I mentioned earlier that fitting the electrics and painting the body takes me a long time, so there are not so many pictures here because there is not much to say, but it was several hours work for me to get from the rolling chassis to the finished car!
The first couple of steps in Bag E are fitting the motor and servo. The motor mount doesn’t have a very large range of gearing options, with a maximum of a 24T pinion to mesh with the kit 79T spur, and Tamiya’s only option is a 77T spur. I suspect that B4 spurs will fit. The motor cover doesn’t give much space for the pinion either. The gearing options are fine for a modified motor (I run an 8.5) but might need some thought to get a good ratio for stock motors (which are not generally run in the UK with buggies). Tamiya supply two lengths of screw to mount the motor with, I used the 8mm ones, just make sure that they don’t make contact with the internal parts of the motor when tightened.
Next step is fitting the servo. I treated myself to a new low-profile Futaba BLS551 – and it was a good thing that I did as there is no way I could have got my (large) electrics in with a standard servo! While I was trying to set the servo up, I realised I wasn’t happy with the standard installation. The main issue was not being to get full lock even at 120% EPA (the maximum with a Futaba radio). This is a problem I have run into quite often. So, I made a few modifications. I won’t share them right now, but when I have a solution I’m totally happy with, I’ll post an update.
Last jobs are getting the electrics in and fitting the body.
I’ll talk about the body first. It’s low and narrow with a mid-cab design and a “Le Mans”-style fin. Not a bad looker overall. But it doesn’t give you much room for the wiring, perhaps because it is from the older XR (the sticker sheet is also from the older cars). Read the manual carefully when cutting it out, as part of the rear needs to be left to cover the motor.
In order to fit the body, I chose to run the wires off the side of the ESC and along the side guard. They then need to be stacked vertically along the rear battery post and onto the motor (I use a Speed Passion 8.5 which has the plugs on the end). My original wiring took the wires over the top of the battery post but there is not enough room. There isn’t a great deal of room for the front battery connector either – I use low-profile connectors with the wire coming out of the side and it still rubs on the body. It may be possible to run the wires right down the middle of the car instead, but it wouldn’t look quite so neat. Because my ESC and receiver are quite big, the unused hole in the side guard got in the way of taping them to the chassis. My solution was simply to fit a double layer of tape to lift the electrics up, this worked well and may also help with shock absorption!
The first race
First race was at an indoor multi-surface track. I chose to go with the kit settings (which I didn’t expect would be suitable but you have to start somewhere), Yellow Schumacher LP Cut Staggers on the front and Yellow Schumacher Minipins with the U6734 insert on the back, mounted on Associated wheels (yes, they came straight off my B4!). Ride height was 21mm all round. Gearing was 23/79.
I also checked the weight distribution. Out of the box with no extra ballast, there was a really good balance from left to right (only about ten grams in it), with about 600gms on the front axle and 1000gms on the rear axle, giving a weight distribution of 37.5F/62.5R at 1600gms. This compares to 34/66 at 1600gms on the B4 with the same tyres and around 40 grams ballast on the front axle. A big difference!
On track, the car was very, very good, which took me by surprise. In the first round the tail was a bit lively on the slippy sections, but as the grip came up and I got my eye in, that stopped being an issue. Jumping was really good, the landings were really plush, and the balance through the corners was good, albeit with a little mid-corner understeer on the tight hairpins. I leaned the front shocks in one hole to try and address this and it seemed to make a small improvement. The motor seemed to lack a little rip at the bottom end, so I increased the punch on the ESC. Overall, a real pleasure to drive.
The car did go a bit funny at the start of the third round and started spinning unexpectedly in some corners. I thought at first that it may have been the diff or my sensor wire. The car improved after a minute or so, which coincided with a lump of stringy fluff coming of the back end of the car… I checked the gear diff after the race and it hadn’t lost any fluid, and the sensor wire was secure, so I think the bad handling was simply down to picking up the debris.
I was rewarded with a grid position at the back of the A-final, and after a really close and fair race I managed to finish in third place. Hard to say how much quicker the car was over a single lap than the old B4, but it was definitely easier to be consistent. Whereas with the B4 I would have to work hard for 5 minutes to keep it going in the direction I wanted it to, invariably resulting in a couple of costly mistakes per run, the 201 was much easier to drive, and I could have my 10-lap consistency within a couple of tenths of my fastest lap. This is much closer to what I can do with a touring car and very satisfying!
I’ve ordered a few tuning parts (don’t you always?) so I can replicate Satoshi Maezumi’s high-grip setup (if I want to), and I can also try a few changes to the kit setup to get a bit more steering. I’ll keep you posted as things develop, but it has been a very good start!