Next in our ETS Family interviews is multi-time ETS winner, Viktor Wilck. Hailing from Sweden, Viktor has an impressive list of race results against his name, including two Reedy Race titles alongside his many European victories.
Hi Viktor, and thanks for taking the time for this interview. As we’ve asked all the drivers so far, it’s strange time for the world right now, so how are you doing and is the family staying well?
Hi Guys, my family and myself are doing all right. We try to not meet too many at same time and take our distance. Hope all of you and the ETS crew is staying healthy and safe.
So, without racing, how do you keep yourself busy right now? Sweden seems to be much more ‘open’ than many other countries, so have you still been able to go to the track at all?
I try to promote the brands I’m supported from as much as possible with setup, videos and support to their customers online. As you say Sweden has tried a different approach to the situation with keeping most of our shops and business open as much as possible. We still have a limit of 50 people for an event or gathering, and there is still no official race organized by our federation. We can go to the tracks and there are people coming back for practice now, so I’m very happy about this.
Where in Sweden do you live? How long have you lived there, and do you like that area?
I live in Gothenburg, the second capital of Sweden on the west coast. I lived here all my life and I like our “medium” sized city next to the sea where you can find all necessary brands, shops and restaurants while still not being too big and crowded city. Our airport is 20min from the city, which is also nice with all our travelling.
One thing all racers seem to love is seeing each other’s RC space at their home. Have you got a separate room for your RC stuff? Where do you do your ‘RC Work’ usually?
Yes, we moved to a new apartment last year that allowed me to get an office and RC room to do my daily work to my cars :)
Going right back to the start then, how did you first get started in RC racing? What can you remember from the early days?
When I was about 11 years old I watched an older neighbour playing with his Kyosho car on the parking lot. We later went to the local club and after we started racing we went to races for more than 10 years together; I have a lot to thank Bjorn my old neighbour that taught me a lot and helped me out in my early days racing. My biggest memory when I was young was a podium finish on the off-road nationals back in 2000.
Was there anyone you looked up to when you started racing? Did you ever think it would become your full time career?
When I started, my first car was a 2WD Team Losi XX. Back then there was no touring car class and the biggest stars were Brian Kinwald, and Masami Hirosaka, so probably those two. I used to check the car action RC magazine and read about all the big races. Of course it was a dream to become full time RC driver, but it was never the goal. It slowly emerged as a possibility when I made the A-final and 5th place at my first IFMAR world championship back in 2006, when I was 18years old and started to think what to do once school is finished.
You are a full time RC driver. How long have you been “working” as a racer for, and did you have any ‘real’ job before you were a full time driver?
I started to work at local distributor, PROCAR in 2007. Back then it was the Horizon distributor in Sweden. I worked there for a few years on the side until there was not enough time than to go to races. I learned a lot from the staff and the owner Lars helped me a lot with connection to the RC brands and the industry. At the same time I was offered a contract with TAMIYA as a factory driver. I have always tried to keep in contact with distributors or other companies during my RC career. This is something I think can be useful in the future and important to understand the other side of the industry, rather than only racing.
If we think about the beginning years of the ETS Championship, you were always a contender and part of the mighty Tamiya team then. What was this like to work with people like Marc and Jilles every week?
We had a great time together, back then ETS was not so big and just getting started. I think there was a more relaxed feeling in the beginning of ETS and new places for events, so I think everyone was very excited and enjoyed those years. I think later when looking back at it, it was quiet a big deal to race for such a big company as TAMIYA. Everyone at the company was very supportive and I can’t thank enough for the support from Maezumi, Suzuki and Kono. Together with the drivers we made a great team that dominated the touring car class for a few years and built a good friendship until this day.
Since Tamiya later decided to cut back (and eventually completely close) it’s racing team, you moved on to Serpent, where you were really their top electric driver. With a lot of Serpent then based in China, you had quite a lot of trips to Asia then. What do you remember best from your time with the ‘Orange brand’?
In the last years at TAMIYA I felt I needed to try something new to get back my motivation. About 2 years before TAMIYA started to close down the factory team I made the decision to move to Serpent. I think with Serpent I had a very close relationship to the factory and the people behind the company. It was good to learn a different racing scene in Asia and I got to do more races, which helped my driving, and consistency. Probably the greatest moment with SERPENT was to put a brand new car platform (the Project 4X) on the podium and 3rd place at the IFMAR World Championship in Beijing, China.
And now, you’re with Infinity. Initially you were re-united with the ‘old Tamiya team’, what was it like to have your old friends and teams all together again?
Yes, it was like getting back to the TAMIYA team feeling but of course with different company. I had a very good welcome and feel I made a successful first year with the INFINITY team.
And now, with Marc and Yannic no longer part of Infinity, you have more responsibilities in the European electric scene really – what is the team like for you now?
It was sad to see Marc and Yannic leaving the team. But we have to look forward. We still have a big team. And with myself and Jilles in Europe, and Naoto, Akio and many more in Asia I’m sure we can do good results in the upcoming season.
And alongside this, you are also the European Manager for the Dash line of electronics from Arrowmax, a fairly new brand. What is it like working with them?
I’m really happy to work together with the people at Arrowmax and DASH, they supported me also before and I look forward to take on more responsibility. DASH is fairly new brand but we already made a good stance in the market and I think we can continue to grow the team and develop the products.
What race result are you most pleased with if you think back on all your racing? Perhaps your two Reedy Race titles stand out the most?
Of course my first Reedy title stands out with Tamiya, that one felt special and always was a race I wanted to win. But I’m also really happy to be able to win my second Reedy title last year with INFINITY in my first year with the team. After that I would say my two runs with 3rd place at the IFMAR world championship and my two ETS wins.
And is there any track or race you didn’t go to yet, that you really want to visit?
Perhaps racing in Australia would be nice, I was never able to go to an event there.
RC racing has changed a lot over the years. What has been the most fun or exciting event you can remember being too? Maybe something you’d like to go back and experience again?
When I was younger and started to go to international events the Snowbirds in Florida was very exciting racing 24/7. IIC in Las Vegas was always very special with so many things to do around the track. And I have to say the ETS in Gran Canaria - that was a special race and something I hope we can go back to in the future.
Thinking of when you aren’t at the ‘big races’, do you do much racing in Sweden – either National events or club races? How is the on-road scene in Sweden usually?
I do the nationals every year and try to do as many races as possible back home, always nice to meet the old friends and race at your local clubs. The on road scene has been on the low but slowly starting to pick up again.
Outside of RC racing, what other hobbies do you have, or what do you like to do in your free time?
Just enjoy hanging out with friends and I try to do some sports occasionally.
And what about other sports – is there anything else you play yourself, or follow closely? Do you have a team or player that is your favourite?
I follow Formula 1, Valentino Rossi in MotoGP, had the opportunity to meet Rossi in Mugello, so he will always be no1, and Tiger in Golf. Try to play Tennis and Padel with my friends as much as possible.
And finally, I guess you’re hoping things get back to ‘normal’ soon and we can get racing properly again. What would you say you have missed most during this COVID-19 time?
Of course racing, that has been too long now. And just meeting all friends around the world, I hope everyone stays safe and healthy and we see us back at the track soon!
So Viktor, thank you for your time. We hope you, your family and friends stay well and look forward to seeing you at the track again soon. As we close – is there anyone else you want to thank or acknowledge that you didn’t so far?
Thanks for having me and great job with the column Oli! I like to thank my sponsors who still support me in these difficult times, big thanks to: INF1NITY, SMJ, DASH, ARROWMAX, PRO-SPEC, SWEEP, MPE, TD-DESIGN, RACEBERRY
|06.||Frederik B. Mikkelsen||592pts|
|05.||Martijn v. d. Heijden||303pts|
|04.||Steven M. Olsen||598pts|