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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

Column #2


Since releasing the all-new T2 platform at the end of 2005 at the GP Cup in Swiss, our racing team and R&D team has continued the development of the T2 platform. During the 2006 racing season, the T2 has had great and abundant racing success both in the hands of our professional team drivers as well club drivers worldwide. The T2 has gained the most awards and victories for XRAY ever, and proved our good direction with this new platform. During the entire racing season I have closely scrutinized all the benefits of this new platform, and as well noticed several areas that could be improved upon. I will come back with my design process and progress of the T2'007 in my next column… I want to dedicate this column to what is for the designer of any car the most thrilling and stressful time — the debut of a new product.

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XRAY team photo from Vegas
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With the biggest opening race — the International Indoor Championship (IIC) — on schedule, we had to push the development and production of the team cars, and be very careful of the timing. Time pressure was very big and we could not afford to make any mistakes. Since I had run the T2'007 the whole summer, I knew that the development changes we had made are a big step forward in performance, so I was very confident of the car’s performance. The biggest tasks and responsibility was to make several brand new parts and especially the mould for the new Quick-Saver™ and some other mould modifications.

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Paul Lemieux relaxing before his final run
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Two months before the race we handed out one final design car to every country but still not the final production parts. The initial tests were very good, with some of them being very thrilling when we found out that lap times were improved over current records... some by more than 0.3sec. Wow! This very good initial feedback made me feel a bit more relaxed. But the IIC was fast approaching and since we were making some other production items the whole summer, it was very difficult to find free time in the production schedule to slip in these newest parts. I ultimately had to make the decision to halt the regular production runs, and quickly use all machines to make the final parts for the race. Carefully watching the new production runs, I noticed that some of my latest design ideas were not incorporated in the manufacturing programs, so we had to quickly reprogram some of the production files and in few hours the correct production parts were being churned out. At that moment I felt really thankful for the in-house manufacturing we have; I really could not imagine having the parts made somewhere else, and then when shipments would arrive to find out that the wrong parts were made. Only thanks to the 100% in-house production were we able to make the team cars on time.

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Juraj Hudy checking the Barry Baker's T2'007
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With only 3 weeks to go to the IIC, we had approximately 20 final production cars ready for the team drivers, but the mould for the Quick-Saver™ was still not finished. To ensure that the team drivers received their cars in time for testing before the IIC race, I decided to improvise and so shipped the kits with the standard T2 servo saver composite parts along with the new '007 lowered stand and new spring… we would hand out the new Quick-Savers™ at the race. Once the team cars left the factory I could calm down a bit again for a few days and wait for feedback.

The teams received their cars around 2 weeks before the IIC race, so the stress and tension was on the team drivers now! Still, I was anxiously waiting for first reports. The first feedback started to come in few days later and I was very happy to hear that everybody reported that the new car worked perfectly right away, and improved lap times were achieved. After we collected all the feedback I could finally relax knowing that everybody was extremely happy with the performance of the new car. I was especially happy to hear that the long flex is very big help in terms of the stability of the car and during practice on foams the car survived big crashes while the tweak was significantly reduced and minimized in comparison to the T2. I knew that this would be very important for the drivers who could now rely on a consistent car during the whole 5 minutes, even after serious crashes.

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Barry Baker and Ralph Burch had fun even on the driver's stand
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As the IIC race loomed closer, I started to be nervous again. The initial happiness that my new design has been working well and is a great improvement was overshadowed by nervousness about the upcoming official debut… I really wanted it to go successfully. I knew that the qualifications should not pose any problems, but that 1-run finals are more about luck than about racing or a car's performance. Coming to Las Vegas and opening the race hall, all the stress went away and full concentration and dedication took its place. The professional attitude by the whole team made me so much more relaxed as I knew I could rely on everybody. The team worked very well together from the very first moment; we all shared our experiences and feelings of the car and at the team discussions we worked out the setup very quickly. Despite the track having very low traction, thanks to the very flexible team work we were able quickly find the correct setup. The T2'007 worked very well the whole week, so instead of fixing problems we could fully concentrate on the small details. In the end, the T2'007 dominated the qualifications by setting 4x TQ and having the most cars in the finals. This was exceeding even my wildest dreams and expectations - WOW! What a fabulous debut and tremendous satisfaction for all the hard work by the entire R&D and racing team, too.

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A finalists
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Saturday night was a pain. I was analyzing the whole week… what we changed on the cars… and trying to figure out what to do for Sunday's finals. It was very difficult to convince myself to relax a bit, but I assured myself that the drivers would know what was the best to do in the 1-run final. Fortunately, all the hard work paid off in the finals and despite our failing to win the modified rubber class, we had not only the best performing car but also enough good fortune to win the other 3 categories! Moreover, Paul Lemieux was awarded as the overall winner — King of the Hill — for his combined results in the rubber and foam modified classes.

As soon as the finals were over, all the stress and nervousness disappeared and we could finally relax and celebrate our great achievement. This fabulous result and achievement comes from all the hard work and dedication from everybody in the team… the R&D team, team drivers, and support team… everyone involved. Only this combined, cooperating team could have achieved this high success… it would not have been possible without everyone’s contributions. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody… I am VERY proud of having such a professional, dedicated, supportive, and friendly team.

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XRAY winners - Travis Schreven (Stock), Mike Blackstock (Modified), Bobby Flack (19T)
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These days the nervousness is back again. We are finishing the T2'007 for release worldwide, and I will not rest again until we get feedback from local and club drivers and customers around the world. Since I have been designing cars to work for regular drivers (myself included :o) ) I am convinced that the new T2'007 is a big step forward for all XRAY customers worldwide and hopefully everyone will continue to be happy not only with the improved performance, but also with XRAY quality and support. I am anxiously looking forward to the first feedback from customers.

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Paul Lemieux - King of the Hill award
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Enjoy the XRAY ride. Till next time.

Dipl. Eng. Juraj Hudy
Chief Designer XRAY