Jump to content

2018 Tamiya Championship Series Racing Finals in SoCal

Recommended Posts

Thought my fellow members would appreciate this.

Jump in the hot tub machine... In 1987 I helped start Innovations Racing Center in San Jose, CA. Since the owner and I were friends with Joel Johnson he helped us out. Back then I had a my Porsche 959 and a modified Blackfoot. The owner had chain driven Yokomo's and later the Schumacher CATs. Move forward about another decade...

I raced in the #2 (second) Tamiya Championship Series race held in 1994 at the RAMS track in San Jose, CA USA. We drove down 4 hours from Lake Tahoe to race. Luckily I won the stock 4WD class with my totally stock Mercedes EVO TA01. Check out photos here - enjoy >> http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=4692&id=588.

Took a sleepy RC car nap for the next 24 years and this March I decided to get my act together and race in the TCS again. Entered the TCS #235 at RC Kinetics in Troy, NY in GT Spec Novice with my shelf queen TT01 Type-E Porsche 911GT3 that needed a serious dusting off. I really don't race or even drive that much as I prefer detailing. Anyway, with my vintage Tamiya 1600mAh Ni-Cad's (Lol...), stock kit tires, I was able to slide and bang my way around the carpet to third place - this qualified me for the finals, cool. Also detailed a Porsche 911GT3 body for the concourse in GT class and this took best of show.

The Marketing director at Tamiya USA, Fred Medel, turns out he raced at that #2 TCS race day back in 1994 (in F1). We hooked up and he said, yes you qualified for GT Spec Novice in the finals!  Fortunately, at RC Kinetics, I pitted next to the locals from MD and they all TQ'd or were definately seasoned racers. Took note of their 2018 equipment and gear and decided to go for it. Not more than a few weeks after contacting Fred at Tamiya, the notice went out that the SoCal Tamiya USA track was closing and the last race was the finals — I had to go. My Mom still lives about 13 miles from the Tamiya SoCal track so a nice visit with her will be fun too.

I’ve never raced on the Tamiya SoCal track, but Fred says it is fast, maxed out 28 or 29T pinion, chassis to race is the TT02R long wheelbase with hop-up options. Needed a cool body, I've always driven Porsche's or Audi quattros — something somewhat vintage, no longer available and long wheelbase should do it. Decided on the Audi R8 LMS, but designed a new livery graphic — yes this sticker set is available. While it might look cool out on the track or in the concourse!, I need to practice and tune my driving skills in out here at my local tarmac spot, keep your fingers crossed for me guys! I'll keep this thread updated with photos and information at the race.

Cheers, Thompson


Before adding body line tape (Kyosho 0.4mm), mirrors and rear wing sticker.


TCS rules state that in GT Spec Novice any Tamiya rim and tire can be used. I have three sets of 24mm narrow TT02R rims with Tamiya B3s mounted, but they look so small on this chassis. While the B3 are the preferred tire for the SoCal hot track, these are noticeably smaller in diameter and final roll out will be much less, hmmm. "The rear of the Audi R8 LMS is wide, but what Tamiya rim to use...?" I have some vintage 1997 Porsche 911 GT1 rear rims available, they have +4mm offset! I always try to make the final appearance just like the real Audi R8 LMS, so a BBS mesh might be "ok" as long as it's painted black. There are other +4mm rims, but these won't look scale. I know this is a race, but for me, Tamiya is always scale first.

Photos of my R8 have Tamiya Semi-Slicks with Tamiya #19335732, 26mm +2mm offset rims. These are the closest match to the real Audi R8 LMS I could find. With these, and the option of 27, 28, 29T pinion(s), I'll keep an eye on motor temps and top speed to see what works best. Traction will be off a little if I don't use the B3s. At least I have all combinations to be ready with, depending upon on what the others are running in my class (note: 2016 GT Spec Novice 1st place was with Tamiya Semi-Slicks).


TT02R Chassis





RC Kinetics TCS #253 race and Porsche 911GT3s

Concourse winning Best of Show GT Class, Porsche 911GT3 (yes, this is also going to the finals!)






TCS race #253 3rd place podium race body Porsche 911GT3 (might bring this body along just in case)



  • Like 6

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Better images... This is with my vintage 1997 Porsche 911GT1 BBS +2mm front and +4mm offset rear rims, mounted with semi-slicks and 26mm Tamiya foam inserts. I have the front body mounts dropped one notch for the proper photoshoot look =), this will be raised back up one for race day.

Testing this weekend, stay tuned.






  • Like 6

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Testing went well, TT02R is smooth and fast for a 27 turn motor. Beautiful afternoon, lower humidity, in the high 80s white puffy clouds and blue sky. Very little drivetrain noise and fans kept motor temps to 106˚, ESC 98˚ degrees. 

Like a scale knuckle head, I drafted the Tamiya USA SoCal track the best I could based on Google maps. Spent over an hour trying to replicate the SoCal track on my freshly paved tarmac next to the library with tape, string and a patient wife. Only got the big sweeper, 90˚ hairpin and inside turn laid out, which was good enough for an afternoon session. Usual newly paved parking lot, lots of little tar covered black rocks all over. Didn't sweep or blow it off, so dusty too, ugh. My traction compound went away in a couple of tire revolutions...

- Thank goodness I bought a Hobbywing Quicken WP brushed ESC. This thing is awesome with programming! Brakes are good, but need to give myself a little more, can do on the ESC.

- 64T Spur, 29T pinion and a few laps on the 26mm Semi-Slicks with traction compound, quickly realized these had the best top speed, but slower out of the hole and less traction. 

- The Tamiya Type-B3 tires are best and seemed to work well. I tried +2mm offset rims in rear, +0mm offset in front.

- I was getting some throttle lift oversteer on the rear end. Kept dialing out EXP (setting to -negative number) on the Sanwa MV-X Tx, this seemed to help. Drag brake is OFF on ESC and I'll try adjusting the neutral point setting to make it wider. My guess it is the dust on my lot. Tamiya USA track shouldn't have that much on the racing line with all the traction compound used. I was also going to add in -1.0 neg of toe-out to see if I get my initial turn-in better. Oh, I'm using the 2.5 toe-in rear hubs instead of the stock TT02R 3.0 versions, these are back ups.

- Also some traction chatter on the wheels on start. Can also dial this out on the ESC with , "Start Mode / Punch" set to a softer level.

Here's something that went phooey on my run. I must have hit a rock with the lower right side front kingpin screw and the hub popped out of the lower A-Arm !?!  I used AW Grease to help with the slop, but realized that won't work at all — collected way too much dirt. Front axle popped out and found it, but other than that no damage? Put back together without AW grease.

I ordered the Tamiya 54559 steel Suspension Pivot Balls from rcMart, hopefully they arrive in time... said 8-20 days, ugh... Nobody has these in stock in the US. Not sure this will fix it, but might help as it seems they would be less likely to flex and pop out. If these don't arrive in time to ship my car and gear out to SoCal (Aug 8th), If anyone in the US has a set of Tamiya 54559 TT02 Suspension Pivot Balls they can ship me for the finals, I'd be more than happy to send my new ones to you. Send me a PM.

Wow, I need more time to practice my driving skills, a true GT Spec Novice! My vintage Tamiya Corner Markers — forgot how they launch the car if not respected.  Thank goodness I took pre-practice photos, Lol. That's racing!

Cheers, Thompson




  • Like 4

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was able to practice on our local park adjacent to the basketball court, looks like it is prepared surface painted asphalt. Despite being a relaxation and resting spot for Canada Geese, the traction was much better with the B3s than the rock laden new tarmac lot in front of the library. I was able to kick out most of the errant rocks and somewhat clean the location up. It is the same exact size as the Tamiya track. I'm going to reach out to the town and see if I they are open to me cleaning it up and racing. My plan is to replicate the Tamiya USA track.

I was able to get in some good laps. Motor and ESC only really get up to 106-108 deg with both fans on. This will be different in SoCal, track is black and naturally hotter.

Testing the TT02R set-up
Factory Tamiya TT02R build with additional options

Tamiya 51471 RC Car body Audi R8 LMS-24h Nurburgring (new old stock, score!)
Tamiya 54752 TT02 Steering upgrade parts set
Tamiya 54549 Aluminum rear uprights 2.5 deg.
Tamiya 53569 Clamp type aluminum wheel hub 6mm
Tamiya 53440 On-Road spring set hard
Tamiya 54229 RC 06 Module Pinion Gear 29T
Hobbywing QuikRun WP ESC, programmable
Multiplex Hitec HS-8775NG servo, low profile metal gear
6000mAh R1Wurks 90C battery
R1Wurks ultra light weight fan mount, and fan
Tamiya Type-B3 tires
Tamiya Medium green inserts
Tamiya 53435 6-Spoke wheels medium narrow (+2mm offset)

What type of tire, wheel, battery combination to race? I'll know when I'm out on the track practicing.

Tires, Rims
1 set of Tamiya 53435 6-Spoke wheels medium narrow (+2mm offset) with Tamiya Medium green inserts, Tamiya Type-B3 tires.
2 sets of TT02R kit wheels with Tamiya 24mm narrow B3 tires, Inserts, mounted and ready to go.
2 sets of the larger diameter 26mm Semi-Slicks tires mounted ready to race.
These 26mm tires can give me a taller top end and might allow me to use the 28T pinion. The 2016 GT Spec Novice won with these tires and a shorty 4800mAh battery — less weight! One set of the 26mm tires is on Tamiya 9335732 Raybrig NSX Concept-GT 10-spoke wheels (+2mm) with new old stock Tamiya Touring car shaped inserts. These rims are the closest I could find to replicate the Audi R8 LMS. The other set of Semi-Slicks are on the Tamiya Porsche 911GT1 wheels in photos above (+2mm front, +4mm rear).

Just noticed last night that my R1Wurks 6000mAh 90C battery I bought used started to slightly puff...ugh. Not bad, but enough it looks and feels puffed. So, ordered another new R1Wurks LCG 6000mAh 120C to match my current one, shipping directly to the SoCal house.

2 R1Wurks 6000mAh LCG 120C packs, new
2 Scorpion 4200mAh 65C+ shorty packs, new optional just in case.

Today is shipping out the LiPos, Tomorrow shipping out all the gear and cars. Updates later.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is how the TT02R weighed up ready to race with different battery selections.

1,511 grams (3.331 lbs) - R1 Wurks 6000mAh 90C full size pack (not getting shipped for race due to slight puffing).
1,500 grams (3.306 lbs) - R1 Wurks 6000mAh 120C LCG (low center of gravity) pack, QTY 2
1,443 grams (3.181 lbs) - Scorpion 4200mAh 65C+ shorty pack, QTY 2

I did not have a chance to test the shorty packs, 26mm wheel combination, but will when I get out on the track. Swapping out the 29T pinion for 28T is somewhat easy.

Cheers, Thompson






Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I duplicated the Tamiya USA track the best I could based on Google map scaling and imagery.

Clip from video.




Lucky me, my local park basketball tarmac area has a larger painted surface next to it that the track FITS in perfectly. This would make a great painted racing track. I think it was intended for skateboarding — it used to have a halfpipe there, but now just available RC racing space =). In the below image, I've superimposed the Tamiya USA track over the tarmac area.



Here's my best guess drafting of the Tamiya USA track. I'll ask Fred M. if the plans are available.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't able to have my trusty photographer wife to record testing, but did do a sample bench test while programming the ESC.


  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

LiPo's shipped UPS Ground with proper battery labels.


Below box
2 - RC Cars (TT01 Type-E, TT02R)
3 - Tamiya RC Bodies (Audi R8 LMS - race body, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup HP - concourse body, Porsche 911 GT3 Deutsch E-Post - spare race for short WB TT01)
2 - Radios, pit gear, tools and spare parts
All stuffed in a 24" x 24" x 12" double wall cardboard box, weighed in at 35 lbs total !  FedEx Select 3-Day off to SoCal.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Practice on Thursday and Friday went well. Although, I had to sort out several issues that popped up. First up was the 54229 steel ball suspension parts USPS said they were delivered but are a no show at my house here, wth? Anyway, had to keep the front suspension as is.

Picked up a super small pebble or rock chip that got jammed into the spur gear on Thursday practicing. Took out the 29T pinion, left rounded mushed spots all around. I was able to clean the spur gear and fortunately, TQRC Racing in Chino had one in stock. Split out early and drove out to pick it up.






Friday morning was much better, after the pinion gear was fixed, got some good practicing laps in. The kink on the inside will launch your car into the air! Got to be careful of this... but, because of multiple “learning the track offs”, kept knocking the lower right side suspension arm out. Can’t have this, instant DNF in a race. Tamiya was selling race tires and motors, normal parts sales start today.

TQ RC Racing indoor carpet track is way cool and RC Kinetics owner had a spare set 54229 for me! MoF, it was the ONLY set they had.



Of course, the right side suspension kept popping out, did it twice! So, after locating the steel ball kit, totally rebuilt the front suspension with all new arms and front hubs with the steel ball inserts.  Had to use new steering knuckle hubs too, once you screw in the top and bottom bolts it expands the plastic, enough to make the steel ball parts not really fit well.  Dropped these TT02 used hubs into my part bin for later use.




Later practice sessions went well, Audi R8 LMS is smooth, need to focus on my driving - smooth is fast.

Qualifying today!


  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Qualified 5th in the B Main, and ended up finishing 5th in the B Main. Not bad for a detail guy gone racing and my third ever TCS Race!

The locals have the track dialed in and after three days of practicing, breaking parts, repairs I was able to finally get the TT02R sorted for the final qualifying and race. The short Scorpion 4200mAh batteries worked best, just felt lighter and more nimble. There definitely was a difference in power on my 540-J motor compared to the guys running in the A Main, their cars visibly had way more power and my laps times were well off their pace. Not to be let down, I crafted up a comm stick out of a DuBro header card rolled tight and CA glued together. Carved the bottom to fit around the comm added a couple of drops of voodoo and it turned black, then some more motor cleaner and more voodoo — this resulted in a tick more power for the B Main — so much I spun twice in the first two laps on corner exits putting the power down! My tires hooked up for the rest of the race and I got a handle on the extra zip.

Best time I could do was 19.18 sec., my driving also had a lot to do with it too. Major room for improvement — try to be consistent on the race line lap after lap. So, also maybe they had more tricks up their sleeve on prepping the stock brushed motors? Who’s going to protest a Novice class anyway...

My poor Audi R8 body has taken a licking and looking beat up, but it hasn’t sustained any major damage. It was my tribute for and send off body for the TCS final race at this track.  I’ll get another decal set for it and restore. The yellow was a big help seeing the car.

In the concourse, my Porsche 911 GT3 Cup took best of show in GT class and I overheard Tamiya factory staff say they’ve never seen a body this detailed. The pro photographers were all over it ( I need to point them over to Adrian’s bodies he builds up). Going home with a very nice trophy plaque, body kit and model kit for the best of show.

The experience was totally awesome, glad I did this.  I pitted next to Erik Whippler who TQd and won 1st place in GT Pro Spec with his TT02 “R tribute”. I learned a lot and now so totally stoked to race more!

Oh, picked up a M05 Pro ver. II kit for cheap at the track Tamiya sale, couldn’t pass it up. Plus a lightweight Mercedes-Benz GT3 body kit. Now I MUST build out a 2006 MINI Cooper S, that class was an absolute hoot to watch!!!

I’ll get to sorting my photos, videos after I return.

For now, here are pro photos


  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Concourse entry competition was over the top, some awesome painting and detailing skills. I certainly know how much effort goes into making a detailed body set, kudos go out to all the other crafty detailers, such nice work! While not all of the cars were judged in the below photo, there were some stunning pieces of kit.

Saturday, Best of Show concourse, all drivers, cars.



Final judged concourse Best of Show winners







Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Special kudos for this detailed build — was equally as good as mine, very nicely done, love the front grille and intercooler details. Antenna's are exact location per WRC car and hidden body posts. Rear exhaust was proper too. (my rear exhaust was hand made — I used 4mm dia carbon fiber wrapped aluminum arrow shafts). The photographer even did a special photo shoot for this one, hmm.  However, I took home the win and trophy =)






  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Out on the track, my Audi R8 LMS in 2011 livery in a qualifying session. Would have loved to run the proper offset +2mm front and +4mm in the rear 26mm Semi-slick tires, but this track required running the most traction available — Tamiya B3 tires. I did try the +2mm offset rims and B3s with Tamya medium green inserts, but the chassis seemed to work best with the stock TT02R +0 offset rims, B3 tires and Sweep medium blue inserts.

My pace was way off the top times, need more practicing! I'm not that much of a brushed motor tuning guru and will jump up to GT Pro spec next. Looking forward to the next 2019 TCS season!






  • Like 3

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Qualifying on Saturday August 18th, 2018. Heat 1, round 2. I ended up with 1st in this heat.


Qualifying on Sunday, August 19th, 2018. Heat 2, round 3 right before the mains. I ended up with 4th in this. Need to practice my race line consistency and tighten my skills up. 


  • Like 3

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...