world of champ’s weapon of choice, The
Introduced in ’97, the Street Weaponthe first American-made touring cartook a fair amount of criticism as an offroad car that had been made into a touring car. The critics said that it would never work, since it hadn’t originally been designed to run on smooth, touring-car tracks. Many of the early touring cars started as off-road vehicles, but the Street Weapon (SW) was introduced when the market was shifting toward “purpose-built” vehicles that had been designed from the ground up as full-suspension road racers. Amid the distraction of the ’97 off-road World Championships and the pressure of getting its touring car to market, Team Losi* released the first version of the SW. In part, it confirmed the suspicions of its critics because it had the same front-suspension geometry as the XX4-20 degrees of front caster. This enabled it to handle bumpy surfaces well, but limited its ability to deliver the lightning-quick steering response that we had come to expect. Added to this was the popular myth that it’s 3-belt drive system was less efficient than the conventional 2-belt system used in other cars; it all added up to a lukewarm response.
The IWC (IFMAR World Cup) Edition Street Weapon (modeled on the “all the hop-ups in one box” concept pioneered by Losi’s Graphite Plus truck and Kinwald Edition buggy), represents over a year and a half of design refinement. It has all of the optional race-bred parts that were developed during the same period, and it has enjoyed more racing success than any other car on the market. It won at the Worlds warm-up, the ROAR National Championship and the Cleveland US. Indoor Championship, and it dominated the IFMAR World Cup (hence the
“IWC^). The IWC Edition is a replica of the car David Spashett used to sweep the IFMAR World Cup.
There’s not much I can tell you about the IWC Edition that hasn’t already been told on the track. With wins at almost every major touring-car event, the Street Weapon has taken its place at the top in the most hotly contested racing class.
The stock setup of the IWC Street Weapon is as raceready as you can get. It has a confidence-inspiring feel, and you know that you can put it anywhere on the track. It works very well on an average asphalt track with the stock blue-compound tires. I installed a set of TRC* foam tires for the carpet runs (purple compound in the front, pink compound in the rear), and the car was equally impressive. I installed the light rear swaybar to take a little bite out of the car, but other than that, I stayed very close to the baseline setup.
Many of the team drivers prefer to place the left side of the saddle-pack battery in the forward position for sharper steering response, but I was very happy with the slightly softer response when the batteries were in the rear (and I didn’t have to fuss with battery tape).
There isn’t much more that I can add that the IWC Street Weapon-at least in prototype form-hasn’t already said for itself. It’s the dominant car at the highest levels of competition, and my experience only further cements the point that this is the most dialed touring car currently available. It has held its own against the top driving talents around the world. By virtue of its win at the Cleveland U.S. Indoor Championship-where all the touring cars ran stock motors-it has also dispelled any myths about the efficiency of its drive train.
It’s true that the IWC Edition is at the upper end of the price spectrum (about $299 on the street), but for all-out racing, it offers the best value. For the racer who intends to get every possible advantage by using hop-up parts, the car’s total price is considerably less than if you were to purchase all of the extra goodies separately.
There’s not much more to say, other than “get one” if all out-performance is your goal. There are other capable touring cars, but none have the Street Weapon’s winning record in the most hotly contested events of the year. Sure, its critics could still be out there saying, “It’s the drivers,” or “It’s the motors and batteries.” All of these other elements contribute to a winning effort, but in my humble opinion, “It’s the car!”
Copyright Air Age Publishing Mar 1999
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