We contacted the world team manager of HB Racing, Adrien Bertin to ask him some questions about the new D817 V2, the development of the range of 1/10 buggy, the departure of Cody King, Cole Ogden, the 2018 Worlds and many other things. Hi Adrien and thank you for giving us this interview. HB Racing unveiled at the beginning of the year the V2 of the world champion D817 nitro buggy. Can we say it’s a David Ronnefalk replica?

Hi everybody , the V2 is not named like this but it’s evident that it’s really close from what David is using already with the use of the same body shell. He is our first driver so we try to put him on the best conditions but for the final test, several European and us drivers have been involved in order to offer the most balanced product.

A question often comes up, what is the difference between the D817 and the V2 on the track?

First of all , the main goal was to offer out of the box the best car possible. I thought that we could improve a bit the efficiency of the rear end. Many of our drivers liked the optional rear shock package but still there was some space for a better solution specially on the landing. I guess with Torrance (Deguzman, HB Racing’s designer) we founded a good compromise and the wing has been a part of it. So the V2 use a new rear shock layout.


We have improved as well the feeling of the brakes using some O rings. It ’s more direct with a better control on low speed. A new flex set up is available in the center part of the car which can became more stiff and allows finer tuning specially on high bite. The use of the JConcept Silencer body improves the directivity. We have a new engine flywheel and stronger front C hub as well.

Are the upgrades fully compatible with the D817?

Yes completely!

A set with the necessary to evolve the D817 to the D817 V2 is it expected in the future more or less close?

We are thinking to do so but all the V2 parts are already available so everybody can updated his 817 like he wants.

The team seems very involved in the development HB Racing’s buggies and not only factory drivers. Is everyone involved or is it a face-to-face meeting between you, Torrance Deguzman, David Ronnefalk and Cole Ogden?

Our priority is to develop a chassis which is adapted to our customer, their satisfaction is a priority. It means that we confirm our technical choices with club racers drivers as well. David and Cole are there to show how fast the car can be but sometimes they are too good drivers and can hide some problems. It’s were with Torrance we have to find the proper balance with all theses infos.

Looks like HB Racing has tried to globalize the distribution of the D817 V2 and everything seems already available around the world. The HB Racing community is constantly growing, will you have enough kits available for everyone, at least in the beginning?

I think we have been pretty successful in improving the parts delivery and it was a priority. The sales channel has changed a lot last year and we are really satisfied with our new partners. There is a first batch already available worldwide but our growing success makes it’s probably not enough. The second delivery will be early February so still before some of our competitors.

There does not seem to be a rule regarding the kit release date at HB Racing. Should we expect a release every year like many other great RC brands?

I am not a big fan of the news at any cost. Priority is for me to let our customer getting a news which is an improvement. The goal is to let them have the benefit of our work asap. If the team has new parts, we try to have them available in the next two month.

How is the work between you and your designer Torrance Deguzman? Do you exchange ideas or work on your own with a guiding idea?

I have a great relation with Torrance, and it was before the brand became Neidhart property. He is in charge of our off-road design and has all the freedom to do it. I am checking with him all the programs and we check which solution can be used. We both have our competences and mission and it works really good like this.

Things had not gone as planned with Cody King who has since communicated about personal problems. We know your friendship with Cody who put Team Orion engines on the highest step at 2010 IFMAR Worlds. Can you tell us a few words?

I have to say I am really sad about this as I have always appreciated Cody and believed in him. When he asked to join the team, we had an ambitious project but unfortunately his problem wasted it. Our USA team with Victor Guerrero , Chad Philipps and Eddie Laret spent a lot of time and energy to help him but at one point the driver has to make his part of the job so we had to stop our relation with regrets. I just really hope he will be able to solve this situation and be back.

HB Racing has signed Cole Ogden, a talented and popular driver on the US scene. What do you think about him so far?

Our start is great with him and already successfull. Cole likes our cars and I bet he will be able to win big soon. More than his skills, he is appreciated and helpful to the team. It’s a quality which is essential in my drivers choices.

The development program seems for some time focused on 1/10 buggies. Should we still expect some news for 1/8 before the Worlds in Australia or will new products be unveiled only there?

2018 will be the year of the launch of the new 1/10 models. 4wd is almost ready and should be available in April if no surprise. The 2wd will come later as car will be completly new to be adapted to the new trend of high grip tracks. But we are still working hard to get a 3rd world title in a row in Australia 😉

David is expected at the 2018 Montpellier GP. It is an important race to compete for you?

Yes as any race we attend but as it’s the first race of the year, the drivers that can practice during winter are coming better prepared. Level is really strong in Europe, maybe the strongest actually so it will be a good preparation and test before going to USA for the DNC.

Thanks Adrien for answering our questions. See you in Montpellier!