Tamiya TL-01 LA Tips build and review.

The TL01 platform is one of Tamiya's most popular older chassis. It has been used for loads of cars and it was lightweight and suprisin...

The TL01 platform is one of Tamiya's most popular older chassis. It has been used for loads of cars and it was lightweight and suprisingly quick with standard gearing and a silvercan. Towards the end of it's life there was a revision called the TL-01 LA. This changed the suspension geometry quite substantially.

Here we take a look at the TL-01 LA built from a N.I.B kit and tuned to race at the Inaugural Iconic Cup race meeting. So take a look as I share some information for other racers to get the best performance from their Tamiya TL01.


When I started racing in 1999/2000, the Tamiya TL01 was the car I started racing with. It was in a stock class that only allowed the TL01, so it was the perfect opportunity to learn my race craft in a controlled class. I had very mixed results due to my lack of experience. Although the car is simple to build, if it’s not setup correctly, it won’t have a decent pace

When Iconic Rc announced the inaugural Tamiya revival event, I saw this opportunity as an event where I can use the same type of car I used all of those years ago

As I sold the car many years ago, I had to purchase another. A search online led me to a brand new TL01-LA. The LA denotes that the car is equipped with long span suspension arms. Although the total track of the car is unchanged, it now adopts a more conventional suspension design with improved parts to aid handling.

The TL01 was a very affordable car to get started in the world of R/C racing. It came equipped with a lightweight chassis, low cost parts & a base setup that is perfect for the novice racer. To keep the costs low, compromises were made. The supplied suspension parts were a basic & heavy design. Although they are perfect for the novice racer, the racer who wants to progress finds that the car has negative caster, very minimal rear toe & no front toe adjustment.

The LA edition addresses these issues. It now employs a more conventional style of lower suspension arm all round. These arms also allow the shock absorbers to be mounted in 3 different positions. The rear toe angle is now at a greater angle. Upgraded rear toe block are available as an option, these new hubs are part of the package

The front hubs are different to a standard TL-01
The front hubs are redesigned to a more conventional design. The steering link mounting points are mounted further inward to allow more steering lock. The caster blocks now read which makes the front end easier to maintain corner speed

The build

As I now have 16yrs more racing experience than the first time I had one one of these, I felt this was the perfect time to build a TL-01 using the knowledge that I have acquired with all of these years racing

I did have a few constraints as there were more optional parts that could be added, but the rules for the Stock class restricted the amount of things I could fit.


I fitted a Tamiya Hi torque servo saver to a KO servo. The servo saver is a unit fitted with 3 high tension springs that gives sharper steering.

I also fitted an alloy horn. It’s advertised as a unit for the M-chassis, but works perfectly fine.
A great fit, with no binding
The actual alloy arm sits a little higher then stock, but doest seem to hit any area of the chassis

The kit comes with threaded rods to adjust the front toe angle. I replaced those with some core RC titanium turnbuckles. They allow easier adjustment of the front toe as they have a 4mm square which can be used with a spanner rather than popping a ball cup of the car, guessing how much to screw in/out & refit


The best way to gain performance is to make the drivetrain as efficient as possible. I fitted a full set of metal shielded ball bearings for rcbearings.co.uk.
The High speed gear set spins smoothly on the bearings
I also fitted the hi speed gear set. This allows higher gear ratios which are necessary to gain a better speed from the car

The differentials were built as per kit. I just added some anti wear grease rather than the supplied grease as this make the diffs slighter stiffer to aid traction. I used oil rather than grease to lubricate the gears. I also fitted the speed tuned gear set as this allowed higher gear ratios which gives a higher top speed

A Tamiya sport tuned motor was fitted with a RW racing hard coated pinion gear. The kit pinion gear is made a very soft metal which wears very quickly under higher loads. A pair of titanium screws secure the motor to the chassis

I am not a fan of the self tapping Philips head screws that bolt the car together. I used M3 machine thread stainless screws where possible.


I used the kit supplied upper turnbuckles as I wanted to see how it handled with the kit set-up's geometry. The suspension arms now use hinge pins rather than a long pin/screw arrangement.

Just make sure the suspension arms drop under their own weight to ensure they are not sticking
The front caster blocks are handed, make sure they are fitted to the correct side of the car


This a very critical part of the build. The kit supplied friction dampers offer very little in the way of generating any form of grip. I built up a set of TRF black coated dampers. I built them to exactly the same length as the kit dampers. Please see the setup sheet for what springs, pistons & oil used.

The rules for the iconic event banned use of saloon car body shells. I chose a Tamiya Ferrari 360 Daytona body shell to compliment the car. I put the car on a set-up station, then hit the track for some practice

Iconic Cup Round 1 WLRC Race meeting

A very hot and sunny West London Track
IconicRC  decided to run a revival event for Tamiya on road cars. The aim was to revive the Tamiya Eurocup that used to be so popular, with cars that were released before 2005.

There were a few classes to choose from:

  • F1
  • Tamiya touring car
  • Tamiya GT 
  • Tamiya TRF

As I originally raced the car in the stock class in the Eurocup, I decided to enter the Tamiya touring car section as it was the class that was closest to the the original stock class.

To be eligible for the stock class, only limited modifications are permitted, along with a limited range of Tamiya motors.  As a side note, the GT class allows you to use any hop-ups and utilizes a 13.5t brushless motor setup. As The TL01 was released in the days of brushed motors, I was very unsure if the car would cope with the extra power, so I opted for the stock 'Touring' class.

Lots of racers were ready for the first ever Iconic cup
I turned up on the Saturday at West London to get some practice laps in & to set the car up. Aside from testing a few different sets of tyres, I felt very confident in the cars handling and made the decision to use Ride tyres for the days racing

The F1 cars take the grid
We were greeted with a very hot start to the days racing. I ran in a new set of tyres in the practice session to be prepared for the days racing ahead. The practice session allowed the organizers to seed the drivers according to fastest lap times, I posted the fasted stock practice times, so started the day in the top heat as car 1.
The racing was close!
Round 1 went very well, the track conditions were perfect for the car & tyres. I was able to drive very hard and had the perfect level of grip. Round 2 was a better start as I had drove neater lines. Unfortunately, I clipped a kerb and flipped the car onto its roof. I lost around 6 seconds, so I couldn't improve
The rides gripped the surface fantastically
As the day wore on, the track got hotter, so I switched to a set of Sorex 32 BRCA control tyres for round 3. Surprisingly, I didn’t go any faster & the car had a lot of understeer. For round 4 I went back to Ride tyres, but the heat was making the track slower, so my round 1 time had to count. It was a very fast pace, so I earned TQ by 18 seconds

Lined up for the final!
The final went very well. I was able to pull a gap in the first few laps & just concentrated on driving the car within its limits and managed to win the A final by a similar time to qualifying.
The results of a great days racing
Here is a video of the event, the final starts at 17mins


Here is my set-up from the weekend


When you look at the cars eligible for the class, it would make more sense to use a TA04 as they have an efficient belt drive system, better gearing options & world championship winning suspension design.
The TL-01 LA 
However, the TL01 had a perfect set-up for the conditions and allowed me to push very hard and have fantastic cornering speed. As the car was designed for stock class racing, it’s a perfect choice

Round 2 of the iconic cup is on the 12th June (Check the link here)

Thanks to John Weston and Martin Bollenbacher for the action shots

TL01 5389129143142490058

Post a Comment

  1. Nice and well written review!! Enjoyed reading it!
    For now I'm rebuilding a TA-03F and when Im done with it I definitly gonna have a look at the TL-01 LA.

  2. Your review made me search all over until I found the long arm kit for TL01. The difference is night and day. I love my car even more now.

  3. My TL-01 rally upgrade



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