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Fast RC Car - Tamiya TL01 - 40mph

RC Cars and Trucks  >  On-road RC Cars  >  Tamiya TL01

Tamiya introduced the TL01 chassis back in 1997. It was a good platform used for on-road rc cars, rally and even off-road buggies. The enclosed shaft drive 4wd chassis provided good protection against rocks and dirt, great for beginners.

RC Car Tamiya TL01 Clean Wiring

Photo: Project TL01. An old kit hopped up with modern rc electronic equipment.

But how does it compare to modern touring cars? To find out, I've decided to do a "Project TL01" rc car to compete in the highly competitive and fast 13.5T brushless class.

Tamiya TL01 Hop Up Parts

For this project I wanted to keep the TL01 as basic as possible to the original kit design. I retained the plastic shock absorbers, drivetrain and suspension parts. But added some hop-ups parts designed for the TL01.

Tamiya TL01 Carbon Shaft Drive

Photo: The carbon shaft twisted under the power of the brushless motor. I added 2 ball bearings to support the shaft and prevent wobbling. Also put superglue on the carbon shaft to help resist twisting.

  • Carbon driveshaft
  • Lightweight chassis
  • Full ball bearings
  • Tuned springs

For power and speed, the following rc electronics were used.

  • Orion 7.4v LIPO battery pack
  • Speed Passion 13.5T brushless motor
  • HobbyWing ESC with turbo boost
  • Bluebird steering servo
  • Airtronics / Sanwa MT-4 radio controller

Body used is the Protoform Mazda 6. Tires were Sorex 36r. Inserts varied depending on track condition.

RC Touring Car Tamiya TL01 Steering Modification

Photo: Original front suspension had positive caster (not a good thing). Project TL01 used a Tamiya TA04 steering block to get negative caster. Also made adjustable camber links.

Tamiya TL01 versus Tamiya 416WE Kit

My daughter and I went to JP Raceway, a 100 feet by 50 feet indoor asphalt track to do the test. We took turns driving the same car while recording the laptime. As a comparison, we brought our Tamiya 416WE.

To keep things equal, the tires used on the TL01 were removed and put on the 416WE. The electronics (ESC, motor, radio control system) were also the same. Only different were the batteries, body and gearing.

For driving feel, I felt so happy driving the Tamiya TL01. It just felt so responsive to my driving style. It was very strong in the big sweepers but had a mid corner to exit on-power understeer. Turn-in was good.

Joel - 16.6 sec

Porsha - 17.8 sec

As a comparison, the Tamiya 416WE felt very light but more on the edge. Felt it rotated and turned the corners faster.

Joel - 16.1 sec

Porsha - 16.3 sec

In the end, the Tamiya TL01 kit was only 0.5 seconds slower than the modern Tamiya 416WE. Not bad for an rc car that is 15 years old and about 100 grams heavier.

Project TL01 Setup

  • Tamiya plastic CVA shock absorbers
  • Tamiya 2-hole white pistons
  • Associated 30wt shock oil
  • Rear gear diff, front spool
  • 1.5 camber front, 1.0 camber rear
  • 4.5mm ride height front, 5mm ride height rear
  • Tamiya white spring front, Tamiya yellow spring rear

There will be a touring car race this coming Saturday. I will race "Project TL01" to see how it compares in race condition.

Part II coming soon...

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