UF1 – 101

UF1 – 101

This guide is based on the UF1 rules of a 21.5 brushless motor, non boost ESC, rubber tires, 190mm max width and scale F1 body and wings. But the information here can be applied to anyone wanting to start racing an electric 1/10th scale Formula One car. While the purpose of this guide is to quickly get you in a competitive car, this is not intended as being the ONLY setup that works, but rather a great starting point for beginning drivers to help minimize the frustration of car set up. Driving skill is a whole other story.

This information was last updated on 4-17-2012


There are 2 basic F1 chassis designs out there:
(1) DD ( Direct Drive ): A solid axle delivers power to the wheels. A flexible ‘link’ controls the rear suspensions movement.
(2) IRS ( Independent Rear Suspension ): Two independent rear ‘sides’ of the chassis with each side controlled by individual suspension components.

Here is a list of the 4 most popular models:
• Tamiya F104X1 ( DD ) street price $225
• 3Racing Sakura FGX ( IRS ) street price $120
• 3Racing F109 ( DD ) street price $120
• HPI F10 ( DD ) street price $120

The Tamiya F104X1 is pretty good right out of the box. The kit comes with a great looking scale body with decals, but you will need your own electronics, tires and proper gearing.

1) Remove center T-plate screw
2) 48 Pitch / 65 Spur / 24 pinion
3) Tamiya 53259 3.5mm Offset Upright
4) 5mm ride height front and back
5) Add a little weight to the rear
6) Soft rear spring with 35 weight oil
7) Add some droop to the front
8) Make sure there is no binding in the rear flex plate.

The 3Racing F109 is priced right at $120 with only a few issues; the ball cups are sloppy and the thrust washers and caster blocks are a little weak. You will want to run the least amount of caster and stiffen the front using a 1/12th scale front spring .20. You will also want to stiffen the rear suspension.

1) Run the least amount of caster
2) Use a .20 1/12th scale front spring
3) 48 Pitch / 65 Spur / 24 pinion
4) 5mm ride height front and back
5) Make sure there is no binding in the rear flex plate.

The HPI F10 is also priced great, unfortunately you will have to spend much more in hop ups to get this car close to competitive, and even then it doesn’t match the performance of any of these other cars listed. Also the body that comes with the kit does not look very scale.

1) Waiting on set up information…

The Sakura FGX is priced at $120 and is pretty competitive out of the box. You will need to reinforce the front arms (newer kit comes with beefier arms), add stiffer rear springs and add an anti-roll bar. For about $30 in hop ups you will have a competitive car. The body looks great but the decal sheet isn’t very good, so you could spend another $30 for a good decal sheet.

Carpet set-up
1) Hard rear shock springs with 2000 weight stock lube
2) Stiff rear anti-roll bar
3) Medium front springs with 10,000 lube
4) Titanium king pin with 8mm Pom Ball
5) 48 Pitch / 35 Spur / 26 – 28 Pinion
6) Reinforce the front upper and lower arms with piano wire and Shoo Goo
7) 2 degree rear toe in / 1 degree front toe out / 2 degree rear camber / 1 degree front camber
8) 4mm ride height front and back

Asphalt set-up
1) Medium rear shock springs with 2,000 weight stock lube
2) Thinnest rear anti-roll bar
3) Medium front springs with 10,000 lube
4) Titanium king pin with 8mm Pom Ball
5) 48 Pitch / 35 Spur / 36 Pinion
6) Reinforce the front upper and lower arms with piano wire and Shoo Goo
7) 3 degree rear toe in / 2 degree front toe out / 2 degree rear camber / 1 degree front camber
8) 4.5mm front , 5mm rear ride height
9) Use Shimizu 0572 insert in the rear tire
10) Ball diff with ceramic balls
11) Fan Shoo Gooed back left angeled at motor end bell

So how do these cars stack up against each other?

Durability: The F104 wins in this aspect with the other cars close behind. This car can take some serious hits and keep going. The FGX is the least durable car at the moment but the use of piano wire greatly helps the front end durability.

Handling: The FGX wins in this class. It is the easiest of all chassis to drive and great responsiveness; a clear winner in the infield. Following close behind is the F109 , F104 and then the F10.

Top Speed: The F104, F10 and F109 wins on top speed because of the direct drive system with the FGX slightly behind.

Scale Looks: The FGX edges out the F104 on scale looks with it’s Independent Rear Suspension, front drop down nose and deep inset suspension arms into the wheels. This car comes as close as it gets to pure scale looks. An inboard front suspension is in the works which should really set this car apart. The F109 comes in 3rd and the F10 at the bottom.

Conclusion: The F104, FGX and F109 are all competitive on the track. Any one of these cars can win at any given day, it’s up to you to decide what aspects are more important to you.

( 2 ) TIRES

So once you have decided on a chassis the next step is tires. There is nothing more important than tires to getting a well balanced competitive race car, and you’re in luck because over the last year here in Southern California we have had a big group of people trying out almost every compound made. Also remember that some people can be competitive with other compounds but this list was agreed on by an overwhelming majority of people to be the best choice.

Tamiya F104: Shimizu 0571 and 0572 with stock inserts, these tires need to be mounted on the Tamiya foam wheel.

Sakura FGX: Shimizu 0565 and 0561 with stock insert for carpet. Same rubber for asphalt but use Shimizu 0572 insert for rear. These mount directly to the FGX wheels.

3Racing F109: Shimizu 0571 and 0572 with stock inserts.

HPI F10: Waiting on information…

( 3 ) MOTOR

UF1 rules require a 21.5 brushless motor and choosing one manufacturer over another would be very subjective. All the major motor manufacturers produce a competitive motor. Some might produce more torque than others, but any one will give you a competitive car.

Here is a list of manufacturers:

Thunder Power
Speed Passion

( 4 ) ESC ( Electronic Speed Control )

As with the motor, choosing and ESC is subjective. UF1 rules state that the ESC must run in non-boost mode or “blinky” mode.

( 5 ) Battery

Most of these chassis will hold up to a 5000 2S LiPo pack, but the shorty packs have become more popular. Running 10 minutes on a 3800 is not an issue and with the lighter weight you can add the weight exactly where you want it.

( 6 ) Radio / Receiver

I hate to sound like a broken record but again choosing a controller is subjective. I would recommend spending as much as your comfortable with; top controllers are around $500 but you can still get good controllers for about $100. Stay away from AM or FM controllers as almost everyone is using a 2.4GHz system these days.

( 7 ) Final Advice

• Pit next to the fast guys and ask tons of questions throughout the day. Get them to test drive your car and get set up help. The worst thing to do is to pit alone and not pick up any pointers from the Pros. Going at it alone will make for a frustrating and likely brief venture into F1 racing. As a matter of fact, many of the Pros would be flattered that new racers asked for their help and would be more than willing to give it!

• When tuning your car, change only one thing at a time. If you change three things and your car works better, you will never know what you did that made the improvement.

• Turn the power down on your car until your comfortable driving it, then progressively turn the power back up.

• Ask questions in the on-line forums.

• Practice with focus. Just driving around the track will help, but driving around the track with a goal (like hitting apex marks consistently) will help your driving skills.

• The goal is not to win the race but to try and drive clean by not coming into contact with other cars. Learn car control; wins will come later!

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