After spending so much time in a media blackout, we finally get to see what Zepher were concentrating on. Their ZX is a bold statement of their new priority. Putting a new spin on the unusual visual style carried over from their civil craft, this ship was a huge suprise for the company’s small but enthusiastic fanbase.
The ship’s stature belies it’s impressive handling and the shielding technology is exceptional, allowing the craft to easily trade blows with even CEN-R’s impressive effort. With Zepher’s new young pilot ‘Yucchan’ (real name undisclosed) proving very popular in AG circles, it’s expected that Zepher are going to become a household name on track.
Zepher’s ZY is the logical evoloution of it’s predecessor, building on their design study and taking the classic Zepher styling forward in new directions. The ship’s exterior design has been reimagined, with a new unsealed shell that shows off the craft’s powerful chassis and adds some definite muscle to the ship’s appearance.
While the same elements are visible in the design, the internal structure has been completely revamped. A now-combined powerplant and thruster turbine improves the ship’s top speed, while a move from one central modular AG-device to two improved, specialised models gives the craft another boost to it’s handling. Clever changes have been made to the powerplant that incorporates energy recovery techniques, and this powerplant assists an all-new shielding technology, putting the ship on par with Helios as one of the toughest teams on track.
The focus on shielding and handling improvements means the thrust technology itself is not the best; but when the ship has an almost impenetrable hull, very little can slow it.
This ship further establishes Zepher’s commitment as a top-level racing team, and it’s clear they are here to stay.
History / Flavour
Zepher PR, public statement, August 2185:
Hello to all fans of AG! We at Zepher are proud to finally reveal our secret project. We started this late in 2182, and it is finally done – an ARC-150 class racing craft.
Our Zepher ZX represents a new direction for our company. No longer are we limiting ourselves to civil development; we’re expanding our boundaries with this announcement. We’ve put our heart and soul into making a fully-fledged racing division and our ZX is the most advanced craft we’ve produced yet – it even holds the lowest drag coeffecient of all ships on track, thanks to our construction tech. Of course, the craft is designed in typical Zepher styling; and our upcoming Prototype model craft is set to take our design philosophy even further, and solidify our new position as a solid racing team.
And of course, a special greeting to all our wonderful Zepher fans – get ready for a new age. We’ve arrived.
Japan has always been the center of AG-Racing. Any AG fan will tell you about the long and colourful history Japan’s racing scene possesses, and for hopefully obvious reasons the country is held in very high regard by the scene as a whole. One only needs to look upwards to see the relics of the past.
But mention “Zepher” during those early years and you will struggle to find a response, as the team was not very well known in the public – almost completely hidden in the shadow of the big business. Based in Mount Unzen and taking their name from the word “Zephyr” or “Light wind”, Zepher have unfortunately been plagued with troubles and uncertainty since their inception, where they were met with scorn by assembling a strictly female team. With their unusual location, the test track they developed was continually turned down for inclusion in the racing leagues, and they attempted numerous times to enter higher competition, without success. Their controversial political stance caused some additional issues, and they struggled to find sponsorship.
When the league collapsed, Zepher’s relative anonymity was it’s saving grace. Without any true ties to the league corruption, they became one of the more popular AG companies and spent the intervening years as a civil manufacturer before the sport was resurrected.
Zepher finally caught their break in the form of the ARC-150 – a fresh start. After spending so much time in uncertainty, they were excited to finally go racing. Ostensibly continuing their work in civil AG, they quietly designed a totally new model of racer, pouring their heart and soul into the project to create a ship unlike anything seen previously. Designed as the sleekest ship on the scene, the Zepher ZX boasted the lowest cd-value of any ship, doing justice to its name. Painted in an overall green, the ship evokes the mountain circuit that is its home.
Zepher’s intervening years had earnt them a cult following, and in 2185 the ship was revealed to wild acclaim – an instant success. Not only did it earn them a place in the league, their test track became one of the official league circuits – Zepher’s alpha track, “Alphard”.
Just like their country of origin, Zepher boast a long and colourful history of AG development and connection. They have put in the hard work and endured the trials, but their determination has paid off. As the ARC-150 begins, it’s clear that Zepher are more than ready to go racing.