For years, Formula 1 (or F1) has been the most prestigious class in automotive racing. These purpose-built racing machines are constructed using carbon fiber, titanium, magnesium and other similar, ultra-lightweight materials. In addition, equipped with their 700bhp V8’s, super-sticky tires and aerodynamic bodies, these F1 cars are capable of over 220mph and can pull in excess of 5 G’s in some corners. Tamiya’s most recent F1 racer, the F104 Pro, includes some of these very same, high-end racing materials, including one of the best looking scale-replica bodies I have ever witnessed. Could this be RC’s latest & greatest entry to the prestigious F1 racing class? Let’s jump right in, buckle up and take a ride around the track to find out.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT Tamiya
WHO IT’S FOR Everyone
HOW FAST 30.65mph
PART NO. 58431
HOW MUCH $259.99
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• The F104 Pro uses a front suspension setup similar to that of a standard pan-car. Because of this, most pan-car front springs will work. For additional tuning, pick up a couple sets of springs from any of the popular pan-can aftermarket companies.
• The steering setup is simple and easy, but requires you to trim the mounting taps off of both sides of your servo. A smaller servo works best (Tamiya recommends their TSU-01 servo), but since this car is pretty light, you won’t need anything crazy to get it around the track. Just be aware that it might become a permanent addition to this car.
• The F104 Pro’s battery compartment is pretty slick. Remove 2 body clips, rotate the ESC-mounting plate slightly and out drops the battery. This setup works great for all stick packs and LiPos that have positive/negative leads, but those LiPos that have internal plugs are out of the question. You could do a little creative dremeling to make them work, but why would you? This car is just too beautiful to start hacking away at to get one of those batteries to work.
• The receiver and ESC mounting plates are pretty small, requiring small electronics. This allows Tamiya to create a super-realistic body with all the aerodynamic wings installed.
• One of my favorite features is the ‘hidden’ slipper adjustment nut. With previous F1 cars, you would have to remove the slipper adjustment nut if you wanted to remove the left rear wheel. With this ‘hidden’ setup, a setscrew holds a diff-cap in place that the tire attaches to. Removal of the tire is now like all standard RC cars (one nut), and if you remove the diff cap, you still have access to the slipper clutch.
• The spur and pinion gear have an 04 Module tooth pitch (as opposed to the normal Tamiya 06 Module tooth pitch). This tooth pitch means finer gear teeth, a design which allows a more minute ratio adjustment to improve acceleration and efficiency.
• Tamiya sent along the following option parts: Aluminum Horn for Hi-Torque Servo Saver, Low Friction Suspension Ball Set, Soft T-Bar, an Aluminum Motor Mount (right & left) and an Aluminum Pivot Post. While all these aren’t necessary, the Soft T-Bar will help keep the car in check, and the Aluminum Motor Mount set will help remove any unwanted heat from the motor.
To read the entire review including the performance section, be sure to pick up the October 2009 issue of RC Driver Magazine!