After a successful Opening Round of ENS Series, last week the Mini Car Club Mulhouse hosted the EFRA 1/10 GP European Championship; also with a difference of almost three months nothing apparently changed with the weather that, once again, was the main character of the competition… Honestly speaking some “fresh” conditions could be welcome in middle august but “rain & cold” is one of the worst enemies of hour hobby. Full of previous experience, Organisers and Federation combined with the Countries TM takes some good decisions that allowed the competitors to run in dry conditions until Saturday morning when firsts lower mains were declared “wet” also if was only a little humid on the track. Good job!

Due to preparations of upcoming 1/8 Worlds next September our Team was represented only by two drivers: Teemu Leino and Francesco Tironi but both are very skilled and long experienced with 1/10 so expectations for a good race was high.

From monday practice Teemu seems “on pace” with only Bruno fastest of the field as he showed at the ENS in May… Both our drivers seeded in top10 until the Control Practice on Wednesday (around noon) where something went wrong with the track that loose some grip for warm conditions compromising the good feeling of the day before for Infinity drivers. By the way nothing  lost or really important as Teemu and Francesco seeded in the second fastest heat…

Qualifying was good for Teemu that, also with a slower heat, succeed to jump in the front of ranking list having some good runs that puts him in a comfortable 4th overall; Francesco struggled a little bit with understeering and less confidence with the category having run 1/10GP last time almost one year ago… At the end also Francesco gain a direct spot for the semis thanks to his big will to drove over the problems. The Superpole Challenge saw our Finnish driver enough competitive but Toni had couple of tenths in the pocket on the single lap and grabs the final spot for the Main.

On Saturday weather is heavily cloudy but everything works smooth… The B-Semi is the stage for Leino (1) and Tironi (8); at the start Teemu had some hard fight to maintain the leadership but after few minutes he puts the “cruise control” for a deserved win… Francesco suffered some contacts in the back of the field but he showed a good pace; his chance to bump up is still tied to a perfect strategy and consistency driving… At the end he grabs a 4th spot but his speed was unmatched from other semis so he could join Teemu in the Amain.

The scheduled Final was delayed for a technical call of Bruno and  simultaneously some drops of rain starts to fall down on the track; race director call a “wet race” reminding the modification of the rules at the microphone. Ten minutes later with a lot of “question mark” in the mind of the mechanics race start… As forecasted from weather apps the rain didn't appear so the strategy assumed more importance in the pit stop; unfortunately both our drivers loose their chances in the early stage with Teemu that flame out in his fuel stop entry lap and Francesco that had to fight hard with the field loosing lot of precious time… One tire change seemed to be the correct choice and almost all finalist choose this solution. At the flag Teemu with perseverance succeed to recover a final 5th place and Francesco a well deserved 7th place… Congratulations to Toni for his deserved win! See you all again in France for 1/8 WORLDS!

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The Euro Touring Series concluded its 10th season at the Ettlingen track in Germany with the race also marking a milestone for our EP team as it would wrap up our first ETS campaign as a manufacturer. The first time for the championship to visit the track, its unique surface would prove very challenging just as it had done when our nitro team raced there earlier in the month. Marc, Jilles, Akio and Naoto would attend for Infinity with high hopes of ending the season on a high and controlled practice got things off to a strong start as all four drivers seeded their IF14s into the top heat.

Fresh from taking the Japanese National title a few days before, Akio would set the 3rd fastest 3-consecutive laps in the opening controlled practice. The track for the second round would be faster however for most drivers with Jilles leading the way for the team in P3. Behind him Marc would end up P5 having found he preferred his car without ARS after removing it for the first seeding run. Copying Marc’s set-up for CP2, Akio didn’t like his car without ARS and unable to improve on his opening time dropped to P8. Not a fan of the track after free practice, Naoto started to find his way in the last controlled practice to post the 10th fastest time.

With the first official day of the event concluding with Q1, the colder evening conditions made the track somewhat less challenging. Marc would have a strong first round posting the 2nd fastest time over the 5-minute heat. It would be two cars in the Top 4 as Naoto stopped the clock less than 1/2 a second off Marc. Akio would put it in the Top 10 too but on his birthday weekend this was to be his best run and he ended up in the D-Main. Unfortunately for Jilles he would have a tyre issue & retire from the first round. While Q2 would net a P8 and the penultimate qualifier a P11, it would all come down to the final qualifier for Jilles to secure an A-Main start but a stripped spur gear put an end to that.

Saturday morning's opening qualifier would net Marc a P3 despite him having been able to improve his car and get much closer to the TQ pace, the deficit down from 3-seconds in Q1 to 3/10ths. It wouldn’t be a good start to the day for Naoto as his car got airborne over the curbing on the straight sending it crashing into the marshal post fencing. He would however redeem himself from the error in Q3 with a great drive that would see him TQ the round ahead Bruno Coelho. With this TQ run he would equal his best ETS qualifying, third, which he achieved at the previous round at the Hudy Arena. For Marc the fourth qualifier wouldn’t bring any improvement to his qualification points tally and he would get set to line up 4th on the grid on Sunday.

Finals Day had three A-Mains on the schedule but the forecast warned of rain later in the day. With nice conditions for A1, it started well with both Naoto and Marc quickly catching the No.2 starting Tim Wahl. Naoto would execute an impressive pass on Tim on the entry to the banked sweeper at the end of the straight to go second and 2-laps later Marc also moved up a place with a similar move on the straight to finish 3rd. A2 wouldn’t produce as clean a start as the first one, Marc unintentionally hitting the back of Naoto costing both of them places. Pushing hard to get back the time lost, Naoto would have a moment coming onto the straight but somehow saved it saying after he was ’super lucky’. Getting back passed Ronald Volker for third, unfortunately the gap to second was too big to close down over the remainder of the race. While Marc would make back one of the places he lost on the opening lap he would cross the finish line fifth. Unfortunately just as Jilles got ready to start the third of his B-Mains, the rain arrived with a bang bringing the 10th ETS season to a wet and early finish. With one from the 2 A-Mains counting this gave Naoto second, his best ever ETS finish, and Marc 4th with him finishing the championship 3rd overall. Akio also represented us in the Top 10 of the final standings with 6th overall.

Having only brought together our EP team and the IF14 in February, we have had a great first season of ETS. We have a lot of positives to take from our first attempt at one of touring car's toughest and most prestigious championships. From the 5 races we contested we achieved 4 podium finishes and where on the overall podium at the end of the season. It has been a massive team effort and we are really grateful to all our drivers and staff who made these results possible. We cannot wait to come back for the new season of ETS even stronger.

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The 2017 JMRCA All Japan Championship took place at the former 1:8 Onroad World Championship circuit of Keitune Racing Speedway in Ichihara, Japan. A race that decides the Japanese National Champion, Akio Sobue and Naoto Matsukura had the honour of representing Infinity on it’s debut in the championship. Racing in the Super Expert class, Naoto would get the weekend off to the perfect start by TQ’ing the opening two rounds of qualifying on Friday afternoon to hold the provisional overnight TQ ahead of Ronald Volker.  

With 3 from the six rounds of qualifying to count, Day 2 would open with another TQ run from Naoto as he moved a step closer to the wrapping up the overall TQ for Sunday’s finals. Again it was Volker who would be his closest challenger but Naoto posted his fastest run so far in Q3 and took the heat by the biggest margin yet with over 3-seconds in hand over Volker. The third qualifier would also see Akio finally break into the Top 3 times for the first time after a not so good first day.

Q4 would be the perfect round for the team, with Naoto heading an Infinity 1-2 result that would declare him Top Qualifier. With one qualifier left on the day’s schedule, Q6 taking place Sunday morning, Naoto signed off the perfect day by again topping the time sheets in the fifth round. For Akio his improved form over Q3, 4 & 5 had moved him up to third in the overnight standings behind Volker with P2 up for grabs if he could put in a strong final qualifier and that is just what he did. Opening Sunday morning with the fastest TQ run of the weekend ahead of Naoto, he secured second on the grid for the A-Main.

In the open final Naoto made best use of his TQ to take the win while it was a more difficult race for Akio. Running second for more than half the race an incident on lap 10 of 17 would drop him back to finish P5 behind another of the race's international visitors Christopher Krapp. In a much closer A2 encounter, Akio would bounce back to deny Naoto the win meaning everything was to be decided in A3. Naoto would make a great start to the decider but 4-laps in both Akio and Ronald would get by. Once in front, Akio made sure he stayed there to take the win and the Japanese National title.

As a Japanese manufacturer this JMRCA title win is a particularly special one for the entire team behind our EP project and which was made all the sweeter thanks to Naoto making it a 1-2 for the IF14 on the podium. Weekends don’t get much better than this, thank guys.

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After a six week break the Euro Nitro Series resumed with Round 2 at Minidrom Ettlingen in Germany. The third year for the former European Championship host circuit to feature on the ENS calendar, the team descended on the track on the Wednesday with high hopes of a successful event. Last year, Teemu took the first of his two wins en route to claiming Infinity’s first international title when he became 1:10 champion. The team was also looking to build on its podium in 1:8 at the season opener in France where we were the best represented brand in the A-Main. A unique feature of the Ettlingen track is the ultra fine asphalt which creatures a strange feeling between the car and track that drivers say they experience nowhere else in the world! Adding to the challenge of finding a good set-up was the hot weather.  With temperatures around 35 degrees it made many of the Asian members of our team feel at home but the heat was less welcomed by most of the 120 plus drivers in attendance.

In free practice on Thursday, Dario and Francesco lead the way setting the 2nd and 3rd fastest time respectively while in 1:10 Teemu laid down the 4th fastest time, Kenji the only other team driver running 200mm as the rest of the team focused on 1:8. As the event switched to controlled practice on Friday to determine the seeding for the heats, it would be Carmine who was quickest posting the 4th fastest time ahead of Dario who felt he had a better set-up the previous day. Jesse would also put his car in the top heat as he improved on his free practice form to set the 10th fastest time for 3-consecutive laps. While still working on getting his car to suit the track's unique surface, 1:10 cars traditionally suffering from understeer but in Ettlingen having lots of front end grip, Teemu was content to be seeded 5th for qualifying.

With 2 rounds of qualifying planned for Friday afternoon, 1:10 went first with Teemu registering a P4 in a very close Q1 - the Top 4 covered by half a second. With the first 1:8 qualifier underway a rain shower brought things to a halt. Followed a number of additional showers, when the track eventually dried an extra free practice session was run to get the track back to racing condition with the organisers deciding to restart qualifying with the second round of 1:10 heats. Unfortunately for Teemu, he would hit trouble just as Q2 warm-up concluded with the screw in his two speed shaft pulley coming loose causing him miss the first 3-minutes of the heat as it was fixed. With a 20:00 noise curfew at the track, 1:8 would get just a single round of qualifying on Friday with a strong run from Dario netting him P2 with Francesco, Carmine, Naoto and Jesse all posting Top 10 times.

Saturday morning would start 1/2 an hour earlier than originally scheduled to make up for the rain delays of the previous day and ensure 1:8 still got to run all 5 rounds of qualifying. Continuing with 1:8, the second round would be run in a lot cooler conditions and while Dario again was the closest challenger to with Simon Kurzbuch, getting another P2, he felt his car was better suited to a hotter track. After trouble with his engine in Q1, Oliver would put in a fantastic drive from the 3rd fastest heat to post a P4 time with Francesco also going better to record a P5 run. Dario would improve his car for Q3 setting the only 12-second lap of the round but a clutch issue at the end of the 4-minutes would allow Kurzbuch to take another TQ run and wrap up the overall TQ. After his problems in Q2, Teemu would bounce back with a P3 in the third 1:10 qualifier that he followed up a P4 in the penultimate round to lock himself in the A-Main, 3 of 5 rounds counting. Another Top 3 run in the final qualifier secured him 5th on the grid for Sunday’s 45-minute final.

With Ettlingen a place he calls ‘my track’ having being crowned European Champion there in 2015, Oliver would take an important TQ run on his  penultimate attempt, a result that would secure him third on the grid behind Dario. In all four Infinity drivers qualified directly for the A-Main, Naoto lining up 6th ahead of Francesco. The B-Main would see that increase to a record equalling 5 cars as Alberto took the win to bump up and take P11 on the grid. Unfortunately for Lamberto, who started the 20-minute encounter second behind Alberto, an early incident with another driver resulted in heavy body damage and having to make a lengthy pit stop for repairs his changes of progressing were done.

With the 10-minute A-Main practice a chance to test set-up tweaks ahead of the final, Teemu was happy that changes had given him with an easy to drive car which was perfect for 45 tough & hot minutes of racing. Leading the middle third of the race and looking on target for a repeat ENS Germany victory, unfortunately a body tuck caused by contact from the rear coming onto the straight would trigger a second incident later in the lap that would rule him out from taking the top step on the podium. With his car slowed by the tucked body, a second car would unintentionally rear end him sending the crashing onto the crash and as the marshal returned his car to the track the engine cut. Rejoining and showing in third place at the end of the race, it was later deemed his car had triggered the loop as the marshal returned him to the pits after his flame out and the amended result placed him a frustrating 4th.

On to the 1:8 A-Main and it would turn out to be a dramatic finish to the race. Having led the challenge in qualifying, Dario continued to do the same in the final running at the front with Kurzbuch and Bruno Coelho for the majority of the race but making a late stop to be safe, fuel mileage critical at the fast track, a bad stop from another driver would lead to a crash in the pitlane and as Dario exited the pitlane his car would go straight and onto the grass. The impact in the pitlane with the other car had broken his servo saver. With almost no steering causing his car to take to grass every corner, with just a minute to go he wasn’t giving up and somehow got the car around, albeit at a 1/3 of his race speed, to hold on to compete the podium - 3rd an important result for the championship. Despite his dramatic end to the race, Dario was pleased with his weekend’s performance feeling it shows the gap has been closed to reigning ENS & World Champion Kurzbuch in this 1:8 World Championship year. Behind Dario, Alberto would put in a great drive and overcome an early incident to finish 4th on his first ENS outing with Infinity. Unfortunately Oliver's race would not go to plan and he finished 10th while Naoto, who made it two A-Main appearances from 2 starts, and Francesco both retired from the race. While the finals brought the event to a conclusion it was not the end of the team's work in Germany with them using the rest of the day in to put in more laps in the ongoing quest to reach the top.

With the ENS’ level of competition on par with that of the World Championships, a big thank you to all our team for their hard work and efforts over the weekend.  A lot was learned and we look forward to coming back even stronger for the third round in Aigen, Austria next month.

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The 2017 1:10 Electric Track European Championship marked the 18th running of the EFRA event but for Infinity it was the start of a new chapter as it would be our Euros debut as an electric touring car manufacturer. Carrying the weight of this honour would be Marc as travelled solo to Almussafes in Spain to represent the team. A large track which previously hosted the 1:8 Onroad European Championships back in 2008, conditions for the three day would prove challenging due to low traction with even the South East of Spain unable to avoid the rain that seems to be following our EP team!

Arriving in sunny conditions and impressed by the look of the track unfortunately after the first of the three free practice runs on Thursday morning it was clear drivers where going to have to deal with loose conditions, wind not helping matters. Ending up third fastest despite having no one to share set-up data with, as the event switched to two rounds of seeding practice Marc struggled with the consistency of the tyres. In the first run he could only manage the 7th fastest time but changing tyres, he would knock over a second off his pace over 3-consecutive laps to end up 4th fastest. With the first of 6 rounds of qualifying bringing a close to Day 1, it was to be a frustrating Q1 as he registered a P4 after suffering a 360 spin in the ‘really difficult conditions’.

Hopeful of a better Day 2, reduced wind certainly helped and Marc opened with a P3 in Q2 which he then followed up with a P2. Making a tactical decision to use just 3 sets of tyres in qualifying in order to save 2 to go with the extra set available for the finals, Marc would qualify his IF14 third overall behind Top Qualifier Ronald Volker and Bruno Coelho.

With drivers already challenged by the conditions, the last thing they wanted to see was rain but that’s what arrived on Sunday morning. With around an hour & half of drying time between the rain stopping and the start of A1, Marc’s tyre gamble would pay even greater dividends as he could get the jump on both Ronald and Bruno ahead of him as they struggled for traction. Setting the fastest lap of the race, Marc would win by over 2.6-seconds from Bruno, this result to prove important to the overall result. With everyone on new tyres for A2 and 3, the Top 4 would finish exactly as they started both encounters with that A1 win securing Marc the overall runners up spot on the tiebreaker behind Ronald. Summing up the event as a ‘very difficult Euros’, we thank Marc for representing Infinity so well and for giving the IF14 a podium result on its European Championship debut. Muchas Gracias Marc.





In the weekend the new GP Series presented by European Federation was hosted for his second, and final round, in the beautiful venue of MRTM Lostallo already theatre of the 1/8 World Championship in 2009. Located in Canton Ticino, not so far from Italian borders, the race attract 55 drivers from 10 countries all over Europe.

For Infinity Team Lamberto Collari decided to attend the race to refine his preparation to the next World’s with the opportunity to challenge the current WC Simon Kurzbuch at his home track. Also Nicola Marrone chooses our platform to attend the race with former 1/8 Spanish Champion Victor Gonzalez and Gianluca Dalcielo from Italy to complete the “pack” of our car.

In control practice the car worked great in Lamberto’s hands that was the only driver enough close to Simon… Nicola suffered some radio troubles that force him to change his transmitter several times until found a solution of his problems. For Victor and Gianluca the tracktime was really important to get used to the very unique layout of this track and both seemed satisfied of car setting.

In qualifying Kurzbuch showed his confidence TQing all the rounds followed by Collari second in four rounds of five. Marrone and Gonzalez secured a semifinal position and Dalcielo grab a midfield position for quarters final. In the Superpole Challenge Lamberto wins the direct Amain access for 0.03 second in front of current European Champion Robin D’Hont.

The weather that was hot & sunny for the whole week become an issue on Saturday night with a thunderstorm that heavily wet the track. Sunday morning the timetable was postponed of one and half hour to let the track dry. In the B quarter Gianluca collect the result of his efforts of the week; he drove really well for 20 minutes but without the tire change he suffers a lack of performance in the last minutes loosing the chance to challenge the 3rd spot and finished 4th. In the B semifinal Nicola cruised in 2nd position behind the local star Pesenti for most of the time until a battle with Marco Vanni, that recovers the initial gap with an aggressive strategy, forced Marrone to the 3rd position that anyway means Amain! Victor Gonzalez suffered a “pin” issues at his gearbox before the start and he had to call a technical delay; during the semi he recover quickly the field but after twelve minutes a mistake before the back chicane drop him out of “bump-up” battle… Will be for the next time.

The awaited Amain promised a great show to the audience; at the start Simon and Lamberto pulled away from the rest of the drivers having a sensible faster pace… Strategies will play the most important role to decide the win: Kurzbuch pits at 4min mark while Collari decided to go “deeper” for 5 minutes “stints”. At second refueling Simon changed only the outside tires and Lamberto was  comfortably in front. At 15 minute mark was Collari that decided for a full tire change giving back the provisional lead to Kurzbuch until minute 27 where the Swiss champion makes his full tire change. Meanwhile Nicola had unfortunately to retire for some different “little” issues but for the first time with Infinity car he was really satisfied. All the people waiting for Lamberto’s last tire change to know who will win this sort of “heads up race”… Collari made the pit stop at 31 minute so the forecast will be really exciting: the gap it’s only 6,5/7 seconds and the Italian driver had to refuel one time less than Kurzbuch. Last pit stop at 41 minutes show them simultaneously in the pits: at the exit Lamberto quickly fill the gap with Simon but at the penultimate lap, trying to avoid the car in front, Collari brake hard in the bump of the back corner with the result to go wider in the grass loosing the chance of a possible overtake in the final lap… Bad luck for Mattia Pesenti and Kyle Branson that were forced to retire while they were on a podium spot position. Kurzubuch win the race in front of Lamberto and Daniele Ielasi previous winner in Cassino and overall Series Winner; 2nd Simon Kurzbuch and 3rd Lamberto Collari.
Congratulations to all drivers!

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After a successful opening round to the Asian Onroad Championship in Shanghai, China, back in April, our EP team travelled to TRC Raceway in Hong Kong for Round 2 of the Scotty Ernst series. Claiming a 1-2 in Shanghai, Akio, Naoto & Andy would be joined by Jilles with the team having a productive day of testing on the Thursday to get familiar with the bigger GP track layout the organisers had opted to use.

Unfortunately like Akio and Naoto's experience the weekend before at the ETS in Slovakia, after a dry day of free practice the race schedule would be effected by rain although in a competition of heaviest rain it was the Hong Kong weather that was a clear winner. Despite the spectacularly heavy downpours, the TRC Raceway track was almost magical in how quickly it dried with the traction levels pretty much how they had been prior to the rain. During the rain breaks, the team used the downtime to join Scotty for a video track walk to give their insight into the layout.

Once qualifying did get underway, Akio and Naoto got straight down to business taking a 1-2 in the first of the four rounds ahead of Alexander Hagberg followed by Andy and Jilles. Q2 would see the IF14 complete the Top 3 times with Akio again setting the pace as Jilles improved to record a P3 run. With Akio and Naoto the class of the Modified field, the duo would again battle it out for a TQ run in the third round. Setting the fastest lap, Naoto would take it after a bobble from Akio on the last lap cost him a competitive time. With only Naoto able to deny Akio the overall TQ, all the team went into the final qualifier fired up and aiming to better their starting positions. The result was an Infinity 1,2,3,4 on the times sheets with Akio taking it and the overall TQ ahead of Naoto, Jilles and Andy. Overall this put all four cars in the Top 6 on the A-Main grid, Naoto starting 2nd, Jilles 4th and Andy 6th.

With triple A-Mains, the first encounter would see Akio convert his TQ into an unchallenged win as Naoto rolled on the curbing early ending his race. With Hagberg inheriting second, Jilles would complete the Top 3 with Andy moving up from 6th to 4th. Akio looked like he was target to repeat the result in A2 and wrap up his second AOC victory of the season early but with less than 30-seconds to go he broke a rear belt handing Naoto the win ahead of Nicholas Lee. This set up a dual between Akio and Naoto for A3 to decide the overall winner. Setting fastest laps 4/10th faster than any of the rest of the field, they went at it but despite his best efforts Naoto couldn’t find a way passed allowing Akio to wrap up another win for the IF14. Naoto joined him on the podium ahead of Hagberg with Jilles claiming fourth overall and Andy finishing 7th. Having put the IF14 top of the time-sheets throughout qualifying and the finals it was another great effort and performance from the team.

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In the last weekend the second round of the Italian Manufacturer’s Championship took place in the beautiful Gubbio track already venue of last year 1/10 WC. After the Infinity 1-2 in the first round where Dario Balestri took the win and Alberto Picco finished second, our team attended the season finale with Carmine Raiola and Francesco Tironi backing the championship leader. Since the early practice it was Carmine to look the most comfortable on the track, and his Infinity dominated both friday’s and Saturday’s practice followed close by Dario and Francesco. The first round of qualifying went to Dario, but it was Carmine who completed Infinity’s full sweep of the four rounds taking Q2, Q3 and Q4 earning the overall TQ and the pole position for Sunday’s A-Main.
The A-Main saw Carmine start well and lead the race from tone to tone, despite the early pressing from Mazzeo. Behind him Balestri would complete another amazing race despite a bad starting position, with Francesco Tironi rounding up an all-Infinity podium!

Thanks to the wins of Balestri and Raiola, che championship taking into account the best manufacturer’s result in both races,  Team Infinity has also been crowned Italian Champion chassis. Another trophy for this amazing 2017… Thank you guys!

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The Euro Touring Series travelled to Slovakia for its fifth round and while it is officially the Summer in Europe that memo appears to have never reached those in change of the weather over the city. After claiming the first international title for Infinity with his win at the Reedy Race of Champions followed by a sun holiday, Marc was in confident form despite the Hudy Arena being extra challenging given whose home track it is. Fresh from taking his first win with the team when he led a 1-2 ahead of Akio at the second round of the CETC in Xiamen the previous weekend, Naoto was also upbeat about the chances of a good result at the ETS.

After a day of testing on Wednesday in Vienna while en route to Trencin, Thursday’s free practice at the Hudy Arena would be run in sunny conditions.  With 6 runs over the day, it was Marc who set the pace ahead of Bruno Coelho while Naoto completed the Top 3. With Akio in 6th it was a very encouraging start to the weekend. Going to bed having basked in the sun all day, the team would wake to a very wet morning and a day that would test their patience. Waiting for the track to dry, it taking two attempts as further rain fell, once dry enough drivers would finally get back on track with a 3-minute practice run to get the track back up to speed so qualifying could finally get underway. Getting 9 heats in the 27 of the first qualifier, the rain returned and while a second attempt was made to dry it, the track wouldn’t be suitable to race on and time was called on the day.

Saturday morning would be a repeat of the previous day with drivers having to play the waiting game once more as they arrived to a wet track but eventually qualifying would get underway. Naoto was right on it putting in an impressive run to set the second fastest time. While feeling his car was not as dialled in for the cooler conditions as it had been on Thursday, Marc, even with a mistake, was fourth fastest with Akio 10th. With the worldwide gathering of drivers happy to have finally got some meaningful driving in the books, just as the second round of qualifying started the rain was back and ultimately the day was done.

With Sunday’s weather showing dry conditions from first light, the organisers decided to get in a second round of qualifying ahead of the finals meaning an extra early start for the team. Marc would improve on Q1 with the 3rd fastest time for the round but would remain 4th on the grid. Akio also improved with the 6th fastest time for Q2 to move up to 8th on the grid, each driver’s best points finish of the two rounds determining the starting order. Having made a change to his set-up for Q2, Naoto had a difficult second qualifier but his Q1 result would give him 3rd on the grid - his best ever ETS qualifying result.

For the first of the triple finals Naoto would revert back to his Q1 set-up and come good on his starting position to find a way passed the No.2 starting Alexander Hagberg. Delighted with his 2nd and the performance of his IF14, Naoto was also a little frustrated at having been stuck behind Alexander for so long as he didn't get the opportunity to challenge Top Qualifier Bruno Coelho. Unfortunately for Marc, suffering a spin on the curbing he would be collected by Akio putting him out on the spot while thankfully Akio could continue to get 6th. A2 was looking like a similar race with Naoto piling the pressure on Alexander but with a minute to go they touched with Naoto fairing worst and dropping two places. Leaving Marc to take up the Infinity challenge, he would finish 3rd with Naoto 5th and Akio 7th.

With newly re-crowned ETS Champion Bruno able to sit out the concluding final having wrapped up the overall win in A2, it was all to play for in terms of the other podium positions. Again Naoto would run all over the rear wing of Alexander but he managed to keep the door shut for the 5-minutes. 2nd in A3 would secure Naoto 3rd overall, his first ever ETS podium finish. Delighted to be on the podium, he was quick to attribute this confidence boosting result to the input of IF14 designer & his mechanic Kotonori Fujiwara. Marc would end up fourth overall with Akio improving on his starting position to finish 7th. While mentally a challenging weekend for the drivers due to the rain delays, it was another great effort from our EP team. Rejuvenated by his performance, the season finale of the ETS cannot come quick enough for Naoto. He will use the 6-week gap before the championship makes its first visit to Ettlingen in Germany to test & build on his new found confidence within the team and with the IF14.

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The second round of the CETC (Chinese Electric Touring Car Championship) took place at ARC International Raceway in Xiamen with Akio Sobue and Naoto Matsukura flying the flag for Infinity & the IF14. With our EP team claiming a 1-2 at the opening round of the newly created championship back in March at the indoor AMA track in Guangzhou, the first outdoor race would bring with it a new challenge - the weather!  

The same venue that will host the 1:10 Offroad World Championships later this year, unfortunately Day 1 would be rained off. Forcing the event to be condensed into a single day, the new scheduled would leave room for just 2 rounds of qualifying with one to count. No pressure then! A damp start to proceedings, Naoto would initially set the pace in Q1 but as light rain began falling towards the end of the round the increasingly difficult conditions led to a number of mistakes dropping him to P2. While not the ideal result given there was only two qualifiers, having set the fastest lap Naoto knew the pace was their for improvement in Q2.

Running on a very similar pace to Q1 TQ Nicolas Lee in the second round, Naoto knew it was going to be a close finish and with the track drying this was going to be the round that counted. Taking a gamble on the last lap, he would launch his car across the finishing loop rather than braking. The gamble paid off. By just 0.033 of a second Naoto was the overall Top Qualifier. Having had a bad opening qualifier, Akio would also have a better Q2 to secure 3rd on the grid for the triple A-Mains, his time less than 6/10ths of a second off his team-mate’s TQ run.

In the first of the finals, Naoto would temporarily give up his lead to Nicholas Lee but managed to take it back from the Singapore driver to successfully covert his No.1 starting position into the No.1 finishing position. Behind, Akio would move up a place to follow him home in second place. On to A2 and after a not so perfect opening encounter Naoto put in a dominant drive to lead tone to tone for a 2.8-second win that would secure him his first overall race victory as an Infinity driver.

Winner of the opening round of the championship, Akio would go on to end the event with a win to make it an another Infinity 1-2 at the CETC, the result the reverse of how the season started. The result means Naoto & Akio now share the lead in the points standings as the CETC returns indoors when RCI V2 in Shanghai hosts Round 3 on July 22-23.

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One of the World’s most legendary races both for Electric Touring Car and Electric Offroad, 2017 marked the 20th running of the Reedy International Touring Car Race of Champions.  Taking place at the historic Tamiya Raceway in Aliso Viejo, California, this would be the first time Infinity participated in this unique heads up racing format and what a weekend it was to turn out to be.

Marc Rheinard, Akio Sobue, Naoto Matsukura and Thomas Pumpler represented the team as part of the 24 invited drivers completing for the coveted Reedy Race trophy over 12 rounds and 3 days of racing. The fourth consecutive year the race has been held at Tamiya Raceway since returning to what is widely recognised as the spiritual home of the race created by industry pioneer Mike Reedy, the 2017 entry was one of the most competitive this decade setting the stage for tough competitive racing.

With the team all happy with their IF14s after Thursday's four rounds of free practice, Marc and Naoto would kick off the event in the best way possible as they claimed a 1-2 in the first of the 36 point scoring heats.  With 1 point for a win down to 8 for 8th position, each heat having 8 starters, drivers could only drop 2 of the 12 rounds.  As a result every position made in a heat was crucial come Sunday evening when the final point were tallied up.  For Akio he also kicked off the event in the best way possible winning his opening encounter.  Round 2 would see another win for Marc but in his third race he met with the track's infamous kink.  With every Reedy Race competitor having an encounter with 'the kink' but gaining more respect for the dream crusher with each year they race at the small track, this would be Marc’s one & only blot on his copy book for the weekend.  While Marc had a retirement after his short flight following the run in with the kink, Akio would double up on his winning tally. On target for a third win in his final Race of Day 1, with Marc on his rear bumper Akio would roll through the final corner handing Marc the win but P2 left him sharing the Day 1 overnight points lead with Meen Vejrak.

Day 2’s action started with a P3 for Marc however Akio had a coming together with Viktor Wilck in the kink, with Wilck taking the win as Akio dropped to fifth.  For Naoto he would again start his day with a second place, Day 1 having been unlucky for him with an 8th in Round 2 and 7th in Round 4.  Over the rest of the day Marc would register two more wins, and a P2 from last on the grid.  All this put him as the overnight leader going into the final day.  Unfortunately for Akio it was to be a rough day at the office as got a 5th and a 6th, these ending up being his two throw out rounds in the final ranking.

With a great air of anticipation in the team on Sunday morning, Marc needed to get through his final four races with solid results as opposed to wins.  Going for the lead in Round 9 he made slight contact with leader Ralph Burch and dropped to the back as he waited for Ralph to retake position.  A great recovery drive would see him get back up to 3rd with Akio achieving the same result in his heat.  With front row starts for his next two encounters, Marc converted his No.1 starting position into 1 point in Round 10 and now a sixth Reedy Race title was within arms reach, but as its the Reedy Race, Marc was not accepting it was job done just yet.

With a break of almost 2 hours between races and with all the drivers fuelled up from lunch, the amazing moment finally arrived in the penultimate round of heats as Marc registered his 7th win of the weekend to wrap up the 2017 Reedy Race title early.  An unbelievable achievement, Marc is now a record six time winner having surpassed Barry Baker as the most celebrated champion in 2015.  Afterwards, Marc admitted this one was extra special because he did it with a brand new team.  The win marks the first international race title for our first touring car creation, the IF14, and to cap off the ultimate weekend Akio points combined with Marc’s meant we were crowned Reedy Race Manufacturer Champions.  What a day for the Infinity history books.  With our EP project and team just 3-months old we couldn’t be more proud of this achievement and look forward to building on the great vibe that has already been created within the team.  Thanks to everyone for their contribution in getting us this far already.

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2017 ENS ROUND 1

2017 ENS ROUND 1


Europe’s Onroad nitro season kicked off in earnest with Round 1 of the Euro Nitro Series. The fourth season of the four round championship, 2017 brought a new track into the mix with the Mini Car Club de Mulhouse circuit in the east of France the venue for the opening round. With its unique layout, Thursday practice was going to be extra important for the team as they tried to get familiar with the ‘difficult’ layout. The track’s first time hosting an international event, it hosting the European Championships later in the year, unfortunately rain would increase the difficulty of the challenge for the weekend.  With the team arriving in Mulhouse Wednesday evening, Thursday morning rain meant no running until after lunch. Able to run four rounds of free practice in the dry, worse was to come Thursday night leading to Friday’s activities being completely rained off. The team used the delay caused by the bad weather to set-up their pits at the hotel and spend the day working on their cars which was particularly beneficial for our drivers racing both 1:10 and 1:8.

With the greatly reduced track time, it was Naoto Matsukura who would be the surprise of Saturday morning’s two round seeding practice as he lead the team on the time sheets.  With his ENS participation only finalised during the previous weekend’s ETS in Italy, this was Naoto’s debut in the championship with P2 a promising start. Also making his ENS debut, Takaaki Shimo would make it two cars in the Top 4 despite feeling a little under the weather. In 1:10, Jilles Groskamp led our challenge setting the second fastest time with Teemu Leino not quite happy with his pace as his best 3-consecutive laps left him 9th but importantly seeded him in the top heat for qualifying.

After seeding, four rounds of qualifying awaited the drivers with Naoto continuing his impressive showing as he set the second fastest time every run. With three different drivers posting TQ runs, despite being in the Top 2 all day Naoto would line up fourth for Sunday’s 45-minute A-Main. Joining him as a direct qualifier, Dario Balestri secured sixth spot just ahead of Takaaki. With only Teemu and Jilles representing us in 1:10, the rest of the team focusing on 1:8 due to it being a World Championship year for the class,  both put themselves on the A-Main grid in 6th and 7th respectively.

With two bump up places up to the A-Main up for grabs, Kenji Taira gave the team some early motivation on Sunday morning as he bumped up twice.  Qualifying on pole for the G-Main, he won that before working his way from the back of the F-Main grid to finish second to move up to the E-Main.  Working his way from 10 to 4th over the 20-minutes final the hat trick wasn’t possible but Kenji was more than happy to enjoy an hour of racing over his 3 Mains.

The 1:8 B-Main an opportunity to increase the number of Infinity cars in the the Main event. It was all going to plan as Jessie Davis led for the majority of the race from pole. Still the original asphalt that was laid when the track was built in 1988, high tyre wear added to the difficult of the track and for Jesse his front tyres just came up short and in the final two minutes the lack of front tyre left him struggling around with no steering. Driving a calculated race, Jilles was able to take over the lead as unfortunately Jesse dropped to 4th in between Carmine Raiola and Andy Moore. While the end of the race for the trio, Jilles’ win would move him up with 4 cars making Infinity the best represented brand on the 12 car A-Main grid.

1:10 would be the first A-Main on the schedule and was to prove a tough race for our guys. Not the result we aimed to open the new season with as reigning class champions, unfortunately for Teemu his race would end early after a high speed off at the end of the straight. Having struggled to get the car to his liking in qualifying, Teemu said afterwards the set-up he ran in the final was good enough to make the podium but his race was done after 20-minutes. Starting out the final planning to play the long game in terms of going one less tyre stop than his rivals, a decision during the race to change away from that strategy meant Jilles finished as he started, 7th place.

After the disappointment of the 1:10 A-Main, hopes were high for a better 1:8 result. Putting his 1:10 frustrations behind him Jilles would drive a great race to give Infinity its first ENS 1:8 podium. From 11th on the grid, Jilles would put in a great drive to finish second behind Bruno Coelho who had also won 1:10. With 2nd to 6th all finishing on the same lap, Takaaki just missed out on the podium finishing fourth. For Naoto and Dario, the race would end in DNFs. Naoto would suffer problems with his fuel tubing early in the race before finally retiring after 39-minutes but overall it was a very encouraging event with him taking so well to the similarity in driving style between 1:8 and the class for which he is famous, 1:12. For Dario his race never got a chance with a number of flame outs forcing his retirement after 10-minutes.

After the unfamiliarity of the Muhouse track, Round 2 of the ENS will take the team to Germany to the popular Ettlingen track… See you there!

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Last weekend the AMAC club hosted one of the most important race of 2017 season at Circuit Nougier in the Provence area south of France; the track layout is simply amazing very different to most of the track where, actually, we are used to race in Europe. Fresh resurfaced few weeks ago, the biggest characteristic of the track is the continuous work on the throttle and steering that all drivers need to do to correctly perform: lot of banking corners with a big sweeper in the back lay downed on little hill… Seems like that you’re driving in a “shaker” and if you’re looking for a straight you can easy forget it… No pause at all in 16 sec lap!!!

The rest of the venue need to be fixed; honestly we could consider it a bit “poor” to held here the most important race of the world… basically we are far from the standard drivers are used during a World Championship; I believe that, during these days, organisers collect a lot of feedback on where they need to improve, on the track and mostly outside the track. I hope they can succeed to realize all the changing required because the layout deserve this race.

Entries were few probably due to the IPD rule that IFMAR start couple of years ago; only 40 drivers with Lamberto, Alberto, Pietsch, Bertin and Ermen  as top drivers. Weather was very good from wednesday to monday with 28-30 degrees as average and points of 32-33 degrees in first hours afternoon…

Format of the race was only with 4 rounds 10 min qualifying, 30 mins semi and 1 hour final. Four drivers attended with Infinity platform: Simon Begoin from France, Bilal Suliman from Reunion Island with Alberto and Lamberto heading the team. Practice was good but in first qualifying round many problems dropped our fastest drivers far from the pace; in second leg things starts getting better with 2-3 position and in the third heat Lamberto took a TQ run… In the last round Pietsch was again the fastest securing the pole position with Collari 2nd and Picco 4th fitted in the “SuperPole challenge” for last spot to entry in the Amain directly with John and Adrien. Was Lamberto the fastest in the 6 laps format with a 16,58 sec that in hot conditions could be considered quite good.

Quarter finals put the end at Simon and Bilal race but both were happy of the performance of the car; Alberto made his pace to safely secure a bump up in the main where he starts with number 4. In the Amain Robert, Lamberto and Alberto pulled away from the field and with an early flame out for Pietsch, is the “Infinity team mate battle” that attract the attention of the people trackside: Collari and Picco swapped the lead many times due to different strategies in the pits but on the track oftenly happens that they were really close each other for the excitement of the audience. One tire change for Lamberto and 2 tire change for Alberto: final race result cannot be forecasted but at 40 minute Collari’s engine went rich and run out fuel close to transponder line… It happens again few minutes later allowing Picco to cruise with a comfortable lead until the end taking his first win with the new colours… Well done Albi!!!!

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Round 4 of the Euro Touring Series took our EP team to Riccione, Italy, and  following their successful showing at the previous round in Spain they were looking forward to building on our strong start to the outdoor season. While Marc, Jilles, Naoto and Andy all had previous experience of the Marco Simoncelli RC Circuit, for Akio it would be his first visit and his first time to take on the track’s infamous bump situated on the high speed entry to the main straight. In Free Practice, the IF14 would show well with it occupying four of Top 10 spots on the timesheets. Fastest in FP2, Marc would end up third quickest ahead of Akio with Naoto sixth and Jilles 10th with all drivers reporting themselves happy with the set-up work they had conducted.

Using two round of controlled practice to determine the seeding for qualifying, in the first, Marc would post the second fastest time for 3-consecutive laps. With a wind making for more difficult conditions in the second run, a shock spring change after CP1 would result in a big improvement from Jilles.  Setting the second fastest time for CP2, his time would be the second fastest overall, meaning he would start Q1 behind top seed Ronald Volker. Unable to better his CP1 time, Marc would end up third with Akio (6th) and Naoto (8th) giving us four cars in the top heat.

With the opening round of qualifying bringing the first official day of the event to a close, the cooler evening conditions would make it the rocket round. Marc would be in the TQ mix ending the 5-minute qualifier second fastest in-between Bruno Coelho (P1) and Volker. Despite performing an unplanned donut on his run, Jilles would open with a P5 while Akio ended up 12th following a more substantial error. With an allocation of two sets of tyres per driver on which to complete the four rounds of qualifying, Naoto would opt to sit out Q1 to save his two sets for Day 2.

With tyre strategy coming into play on Saturday, an issue the ETS organisers will address for the next round of the championship, the day didn’t start out well for the team.  Marc would suffer a high speed off in Q2 ending his run after a lap. Opting to run his second set of tyres in Q3, that run was looking strong but a minute in he would fall victim to ‘the bump’. Luckily able to continue, he would salvage a P3 from it while Jilles using a combo of new rears and used fronts posted the 4th fastest time. Unfortunately for Marc his mistakes in Q2 & 3 left both his sets of tyres damaged forcing him to run the final qualifier on the rear tyres from each set. With the tyres done, he slid off the track a number times quashing any chance of improving on his P4 grid position for the final. With Jilles running his unique mixture of new & used tyres again in Q4 an early mistake left him with dirty tyres and he couldn’t improve on his previous results which were good enough for 5th on the grid. While Akio would end qualifying with his best run, a P4, it wasn’t enough for him to make it three ETS A-Main appearances in a row as he ended up taking the BQ.

In the finals, the first encounter would net Jilles a fourth ahead of Marc after an altercation with ‘the bump’ dropped Marc back to 7th but he would snatch 5th from Viktor Wick right at the finish line. A2 wasn’t to prove any better for Marc. Having to check-up at the start as Elliot Harper got out of shape in the first corner, contact from behind would drop him to 8th. For Jilles the race would see him repeat his A1 result to again finish 4th while Marc recovered to 6th. With the overall win decided in A2, Bruno wrapping up his third win of the season, Marc and Jilles would finish the closing final 3rd & 4th respectively to claim 4th and 5th overall. Not quite the result that had been hoped for, on summing up the weekend Marc was however pleased with the car's performance saying, ‘the pace of the car was there for sure for a podium and I think also the potential was in the car to challenge Bruno but I messed it up in qualifying with my own driving mistakes’.

With 5-weeks until the next round of the ETS, which takes place at the Hudy Arena in Slovakia (June 16-18), Marc, Akio and Naoto will now set their sights on the team’s debut at the world famous Reedy Race of Champions in California later this month.

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