No, all this information is very helpful to me. I am just getting back into RC after a long hiatus. I have a 2WD buggy I'd like to race at Norcal and also an old pan car I'm fixing up to practice to see if I can get the hang of onroad racing.
I was originally thinking to then try out touring cars, but with the popularity of F1 at the track, the relative low-cost, and talking some with Eric about onroad racing, I think it is a good way to go.
Yeah, I think a practical way to go sounds like an F104v2. I assume the perfect tires you are talking about are those Shimizu #572 rears and #571 fronts you mentioned earlier? That sounds great if Norcal has all this in stock, though I might hold off a bit on getting the F1 car until I get the pan car back together and run it a bit.
I think I found a pic of your TOP Rebel from the Top Gun races,
Too bad the Kyosho and Serpent seem to wide and maybe not easy to make narrow. I wonder if Associated or Losi will ever get around to building a F1. But yeah, I would like to learn on a practical car and maybe try out an odd/rare car sometime later.
Wow, that build tip page is impressive! All the weight comparisons is greats stuff.
My TF108 and Corally F1's are shelf queens now. I haven't even finished building the TF108 yet...it is just pretty to look at and I probably will never drive it. The WRC car is very neat, but the front end looks fragile. Serpent's new car looks great too, but I don't see how to make that one narrow.
There are a lot of bodies for the 180mm cars, but they are all modern. Last time I ran my F103, it was with a Lotus 78 body. There are no "old" bodies for F104's that I know of.
You can't go wrong with any Tamiya F104 chassis, be it the new Version 2, or even the original Pro chassis with the fiberglass T-bar (IMO the T-bar car is much easier to set up because it has less adjustments, and I guarantee you it is at least as fast as the V2). Nor-Cal has one of the V2 kits in stock as well as the perfect tires.
Starting with a Tamiya car will save you a lot of headaches, and as you gain experience racing, then you can start branching off and running the oddball cars if you like. Tamiya cars almost always hold a lot of their value too, so if you decide to move on you aren't going to get bent over trying to sell a used car.
Speed in the F1 class mostly comes from attention to detail when building the car and setting it up. There are tons of little tricks (all for almost free!) you can do that add up to taking tenths off your lap times....that all comes with experience and practice. Check this out if you have time, just the building tips alone (ignore the hopups...) will help any F1 car: http://www.uf1series.com/_sub_pages/2011/F104X.html
My apologies if you race already and know all this stuff. Just going from my experience. Fernando Jose has a fleet of Tamiya cars and frequents this board and he has more information about this class than anyone I know....I am sure he can chime in. He's helped almost everyone in this area out in one way or another.
It was cool to see there are some Euro brands too. Looks like WRC (http://www.wrc-racing.com) is from Italy. Of course Corally and Serpent both based in the Netherlands.
Sounds like you have a pretty nice collection of F1 cars! Besides racing the TOP Racing, do you also race the TECH Racing and Corally on occasion? That is good to know a bunch of these cars can be modified as you explained. I guess I need to become more familiar with the F1 cars to completely understand though.
Anyway, was mostly curious to see what all was out there and under development.
In general it seems a Tamiya F104v2 is a good car to get started at Norcal? I'm guessing the F104 bodies all fit on the F104v2?
I do like the classic F1 shapes, I like that one F103 body of the Ferrari 312T3. Wish there was a Ferrari 312T4.
Any car that accepts a Tamiya front end and has 14mm (standard Tamiya F1 size) hex hubs on the rear axle can be made into a 180mm "narrow" car. I race a Top Rebel F1 at Nor-Cal and the conversion for making it a narrow car, not including F104 rims/tires, costs less than $25 if you look around for good prices. The part #'s are listed in the RCFIA thread here, or I can provide them for you.
Non-Tamiya cars you can do this to include the 3Racing F109, Top Rebel F1, Tamiya F103, and probably many of the weird off-brand Japanese and Taiwan cars on your list since they are based on the F103.
I have a Tech Racing TF108 Limited and the Tamiya F104 front end will fit with a little bit of drilling on the chassis. Forget putting an F104 front end on a Corally. I have one too.
One thing is for sure, even if you showed up with a wide car with rubber tires, you won't be turned away. I just like the scale look of the narrow cars. The more the merrier, IMO.
The good thing about having a narrow car is you will definitely be hooked up on the track by purchasing one set of Shimizu tires, part #572 for the rear, and #571 for the front. You can fiddle with inserts if you want, but I run stock inserts and the car is still way faster than this driver!
I was curious to look into what manufacturers are making F1 cars these days and also what is legal to run, knowing there is typically a 190mm width limit. I assume most folks run the Tamiya F104, which I think is 180mm. Does the Tamiya F104v2 also have a width of 180mm? The 3RACING Sakura FGX I think has a width of 188mm. I found that the Tamiya F104w is 200mm wide; so is it legal to run? I also found the HPI F10 with a track of 176mm front and 180mm rear.
Anyway, also found a bunch more existing and new cars out there and though I'd post them incase anyone is interested (or wants to add to the list). The TRG and WRC Racing cars are very interesting, are being imported to the US, and are 190mm in width. I assume the Corally, Kyosho, TOP Racing, and upcoming Serpent are not legal?