Designer Interview with Billy Easton, USA
Serpent is about to release a completely new nitro powered 1/8 scale buggy . Billy explains some of the specs of the car in the interview.
The Cobra SRX4 4 will be raced at the SilverState race this weekend by Joern Neumann, Griffin Hanna, Paul Ciccarello and Billy Easton. So if you are around, come to our Serpent pits and have a look …
Designer interview Cobra SRX8 1/8 buggy
We like to ask you some questions on your latest design, the all-new new Cobra SRX8 ⅛ GP buggy.
Q: When did you start with the design ?
A: As simple of a question this is, its not really. The SRX8 is basically 5 years of development all wrapped up into an entirely new platform. Many of the components and ideas have been developed since the Cobra 811. In regards to when I starting putting the entire SRX8 together as a whole, it was started in early to middle part of 2015.
Q: What are the 5 key elements of the SRX8 ?
A: Well , there are probably more than 5 key elements, but I will try to itemize you 5 really good ones.
1. Super easy to adjust gear mesh, regardless of what clutch bell or spur you use. Based on a pre-determined mesh system.
2. New fully re-designed gear diffs, which includes new gears, housings, and concepts, where we compensate for oil expansion over long runs
3. Shock absorbers that have been improved in design and also construction to provide the racer with a no frills experience on and off the track
4. Transmission cases that allow the driver to remove and maintenance the diffs without major disassembly of its local parts
5. A more standard break and throttle mechanism to simplify , adjustment and maintenance for customers.
Again I could go on with over a dozen supernice other features, but you will see that as soon as the full website is ready end march.
Q: Is it hard to design a ⅛ buggy that runs well on dirt and astro, or is it not as criticle as in 1/10 buggy ?
A: I think trying to design a car to run on such different surfaces is a very difficult task. However, in 1.8th, you do not have as many options.. You do not have many freedoms, in regards, to servos, engine, tank location. So in reality, the cars can only be designed a certain way, which in turn means, the advancement of those designs are quite limited. So, simply put, yes its easier to design a 1.8th nitro than a 1.10 buggy.
Q: Which parts or assemblies of the new cars are you most proud of design-wise ?
A: Well, we had a lot of really cool design ideas, which had we had the car out sooner, would have seemed as if we pioneered more. However, as any company develops their cars and the designs are all based on the same rules, it will lead most all companies down the same path. As for something I did special, my gear mesh adjustment is very unique and simple, all the while I am very proud of my steering geometry. Some stuff, which we did lead the industry on even in our previous Cobra 811, with the ball bearing sway bars is also still a very nice feature.
Q: Does the new Cobra SRX8 still share parts from the Cobra 811 Buggy ?
A: Yyes, but a very small amount only. The SRX8 is almost 85% or more new. This platform was developed for the racer, no matter the skill level. Its as easy as it gets design, that has proven to be extremly reliable and durable. Simplicity is alway better when it comes to customers.
Q: What is the gear ratio being used ?
A: We retained the ratio from the S811 2.0, which is 3.38:1 .. That breaks down to our 13t pinion and a 44t ring gear.
Q: Is the car light ?
A: I would say the car out of the box is mid level weight. Its around 3350-3400 grams out of the box. If you are a weight concious person, you can get it down into the high 3200’s with a variety of our aluminum optionals.
Q: The Cobra 811 Be buggy has become famous for its durability, often referred to as a “ Tank” ( even though it was quite light); will see see that again in the SRX8 ?
A: The Cobra SRX8 is easily as durable as the Cobra 811. The only difference is, its easier to build, and also easier to work on. There are less screws and overall less parts to worry about.
Q: Last few years drivers play around more with weights; have you taken that wish into account ?
A: We did utilize some weights, but did not go to crazy. As the platform is run more in competition, we will decide what is the best place for the weight and create more optional parts to more refine the weight balance for more specific track conditions.
Q: What did you do on the aerodynamics side of the car ?
A; Actually, we designed a lot. We tested a couple different body designs as well as new wings. We will have two bodies for you too choose from. One will be a standard body, and the other will be a high downforce body. We then created a new rear wing that has larger side dams and a medium downforce center. It also can have a gurney mounted to it if you want to. We also have a lexan wing, which you can use a center foil and also a gurney. So when it comes to aerodynamics you have a lot more to choose from on this model.
Q: Who are the key drivers for 2016 ?
A: In 2016, we have a variety of drivers and skill levels. In our international competition, we will have Jorn Neumann in Europe, Shin Adachi in Japan, Lin Lehua in China, Griffin Hanna in the US, Carlos Duraes in Portugal. Aside from those more known drivers, we have all sorts of younger talented all over the world racing in their respective areas.
Q: When will we see the EP version being introduced, and will it share many parts ?
A: I am concepting the design for the EP, and my plan is to test a couple design ideas and then decide the best path. It would be the most ideal if the design shares as many of the SRX8 parts as possible. The idea here though is mostly to give the customers something that will benefit them in the long run and performs the best. So this one we need to get right. There is no fix date on it yet, but 2nd part of 2016 for sure. The Cobra Be 811 is still very successsful and liked, sof or sure that fills the gap till then. For drivers that run both classes ofcourse its easier lateron to have 2 cars that share most parts.
Q: When is the SRX8 ready for release ?
A It should be for sale/release in April. We are heavy into production at the moment and trying very hard to hit that deadline.
Q: When will the car be seen in public for the 1st time , at a coming race ?
A: : The plan is to Debut the car at the Silverstate Nitro Challenge in the US in the middle of March. At that point we will allow people to look at the car. This project for us, was kept very close to home. We tried our best to not let any of the information leak out before it was actually ready.
Q: When can drivers see the car in action in Europe and Asia ?
A: Those in Europe will be able to see it ran at the Neo buggy race in the UK end march. There is also a race in Asia a week prior to the Silverstate, where we will show the SRX8 car to dealers only at first.
Q: Will you be racing more actively in 1/8 buggy this year again ?
A: Now that we have a new car , I will start to attend more races. The idea is to help anyone who has purchased a car, and continue doing development leading up to the worlds in Las Vegas. I have always enjoyed nitro, so this well be good for me and also the company.
Thanks a lot for your time and answers !