By Aaron Waldron
Talk about sneaking in under the radar! Current IFMAR 4WD World Champion Steven Hartson nearly snuck a brushless version of Team Associated's RC8B3 buggy onto the podium last week at LCRC Raceway in Oakland Mills, PA. It was perhaps the perfect opportunity to get some real-world testing time with the one-off platform, as no one seemed to catch on that he was the only driver to run a preproduction prototype of an upcoming 1/8-scale electric buggy kit that I imagine will probably be called the "RC8B3E Team Kit"...or something like that.
It's not even like he was shy about it, either - Steven posted this to his Facebook and Instagram pages:
At first glance, the front and rear suspension assemblies look like could've been lifted right off of the nitro-burning buggy. That's not uncommon for electric 1/8-scale vehicles - especially in the case of a platform with proven handling prowess, which the RC8B3's performance has proven so far - and it could really speed up the process of getting this new buggy ready to ship to racers and hobby shop shelves. It's impossible to tell what's going on underneath the body, with such a limited view through the windows of the body during an action photo, but that's where the real story of this "e" version will lie.
It also looks like the car was fitted with Kashima-coated shock bodies, which the A-Team drivers also used at the ROAR Fuel Off-Road Nationals last month - so those options are probably coming as well. Team Associated hasn't announced the vehicle or acknowledged its existence outside of Hartson's Facebook post, but I can't imagine it's too far away.
While we wait for the official scoop, here's a gallery of the photos we snapped of Steven's car on the track last weekend at LCRC: