WORDS: Tony Phalen
PHOTOS: Tony Phalen
PAINT: Tony Phalen
Formula 1 is the highest form of racing in the world. The speed, the handling and the incredible sound give most auto racing enthusiasts goosebumps! I’m one of those nuts but, since I don’t have access to a full-scale F1 car, I can only live vicariously through those guys. Thankfully, the RC world has a couple 1:10th scale offerings that allow me to experience the thrills of F1 without the risk of hitting a wall at over 150MPH.
MANUFACTURER Yeah Racing
PRODUCT Transformula F1 Conversion Kit
FITS Tamiya F103 Chassis
WHAT THEY GOT RIGHT
• Can build as a T-bar setup or dual side-link layout
• Beautiful milled aluminum parts
• Enough room on the chassis for most electronics
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
• Battery fitment
• Requires quite a few additional parts to complete
Yeah Racing has just released a chassis conversion for the F103 called the Transformula. This conversion kit allows you to build up your F103 in one of two chassis layouts; the standard T-bar setup or a more advanced dual side-link design. This kit comes with a carbon fiber chassis and top deck/battery plate, fiberglass T-bar, a pair of aluminum servo stays, a beautiful aluminum 4-piece rear pod and a small bag of miscellaneous screws and spacers to put it all together. Depending on the chassis layout you choose, you are required to purchase a few additional parts to complete the kit (yeah, I know, but it IS a conversion). Yeah Racing does, however, provide a list of what’s required. For the conversion platform, I chose Tamiya’s new F103 Lotus. The awesome old-skool Lotus body brings back memories of when F1 was ruled by men that could drive 1000hp land-missiles without the aid of traction control (remember, I’m living vicariously through them!). To provide my ‘1000hp’, I installed Tekins RS ESC, a 13.5 Redline motor and a Reedy 5000mAh 7.4v LiPo battery pack. For steering, I chose the Savox SC-1267MG servo. This servo has plenty of torque to keep the F103 on its line and, thankfully, adds a little extra weight to the front end. To utilize the F103’s ball diff (and switch to 64p gears), I added 3Racing’s Tamiya Diff Housing and 64P POM Gear Ring. Finally, to hold it all together, I strapped in my trusty Futaba 4PKS radio system. Initially I built the Transformula using the dual side-link setup but, once completed, found that my Reedy battery would not fit in its designated location. It seems that my standard-size servo was a bit too long and caused some battery fitment issues. Instead of digging up a new servo, I decided to revert back to the T-bar setup and give it a go.
For testing, I took the Lotus to West Coast RC Raceway in La Mirada, California. This gorgeous indoor facility houses both a huge offroad and stunning asphalt track. This was also the first leg of the 2011 UF1 8-race Formula 1 Series. Two classes were being offered; Spec F1 and Open F1. I signed up for the Open F1 class not only because the Transformula fell into those rules, but also because the competition would be greater and I wanted to really test this car out. I bolted on a set of Tamiya rubber tires and started my practice session. The car felt really good other than a little push (which surprised me for a 2wd car). I made a few suspension tweaks (there’s not a lot of adjustment on these cars) and went out for round one of qualifying. During this run, I found that the F1 still had quite a bit of rear grip that continued to make it plow through the corners. For round two, I decided to switch to a set of foam tires (seeing as the top two drivers were running them) and the results were a little better; a 3rd place finish. Due to time constraints, we didn’t get to run our 3rd round, but I can guarantee that the Transformula was heading in the right direction and could of had me running with the leaders in that round!
The Final Word
The Yeah Racing Transformula Conversion allows you to ‘transform’ your Tamiya F1 into a pure racing machine. With two chassis layouts available in one kit, I’m pretty confident that you can tune this car to any track conditions. In addition, all the carbon fiber and aluminum certainly boost the F103‘s cool factor! A definite improvement over the standard F1 kit!
Transformula, distributed by RCMart