2008. The 2008 season was very demanding and busy in all aspects, with new projects and products, racing and testing, and of course organizing the company, production and new technologies. In my monthly column I wrote about the challenges and triumphs we experience so you could follow the daily happenings at Team XRAY.

With every milestone achieved there is a time for reflection. Surviving 2008 and making it one of our most successful years is definitely another milestone for our company and for me personally as well. As such I believe this is the time for a look back at 2008.


XB808

click to enlarge
(click to enlarge)

The year 2008 could have also have been nicknamed “XB2008” given how focused we were on the XB808 project. The hard work by the R&D team in the second half of 2007 was finalized with the introduction of the XB808 at the Nurnberg show in February 2008, and after that there was the fastest-ever production to deliver the first batch to customers within two months after the show. February and March had many sleepless nights for managers who were organizing production in all different departments to coordinate every small detail of the thousands of tasks and issues. The high success and satisfaction with the car exceeded our expectations which were already high because of the feedback and experiences with earlier prototypes.

The XB808 has quickly achieved a very high satisfaction rating from customers; the R&D team has of course continued with further development to introduce special tuning and option parts. Not only has Team XRAY been successful worldwide at national-level races, but our regular customers have been very successful at local and regional races too. Our traditional bad luck struck once again at the year’s biggest races – the Euros and the Worlds – with electronics failures, engine stops, and broken tires. Jon Hazelwood made it to the final at the Euros and Josh Wheeler was setting the pace with some of the fastest single and multi-lap times at the Worlds, but his fast-tracking into the final was halted after two broken tires.

Overall satisfaction with the XB808 project in 2008: A–

Plans for the XB808 in 2009:
Focus on a few areas where customers experienced some issues and continue working to improve small details.


T2

click to enlarge
(click to enlarge)

The T2 platform was supported in 2008 with the T2‘008 edition which was released back in October 2007. The T2 platform continues to be one of the most successful XRAY cars and maintains its worldwide dominance in all levels of racing. The reports and feedback on the T2‘008 during the whole year were very positive and as such the R&D team had very difficult and challenging task to further improve the car in the 2009. Being on pace with performance and handling and with no problems to fix, the R&D had to focus on fine tuning and refining the details, so we spent a lot of time on weight balance and motor position testing… preparing the T2‘009 for the possibility of using different motor positions if needed.

The T2‘008 started with a great result at the DHI Cup, setting TQ and finishing 2nd at the end, followed by a TQ and win at the TITC. In the USA, the team started with a great win at the US Snowbird Nationals making it the 5th win in a row… followed by a double win at the US carpet nationals, double win at the US outdoor nationals, double win at the International Indoor Championship, and wrapping up the extensive lineup of US victories with the win at the Cleveland US Nationals.

In Europe the team showcased very strong performances with a double win at the LRP Masters, several national championship titles, and the European Junior title. With the most impressive list of victories during 2008 we wanted to top off with some nice results at the World Championship but once again fate kept us from hoisting the trophy yet again. I was very happy not only with the performance of the car but also for young XRAY drivers Elliott and Meen who made it to the final at the world’s most competitive race… with a brand-new T2’009 that they built right at that race!

click to enlarge
(click to enlarge)

The T2’008 not only put smiles on my face at the racetracks, but it also made me very proud with the awards it has again received from the international media. In 2008, the T2 added to its extensive and impressive lineup of “Car of the Year” awards – twice.

Very close to Christmas we re-introduced the T2R with a 2009 “facelift” and fulfilled the extensive list of requests from club-level racers looking for performance on a tighter budget.

Overall satisfaction with the T2 project in 2008: A / A+

Plans for the T2 in 2009:
The T2’009 was recently released only few months ago with no major changes but rather with plenty of fine tuning on the details and for the first time in different colors. The team will of course continue working on new parts and ideas but those will probably be largely focused around the new rules which will arise from the new LiPo/brushless battery trends. We are still collecting feedback from customers on their opinions of the car colors and what they would like for future as well.


NT1

click to enlarge
(click to enlarge)

The NT1 got a small facelift for 2008 as there was really nothing major we could improve upon. Several performance improvement option parts were offered after some long-term testing, and the team continues to test some other parts and ideas, particularly focusing on weight balance and improving the drivetrain and clutch systems. The NT1 continues to be one of the most successful nitro touring cars worldwide with dozens of victories from regional and national races (not even counting the extensive amount of local wins and victories).

At international races the NT1 was the car to beat in 2008. With a win at the US Winternats followed by victories at the majority of US races, the NT1 dominated in the Europe and Asia as well by winning the European Championship “B” and the FEMCA nationals. With the XRAY world team and with four XRAY cars in the final we fought for victory until the last minute. Paul Lemieux set an unbeatable lead until he had pit-stop trouble and then Martin Hudy lept into the front and fought until the last minute to take 3rd on the podium. A great year for the NT1.

click to enlarge
(click to enlarge)

The NT1 was the other car that brought me a lot of pride and a well-deserved sense of satisfaction for the dedicated work of the whole R&D and racing team. The NT1 claimed a few awards in 2008: Best Nitro Touring Car in the World… and not one but TWO awards as voted on by RC fans and customers themselves. A big thank you goes out to everyone!

click to enlarge
(click to enlarge)

Overall satisfaction with the NT1 project in 2008: A+/A++

Plans for the NT1 in 2009:
Once again there is nothing much we can or could improve even if my list of tasks and ideas for the further improvement and option parts is fairly extensive. Right out of the kit, the NT1 is simply so good that for 2009 we will just pack the NT1 with the refinement and improved parts to boost the performance and reliability of the NT1 a step further.


XT8

click to enlarge
(click to enlarge)

The XT8 is a vehicle that pleases everybody with its handling, performance and reliability. The last few months were fairly quiet, but on the flip side there were some customers asking very loudly for a new XT8! This put a big smile on my face since it brought back the never-ending and ever-repeating controversy: is it too late or too early for a new car? One camp of customers will try to persuade that a new car is not required and not to change things so fast, while the other camp asks for a new & improved car once a year.

I could rattle off a while list of the many small things that could be improved, but then the needs of the other camp would whisper in my ear. For some fans the amount of changes might be too much and they might complain about such significant changes, while the other group might complain that the amount of changes was not enough. So you can understand my very difficult position… whatever decisions we made there would be some people who would not be happy. But that is the burden of being an RC car designer. So at the end we worked around the XT8 to reach a middle ground, allowing the 2009 version of the XT8 to retain as many parts as possible but also to improve those areas and parts which will bring the XT8 to the next higher level once again. The truggy market has been enjoying increasing popularity worldwide and as such I am convinced that the 2009 XT8 will again be a level better in 2009.

Overall satisfaction with the XT8 in 2008: A-

Plans for for the XT8 in 2009:
Already mentioned above.


XII

click to enlarge
(click to enlarge)

The XII was the car that everybody was anxiously awaiting and it was a car and project which was putting furrows in my brow. The XII — even though it may not look like it — was a project that took several years to finish. We started several years ago and over the years tested so many different platforms and ideas to make the car different from the rest, but in doing so we kept realizing that wild innovation would not really improve the performance and reliability of the car at a competition level.

Sometimes simplicity is the best approach. So after many years we returned to well-proven designs, created a finely-developed platform, and got the final prototype of the car into the 2008 worlds. I was very happy with the final prototype at the Worlds and in the early stages when special tires did not play a role. The XII’s performance was top notch with Teemu setting the pace early. So I sent a confirmation to the production team to start their work and in the shortest time in company history, we finished the car and made it available by Christmas. I hope many of you got a big surprise in the shape of a 1/12th scale XRAY pan car.

Overall satisfaction with the XII in 2008: A

Plans for 2009:
At this moment there are no plans for any changes to the XII in 2009. There might be a few performance option parts coming, but there will certainly be no major changes in the platform.


Micro Cars

click to enlarge
(click to enlarge)

The micro car lineup is very stable, being on pace and actually setting the performance levels for competition worldwide. As such, the micro cars required minimal attention from the R&D team. Micro cars have been winning the majority of races worldwide with some notable victories such as the German National title along with several US National titles… and that is just a glimpse.

Overall satisfaction with micro cars in 2008: A

Plans for 2009:
At this time there are no firm plans as the winter season will finish in a few months and then it will be time for collecting feedback and prepare strategies for 2010.


Technologies

Though “technologies” is not really a project that customers would directly benefit from in the form of a car or kit, it is still an extremely important internal project for our factory. Since we remain the only true RC car manufacturer producing all parts and products in house in Europe, there is always a significant challenge to remain competitive with Asian OEM manufacturers without sacrificing our high standard of quality. As such our long-term strategy to ensure that XRAY will stay competitive is to invest into new ultra–modern, high-production equipment. In 2008 we installed several new 5-axis CNC-milling machines, which should greatly improve our capacity for milling aluminum parts. Also, several new CNC-cutting machines were installed which helped to improve our production capacity for machined parts. There are already several other new cutting and milling machines contracted for 2009 and as such we will have other new challenges to reorganize the production system and logistics to improve the efficiency and provide products to customers in the same quality but even faster and in larger quantities.

There are many other tasks, issues and challenges on schedule for 2009 so the R&D and racing teams will provide customers with the very best products and support. For certain there will be many challenges but I am convinced that with the support we have received we should easily go through them and enjoy some great experiences and achievements in 2009.


Wishing you the best 2009… enjoy the ride and ‘til the next time.

Dipl. Eng. Juraj Hudy
XRAY Chief Designer