In addition to the Le Mans 24hr race, Ryo Michigami competes in the top racing categories in Japan. In 2017, he was the first regular driver from Japan to not only compete in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), but to achieve a podium finish at the opening race of the 9th round in Macao in November of the same year. Ryu Michigami is also known amongst GP on-road racers as a top competitor in R/C car racing, having finished 3rd in the INFERNO GT2 class at the 42nd Kyosho Grand Prix held on 9-10 December 2017. Having extensive experience driving 1/8 GP racing cars and 1/10 GP Touring cars, Mr. Michigami says the INFERNO GT3 is the most enjoyable R/C car he has ever driven. We ask Mr. Michigami what makes the GT3 so great…
Compared to other competition-level models, the GT3 doesn’t need severe control driving & setting
The INFERNO GT3 has a bigger body and more weight compared to other touring car categories. On one hand, 1/10 scale GP touring cars are light weight and deliver the sharp and peaky movement characteristic of R/C cars. The peaky movement of the GP touring car makes it difficult to react. As the GT3 carries more weight and height, the high power and speed is easier to control and get a feel for the road, just like a real touring car. Even though I’m looking down at the car from the driver stand, I can see and feel the GT3’s movement and response.
In addition, GP touring cars can’t really produce an over reaction, especially with high grip of sponge tires and the timing lag when the accelerator is applied, but the GT3 maintains control even with aggressive manoeuvres. To enable this control style, high rear grip is needed, but as with full-size cars with sharp front-end response, corners need to be handled carefully. However, cars with high rear grip can adapt with various loads in the front and applying acceleration earlier when cornering etc. From the point of view of a racing car driver, high rear grip is expected. Its testing even for a real racing car with sharp front end response, but without this, dynamic driving and manoeuvrability isn’t possible and I feel the car doesn’t perform to the same level as my driving technique, so I can’t drive as fast. This is why I say the GT3 is close to driving a full-size racing car.
Also, the number of times throttle is applied when driving 1/8 GP or 1/10 GP touring cars feels very repetitive. Normally I would like to open the throttle quickly but as the rear will slip I am forced to moderate the pace at which I open the throttle. I feel this throttle work is quite wasteful. However the GT3 throttle and acceleration feels much smoother and I really enjoy the control.
Of course the 1/8 on-road racing car is the pinnacle of GP on-road performance and driving through corners at that speed is really exciting. Even though the thrill of driving touring cars is great, each machine needs experience and time to setup for optimal performance. Of course the GT3 needs to be setup as well, but its not too severe and with a general understanding of conditions such as winter or summer, loose dirt or high grip etc., it will handle really well.
I felt the evolutionary leap of the GT3 through its high rear grip
Mr. Michigami dove the GT3 at the 42nd Kyosho Grand Prix in 2017, and also drove the INFERNO GT2 at the 41st event a year earlier. What is Mr. Michigami’s evaluation of the full model change in the GT3? This is an interesting question for those considering buying a GT3 or upgrading from the GT2.
The most significant difference is the increased rear stability of the GT3. While I can sense some understeer in the front, this was also noticeable in the GT2. However with the GT2, it would transition quickly from understeer to oversteer causing the rear to step-out. This does not happen at all with the GT3, so when setting up you can focus on how much you want the front to turn. Also there is plenty of suspension stroke that increases surface tracing and control over gaps. This makes racing the GT3 against other cars the most fun I’ve had with R/C racing.