TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Felix Law
Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 04:49pm
By Aaron Waldron
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!
I’ve seen Felix Law at races of all types, all around the world, for several years - and even watched him win the Open Modified class at last year's Reedy Touring Car Race of Champions - but it wasn’t until putting this week’s Talk It Up Tuesday interview together that I learned about all the different types of racing he’s done, and what has allowed him the opportunities to travel. His incredibly wide perspective of the world of RC cars, and the world itself, is very unique - read on to learn more.
Aaron Waldron: How old are you, and where are you from?
Felix Law: I’m 27 years old and I was born in New Zealand. A few months after I was born, we moved to Hong Kong, where I lived and studied for 11 years. Then, I came over to the USA to finish school. Every now and then, I go back to Hong Kong to visit and do some racing there.
AW: How did you get into RC racing?
FL: When I first moved to the USA, my hobby was anime and card games. But since it was not so popular in the USA at the time, I met some new friends in school that introduced me to radio control cars. Ever since then, I was diehard into RC cars. I remember the year when I went back to Hong Kong when I first got into RC, I found out Hong Kong was one of the place where RC cars were popular. There were so many hobby stores in Hong Kong back then it was like RC Heaven.
AW: What made you decide to start attending big races and trying to attract sponsors?
FL: First, I was just a kid going to RC track to have fun. Then one day, a black man came up to me and said he would like me to go play with him (I know this sound bad, but this is kind of what happened). Ever since then, I started racing nitro on-road with him throughout Florida. Later on, I started working at the hobby store I went to everyday. Then one day, the owner said, “Let do some racing together.” Since then, I started racing more - including electric on road, off road, and so on.
AW: What do you currently do for work? Is it difficult finding time to commit to practicing and racing?
FL: Since I finish my studies in the USA for marketing and I have a good amount experience in the hobby/toy industry after working at the biggest hobby store in Florida for over 10 years, I got a small internship in the brand SkyRC. So I travel to China to understand how a radio control-related factory works internally. With that, SkyRC also gave me some free time to race locally around Hong Kong and China. I am able to travel to many races to meet many new people in the industry. I have a good amount of time for racing, but not so much time to work on cars and practice.
AW: What’s your favorite track? How about your favorite big event? And your favorite racing class? What are the biggest differences in the racing scene in Asia versus the U.S.?
FL: My favorite track, I have to say Full Throttle Raceway in Kissimmee, FL - the host of the 2014 IFMAR ISTC World Championship.
My favorite big event has to be the Asian On-Road Championship Round 1 at RCI V2 in Shanghai, China. It’s a well put-together event with an after party no one can forget.
My favorite racing class is 4WD short course, since in that class you can push your car so hard and still survive.
The biggest difference in racing in Asia are the stock classes. The stock classes in Asia are much faster than the USA Stock class. While the stock class in Asia is mostly control KV and boosted, the USA stock classes are ROAR-legal motors with unlimited timing and blinky mode ESC’s. Also in Asia, the stock class are the true intro class to the hobby while modified is the main event. In the USA, it’s the opposite.
AW: What different classes do you race? Do you prefer on-road or off-road?
FL: I have raced almost every class you can think of. Since I try my best to understand everything in the radio control car industry, going from racing nitro 1/8-scale on-road to racing my Traxxas Rustler down the street for money at the local drag racing group. I think pretty much explain all of the RC that I do.
As far as on-road or off-road, all I can say is that I couldn’t give up on one or the other. With the current market in off-road, it is becoming the best of both worlds. But you still can’t say it’s on-road yet.
AW: How did you get into drifting? How long did it take to learn how to do it?
FL: It’s funny - one day in Hong Kong I made a comment that I was drifting my car around the track. The track owner in Hong Kong, Joe Lo, told me he will show me the real RC drift. Then he pulled out a Tamiya TA04 and did some amazing demo. Ever since then, I started RC drifting. Back then, it was as simple as putting black PVC pipe over the tires on your regular 4WD chassis and drifting. Now RC drifting has become as real as it can get. The cars are 2WD with full counter-steering, just like a real car.
During my time in RC drifting, I kind of started and stopped at a transitional time in RC Drift. If you ask how long it took for me to learn how to drift and counter-steer a 4WD drift car, it has taken me almost three months. That class is still here today, but it’s super difficult to handle due to the speed and angle these cars get. But RC drifting around the world has mostly turning into the more realistic two-wheel-drive cars. For someone that has never driven RC, it’s pretty easy. I will say, it will take a new beginner just a month longer than regular RC racer to get into 2WD drifting. One of the reasons is because of the gyro. It’s not cheating, it just acts as power steering - so it’s normal for 2WD drift cars to use a gyro.
RC Drifting is a part of the radio control hobby where most people spend a huge amount of time in a layout that is less than 4 seconds per lap and they can still be there all day driving. Oval racing is the same way, but oval requires lots of equipment while drifting can be cheap or expensive - and still able to reach your goal.
I can somehow be at a drift track with one battery pack and still be there from 8pm to 5am. Somehow, it’s just so much fun.
AW: What racing accomplishments are you most proud of?
FL: It’s for sure the 2015 Reedy Touring Car Race of Champions. Everything came out in a totally winning package. The chassis, esc, motor - everything worked out so well. It didn’t go too well this year with some bad luck. But with this year’s experience, I will continue to work on my driving and focus on my flaws to make a better result for the upcoming race events. It’s always good to race in such a high level of driving.
AW: When you’re not at the office, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
FL: My other hobbies are full-scale tuner cars and some autocross and drifting on the weekends. I currently have a 1998 Honda 180SX for drifting and a Honda Fit for daily driving and autocross. Other than that expensive hobby, I enjoy watching some Japanese anime.
AW: What’s the best part of RC racing? What about RC racing annoys or bothers you?
FL: I will say the best part of RC racing is the people you meet. Most of my friends and some of my best friends are people I’ve met in RC. From people becoming your best friends to people helping you find success in business - through RC racing you can meet all kinds of people.
The annoying part is all of the secrets. People are keeping too many secrets to keep an advantage. I believe in sharing your knowledge to keep the competition level high - it will give you the motivation to make you better every race.
AW: Who are some of the people that have helped you the most?
FL: There are many people who have helped me so far in RC. Here are two persons that I will like to take this time to thanks them:
Jason Bell, the black guy that I told you guys about taking me to all of the nitro races. If Jason never helped me in the past, I wouldn’t ever get into the nitro racing scene. I’m still grateful for him as a friend and an awesome mechanic in my nitro racing. Thanks to him, I was able to finish third in the 2015 ROAR Fuel On-Road Nationals.
Wally Warrick, the founder of Warrick’s Hobby Superstore (now Maniacs Hobby) - the biggest hobby shop in Florida. Without him, I wouldn’t have had the chance to do so many types of racing in the USA. He was my main sponsor for many years for all the events that I attended.
AW: Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
FL: Thanks so much for picking me for the Tuesday Interview. It is a honor to be able to have an interview on LiveRC.