We’re delighted to bring you a World Exclusive interview with Kyosho’s designer extraordinaire Mr Yuuichi Kanai.
Please click ‘Read More’ for the interview.

P.S. Vote in our pollNB: First of all, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this interview.
YK: You’re welcome.

NB: Start by telling us a little about yourself.
YK: Yuuichi Kanai, I am 43, from Tokyo Japan, married, 2 kids, a boy and a girl.
I work in the design & development dept. and I am charge of the design of the 1/8 scale off road buggies for Kyosho.
Beside R/C, I am really into road cars, supercars actually. I am the lucky owner of a Ferrari F355B. The Lamborghini Miura P400S and Ferrari 512BB are my favorite cars.

NB: How did you get into R/C?
YK: When I was a kid, my uncle had a R/C boat and I used to play with it. It was fun and decided to give R/C a try myself. I got a R/C car, not a boat, because I was a big fan of cars already.

NB: What was your first R/C car?
YK: My first car was an 1/8 gas off road buggy called ‘Safari Buggy’ when I was 13. I started racing the very same year. I don’t remember well my first race, all I can recall is I qualified in the lower mains but then the race was canceled, I don’t remember why!

NB: Obviously winning the 1/8 off road Worlds in Las Vegas back in 2000 is probably your biggest achievment as a racer, but how many Japanese national titles have you won?
YK: I am not sure! I think 8. All in 1/8 off road. Actually I don’t race any other class.

NB: At first, R/C was a hobby, but it became your full time job. When did you make the switch and how did it happened?
YK: I knew pretty early on I wanted to work in the R/C industry, so when I was 21 I didn’t think twice when I had the opportunity to join the R&D department to design Kyosho’s off road buggies. I took part in the design of the original Burns. The Turbo Burns was the first car I designed completely.

NB: I understand your schedule has been extremely busy the past few months working on the new MP9 and that your nearly missed to attend the Kyosho Masters, is that right?
YK: Yes! The MP9 project has been taking all my time. I was running against the clock to get it ready for this race. The MP9 I am running here has been assembled and tested for the first time only 3 weeks ago at my local track in Saitama (North of Tokyo) where I do all my testing.
Basically it was possible to get the car on time for this race only because the MP9, like all the previous cars, is designed in Japan, but also entirely produced in Japan, actually all the suppliers are in Tokyo area, so reactivity is really good, we can do changes nearly immediately when necessary without loosing time in transport or communication.

NB: When did you start the MP9 project?
YK: I started to gather ideas about it back in February 2007, but the real design actually debuted in November 2007. My life has been only about the MP9, nearly everyday since November last year.

NB: How was the brainstorming stage? You bought all the cars from the competition to evaluate them for instance?
YK: No, I actually didn’t test any other cars. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to improve from the 777.

NB: You said you first ran the car 3 weeks ago, but didn’t you run an hand-made prototype earlier?
YK: Of course I did tested some of the key ideas of the MP9 in an hybrid 777, but I really didn’t run a complete MP9 prototype until all the molds and drivetrain parts were finished and this happened 3 weeks ago.

NB: What were the main goals when you started to design the MP9 ?
YK: The weight reduction, definitely. I wanted to make the new car a lot lighter than its predecessor and lower the CG. I can tell you the MP9 weights a few hundreds grams less than the 777.

NB: Weight reduction from the drivetrain?
YK: I don’t want to say too much, but yes, weight was reduced by developpping smaller front and rear diffs.

NB: You’ve shown me your car in details, but I know you don’t want me to disclose anything from what’s underneath the body yet, so let’s talk about details that our viewers can see from the outside. Obviously the engine looks further forward and toward the car centerline compared to the 777SP2 WC.
YK: Yes, the weight distribution has been drastically changed over the SP2WC, I moved the engine forward, inward and also slightly lowered it as well.

NB: I recall the 777 SP1 had originally its engine slightly forward, but then the engine moved back in the rear on the 777 SP2. Why have you chosen to move the engine forward on the MP9?
YK: I tested 3 types of engine positions. It is the one with the engine in such forward position that gave the best result, so it was retained for the MP9

NB: Is there any parts carried over from the 777?
YK: Not really, not even the screws which are hex screws now.

NB: I am not seeing any E-clips on hinge pins!
YK: Yes, hinge pins are captured with plastic cams into the braces. The kit will include several types of cams, to adjust Toe, Anti-Squat, and Kick-Up. The MP9 will be really adjustable. There will be a lot more possibility of adjustments than the previous car, including the car front and rear tracks width adjustments, but I can’t release too much info about this yet.

NB: The front upper suspension arms are really thin. Nearly as thin as the turnbuckle/rod end at the rear of the car. Why haven’t you chosen to use the turnbuckle/rod end also at the front, to reduce the number of parts reference for instance?
YK: There is no real technical reason. You already know I like road cars, those cars inspire me a lot, I study them a lot, and none of them have turnbuckle/rod end, they all use upper wishbone arms. So, I like my cars have front upper arms as well. That’s all.

NB: How would you describe the MP9 on the track compared to the 777?
YK: It is really early yet, I have really few tanks with the car, but definitely it is really light. It accelarates a lot faster than the 777, less roll (= less chance of traction roll…) and it jumps a lot better as well.

NB: When can we expect the MP9 to be available?
YK: Our target is end of September, early October.

NB: We’re looking forward to it. Thanks a lot Yuuichi san
YK: You’re welcome