RacingSportsCars has partnered with the new RC model series called Moravian Le Mans Series and we will bring you race reports and also photos covering the races. Unlike many others RC races, this championship has some specific rules and meeting formats, so we will pay attention to these. All races will be held in Morava, an eastern part of the Czech Republic. International competition is welcome so if you had a proper car and wanted to try some race, contact us, or visit official championship page at www.rc2wd.cz.
The cars are divided into three classes, LMP1, LMP2 and GT. As the official website name suggests, it is designed for 2-wheel driven cars, they are in 1:10 scale and the bodywork should resemble some real prototype or a GT car. To attrack more competition, strict real car models are not required but some of the cars are really accurate models of true racing cars. LMP1 differ from LMP2 by allowing wider bodywork (up to 235 mm in contrary to 200 mm for LMP2 and GT), wider rear wheels and also more powerful motors are allowed.
After the trial 2009 season, which consisted of two real MLMS races and another two regular club shorter races, which were later adopted as a part of the MLMS championship and half points were awarded, this year a full real championship consisting of 7 endurance races will be held. In terms of the RC racing, the Endurance means races between 30 minutes to something over 1 hour while local club races around are three 5-minute heats or so.
The qualifying procedure is also quite different from common RC races. There were two 30-minute qualifying sessions held and all of the registered drivers were allowed to complete 20 laps, not more, in order to let others to take the race track too. Out of 38 entered cars and drivers 35 took the qualifying practice and then the race but only 10 of them could be on the track at the same time. The qualifying positions were set up by the fastest laps recorded by each driver. Based on these times they were divided into four groups - Finale A, B, C, D. Each of the finale group then ran five 15-minute race heats. The worst of the heats was dropped and the total of the best four heats created the overall positions. Just like in the real Le Mans Series, all LMP i GT classes raced together and the results were also maintained by overall positions, though the final podium ceremonies were separate for all three groups.
This is basically about the format of the MLMS races, maybe we return to this subject later in more detail, especially if there was an interest of foreign involvement. Now let us get to the race itself. The Blansko race was the second one of the season. The first race was held in Rychvald in April and it was in a closed hall unlike here in Blansko where the local RC club has created special outdoor RC track. The Rychvald race attracted 23 starters and consisted of three 15-minute heats. It was won by Matěj Kupčík with a Porsche 911 GT1-98 Mulsanne but he was absent in Blansko. The second and third place finishers, Luděk Maléř with brand-new Jaguar XJR-14 and Josef Tesař with a Toyota GT-One, were racing in Blansko but since the competition was much tougher, they were happy to get into the finale Group A. Another two quick drivers from Rychvald, which had however been delayed by various technical problems, Roman Krejčí (Dauer 962 LM Porsche) and Pavel Karel (another Toyota GT-One) were also entered for Blansko but Pavel Karel had to miss the meeting due to some other last-minute commitments.
The Blansko race was by far the best MLMS race in its short history and a really nice track attracted drivers from the entire Czech Republic. Among those there were representatives from Praque, Brno, Ostrava, Hradec Králové and many more, including some local RC Blansko drivers. Especially some of those locals appeared to be absolutely top level drivers. Unlike in Rychvald, there were no support races in Blansko, only full day of Moravian LMS runnings. The local drivers, Jaroslav Kopecký and Radek Flek, confirmed their pre-race role of favourites and dominated the qualification. Kopecký, a bit surprisingly, was on the pole position. Tomáš Knopp from Praque was third and he was probably the only driver that could brake the two local drivers domination. All these drivers ran an LMP1 car with Porsche 911 GT1-98 bodywork. The same bodywork but in LMP2 was ran by Tomáš Rajdus, who was fourth on the grid. The Mulsanne Porsche 911 GT1-98 was quite most common car in the prototype classes, especially the faster LMP1, mainly because it is easiest to buy around here and it also works well on all tracks. The best non-Mulsanne/Porsche car was the already mentioned Toyota GT-One of Josef Tesař (6th on the grid) and then a wide-bodied Nissan NPT-90 of Roman Krejčí (8th on the grid), who had raced a Dauer in previous races. The final spot on the Finale A grid belonged to the Rychvald LMP2 winner Luděk Maléř. So we had 6 Mulsanne/Porsches among 9 Finale A drivers. Another 4 Mulsannes supported by one real Porsche 911 GT1-98 model qualified to the Finales B or C, so that among top 13 qulaifiers there were 10 Porsche 911 GT1-98. Since the organisers are aiming for variety, some adjustments to the rules might be done in order to motivate racing different and also more realistic body styles. A possible solution is a cheaper entry fee.
The fastest GT car was a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R driven by Jakub Šimurda, who qualified it 16th and became the only GT driver in the Finale B. Finales C and D were mainly about GT cars but 3 slower Prototypes ran in the Finale C, though two of them from the first row. Even the Finale D welcomed two slow Prototypes on the grid so the field was well mixed. The slowest car on the track was driven by Fanán Stodola bur he ran outside of the official MLMS classification as he could not fit a lent TVR Sagaris body on his chassis, so he raced his own Mazda 6 touring car, which is not allowed for points in the championship.
The race itself was rather interesting throughout the field but especially the Finale A and the battle between Flek, Kopecký and Knopp was excellent and often very close. Favourites from the first race were now complete outsiders of the Finale A and since they had to make the way for the leaders free, they often lost some time, which helped the Finale B winner Roman Štalmach (Porsche 956, grid 15th) to beat series organiser Roman Krejčí with his Nissan GTP and finish 8th overall. Josef Tesař, on podium in Rychvald, had even worse race in the Finale A. His car often left the track so 11th place overall was a disappointment. Luděk Maléř (Jaguar XJR-14) finished 7th, second in LMP2 class and was also the best driver in other car than a Porsche 911 GT1-98, which in the end occupied 11 out of top 16 positions. Tomáš Rajdus, who had raced a GT car in Rychvald (Vemac DR350R), finished 6th and won the LMP2 class. Michal Jurčí and Roman Hradecký finished fifth and fourth overall respectively. And we are getting to the three top drivers. In the end Tomáš Knopp from Praque did not quite match the pace of the two RC Blansko drivers and was classified third, only 11 seconds behind Kopecký, who was exactly 3 laps behind winning Radek Flek, who covered 265 laps during the 60 minutes, which were counted towards the overall time and results.
Back further in the field there was a battle for the GT class trophies. Jakub Šimurda was just like in qualifying the most successful driver of this class and was classified 13th overall. But Čestmít Doubrava (Porsche 996 GT2 Bi-Turbo) was only two laps back and Pavel Melicher, who won the class in Rychvald, was now third, further six laps back and 20th overall.
Zdeněk Jánoš got a Trophy for the most unluckiest driver, after he was able to circulate on the track for only 40 minutes out of total 75, he was classified dead last. Another Trophy was awarded for an overall impression. This was given to Rostislav Zapletal who fielded a brand new and very well prepared model of Toyota TS010, a Group C car from 1992. Not only it was the best done and looking car in the field but he had also to solve problems with misfiring rear axle, which almost went to his withdrawal from the meeting. In the end he lent some from another car and finished 19th overall and 12th in LMP1.
General impression from the race meeting was excellent, large field, top drivers and a lot of interest from all parts of the country. It is not likely that such tough competition will be present in all races but nevertheless the sporting level of these races is much higher than regular club races with a very little 2WD competition and short races.
Overall championship positions are availble on the official www.rc2wd.cz website. There are many classifications, even by the teams or towns, but in overall positions, which we will touch a little, we have the first two race winners on top with 20 points because none of them took part in the other race, and no other driver taking part in both races was able to match them. Closest to them is Luděk Maléř with 19 points for second and seventh positions. The points are based on the old good Can-Am system (20-15-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1) however even the drivers finishing behind the tenth position are given some fragments of point in order to be kept motivated to collect points while not on the level of the more experienced drivers.