TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Paul Sinclair shows off X-Factory SCX-61
Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 12:11pm
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!
Though the RC world may be turning its attention to nitro off-road for this week's The Dirt Nitro Challenge in Phoenix, AZ, the kickoff to the JConcepts Indoor National Series is still fresh in our minds - especially since X-Factory driver Justin Driemeier held off a last lap pass attempt from Top Qualifier Luke Richards to win the Modified Short Course class with the still-prototype SCX-61 truck from X-Factory. With the truck getting closer to production, X-Factory's lead engineer Paul Sinclair granted us not only this in-depth interview about the truck, but a first look under the lid as well!
Aaron Waldron: What makes the SCX - 61 different from its predecessor?
Paul Sinclair: The SCX – 61 is more versatile than the SCX - 60CF in several ways. The number one question we got about the 60CF from the X Factory Family was, “Can I put a regular stick pack in the truck?” The answer was no – the 60CF was designed for saddle or shorty only. The 61 will take all three as well as square packs, and it allows mounting adjustment for weight and distribution.
The SCX – 60CF was our first carbon fiber vehicle. Subsequently we first released the X – 60CF stadium truck and then the X – 6 Cubed buggy. We have gained experience controlling flex in CF cars and each of those cars is designed differently. The Cubed has our Flex Deck and is the best so far. The SCX – 60CF chassis was 4mm CF and the stadium truck and Cubed are 3mm. The truck has a top deck much like the SCX – 60CF deck, while the Cubed has the Flex Deck. Then we made the Infinity chassis for the B5M which has no top deck but rather side decks.
Each design has improved ability to control flex; more importantly, we learned to give the driver the ability to place the flex where he wants it in the chassis. Sometimes the driver wants more steering, sometimes more forward bite, and sometimes a very stiff car. By adding or removing posts, or removing this screw or that, the driver puts the amount of flex in the car he wants where he wants it, The new SCX – 61 will be a 3mm chassis with side rails on the chassis and side decks above it; soon after release we’ll have optional side decks of varying thicknesses available to give even more tuning options.
X Factory vehicles are the most adjustable cars out there. We think working on the car to make it your own, to make it handle exactly as you want it to for every track condition, is half the fun of this hobby. When my car is absolutely dialed in, driving it is super fun. If you love thinking about your car and the track, then trying out things to make it better, X Factory is for you.
AW: Can you explain the new truck’s coolest features? What will racers appreciate most?
PS: Again, the most common request we had from The Family was to add versatility in mounting components. Also, the SCX – 60CF is not the easiest truck out there to get the battery in and out of. The new SCX – 61 allows the driver to mount his electronics and battery almost anywhere. Because there is no complete top deck, battery access is improved. The chassis is actually a bit less than half an inch wider to allow all the different mountings.
AW: Who played an important part in the prototype’s development and design?
PS: Chris “Speedy Dad” Krieg has long played an important role on the X Factory design team. The original prototypes took shape in his shop and were first tried on the track by his son, team driver Alex Krieg. Many times Speedy Dad has come up with the basic ideas for new vehicles. To do this, Dad makes C.A.D. files which are then sent to us in Whitehouse, Ohio, where I massage them and make refined prototypes that go to the race team. After their input I massage the C.A.D. and we are ready for production. Meanwhile, the team is working out the base set-up and finding any small details that should be changed.
X Factory believes nothing is better than track testing. We don’t go from C.A.D. to production. Many times The Family is frustrated because they see us working on a new car but it takes months before we are ready to release it. Track testing shows those small changes that make the car so much better, faster, easier to assemble, and easier to make track-side changes. The result is that we rarely need post-release changes. When you get the car, it’s as good as it possibly can be.
AW: Where have you tested the SCX - 61? Have you tried both modified and 17.5 motors?
PS: Speedy Dad made the first SCX – 61 about a year ago, and Alex ran it at Cactus last year without much fanfare. The next outing was Team driver John Cravotta with a revised truck at the R.O.A.R. National Championships in Florida. After some minor revisions I ran one at the JConcepts race at R/C Excitement, and the truck has stayed about the same for me at the CRCRC MidWinter, and team driver Justin Driemeier and me at the JConcepts race at SmacTrac last weekend. We all agree now it’s ready to go, and several additional team drivers will get SCX - 61s in the next week or so to begin working on set-ups. As you can see, we test our cars at the highest level.
To be honest, we have not specifically tested 17.5. Our team drivers normally drive modified, and experience tells us that if the car handles well with a mod motor, it will do well under all circumstances.
AW: Why did you choose to update the short course platform, rather than the X-60CF stadium truck?
PS: Sales. We’ll take a look at what happens in the truck market with release of new trucks from Losi and AE. We could do an X – 61 fairly quickly if we think they will sell. My dad Chazz likes to run stadium truck, so it’s in our sights. Even though he’s not the fastest driver he always wants all the latest stuff.
AW: How cool was it to watch Justin Driemeier win the JConcepts Winter Indoor Nationals?
PS: All there is to say is “wow!” Justin drove for us back in 2009-2011 and left the team to go oval racing. Also, he has a growing family and works a lot. We’ve stayed in contact and around Christmas time when he expressed interest to return we welcomed him. Justin has had an X – 60CF for a while now because he always knew it is the best truck. Returning to the team, he got his X – 6 Cubed buggy and his SCX – 61 the day before practice started for the JConcepts race and put all three cars in the A Mains - at a major race on the very first outing! I was in the A main with him, so I can’t comment much on his race. Justin told me he missed driving our cars, that they are so forgiving and easy to drive very fast. He’s glad to be back, and we are gratified to have him.