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Interview with Billy Easton on the Cobra GT (20/06/2012)


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Cobra GT 1/8 onroad

Interview Cobra GT
Serpent is releasing  the Serpent Cobra GT, the new 1/8 scale gascar.  Below a brief interview with Billy Easton about the development

Q:  when did you start to develop the Cobra 1/8 scale car?
A:  The Cobra Gt car has been in development now for about 1 .5 years. Just before last years Ipanema GT world cup race in Homestead,FL.

Q:  We know you mainly from  design of Serpent offroad cars; how different is it to design  an onroad car, and how much onroad race experience do you have  as well ?

A: I dont really think there is a  major difference when designing an offroad car vrs. Onroad.  The demands on the car are different, but its still a car. I mean more specifically though, you are more interested in roll centers,camber gain, weight balance, center of gravity, on an onroad car. You basically pay more attention to other things more related to cornering, than going over big jumps and bumps.
My race experience in onroad is just about as vast as my offroad experience. Although not recently, but since the 90s I raced and won many titles in Electric touring car. I was pretty much in the Wolds finals every year since 2000, up until 2006 as well as I claimed a couple national titles along the way. In Gas nitro, I tqd a ROAR nationals and finished 2nd too many times, but for the most part all the nitro or electric onroad nationals I took part in,  I was a contender in the final.

Q:  what were the main design objectives  to achieve ?

A:  I think the main objective was to create a better car than what was currently on the market. There are always nice cars, durable, and so on. With the Cobra line, we already had already paid close attention to many critical factors. So, not only did we want to break into the GT market, but we wanted to give the customers, something they seemingly have not had available to them, a truly better car.

Q:  what are the key charasteristics of the 1/8 scale Cobra in racing ?

A:  When I was testing the GT, the one thing I noticed personally was how similar it felt to that of an EPTC. The roll and movement was extremely close. I figured it had a lot to do with the fact that, the tires are all rubber and similar in shape as well as the suspension geometry. The tuning of the car was also very much the same. You could change anything on the car and notice a difference in the performance on the track.  The results of those changes were very similar to that of a Rubber tire TC on asphalt ,which was something I was very familiar with. When talking about how to best describe the GT , it feels fast in the corners, with good balance and awesome driveability.

Q: What are the main aspects or features  of the Cobra GT that make it stand out In its class ?

A:  I think the biggest thing that customers will notice is the vehicle weight. When you take a look at the car, all the parts are built to be light. The design is extremely user friendly and easy to work on. The parts quality is second to none, and the durability is sure to impress. This car will take a licking and keep on ticking. The 4 shoe clutch is easy to build, adust and maintain. The shocks are super smooth and fully adjustable.

Q: Does the  Cobra GT share many parts with Serpent 966 or Cobra buggy ?

A: The Cobra GT is mainly based from the Cobra Buggy, but it does share a few drivetrain components from the 966. I would say its 85% Cobra buggy, 10% 966 and 15% Cobra GT.

Q:  which team drivers were especially used to give input and test the proto-types ?

A: There were a few guys that actually were able to run the car aside from myself. Early, on in testing Joaquin Desoto JR. was the test driver on an early prototype. Then came Paolo and Joaquin Sr. along with a couple other Desoto Racing drivers that raced the later pre production cars.. The skill levels were all different in those drivers, but the end results of success were the same in there racing.

Q: In which areas of the worlds is this class strong and how do you think it will develop

A:  I think where this class seems to be the strongest is in North and South America. They do race them some in other areas of the world, but im not sure they are as popular there as other classes. This class is really a class that could develop into something good. I think the cars are a little more durable especially with the full protective shells and big bumpers. This class is a car you can pretty much use anywhere. I mean, you can use it on your local street,parking lot or on a race track. There are not many cars you can do that with. I think it will appeal to people from funsters to full race, simply because it has a lot of places it can be used.

Q;   Are you in favour of keeping it a GT style class with good looking bodies ?

A: I think they should leave it as it is, perhaps refine the bodies rules a bit. I do like the sedan style bodies, so even if they adapted rules similar to those in TC spec, I would be happy.

Q: Are there plans to develop an RTR and also an electric powered version ?

A:  I  think we will be developing an RTR version as well as an EP GT.. With the sales potential as well as the customer demand, I think it would be silly of us not to consider those as future cars.

Thanks Billy.  We will follow your races through the year, and best of luck to achieve  the planned goals.