Before the main competition of Robot Wars: Series 8 was filmed, a pilot episode was held in front of a live audience, allowing the production crew to practice running the programme, ahead of the televised episodes. It was filmed on March 1st 2016, within a single day, and no footage of the episode has been publicly released.
|Weapons||11kg electric hammer|
|Team: Grant Cooper|
|Team: John Wilkinson, Alan Wood, David Wood|
|Team: Alan Young|
|Team: Paul Streeter|
|Defence||HARDOX armour, mild steel chassis|
|Team: Calum Jones, Kane Eroglu, Toby Tennant|
|Weapons||Single tooth spinning disc|
|Team: Adam Hamilton, Matthew Pearman, Jack Tweedy, Craig Croucher|
|Defence||HARDOX and titanium|
|Team: Ed Wallace|
|Weapons||Crusher with harpoons|
|Team: John Freeman, Chris Freeman|
Basher vs Ka-Pow! vs Tanto vs TurbulenceEdit
In the opening moments of the battle, Tanto charged towards Ka-Pow!, completely driving over the top of the wedge, somersaulting through the air and landing with an impact. Tanto's removable link fell out upon landing, and it was immobilised. The pit was opened, and Basher pushed Tanto into it, but overbalanced in the process, and both robots fell into the pit. Ka-Pow! and Turbulence qualified, having needed to do very little.
Qualified: Ka-Pow! & Turbulence
Merlin vs Monte vs Reaper vs WraithEdit
Before the match began, Wraith was powered on, but caught fire internally. This damage forced Wraith to withdraw from the competition, and the battle went ahead with just Monte, Reaper and Merlin.
- "Link was plugged in and followed by flame. A lot of flame."
- — Craig Croucher
Monte could not stand up to the power of the two flippers, and it quickly lost drive to one of its wheels. Left spinning around in circles, Monte was pitted by Reaper. Although Merlin and Reaper had now qualified, both robots fought a head-to-head battle until cease was called at the end of three minutes.
Qualified: Merlin & Reaper
Reaper vs TurbulenceEdit
Reaper entered the battle with an immediate disadvantage, as prior to the battle, the valve that fires its flipper had ceased up. This led to issues with regulating gas within the robot, although Reaper managed to self-right after Turbulence's first flip. After this, however, Turbulence flipped Reaper again, and it could not self-right, so Turbulence won the battle via KO.
Winner: Turbulence via KO
Ka-Pow! vs MerlinEdit
The main contest between the two robots was very brief, as Ka-Pow! drove directly into the pit, not long after the battle had started. As the match was so short, Merlin changed its focus to the House Robots. Merlin drove into the clutches of Dead Metal, which caused sparks to fly as it attacked with its saw. Regardless, Merlin was still victorious.
Winner: Merlin via KO
Merlin vs TurbulenceEdit
In the longest battle of the Pilot, Merlin and Turbulence fought a relatively even match, trading flips on each other. However, Turbulence was the more effective throughout, and cease was called at the end of three minutes.
The Judges had to declare a winner, the first example of a Judges' decision from Professor Sethu Vijayakumar and Dr Lucy Rogers. Turbulence was deemed to have the upper hand in aggression and control, and won the battle.
Winner: Turbulence via Judges' decision
All main episodes of Series 8 were filmed across several days, but due to the pilot episode being completed within a single day, time constraints proved to be a problem in the pilot episode. Ultimately the second round was settled despite only half of the six planned battles being filmed. Reaper was eliminated after only participating in a single battle, while the undefeated Turbulence progressed to the Heat Final. Despite Merlin having defeated Ka-Pow! in their head-to-head, Ka-Pow! was chosen to progress to the Heat Final, creating a new match-up.
Qualified: Ka-Pow! and Turbulence
Ka-Pow! vs TurbulenceEdit
Turbulence and Ka-Pow! were drawn against each other, having qualified through the same first-round battle. After a valiant performance, Ka-Pow! was ultimately pitted by Turbulence, which had won the pilot episode without losing a single match.
Episode Winner: Turbulence
- Every main episode of Series 8 featured a single semi-finalist from the Seventh Wars, and the Pilot somewhat continued this trend, as Reaper was a replica of a Series 7 semi-finalist The Grim Reaper.
- This episode would have created an undefeated robot, as Turbulence lost no fights during the episode - however, it would later lose a whiteboard battle to Infernal Contraption.
- The majority of the competing teams were members of the production staff, with Merlin being driven by Alan Young, Turbulence being driven by Ed Wallace, Monte being driven by Paul Streeter and Basher being driven by Grant Cooper.
- The pilot episode was the only instance of a robot reaching the Heat Final despite not winning a battle in the second round.
- Unlike the main series competitors, the roboteers in the pilot episode were not compensated for their participation.