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Sepes Racing SRP417 conversion set Review

Sepes Racing products are a new European manufacturer that are creating a series of accessories for racers. Developed by a range of d...


Sepes Racing products are a new European manufacturer that are creating a series of accessories for racers. Developed by a range of drivers, including an ex Tamiya team driver.

Their first Product is the SRP 417 conversion set, and the blurb is quite impressive.

'The SRP417 Conversion Set takes the world championship winning TRF417 to a higher level! This upgrade set moves the motor towards the centreline and incorporates multiple flex options'.


My 417v5 is a fantastic car, I was however intrigued to see how it could be bettered, so it wasn't long before a conversion set arrived from the Netherlands ready for me to install in my car.

Take a closer look

The conversion set features the following
  • A motor mount that moves the motor 4.5mm closer to the centre of the car, this will ensure that left / right transitions are quicker and it also ensures that the overall weight of the car is along the centreline.
  • Centre post - this is used to help change the chassis flex along with the top deck
  • Top deck, this deck changes the flex characteristics of the car, with more rear grip.

The aluminium parts are made of high grade 7075 aluminium alloy, and you can see that the fit and quality of the parts is great. The weave of the top deck is also similar to that of the v5 chassis not some cheap carbon fibre that some kits seem to feature.

The conversion kit is a straight fit for the V5, although if you want to use it on a 417 or 417X you will need to add 1mm shims under the bulkheads to ensure the top deck fits onto the motor mount.

Choose the right configuration for your track

The SRP417 kit has been specifically designed to give the driver a wide range of tuning configurations. Each component has been tested in isolation as well as with the entire package to ensure that it is able to give the racer a clear tuning choice when trackside.

An overview of configurations that are available


  1. Tamiya Motor mount + SRP Topdeck : Little more flex compared to the TRF417V5, easier to drive good option for stock racing.
  2. Tamiya Top deck + SRP motor mount : Moves motor 4.5 mm inwards = optimized balance, better cornering speed and prevent any rubbing in tight corners.
  3. SRP Topdeck + SRP motor mount : Little more flex, motor 4.5 mm inwards
  4. SRP Topdeck + SRP motor mount + SRP centre post : allows you to change the flex points off the chassis, increases stability on high speed tracks.
  5. SRP Topdeck + SRP motor mount + SRP centre post (floating top deck by using the kentech mod for the left hand side) : Same configuration as the TRF418 and BD7 ( i try to run a large spur to move the motor as much forward as possible and run the battery in forward position)


Along with the main configurations above, you have the ability to tweak it further with the top deck

Top deck

The Top deck has been designed to provide a range of flex options. The illustration below shows the configurations you are able to use with the deck to allow tuning.

The top deck allows you to add and remove screws to adjust flex characteristics. The following key shows the overall range of options that you have.
The key to a range of tuning options

Lets take in onto the track

I have tried the conversion set over three race meetings so I can explore the options that it gives me.

The first time I was only able to test the top deck. The kit arrived just as I was going out to my local club night.
The Sepes deck at the top, the V5 deck at the bottom
My local track is a very tight indoor carpet track with a very low grip carpet. My 417 does very well around there but as is common with the 417 series on carpet, the rear end is quite keen to step out unless you are totally on it.

Config one (Sepes top deck, Tamiya motor mount)

I swapped out the top deck and took the car out for quick warm up. Instantly I noticed that the car felt calmer than usual. It took me a little by surprise as I am used to my car wanting to rotate at any whim. I was a little more heavy with the throttle on the sweeper from the straight and the car just stayed planted on the track where normally I would be slowly coming off the throttle to keep the rear in check. It felt too good to be true, but the car was sticking and steering.
Sepes Deck installed and ready to race

So it came on to the race heats. In the first heat I was still unsure if the extra grip was going to stay there, so I was quite cautious when driving around, using my regular light throttle thumb, but as the heat progressed I found myself having to charge to catch up with the driver ahead of me, so I started to be a little more aggressive with the throttle. The car just held it and I was soon making a tenth every lap to reel him in. Unfortunately the time ran out before I had time to properly challenge him.

Over the course of the night my confidence grew and the laptimes came down. The car was really good to drive, I felt even more confident with the car and it just seemed to do what I wanted no matter how hard I pushed it. I managed to win 2 heats and then finished second overall just 2 seconds down on the FTD. I must say that I was running a 17.5 motor compared to the other drivers in the top 5 running 13.5.

Config two (Tamiya Top deck + SRP motor mount)

Between race meetings I had time to install the Sepes motor mount. The machining and quality of the part is fantastic.
Less aluminium on the Sepes mount, but more corner speed
The part fitted easily. The one thing that is different is that the mount locks in the bearing so you need to unscrew the lay-shaft mount on the right and fit the pulley (along with the rear belt) and then the pulley is magically floating. (See the pic below)
Now fit the Tamiya layshaft holder 
Slide the lay-shaft mount in (again ensuring that the front belt is there on the spur pulley, although ensure that the front belt is not on the front diff as you may bend the shaft, fit it back once the lay-shaft and deck are attached.

Sorted, took me about 15 minutes to fit.
I was going to fit the mount without the centre mount so just use a 10mm screw and use a 3mm lock nut on the top to hold it in.

I then tried the car with the Tamiya Top deck. The car went well, the rear did feel a little more light than with the Sepes top deck, and if I was at a track that had more grip I would like to use this configuration if I needed some extra cornering.

Configuration 3 SRP Topdeck + SRP motor mount

The track tonight was fast, two large sweepers and a series of S curves that if taken correctly would be rapid, but if you go wide, then you will pay the price by loosing critical time.

I had the SRP top deck and the motor mount installed. The first race on our low grip carpet is always quite slippery even when we used to use foam tyres. So I removed the two top-deck screws on the motor mount to ensure that the car had more flex to compensate. The car was very fast off the blocks, the grip was something else and I had to increase the steering throw on the car. I was able to just coast to the lead and managed to stay there with the car feeling quick and consistent.

As the night continued and the track grip came up, I found the car felt too grippy and I didn't like it, so I attached the two screws to the top deck and the car felt spot on. The speed was there, and the grip was very consistent. I was lined up on the grid for the A-final and we raced off, a first corner incident put me back into third (Wasn't my fault honestly). However I knew that there was nearly 5 minutes left so I just had to race on.

The car was superb, fast and consistent and that really helped my confidence as I chased the cars ahead. Again I was running a 17.5 against a field of 13.5 cars and to win I really had to keep the speed on the corners. The motor mount ensured that I was able to carry a lot of speed on the S-Curves, and the balance and grip gave me the confidence to push.

I took the lead and I managed to stay there, the S-curves were really punishing but the consistany of the car gave me so much confidence I just kept on it, and despite a late charge I held my nerve and kept my lap times within a tenth for the majority of the race, to claim the win and also FTD by 3 seconds.
Very pleased with this configuration

Configuration 4 SRP Topdeck + SRP motor mount + SRP centre post

The next race was not at my local club, but one nearby with a much higher grip carpet so I installed the centre post.

Change the flex radically with this small part
The centre post fits within minutes and it is really does change the way the car feels.
I fitted the post and added the screw in the top deck, so at the moment had all of the screws mounted in the mount and top deck ready for the first race.
High grip carpet here we come

The track was high grip and fast, the centre post seemed to make the car more stiff and this really helped on the fast sweeper. I took the lead and stayed there with a comfortable win. However the track was still quite technical and there were a couple of very tight hairpins, so I thought I would remove the two motor mount screws and just leave the centre post screw fitted.

The car was very good, and the rear was more grippy this time which allowed me to up the steering lock for the hair pins. The car was superb again and I managed another win. I the extra steering did make turning into the sweeper slightly more controlled on the steering input to stop grip rolling, but thats the balance.


Configuration 5 SRP Topdeck + SRP motor mount + SRP centre post + floating top deck.

At the same meeting I tried this configuration. The car had more grip than I needed and it actually felt too grippy. I dont run Mod and I think outside on Tarmac this could really be fantastic, especially with a low turn motor, but with my 17.5 (although I ran boost at the track) I thought it was too much grip and I had do really fight against grip roll all of the time. I still managed a win, but I was not as fast as with the 4th configuration.

Overall

The SRP417 conversion is a fantastic piece of kit.  The difference to the handling of the car is very pronounced. I was really happy with my 417 before, but now this conversion has lived up to its promise and pushed it up to another level.

I know this kit has been developed by proper racers and also long time Tamiya drivers and I think this exhibits itself in the final product and how the car feels on the track. Some of the traits that the 417 used to show on carpet (swapping ends if you are not 100% on the ball) have been calmed down, but the car has lost none of the responsiveness, in fact its even more rapid than before.

The only negative I have is that the car is so good now I wonder if I really need a TRF418...

Rating

The Sepes SRP417 kit gets a top rating of an A star, really worth considering to keep your 417 racing in the pack against next years new cars.


The Sepes racing conversion kit is available directly through them via their facebook page here


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