Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to drive quite a few Formula 1 RC cars. There are a couple of big name companies out there (and even some independent ones) that offer a vehicle into this ever-growing class. Most include carbon fiber chassis’, anodized aluminum parts, oil-filled shocks, ball differentials and foam or rubber tires. While they look fantastic and have exceptional handling, all those high-end cars come at a sometimes high-end price. That being said, there is certainly an opening at the entry level of this class, and HPI is shooting for that with their Formula TEN F1 car! At a street price of around $120, that’s only a couple days pay for a kid working at the local fast food joint! Getting new blood into RC (and the incredibly fun F1 class) just got a little more affordable.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT HPI
WHO IT’S FOR Everyone
HOW FAST 25.32mph
PART NO. 102851
HOW MUCH $119.99
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• While the front suspension is more along the lines of a pan car than a true Formula 1 car, this design certainly has its advantages. Anyone that has driven or tuned a pan car will feel right at home tweaking this car to work with their driving style. And, as an added bonus, if you have any pan car springs lying around, they’ll bolt right up to the Formula TEN’s front suspension.
• The rear suspension is also similar to a pan car by using a T-Plate and damper pad setup. It has multiple adjustments to help you tune to various track conditions. In addition, the rear pod has height adjusters to raise or lower the axle. The Formula TEN also incorporates a center damper tube instead of a oil-filled center shock. It works great out of the box, but you will want to upgrade to HPI’s Threaded Aluminum Shock Set to really get the most out of this type or rear suspension setup.
• The electronics area will accept quite a few different servo, ESC and receiver options. One thing I really liked is that you can mount a standard servo without having to modify it. Also note that while a brushless motor and ESC will work, routing the multiple motor wires to fit under the bodywork does take a little creativity. Take your time in this area of the build.
• The Formula TEN allows the use of a 4-cell or 6-cell stick pack or any of the ‘rounded’ corner LiPo packs. HPI has engineered the battery hold down to allow easy access to the LiPo plugs. If you choose to run racing NiMh packs, you’ll need to build them using the stick pack shotgun tubes for them to fit.
• The six-piece body is pretty killer, and requires you to attach beauty pieces using double-sided tape. A helpful tip: if you plan on painting it with a light color (ie, white, like the box art), back it with a dark color. The servo tape included is black and if you don’t back the body with a darker color you will see the black tape through the light-colored body.
• I was happy to see that the Formula TEN uses 48 pitch gears. That’s a good thing for two reasons…1) I have a ton of 48 pitch gears already and 2) if you don’t have any additional gears, they’re much cheaper than some of the other options out there.
To read the entire review including the performance section, be sure to pick up the December 2009 issue of RC Driver Magazine!