Driver Profiles

(AP) Your Full Name
(GH) Gustav Heinrich Heymann.

(AP) Where do you work, and/or, what do you do?
(GH) The company is called Business Connexion, recently changed to this name after an exciting black empowerment deal (the company was previously known as Comparex Africa). The department I work for is called Business Support, where we create the technical and commercial components of IT based service related agreements with many of the current South African blue chip organisations.

(AP) Where do you live in South Africa?
(GH) Waterkloof Ridge, Pretoria.

(AP) How long have you been racing slot Cars?
(GH) Too long….. Seriously, my interest was aroused when a friend of mine brought around his 1/32 Monogram Ferrari 275P. By that time I had fooled around on Scalex tracks, but this car blew my mind due to its speed and beauty. From there on I was hooked. This was in 1966……
During 1969 a number of us joined a slot car club close to Fountains Circle in Pretoria, called Atoms. We were still in school, and formed a junior club. The highlight would be when we could go and race against the grown ups on Tuesday nights during school holidays. We started out with Cox l'il Cuccarachas, but very soon built our own brass plate based cars.
My first National event was in Durban 1975, where I came stone last. I won my first National 5 events later - at the first National in Kroonstad in 1977.

(AP) Can you remember what your first slot car was?
(GH) My first car of note was a Cox Cheetah. I actually wanted a Monogram Ford GT, and gave my brother the loot to buy it (a whole R10). He, however, came home with this Cheetah, much to my disgust. As time went on I really got to like it. At the time when boys discover girls and the like my interest waned, and the Cheetah vanished. I bought an identical one a few years ago, so this is the pride of my collection.

(AP) Do you still own it?
(GH) No (see above).

(AP) How many years have you been racing competitively?
(GH) As kids we had some serious sprint and nine hour races at Atoms (the track that was in Newcastle prior to their current 6 lane track). This was 1969 to 1971.

At the end of 1973 a track was set up in a shopping centre. I gave this one look, went home, dug up my cars, went back (all by bicycle, 10 km each way) and played. During 1974 this track was put up in a shop close to the University of Pretoria, and a new club was formed, named Pretoria Model Car Club. Competition here was so tough that no week would go by without at least one new car built by someone in the club in order to attain that elusive edge. Racing nights were on Tuesdays. The club would be choc-a-bloc every Monday nigh with people testing new cars and ideas, and one could go past the club at virtually any stage during the weekend and be sure to find at least one person practicing.
The game was raised to such an extent that the three minute record moved from 36 laps to 44 laps within 18 months. I can still remember dicing for 12th place in club races during the early stages of 1976, and finishing 3rd in the South African championships at the end of 1976.

To sum up, my National career started in 1975 and has yet to stop.

My international career started in 1993 when I competed in my first World Championship race in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK. The best result was a 5th place in the Demon class, and qualifying 4th in 1/32 Eurosport.

I went to Dordrecht, Holland in 1994 on very short notice (2 weeks) and managed an 11th and a 12th place.

The next ISRA race was in Forli, Italy in 1996, a bad year, where my best placing was 19th.

The ISRA race in Southampton in 1997 proved to be quite a good one, with a 2nd place in 1/24 Production, a 7th place in 1/32 Eurosport and a 14th place in Formula 1.

Toronto 1999 was a disaster, with a best placing of 14th - everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

We went to Sicily in 2001 with high hopes, but apart from a 4th place in 1/24 Production the pace proved to be too hot when our cars did not break.

I was invited to JP van Rossem's race in Diepenbeek, Belgium in 2002, where we raced Plafit cars. Here I was beaten into 2nd place by the winner's car coasting past mine after power off on the Saturday. The Sunday race brought a 3rd place, less than a lap down on the winner.

The return to JP van Rossem's race in 2003 in Ostende was not successful. An errant windscreen kept me out of the Momo/Plafit final, while I missed the 1/24 Open Group 12 final by one place.

(AP) Your BEST achievement(s) in the Hobby?
(GH) As shown above, my best achievements were the 2nd place in 1/24 Production in Southampton, less than a lap down on the winner, and the 2002 race in Diepenbeek.

(AP) How many Controllers do you own?
(GH) I currently have 3 controllers, two Difalcos and one Slotwiz.

(AP) Which is the best out of them all?
(GH) I find that I use one Difalco for Specials and Modified Group 12, the other Difalco for 1/24 Production and the Slotwiz for the plastic classes.

(AP) Do you have a track at home?
(GH) I have a track in a table that actually belongs to Russell Sheldon. The track, as it is, has corners that are too tight, and is thus not practical to race on. I have intended rebuilding it for the past 4 years.

(AP) What scale classes do you race, which do you prefer and why?
(GH) The classes I race vary with time, but I have raced all 5 National classes this year. We also race Fly classics and TSRF at club level. The most important to me is the competition, so the class does not matter so much. Having said this there is nothing that beats the thrill of hoofing a really fast car (like a Special or a 1/24 Eurosport) around a track.

(AP) What is the make-up of your quickest. (Elaborate on chassis/motor/body etc)
(GH) a) 1/24 scale car
I take this to be 1/24 Production. Here I currently use a Mossetti Titan, sealed Parma Super 16D with Goldust brushes and oodles of brush tension, a gear ratio varying between 11/36 and 11/38, an Easyslot Mercedes and tyres to suit the traction available.

b) Mod grp 12/Special
My current quick Special is the newest-but-one DVR, a 6 magnet Rolf Lundberg setup, a 31T27 arm and a 6/37 gear ratio. The body last used was an Easyslot Porsche K8 Evo.
My best modified Group 12 is a 1999 Mossetti chassis with a TWP setup, Proslot G12 arm and 6/37 gear ratio. The body currently in use is a BPA Reynard.

c) Plastic Sportscar
Here the Slotit Audi is my favourite, with a Cartrix 30,000 rpm motor, 9/28 ratio and Fly Ford GT40 tyres.

d) Plastic Touring Car
The Ninco Merc seems to rule this class. Tyres used are SCX slicks. Not much more can be said as most things need to remain standard.

(AP) If you could be, which F1 Driver would you be, and why?
(GH) My hero as a kid was Jim Clark, whom I still consider to be the best driver ever. He could place a car on the proverbial dime lap after lap, and I would be proud to be half the driver he was. My current favourite is Michael Schumacher - the thinking driver as proved once again in Montreal 2004.

(AP) "I race with my set at home, and I'm interested in joining the club to race plastic cars, what is the most important factor in your opinion in being quick and fast at your club?"
(GH) Practice, practice and some more practice. Somewhere in there (given that you put some good thought into it) you will learn to set up a car. Also, do not be shy to ask people for help in setting up cars or for driving tips.

(AP) The most important aspect of racing slot cars and winning is...
(GH) …the enjoyment of competing (and winning).

(AP) In any classes, does the fastest motor win the races, or is there more to it than flat-out speed.
(GH) People always seem to think that a car (as opposed to a driver) is the biggest factor when a race is won. I believe this to be wrong in most cases. It is just too easy to say that one was beaten because of better or more expensive equipment used by the winner. As a point in case I believe that none of the 1/24 Production cars sold as a result of the buy-out rule at Nationals has ever won a National event in the hands of the new owner.
If we do speak about the car, it needs to work properly as a unit. This is not necessarily achieved with the fastest or most torquey motor. The quickest motors I have seen around for plastic cars are the TSRF and Falcon II (rated at 37,000 rpm), yet very few people manage to turn cars using these into winners, as these have strange torque characteristics.

(AP) Finally, Besides Slot Cars, what other interests do you have?
(GH) Real racing, particularly Formula 1. Apart from this sport in general, ranging from cricket to golf, rugby, soccer etc.

(AP) Many thanks for your time Gustav.

For general interest, and hopefully something we can always learn from fellow competitors, I decided to create a section on Driver Profiles.. This was an idea which I got after attending the Worlds in Belgium last year, and, if anything, will certainly make for interesting reading, and for those wondering about some important questions in our hobby, who better to answer them for you than the Country's top Slot Car drivers, and fellow enthusiasts.

My first "Target" ultimately has to be the Best in the Country, and, if I was an international reporter doing a similar project, I'd be on the M. Schumacher case... but, nonetheless, here is "our version" of him, Mr Gustav Heymann.