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Bittydesign M410 bodyshell review

One of the new shells causing a buzz is the Bittydesign M410. The Italian company have been producing some great shells recently a...


One of the new shells causing a buzz is the Bittydesign M410. The Italian company have been producing some great shells recently and their new 1/10 onroad shell is causing a buzz amongst fellow racers so I was keen to get one and see what it felt like at the track.

The shell itself is made of lightweight 0.75mm lexan. However when cut it feels nice and solid unlike some other manufacturers lightweight shells. The quality of the mould is very good. The cut lines are very clean and easy to follow, and there are a range of front axle mount lines that you can follow to work out what position that you want to mount the shell. (More forward for more steering, more rearward for more stability).

I mounted the shell in the neutral position as I do with all review shells so I can easily see how it compares to others out on the track.

The shell also has two rear lines for marking where to make holes for the rear body posts. This is a useful guide. They were the same width as my TRF419X body posts, so I assume that most Touring cars have a very rear body post width.

In the packet there are two decal sheets included, one for the M410 lights etc and these are all pre-cut. This is a godsend if you are in a rush, or preparing the shell when at the track (As I was because I was not prepared for my racing meeting). The spare sheet has a load of logos etc and they are not pre-cut. There is also a set of pre-cut window masks for painting.

Fully assembled the M410 shell is also very light, My painted shell with decals was 88g! That is a great bonus and it allows you to use your saved weight as ballast on the lower chassis where it is more effective.

The shell itself is quite the looker, I know that should not be important but there is still a part of me that misses the scale shells that we first used to run on our TA01's all those years ago. It does look closer to a real car than most of the shells on the market, but importantly how does it feel on the track?

Track Test

I was racing at the excellent EWS International weekend. To be honest I was having a howler of a weekend primarily down to me not preparing my car and having to rebuild the car between qualifying etc, I was doing this whilst learning the 'characteristics of the control sweep tyre and additive that I had never used before. After taking into account the smaller diameter tyres (Times FDR by 0.975) and the squarer profile of the tyres (added some shims to the inner camber links to reduce roll etc).

I eventually got a car felt OK on the Saturday night so I set about preparing the shell so I could test it in the free practice on Sunday morning and decide if I was going to run it that day.
I placed the car down for the morning practice and gently took it out for a few laps to get a feel. The first think I noticed was that the car felt nice and neutral. The front end was more aggressive than a standard Mazda 6 but not quite as aggressive as an LTC-R. As I was still trying to learn the track thanks to the day before being more about me getting the car up to scratch. The car felt very re-assuring to drive and it helped me start to push harder than I had done all weekend.

For Q4 I was looking forward to improving on my time, and over the first minute I could tell that I was much quicker than any of my qualifiers before. This was not purely down to the M410 shell, I had eventually got my TRF419X to work the tyres. However the solid stable feel of the shell was also allowing me to push lap on lap to try to get a faster time. Unfortunately as I was just in my stride a car lost control and pummelled into me as I was at a slow apex and took off my rear shock so I had to retire.

A close inspection of the shell afterwards proved that it was strong enough not to crack and it still looked good as new, despite the full impact crash.

The Finals involved me racing from the back of the grid and trying to make up for my poor qualifying. The car felt really good and I was able to make it up from 11th to fourth in the first final. The M410 shell felt good and the entry steering was much better than a standard Mazda with almost the same level of rear stability. I was really enjoying running this shell.

For the second final I swapped the rear wing with a stiffer one. The kit one is good, but I wanted to see how it would feel. The rear was still stable, maybe a little too much for me. Again I started to make good progress through the field, however I had a coming together with someone I was overtaking and it basically took me out of the race.

For the final attempt I wanted to see if I could better the 4th position. I wanted more steering so I set the car back to 2.5 rear toe-in. I was unable to easily move the shell forward as I didn't have a spare. Although I have been told that moving it 5mm forward will give you as much front steering as and LTC-R but with more rear stability,  so I will probably get another shell and mount it in this position for a tuning aid).
The third final started well, and I was making good progress up the field. The car felt really good and I soon made it up to 6th. I was battling the driver in 5th however I was accidentally taken out by a back marker who span out on a corner as I was passing on the outside.  This knocked me down to 9th with only two minutes to go. I wasn't going to give up so I pushed hard and I managed to pass 8th and 7th place over the next few laps. The shell / car combo felt fantastic and I was having the most enjoyable laps of the weekend as I was pushing to catch the 6th place runner.

I managed to catch him with a minute to go, I chased on his tail for a few laps looking for a place to pass. I was a little slow on the main straight, but on the infield sections I was quicker, but it was hard to pass. Then I spotted a gap as the driver went wide and the sharp handling of the M410/TRF410X combo allowed me to get into the space on the inside alongside them. We were side by side as the next corner approached, I had the inside and despite the driver trying to intimidate me by squeezing me out onto the curbs and rubbing paint. I was able to hold my line and using the good entry steering of the Bittydesign M410 could drive deeper into the corner before braking and making the pass. Probably my best racing moment of the weekend. I tried to catch the 4th place racer time was against me so I finished 5th.

Overall

The Bittydesign M410 has impressed me. The quality of the actual shell is top notch, the decals and accessories are also very good. It is one of the lightest shells available and it is make of strong quality lexan and is BRCA, IFMAR and ROAR legal.

The Italian flair for design is also very evident and it is one of the best looking shells available. Yes I know it's not about looks but functionality but the shell also handles very well and many top drivers are using it and achieving great results. So it looks like for once we can have our cake (Or should that be Tiramisu ;) and eat it!

Racing shots were taken by the excellent Martin Bollenbacher Photography. Check his facebook here.
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