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ZooRacing Preopard Review

With some big races ahead of me I was keen ensure that I could make my Tamiya TRF419 XR even more competitive. One component that rea...


With some big races ahead of me I was keen ensure that I could make my Tamiya TRF419 XR even more competitive. One component that really makes a difference is always the shell, so when I heard about the latest bodies from ZooRacing I was keen to give them a test.

ZooRacing have taken a fully 3D Cad design approach. This helps them to make precise adjustments on their designs. Importantly it also allows them to use full cfd (Computational Fluid dynamics) on the models to analyse the aerodynamics, a technique used in Formula 1.

There are two shells available at the moment, the Zoozilla (ZR0001-7 std weight ZR0001-5 lightweight) which is a medium downforce shell for carpet / asphalt, and the Preopard (ZR0002-7 std, ZR0002-5 lite) which is a high downforce shell for tight twisty tracks.

As I was running at a couple of local clubs with technical infields I thought I would first put the Preopard to the test.
In the packet you get the bodyshell and wing, mounting hardware decals and window masks.

The decals are not pre-cut but the headlight graphics look good and you also get some logo decals.

The Preopard is an aggressive shell with the large front splitter and an angular low front end.

This leads to some very pronounced A-Pillars.

The Air then flows over a very uniquely shaped roof  which promotes the airflow to the rear, and a forward positioned cabin that will make the car quite aggressive on the steering.

The front wheel arches are also quite pronounced, they are designed to ensure that the wheels do not rub the shell when cornering, also it has some very nice angled side details to help it from tucking.

The quality of the shell is very good, with clear defined lines and there are no imperfections on the lexan.

For this test I did a quick one colour job as I was eager to get it on the track, one of the nice little features of the ZooRacing shells is that they come with two sets of window masks. The first set allows you to just mask of the windows, the next set is smaller and they fit on the inner window markings so you can paint nice window boarders. So even my quick 1 coat shell looked better than normal.

For this review I used the lightweight shell, when painted up with the wing and decals it weighs just 64.5g and I used quite a lot of stickers :)

I mounted the shell in the neutral position. I test all of my shells like this so I can compare them to each other.

At the track

For the first night I just wanted get to grips with the Preopard and to tweak my set-up to accomodate its characteristics.

The track was large and on ETS carpet, however despite the size the infield was very technical, so much so that even the LMP racers were having some issues with some of the corners.
After a good nights racing, only a few marks ;)
I managed to get just a few laps of warm up to get a feel for the shell, unfortunately the additive had not really took hold and the track itself was very green (It's a temporary track, and had just been set up for the nights racing). So there was not much to learn other than the track was as tight as it looked.. and there were a few very brutal chicanes.

With the tyres all sauced up and a few last minute set-up changes to the TRF419XR I was ready for Q1. The traction on the track was still quite low but even after a couple of laps I noticed how quick and free the car felt entering into the tighter corners. Every lap the grip got better and I became more and more confident at throwing the car into the corners. The rear end was also very planted at these slow corners. I couldn't judge the high speed corners enough as the grip was so low that everyone was battling for grip at speed.

For Q2 I left the car as is. The grip was much better and the Preopard was really biting into the corners, it did give me a lot more initial steering than I expected, and it surprised me enough into actually turning in too quickly and clipping the inner corner markers. With this extra steering the TRF did feel a little too free on some of the higher speed corner apexes, I was keen to change my chassis set-up as I had made it quite soft and the grip whilst high in some places was inconsistent.

For Q3 I changed the set-up to be much more suited to the higher grip. I added the TRF419XR centre brace on the hardest setting, and swapped my shocks to 500 all around. When I took out the car it felt fantastic, the stiffness of the chassis just gave me a nice and consistent feel all the way through the corner and the Preopard shell provided me with great initial cornering and a free and fast feeling car at the Apex. I started to really push hard and was making great time, I started to get a little cocky and I hit one of the chicanes at top speed. Surprisingly the shell, even though it was lightweight took the hit and didn't crack. Despite loosing the time for the hit I managed to still pop the car on the top spot on the grid.

For the final I made a couple of small adjustments to the chassis (Lower screws), and the car was superb. I took of from the start and the Preopard was consistent and fast over the 5 minutes to take the victory with my fastest time of the day. I didn't drive the car as hard as it could go as it was a final so I was managing my own pace, but the Preopard was surprising me with the amount of steering it kept giving me.

For the second time out, I compared the Preopard with the Type-S. Over the course of the night I would alternate between shells. Preopard, then Type-S. I found the Preopard gave me a little more steering into the corner and was better at the apex. I kept the chassis set-up the same and did the same tyre prep. The best lap for the Type-S was 11.60 and the best for the Preopard was 11.37.

The third outing I tried the Preopard at a small local track. Again the shell delivered. I managed to beat my personal best lap-time and track record on its first time at that track :) The shell really was in it's environment, and people were coming over to take a closer look at it.

Overall

After trying the ZooRacing Preopard at several clubs it has been great at all of them. The shell has also been very resilient to damage, as I have really been pushing for the lap-times and had more than my fair share of knocks whilst exploring the limits.

I have not experienced any body tucks on the shell, it could be good fortune or the anti-tuck design has done its job on the few car to car collisions I have experienced.

Also as an aside, the large front arches seem to not rub on the front tyres on extreme braking, Normally my shells are covered with black marks on the inside. As testament to the resilience of the shell, after a few hundred laps this shell has hardly any marks looking really good. In fact these photos have been taken after several race meetings just to show how it lasts.

I am really impressed with the ZooRacing Preopard. It gave me lots of steering, helping the car feel alive, yet it manages to still have an assuring amount of rear grip. The ZooRacing shells are both EFRA and BRCA legal, so the Preopard is added to my selection of go-to race shells.

Next up, I will try the Zoozilla, I will report back on that soon.

For more information check out the ZooRacing website. (HERE) 
ZooRacing 5060677448010534713

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