Racing Legend series : Jilles Groskamp interview

With the 2014 world 1/10 championship ready to start, we have managed to get an interview with current world champion Jilles Groska...

With the 2014 world 1/10 championship ready to start, we have managed to get an interview with current world champion Jilles Groskamp, to get his take on being a champion, and to get some insights into how he has become such a great racer.

TheRcRacer – how did you get into the hobby?

As the Heemstede track wasn’t far away from my home I had a look once and soon I knew I wanted to race on that track. Before that I was already playing with a buggy on the street.

TheRcRacer - When you were young and developing your skills, who did you look up to in the racing community and why?

First I ran a couple of years club races and national races. After these 2 years I joined my first European Championship in The Netherlands and I was looking up to guys like Spashett and Oscar Jansen at that time. They were very good drivers and I wanted to be like them.
Jilles with Oscar at the recent TITC (Pic courtesy of RAB hobbies)

TheRcRacer - What is the one moment in your career that you realised you would be racing for the rest of your life?

When I got my first real sponsor I thought I can do this for a living for a couple of years, but now I already do this for more then 10 years for a living so I feel very fortunate.

TheRcRacer - Out of all the places you have raced, what's your favourite track and why?

Probably Lostallo in Switzerland. The track is huge and the area with the mountains and waterfalls is very nice.
The Lostallo track in Switzerland

TheRcRacer - When you work on your car, what's the most important aspect of pre race preparation for you?

When I practice the first thing I check is the chassis tweak, are the tires properly glued and I go through all set-up things such as droop, camber, ride heights and just a visible look if nothing is broken.

For a important race I usually prepare bodies, build my car as fresh as possible and have some spare parts build ready such as shocks/diffs/driveshafts.
Jilles teaching his son on the art of car maintenance (pic Joo Kiah Chhua)

TheRcRacer – When not at a large race meeting, what are the other tasks you do as a TRF Teams driver?

Test and improve the car at home.

TheRcRacer – Even though you are now a world champion and have won a large amount of trophies, do you get nervous before an important race?

Ofcourse, everyone is a little nervous. When I was younger I could not eat before a race and I was more nervous, now I take it a little more easy.

TheRcRacer - Making a small mistake when driving at your level can really cost, so what's your advice for people when they make a mistake and are under pressure to perform during a race?

I always try not to go 100% in the beginning of the race but build up your speed. Sometimes even someone is faster I will let him go and try to get him back later in the race.

TheRcRacer – What do you think is the key to improving a drivers skill on track, is it track time, set-up or something more esoteric?

Sure track time helps a lot, but surely ask people who are faster than you about set-up and driving lines as this will help as well.

TheRcRacer – With more and more new manufacturers creating 1/10 onroad cars, we have seen an accelerated range of design innovations, recently Flex has become a popular trend in chassis design, what other types of innovations do you think we could expect in the future?

Chassis flex is probably the most important factor at the moment, and you need to test a lot to understand when is what needed. Honestly I don’t know what will be the next big change on the touring car design, but shocks are very interesting to test and I think something can be done to make the shock and car works much better.

TheRcRacer – You made an amazing move in the 2012 worlds where you launched your car over the line in a do or die move to take victory in the round, can you describe the feelings you had when you took that gamble, and the resulting sensation once you realized you had won the Worlds at your home track in front of family and friends?

That move was something I never thought about before. During the first final and in the final lap I had a feeling we will not run the extra lap so I took the change in the last corner to go full over the finishline knowing that I will be sure second but to win that leg was really unbelievable and later it also meant I would win the Worlds because that move! It was a fantastic feeling to win in front of so many people , Family and friends!

TheRcRacer – What words would you say best describe your driving style?

Smooth and defensive.
Jilles with his 2012 TRF team mates

TheRcRacer – You have raced many of the TRF onroad chassis cars, excluding the TRF419 which one do you have the most fond memories off, and why?

Ofcourse the 417V5 because this car has it’s name because of the World Title I took for Tamiya. The 416 was in my opinion the best car and I had a lot of good memories winning races with that car including the Euros in 2009.
Jilles special TRF release of the TRF417x The V5 (Victory 5) 

TheRcRacer – The world championship is now very close, do you feel prepared? What challenges do you foresee ahead and is the pressure different as the reigning champ?

I have done much testing and I prepared all my cars/bodies so I feel ready. My challenge is to fight for the title but I also have to be realistic and if I can make a top 10 it’s surely not bad because you never know what can happen in the race. I don’t feel pressure being the reigning World Champ, I’m so happy I already got my title and it will be no loose for me if I don’t win again.

TheRcRacer – Who do you think will be your stiffest opponent at the worlds?

I think it will be Ronald Volker. Ronald have been on top most of the races this year and he is surely the favourite going to the event.

TheRcRacer - RC racing can be just as technical as racing full sized cars. Have you ever tried racing full size cars? If you had the chance would you have liked to have been an F1 driver or perhaps something else?

I like full size race cars, I never drove on the track but if I had the money to race fullsize I will do it!
Jilles TRF417x That he drove to win the worlds

TheRcRacer - For many of us racing RC cars is a hobby but for you it's your job. So what are your hobbies and how do you relax away from the track?

RC cars is surely also my hobby as I also have a lot of fun racing. Sometimes I just go to the track and hang out with other racers and have a drink. I also spend much time with my family when I’m home and play with my two boys outside on the street. If I have some spare time I like to play golf.

TheRcRacer – You have recently been driving the TRF419, what are your initial impressions of the car and how will these changes benefit the club racer?

The TRF419 is a completely new car with my changes. It has some “old” ideas from the 416 which makes it much easier to drive. The new diff gives more traction so the car is more stable and carries more cornerspeed.
Jilles will be racing the 419 at this years worlds

The RcRacer – You now live in Asia, how does the racing scene compare to that of Europe?

Fortunate in Thailand the racing scene is very good. Monthly I can race against Hara, Meen and Surikarn to name a few. Of course to stay competitive its also a must to go back to Europe to race with the European guys to keep up.

TheRcRacer - What's the one bit of advice you would give to new people interested in Racing RC cars?

Start slowly and have fun first. Don’t buy too many option parts because in the early stage it will not bring anything.

TheRcRacer – We are very passionate about grass roots support for racing, and believe that the hobby should always do its best to attract youngsters. In this age of iPads and so many other diversions how do you think the hobby can keep the young engaged?

True, I think with the new generation it’s harder to attract people and especially youngsters to the hobby. I think schools should do more with RC cars, let the children build, play and race with it and maybe they will get interested to have an RC car at home and hopefully do some more seriious racing with it. Furthermore I feel like organisations such as IFMAR/EFRA should organise events at better locations so people actually can see the RC cars racing instead of doing events in the “middle of nowhere”!

Thanks again to Jilles for this interview, you can get set-ups and info from his JG Racing page here

Check out the interview with his teammate and new 2014 1/12 WC Marc Rheinard here
Tamiya TRF 1707857731946832810

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