If you’re into the RC hobby, you won’t need an introduction to Pro-Line Racing and PROTOform. For decades, the two brands have brought us some of the best in RC bodies, wheels, tires, paints and more. Let’s get a peek behind the curtain of these respected brands as we sit down with Eric Epp, who works product development for both, to see how he got started in the hobby, what he’s been doing in the industry and more.
How and when did you come to start in RC?
I’ve been around the hobby for as long as I can remember. My dad founded PROTOform when I was 6 years old, so many of our family vacations and father/son road trips as a kid included checking out an RC race somewhere in America. My earliest memories are of the huge oval race in Lake Whippoorwill, Florida and the US Indoor Champs in Cleveland. Not to mention always seeing the latest PROTOform projects come to life in my Dad’s shop. It was only in 2012 that I got the opportunity to make it a career.
What type of RC do you specialize in?
I have mostly been involved in the competition on-road scene as PROTOform Brand/Team Manager, product development, and competing myself as a racer. Over the last couple years however, my role has broadened to include development of Pro-Line bodies and accessories across 1/10 and 1/8 off-road racing, rock crawling, drag racing…you name it! The variety of projects and scenes of RC I get to be involved in is one of my favorite parts of the job so I wouldn’t say I currently have a specialty.
What types of RC do you enjoy the most?
My favorite RC vehicles to drive are 1/8 Nitro On-Road cars: the Formula1 of RC. There is nothing that can compare to the speed,
sounds, smells, teamwork, and adrenaline rush of 1/8… its true motorsport, just scaled down!
What was your first RC vehicle?
It was an F1 car with foam tires, made by Yokomo I think, that I used to chase around my parents’ kitchen on the linoleum tile! It’s been fun getting my two young kids into RC now, starting them out with a Pro-Line PRO-2 short course truck.
What are two must have upgrades you would recommend for any RC?
I might be a little biased, but bodies and tires! You can give your RC a completely unique and personalized look with a new body and custom paint job, not to mention the performance upgrades if you are competing. As for tires, they are the number one most important upgrade to improve the handling or fun-factor of your car or truck.
What future projects can you tell us about?
Two segments of RC that are exploding right now are Drag Racing and Speed Run/Street Bashing. We’ve got some really awesome new drag & street bodies on the way for your No Prep and ARRMA large-scale on-road cars, as well as a few other tricks up our sleeves…
One of the biggest RC news stories of 2020 was the merger of Horizon and Pro-Line. How has this affected you?
At first there was a lot of uncertainty but once we got some new processes down, it’s truly been for the best. The collaboration we now have with the product developers at Arrma, TLR and Axial is so fun to be a part of. We can share CAD files with each other to get head starts on new projects and also bounce ideas off each other to bring all our new projects to the next level. I can’t wait for our customers to see some of the collaboration projects we
Text by RCCA Staff
Images courtesy of Eric Epp