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Project: Schumacher SPC - Laudas Rakete

From mid to end of the 80´s in Germany, 1:12 class was the pinnacle of RC racing. All the top drivers spent the winter time to improve their driving skills. It was by far the fastest class. And 8-minute racing made even more special. Some of the very fast guys were Ralf Helbing (owner of RH in the early days, who made his first speed controllers, motors, batteries and chargers. Later he made a new brand together with Gunther Mürdter called GM Racing), Christian Keil (Keil pushed batteries), Stefan Oberle, Ralf Krause (Dingo Motors) and Jürgen (Lauda - not Niki Lauda) Lautenbach, boss of LRP Electronic. Of course there were many more drivers, but these guys were the pioneers of RC Racing in Germany.

"Lauda" was Jürgen´s nick name, because he was one of the quickest out there. At the beginning of the 90´s he was one of the best drivers in the world. 1990 he won the 1:12 EFRA European Champion title and many titles followed later. Big time!

Jürgen Lautenbach on top! Running a Corally this time.

His car with Jürgen´s iconic LRP paint made it on the front cover of the german amt rc car magazine.

Yes, it is a Corally under the famous TOJ body in 1990, but in the years before he rode Schumacher cars. I found an interesting article in the amt magazine about his SPC car.

I think, we can all agree, that rc cars from that time were pretty simple against todays cars. But the drivers really did everything to max out the performance in the smallest details! Much more, than we do today! Check it out!

Some of you will remember the old AMB transponders? Instead of drilling a hole somewhere on your body to install the transponder, the top drivers made neat transponder mount like here on top of the steering servo to keep the transponder low on the chassis.

Behind the steering servo you can see the drivers figure, what was mandated back in the days.

For a more true spinning of the wheels, Jürgen used a carbon fibre disk for the wheel adapters and a longer axle made from Stefan Oberle against wobbeling. Oberle also made for this car a one-piece aluminium power pod unit for better stability and a more free running of the beall bearings for the rear axle.

Jürgen also tested different Teflon friction disks and silicone greases, depending track conditions. They had a great effect for handling and were a important setup back in time.

To improve downforce and general aerodynamic, Jürgen used a thin piece of a plastic bag, what he installed between wheel and wheel adaptor. Another sign of the amazing attention to the details!

Battery capacity was limited with our good old Sanyo SC batteries. To gain some more seconds to drive and to get a quicker steering servo, Jürgen installed a little 6 pack RC battery. We all did this in the late 80´s.

Jürgens own LRP speed controller. Heat shrink with cooling openings between the saddle pack batteries. It is very impressive to see the whole power unit! The battery plug is soldered on top of the sub-c cell minus to keep cables short as possible. To keep the cables from the speed controller to the motor flexible, he used 2 thinner cables parallel for plus and minus each. So the power pod of the Schumacher car keeps free moving in all directions. Very clever!

One of the last events with his SPC - Depending the track conditions, they used wings, or some different Gourney flaps at the rear edge of the body.

I remember, I was maximum impressed by reading those articles in the magazines back in the days. I understood, what the fast guys made with their cars and it was stunning!

When I entered my very first 1:12 race in Germany in the late 80´s I was blown away by the cornerspeed and quick handling on the track.

With this very bright memories in mind, it was time to build a Schumacher SPC for me!

To find a Schumacher 1:12 car today was a tough part. It seems, all those cars already went to the collectors until I found one from Spain over a Facebook Schumacher SPC group. No matter, what car, or part you are searching for. Find a Facebook group and ask the guys for! I am always surprised, when I ask for parts, that many guys want to help you! This is really a great thing!

The SPC came a week later in a used condition.

You know, I build cars for racing - so I decided to make drawings on my computer form every single part to replicate parts.

On the same way I had to find solutions to drive modern 1:12 wheels and rear axles.

I redesigned the position of the power pod to allow to run Xray 1:12 rear axles with diff, or solid axle and spur gears. That was an easy task. I also 3D printed some new ride height adapters.

At the front, I removed the original Schumacher quick wheel change bearing drum and installed normal ball bearings.

Another interesting thing was the small wheelbase on the older cars. Todays cars has much more wheelbase. The explanation is, that the old tracks has much lower grip than today. A short wheelbase allows more weight transfere, what gains forward traction. On modern tracks there is always enough grip and a longer wheelbase helps to calm down the handling on modern cars.

Because I want run on modern tracks, I gave my SPC creation a 10mm longer wheelbase.

The first test chassis parts came in black glass fibre.

The reason, why Schumacher used glass fibre material over carbon fibre material, was the much better handling on European tracks, what was usually low to medium grip. Schumacher gave their drivers some World´s prototype chassis made from carbon fibre, because there was much more grip on those events. But because the lack of testing on those tracks and the limited experience and setups for high grip the cars were too difficult to drive and the results were not as good as they hoped for.

And all parts fit perfectly together! But I was not happy with the black colour and I made another chassis set with the original natural coloured glass fibre - much better!

After some back and forward with some parts I ended up with this!

The new designed rear pod allows modern rear axles. I installed a solid axle for high grip tracks and I also have a Xray ball diff for low to medium grip tracks.

The Xray rear axle. Check out the LRP motor! I had the chance to race the SPC already on the Oldschool RC Euro Masters 2022 (Race report in the projects-section). I installed a 27T Team Orion Stock armature because the motor rules for this race).

The Sanyo SC sub-c cells are from CS Electronic with a fake heat schrink.

Side view right. There is still a little dirt from the last race.

Side view left.

Front view. The servo saver is from the re-release Schumacher Cougar.

To adjust the front arms with correct ride height, spring preload, camber and caster is a bit tricky and takes time and is not easy at all!

Standard wheel ball bearings for modern wheels.

I put a LRP IPC V8 speedo with blue heat shrink between the batteries. Funny part here: I use a modern Futaba 4PX digital radio. When I installed the speedo and wanted to make the very first speedo setup, the speedo refused to setup. But wiring and everything else was ok and several time checked. The speed refused the setup. Then I had a look into my transmitter settings. And if you look harder, you can find a setup to switch your reciever output signals from digital to analog. I never ever knew this. So I switched to analog and then I was able to make the LRP speedo setup finally. Conclusion is, when you race vintage electronics and mix modern electronics with older stuff and you have trouble - check your transmitter settings for analog/digital servo output!

Top view. The natural colour of glass fibre with the black wheels is a great looking combination!

I made this rear spring rod on the same way, as Jürgen did back in the days.

So nice!

Oldschool with a little modern performance touch for vintage racing.

I raced the SPC with the solid axle on the super high grip indoor track in Geilenkirchen/Germany and made 2. place in my category. The car ran solid and had zero issues. Easy to drive and great handling!

After 35 years racing a 1:12 car again was super exciting! Especially, when it´s one of the very first 1:12 cars you have ever seen back in the days, when heroe´s were born, grew up and built their own succesfull rc companies.

Thanks to Jürgen Lautenbach for some of his inside information and help for this article!

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