A Pro Platform with a Peculiar Appearance
Tamiya develops a wide range of onroad vehicles for every skill level, making everything from the simple TT-series all the way up to the high end TRF supercars. Since most people don’t want to spend the major coin for the Factory-level rides, Tamiya has created the TA-series of touring cars; sometimes simple, sometimes intricate but always fast. Their newest release, the TA07 Pro, has come as quite a shock given it’s odd chassis layout. A flat deck, raised side rails and an elevated top deck – it looks more peculiar than performance. But soon after the initial announcement, rumors have been flying that this car has some serious track potential, so I knew I needed to get my hands on one for some future TCS articles I have planned.
Product: Tamiya TA-07 Pro Touring Car
Part #: 58636
Recommended For: Beginner to advanced drivers
The TA07 Pro revolves around a very odd chassis platform. The lower deck is molded from composite plastic and features the standard ribbing and molded pockets to reduce flex and to contain the battery, electronics, arm mounts, etc. That’s about all there is that makes this similar to other chassis’. Two raised rails rise above the lower deck, creating a tunnel of sorts on each side of the car. These rails control chassis flex and, when connected via the skeletal top deck, create a rather stiff chassis. There is also bracing on all four corners to help control flex.
The TA07 Pro uses a floating servo design, being attached to the chassis only near by the inside mount. There are provisions for using either a standard or shorty servo; standard servos require an additional antenna and ESC mount than what is shown here. If you have the option, get a shorty servo; it’ll keep the electronics lower on the chassis and help conserve a bit of weight.
The battery mounting system is pretty slick; remove one body clip, pull the battery door down and away and your pack slides right out. Now, this works exceptionally well if you have a battery with attached charging leads but if you’re using a race-level pack that uses bullet plugs, you’ll find that you can’t push the plugs into the battery with it installed in the car. The elevated rail gets in the way, so I have to push the positive lead in with the battery out of the car, slide the battery in and then install the negative lead.
The TA07 Pro pulls its suspension from the proven TRF419 touring car, so handling and tuning are top notch right out of the box. One-piece A and D blocks are used as are the separate B and C blocks, both interchangeable with Tamiya’s TRF aluminum upgrades. Blue-anodized turnbuckles are standard and the TA07 Pro includes blue-anodized TRF shocks – some of the smoothest dampers in the business. Multiple pistons and yellow springs are included to provide a good starting point, but I would suggest getting a couple different spring sets to help tune to your track. The kit includes front and rear plastic shocks towers, however carbon fiber replacements are available. While not included, the TA07 Pro is set up to accept anti-roll bars for additional tuning.
As with most touring cars, the TA07 Pro uses a belt-drive system to power its 4WD drivetrain. Starting with the motor, it is attached to a blue-anodized aluminum mount that can be positioned in one of three locations on the chassis for a total range of 52mm. This can be altered to modify the weight balance of the TC for differing handling characteristics. But how does Tamiya do that – do they include multiple belts? Nope! The TA07 Pro uses a unique single-belt that slithers through a set of pulleys to drive the wheels. This allows the driver to change the motor mount to any of the three locations and still use one belt. Multiple tensioners on the motor plate can be adjusted to change the force on the belt from tight to loose depending on the motor you are running.
Tamiya has included a Mod .6 spur and pinion with the kit. This will help you get going but, if you’re like me, I don’t have a huge selection of Mod .6 pitch gears to choose from. I do, however, have a ton of 64P gears so I swapped those in during the build. This will allow me to easily modify my final drive to whatever track I’m at.
The single belt makes its way from the motor mount to the front and rear differential, both of which are of the fluid-filled gear variety. Alloy outdrives capture one end of the universal driveshafts (yes, universals on all four corners) and spin the axles out to the B3 wheel and tire combo. The TA07 Pro uses a standard 12mm hex, making it compatible with almost every wheel on the market.
Finally, the whole drivetrain rolls on a set of sealed ball bearings for absolute smoothness.
The TA07 Pro uses a dual bellcrank system to crank the front tires left and right. It rides on a full set of bearings and uses flanges on the plastic parts to reduce the amount of slop the system has. Blue-anodized turnbuckles connect to the steering blocks and blue-anodized ball ends are used throughout.
The servo mounting system has also taken a queue from higher end touring cars. It uses a single inboard mounting point to keep the chassis flex consistent on both sides of the car. A servo-mounted servo saver is included as well.
One cool feature on the TA07 Pro is the option to use either a standard or low-profile servo. Using a standard servo removes a little bit of chassis space for the other electronics, so Tamiya has included both an optional antenna mount and receiver mount. I preferred the low-profile servo setup for three reasons; 1) it eliminates a few extra parts thus saving weight, 2) it allows me to mount both the receiver and ESC on the lower deck, keeping the CG as low as possible, and 3) I only had a low-profile servo available at the time. Pretty good reasons, right?
I had a bit of a struggle when it came to the electronics; not necessarily which to use but more around where to mount them. Even with the low-profile Futaba BLS551 servo installed, it was a tight fit for the Futaba receiver and HobbyStar 120A Turbo Competition ESC. Not only that, but I had to be creative with the external capacitor as well. I did get it all to fit, but I’ll probably shorten the leads to make things a little more tidy.
On the battery side, the 8000mAh HobbyStar pack squeezes into the tray without a hitch, other than the bullet plug issue I mentioned in the Chassis section.
So, let’s take a quick look at the HobbyStar equipment that’s in the TA07 Pro. The 120A Turbo Competition ESC is the company’s flagship 1:10 scale model, featuring a T6 billet-aluminum case, separate power leads, motor and battery wires, an external capacitor and an optional (but included) top-mount fan. Internally, the software has everything you need for advanced programming including timing, boost, “Stability” mode and all the standard protection features. It even comes with a Blinky mode for stock/spec racing. I’ll be using this mainly for 17.5T stock racing (TCS series) but for those of you interested in dropping in a different type of vehicle, just know that it can handle up to a 3.5T motor (on 2S) or a 7.5T motor (on 3S). Oh, and it’s ROAR approved, meaning it’s legal for racing!
The brushless motor is also HobbyStar, a Competition 17.5T 540 sensored motor that has all the features you’d want in a racing motor. Starting with the CNC-machined T6 aluminum heatsink can, this motor has high-power solder tabs, powerful sintered neodymium magnets and external adjustable timing. I have some things to say about this motor, but I’ll get to that in the Performance section below.
Finally, the 8000mAh 2S LiPo battery. HobbyStar only had one pack available that used bullet plugs; all of their packs (other than a shorty racing pack) are equipped with charge/balance leads already attached. So, they sent over an 8000mAh 2S (100C) pack that, in my opinion, is a bit overkill for a 17.5T Stock racer – but hey, I have some other modified TC’s that this might feel at home in. It uses 4mm terminals and includes a separate charge lead with integrated balance plug.
One of the best parts of any Tamiya vehicle is obviously the body, so when I ordered up the TA07 Pro I requested a body that was as good looking sitting still as it was performance-oriented on the track. I received the Tamiya Subaru BRZ R&D body, a pretty blue and silver ride that had red and black accents and a whole slew of stickers to attach. As always, the painting, assembling and detailing of it took about as long (if not longer) than the assembly of the chassis itself. But damn, it’s a good looking ride, wouldn’t you agree?
There’s been quite a bit of hype around the TA07 Pro and it’s performance, so to say I was excited to drive it is a bit of an understatement. Having this car also means that I can, on any given Saturday, visit the world-renowned Tamiya track in Aliso Viejo, California and put some laps in – free of charge! So, I was off to this awesome track with my beautiful Subie for a day in the California sun.
The first lap on a new car is always the reconnaissance lap, getting a feel for the car, how it handles, steers, the power delivery and the braking. The second lap, of course, is always balls-to-the-wall. I took the first 15 or so laps solo, learning the nuances of the TA07 Pro before I hijacked a fellow racers practice time for some door-to-door action. He was also running a TA07 Pro, fresh off a weekend of racing the TCS Nationals. This would be a great time to see how a box-stock TA07 would compare to a race-prepped one.
Speed and Braking
In stock form the car is very quick, accelerating hard from corner to corner with a little wheel chirp from time to time. If you recall, I mentioned I swapped out the Mod .6 gears for the 64P gears – this coupled with the correct final drive had my TA07 looking quite stout on the infield of the Tamiya track. On the straight, I had good speed as well, just a tick off of the top speed my competitor had. I thought about adjusting the gearing but didn’t want to ruin my infield speed. Then I remembered that I forgot to adjust the timing on the motor! Most of the time I run about 40-50° of timing depending on the track – the HobbyStar 17.5T was still set at 30°. Clicking this up to 40° gave me that extra pep down the straight that I needed to creep in front of my competition.
The braking on the TA07 Pro is also excellent with very little rear-end drama when you get on the binders hard. There is the occasional sound of the serpentine belt skipping, but that’s because I have it set REAL loose (per some of the driver’s recommendations) so it causes as little drag as possible. The HobbyStar ESC has some interesting brake curve and dual-stage features, but I haven’t had a chance to play with those yet.
Steering and Handling
Overall, the TA07 Pro has very good steering. At higher speeds it’s aggressive initially but then drops off a bit mid-corner, then picks back up again when you get back on the throttle. Low speed sweepers seem to have similar results, however it’s dangerous in hairpins or switchbacks! The front bites hard and as long as the corner is a quick one (read: hairpin-size) it passes right by that mid-corner push and starts gaining speed quickly.
Speed management can help the mid-corner push, but the one thing this car lacks that most of the other cars on the track have is a front spool. A spool really changes the handling of a touring car, making it more predictable and giving it a positive accelerating feel. That will be one of the first upgrades I do to this car!
Durability and Maintenance
Unless you’re completely out of control, onroad racing doesn’t offer the same types of mishaps as offroad racing does. That being said, the only chance I had to test the durability was a trip over the famous Tamiya kink in the center of the track. Since I’m not achieving supersonic speeds with a 17.5T motor, hitting the kink is a pretty boring experience. There are a few slight scratches on the underside of the chassis but no broken parts, cracked suspension arms or missing screws.
As far as maintenance, it might be a bit involved getting to things like the diffs, but that’s about it. Changing the spur gear is as easy as removing the gear cover (2 screws) and a single screw holding the gear on. Sure, you’ll have to mess a little with the winding belt but it’s actually much easier than it looks. Most of the TCS racers leave the gear cover off anyway to save weight, so that’s one less step to do.
The TA07 Pro is a race car, plain and simple. As such, it comes loaded with a full suite of tuning options; camber, wheelbase, ride height, roll centers, shock locations, Ackermann, weight bias, droop – it’s all there. The biggest tuning option is the ability to move the whole motor mount system front to back; that’s a major modification that hasn’t been introduced to the competitive TC market yet. I’m excited to give that a try, however it does mean moving electronics and possible re-wiring. Double-edged sword there.
• Brushless ESC
• Brushless motor
• Radio system
• Wheels and tires
• Futaba BLS551 Brushless Low-Profile Servo
• HobbyStar 120A Turbo Competition ESC
• HobbyStar 540 Sensored 17.5T Spec Motor
• Futaba 4PX
• HobbyStar 7.4v 100C 8000mAh 2S LiPo Battery
• Tamiya Subaru BRZ R&D Bodyset
• Tamiya 24mm Type B3 Pre-Mounted Tires
Power Source: Electric
Length: 14.6″ (370mm)
Width: 7.4″ (187mm)
Wheelbase: 10.1″ (257mm)
Type: Integrated lower deck / upper frame design
Material: Composite plastic
Type: 4-wheel independent
Camber: Adjustable turnbuckles
Roll: Adjustable ball heights
Wheelbase: Adjustable shims
Shocks: TRF Coilover with threaded bodies
Steering: Dual bellcrank
Turnbuckles: Adjustable turnbuckles
Differentials: Oil-filled gear F&R
Bearings: Full set of shielded
Gearing: Mod .6, optional pinion gears
Body: Not included
Wing: Not included
Wheels: Molded multi-spoke
Wheel hex: 12mm
Tires: Not included
• Interesting chassis design with tuneable flex adjustments
• Option to use standard or low-profile servos
• Versatile motor mounting system – 3 different configurations
• Lots of option parts enclosed including TRF dampers
• Universal axles standard
• Hex hardware is used throughout the entire car
• Functional motor guard
• Single, serpentine belt drive system
• Lots of tuning adjustments
• Great potential on the track
• Hard to install batteries with bullet-type connectors
• Front spool not included in kit
• Mod .6 gears not common for most people in the US
Tamiya’s TA series has seen quite a few changes over the years, but nothing quite this dramatic. The good news is that this bold move seems to have paid off; lots of drivers at the track have flocked to this car because of it’s superior handling over past vehicles. I’m happy to hear that since I want to race this car in the Tamiya Championship Series and, of course, I want to have a solid car under me. It’s a performance ride that works, features Tamiya’s stunning quality, includes a few TRF parts to sweeten the deal and it won’t break the bank. Sounds like a winner to me!
Features – 9.7
Appearance – 9.9
Performance – Speed & Braking – 9
Performance – Steering & Handling – 8.7
Performance – Durability & Maintenance – 9
Performance – Tuning – 10
Overall Value – 9.5