Enhancing its R/C (radio-controlled) car racing programme for 2013, RaceWorks Hobbies has created a new series – the RaceWorks Elite Racing Series.
Last year, RaceWorks Hobbies organised two competitive series – the RaceWorks Singapore On-Road Championship Series (ROCS) and the National Off-Road Open Buggy (NOOB) Series. The RaceWorks Elite Racing Series is a new championship that will run concurrently during ROCS race weekends.
With the success of the 2012 ROCS season, the RaceWorks Elite Racing Series raises the competitive environment by providing a platform for some of Singapore’s top R/C racing talents to compete against one another on a regular basis.
As one of only two R/C car tracks in Singapore, RaceWorks Hobbies aims to promote R/C car racing to the wider community. They hope to educate the public on the availability of R/C car racing and how it is an alternative low-cost entry into motorsport.
The RaceWorks Elite Racing Series will feature five teams competing in a seven-race series in 2013. The season flags off this Sunday, 13 January at RaceWorks Hobbies’ racing circuit at Bottle Tree Park. The remaining rounds will be held on 17 March, 21 April, 5 May, 7 July, 4 August and 1 September.
There will be two qualifying sessions, where the best run from any of the two sessions are taken, and four finals. Points will be awarded for all four finals and the winner will be determined based on the best three results of the four finals.
In terms of the technical rules for the race machines, as this is an open series, the teams are expected to leverage on the latest technologies available in the R/C industry to gain the performance edge. Modified electric brushless motors, powered by high output lithium polymer batteries and electronic speed controls with turbo features will be on show at each race.
Featuring drivers who are current and past local, regional and international champions, some of them are making a comeback to the scene, while others are crossing back to on-road electric powered touring car racing from other R/C car racing classes.
Here’s an introduction to the teams and drivers of the inaugural RaceWorks Elite Racing Series:
1) Team ARC Singapore – entry supported by Quantum Racing
Drivers: Leonard Sim and Nelson Lee
Leonard is a multiple-year champion in the Tamiya Asia Cup – Singapore Qualifying series in the M-Chassis class as well as the reigning Asian Champion for M-Chassis in the Tamiya Asia Cup Finals which was staged in South Korea. Leonard was also the champion in the SuperStock Class in ROCS 2012.
Nelson is the 2012 Singapore National Champion in the 1/8th scale gas-powered on-road class. He was also the national champion in the 1/10th scale gas powered on-road touring car class.
2) Team HB / HPI – entry supported by Tai Sing Corporation Pte Ltd
Drivers: Allister Lim and Ben Seet
Allister was the winner of the SuperStock class in the Tamiya Asia Cup – Singapore Qualifying series in 2007 – 2008. He went on to win the Asian title in the Tamiya Asia Cup Finals in 2008 staged in Malaysia.
Ben Seet is one of Singapore’s most experienced racers with multiple race wins in local and international events.
3) Team Tamiya SG – entry supported by Stargek Pte Ltd
Drivers: Nicholas Lee and Alvin Koh
Nicholas is one of Singapore’s top EP racers, recording multiple local wins. Nicholas was the Asian Champion in the 4WD GT Class at the Tamiya Asia Cup Finals in Singapore in 2011. He went on to win the class in the Tamiya World Championship staged in Japan later that year, becoming the first Singaporean to be awarded the title of Tamiya World Champion.
Alvin is a two-time Asian Champion in the Tamiya Asia Cup Finals. He claimed the F201 class Asian-title in 2004 (Hong Kong) and the Expert Class title in 2005 (Singapore). He was also the winner of the HPI Invitational Challenge 2006.
4) Team Xray Singapore – entry supported by Hobbylink
Drivers: PY Tang and Wee EC
PY is the reigning champion in the Modified Class for ROCS 2012. He is also the current Asian champion in the 4WD GT class in the Tamiya Asia Cup Finals 2012, hosted by South Korea. PY has numerous regional wins and is the four-time champion in the Tamiya Asia Cup – Singapore Qualifying Series 2009 – 2012.
EC is an experienced local racer, securing second in the 4WD GT class in the Tamiya Asia Cup – Singapore Qualifying series in 2012. He has various podium finishes in local competitions.
5) Team Yokomo Singapore – entry supported by Autodrift Pte Ltd
Drivers: Alan Leung and Marcus Choo
Alan is an experienced R/C racer who has recently been more involved in R/C drifting. He was the first runner-up in the Yokomo International Drift Meet 2011 staged in Malaysia.
Marcus has recorded first runner-up finishes in the EP Pro Class in the HPI All Asia Finals in 2008 and 2010 (both staged in Thailand).
Meeting up with the organisers of RaceWorks Elite Racing Series, HJ Quek and Mark Lim, they share a bit more about RaceWorks and their thoughts on the R/C car scene in Singapore…
Q: Why did you create the RaceWorks Elite Racing Series?
A: We wanted a team structure so that we can get the commitment of the top racers. With this series, fans will have the assurance that the top racers will definitely be racing at every event. It also allows us to have a platform to showcase these top talents on a regular basis. Moreover, some of these racers are winners in different periods of time, so the Elite Racing Series brings them all together at one time for something of a showdown. This brings an increased level of competition and we hope this Elite Racing Series can create a following so we can engage more with the public and gain increased media attention. We want to get more people involved in the sport.
Q: Let’s do a bit of history. When did RaceWorks Hobbies start?
A: RaceWorks Hobbies officially opened in December 2011. We took over from the previous owner who was running the R/C track here. We are lucky that the management of Bottle Tree Park liked and supported R/C car racing as it adds to the family-oriented range of activities they offer, from paintball to fishing and R/C car racing.
Q: What made you decide to start RaceWorks Hobbies?
A: Passion. We were talking to the previous owner and we saw the opportunity here. Our aim is to grow the hobby on a community level and open it up to the public. Since we started, we have welcomed more walk-ins from curious onlookers. We now get a healthy level of walk-ins. People can just come in and experience R/C racing with our pay-and-drive rental R/C cars.
Q: How is the crowd at RaceWork Hobbies like?
A: We have quite a unique crowd here every weekend. R/C hobbyists, including the young and old, as well as Singaporeans and expatriates coming from countries like South Africa, Italy, Germany, the Philippines and Austria. It is special in that people of differing backgrounds come together to indulge in the hobby, interacting with one another in a friendly environment.
Q: You mentioned Bottle Tree Park positions R/C car racing as a family-oriented activity. How so?
A: There’s no age limit for R/C cars and the classes in the races are defined by the motor capability. Hence, a young boy can be racing against a veteran in the same class. There are many father-son enthusiasts who come to our track regularly and it’s very heartwarming to see how they bond over their hobby.
Nowadays, more and more children spend time playing games on their consoles, phones or on tablet devices. Fathers typically remark to us that they are supportive of this hobby as it brings their children out of the house, away from the computers and video games, to interact with others and make new friends, while at the same time learning to use tools, experiencing technology in action, and generally having a good day out.
There’s also a lot of science and technology behind R/C car racing as they have to gradually understand how to set up the car and then feel the difference behind each change they make to the car. The activity also promotes physical attributes like eye-hand coordination.
Q: How is the R/C car scene in Singapore now?
A: It is growing but still niche. It used to be more popular back in the ‘80s, but over the last decade interest has only been sustained among a core group of regulars. Only recently have the numbers of new enthusiasts started to increase and we would like to believe that we have contributed to the growth.
Admittedly, it is hard to grow the sport in Singapore where land is scarce and expensive. These R/C tracks need land space too. The good thing is, the R/C model cars we race are environmental friendly as they run electric motors and are powered by rechargeable batteries.
Q: Strategies for 2013?
A: We have the Elite Racing Series to promote top talent and we also plan to do more outreach activities such as going to the schools and holding carnivals for children to try their hands at R/C cars. We are also trying to implement a novice class where the emphasis is on racing skills and consistent driving rather than depending on constant equipment upgrades to go faster.
Essentially, we just want to showcase how exciting R/C car racing can be and at RaceWorks Hobbies, we hope to share our passion with more people and show them how worthwhile an activity it is. We started out as hobbyists and we benefited from it, hence we want to share it with people who are not familiar with it or who think it is too complicated. We want to lower barriers of entry for people who want to come into it.
More information about RaceWorks Hobbies here.