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Xpress Execute XM1 Build Review and set-up


The Mini Touring Class (MTC), is rapidly gaining traction at many clubs. Its a simple formula, it shrinks 1/10 4WD onroad chassis to M-chassis dimensions to provide the thrills of touring cars without the need for a large indoor track.

The Xpress is one of the manufacturers that has been involved in the resurgence of this class, and now they have recently released the Xpress Execute XM1, a competition grade chassis. So let's take a closer look.


Build

The Xpress XM1 is a top spec car designed to compete in top level MTC events around the globe. Whilst the XM1S is a very good car, and a great way to sample the thrill of MTC. The XM1 sees Xpress providing a no holds barred competition spec alternative, there has been no compromises when creating this chassis.

I have been lucky to get a hold of a pre-production model. This chassis is very close to the final production unit, there may be a few small differences (shim colours for example). The production car is 99% identical to this one reviewed

The manual starts with the building of the turnbuckles. These are the version 2 ball cups which are easier to build & are a lot smoother on the ball cups. I trimmed to ball cups down to 14.5mm so I could add more camber. These are screwed onto titanium turnbuckles to reduce weight & gain strength

The spool is now an alloy affair with steel outdrives. I found the XM1S out-drives to be a bit big, they run very close to the roll bars & will not allow the diffs to be raised as they hit the bulkheads, so it is good to see this resolved on the XM1.   

I chose to fit the optional alloy chassis as testing has proven it makes the car faster/easier to drive when the grip is high on carpet (The surface I will be running on), and besides that, it looks really cool!

The motor mount looks the same as the XM1S, it just has alloy supports for the motor & layshafts to increase rigidity

The alloy 1 piece lower bulkheads match the chassis & also increase rigidity, so there will be no transmission twisting issues. Although the standard car has no issues with this, the alloy units are a lot more secure.
The upper bulkheads also carry the separate camber links. These allow shims to be fitted behind them, so a very wide range to upper arm links can be used

The alloy pivot blocks have plastic bushes that are interchangeable so you can adjust the roll centres & toe angles

I chose to fit the optional vertical top decks. With the included stiffening posts, this gives you the option of tuning the amount of flex the top deck generates. They also eliminate the chance of tweak due to their design.

In the pictures, you can also see that I have also fitted the factory pro low friction belts. This will free up the drive-train slightly

The front driveshafts are the DCJ units usually reserved for top spec touring cars. I always rebuild pre-built driveshafts regardless of brand. I also added a sleeve of heatshrink to prevent any clips coming adrift.

The big bore shocks follow the same design as the XM1S, just with upgraded parts. Everything is alloy where it needs to be. This includes the shock body, spring collar, and top & bottom caps. This builds a very smooth shock with no chance of warping & very resistant to damage.

The seals & diaphragm are a different material. It feels slightly softer to me. This makes the shock smoother to build. I would still recommend using green slime on all of the seals

The rest of the suspension builds normally. I used the grub screws from the layshaft (to hold the pins in place. However, they are secured by the pulley, so not needed) to screw into the 2nd hold in the rear hubs. This prevents the thread being damaged in the result of a crash. It also strengthens the hub, so the car is more stable on the rear

The outer hinge pins now have a slot for the grub screw to sit, preventing them moving. I found the front pins would work their way loos regards of how tight the grub is on the XM1S. I tightened them that much, I stripped a pair of front C hubs in the process. This issue has now been addressed

Electronics

RPRC distribution were able to supply me another SRT 8015 servo which drops in with no issues. A low profile servo is mandatory in this car as there is little room even with the low profile servo!

Due to the rules of the MTC class here in the United Kingdom, it’s been decided to utilize a control motor/ speedo to cut costs & eliminate any electronics advantage (also eliminates cheating). The ESC is a Trackstar 60a & the motor is a Trackstar 17.5t. There is a choice of stock or outlaw, but there weren’t any outlaws in stock at the time, so a stock spec went into the car. I also used a Sanwa RX482 receiver as it’s a very small unit with no external ariel to worry about. I was also able to find room for the MRT transponder & everything fit snug! I shortened a lot of wiring as space was tight. Some Silverback 5200 shorty lipos supplied by Zen racing fit in the car perfectly

The build was very easy, the quality of the parts were up there with many top end kits. Here are a few chassis shots :)
My home made fan guide is a bit of a letdown (ahem)
Floating servo mount, titanium turnbuckles as standard. It's all crammed into a tiny form

The solid lower section bulkheads help reduce tweak

The slotted towers ensure they stay straight, even after a collision.
The Alloy chassis provides better response on high grip carpet. Also note how the the bulkheads are keyed into the chassis to ensure that they are aligned to make the drive train nice and smooth.

Testing

I set the car in the gauges & and attended my local club (Bristol Model Car Club) for the first test session. I fitted an Xpress McLaren F1 body shell to start.


I accidentally left my foams at home, so was forced to use Sweep rubber tyres. Nothing wrong with Sweep tyres, I just wanted to test on foams before the big race! The car showed great promise & never set a foot wrong, a testament to a very well designed car. I did feel like the car was tying itself in knots during cornering. A hard sensation to describe, but the car twists into the corner, then untwists on corner exit, making it hard to hit an apex & hard to gauge the corner exit
This is not a fault with the car as it was designed in Asia, they normally run on larger outdoor tracks where this isn’t an issue

Speaking with a few MTC drivers, I fitted a diff to the front of the car. I used to do this with full size touring cars up until a few years ago. I filled it with 60k & felt ready to tackle a big event

I was also asked to test an upcoming bodyshell for the class. A Phat bodies 300R which has the look of a Lotus Exige, it gets a big thumbs up for looks. It also has 'high clearance speed bumps' on the bonnet that clear the top of the front shock tower, resulting in a bodyshell that sits low to the ground. 

RR race report

I chose to give the car a proper outing at the final round of the 2018/19 Rug Racers championship.
The MTC class was new for this season, and despite a slow start to begin with, more and more entered the class and by the final round numbers swelled to 17 which gave us 2 heats!

I loaded my car & set off at 4:30am to travel to the venue

Track

The carpet was ETS black carpet which normally provides a lot of grip, this meeting was no exception. The layout was a very fast layout.

It felt more suited to regular sized touring cars, but it was a very rewarding track if you took the right line. The track barriers were the usual plastic piping, but flaps on a lot of the corners. Kerbs were also fitted. They allowed you to tuck the car in a little bit more. However, I found there was no traction, so aimed to stay off of them!

Practice


The class was separated into separate foam/ rubber heats. There is normally quite a difference in times, so this gave everyone a fair chance without tripping each other up


Everyone was trying to find the quick line & see what changes could be made. This was only 4 minutes, so every second counted. I was able to circulate, albeit being caught up with traffic. I posted a time that was ok, some way off the pace in terms of fastest lap. I felt the car was lifting its nose at high speeds, I changed to a stiffer front spring (2.6) & went into round 1 of qualifying

Qualifying

Due to a timing issue, our first run was only 4 minutes long. I chose to use this as another practice session! Unfortunately, I was quicker than some cars ahead of me, but they chose to race me instead of letting me though, so a few incidents occurred but I finished 4th on the slowest 22 lap run. I still had a slow lap time. The car was still lifting & I felt like I was lacking steering

Rather than just cleaning my tyres with additive, I used it properly. I used 1/3 on the front & full rear. Also tried a stiffer rear spring to balance the car

Round 2 pace was better, my tyres were still a little wet & the first laps were a bit slidy. Once settled, the car was feeling better & I managed to move up to 2nd with an improved lap time

For the 3rd round, I added more rear camber, fitted 2.7 springs all round & applied additive to the inner half of the front tyres rather than 1/3. The car felt so much better, I had the steering I was lacking. The car was also carrying a lot more corner speed. It also wasn’t lifting at the end of the straight. I managed to take provisional pole position with a much faster time

For round 4, I gambled to run a new set of tyres to get them settled for the finals. I don’t think I applied much glue to the outer front sidewalls & the car didn’t have the same pace as before. I hoped no-one would be able to improve on my time. However, 2 cars went faster (only by 0.5 seconds)

I qualified 3rd overall, 0.5 seconds off FTD, so that’s a very close grid if you ask me!

So let's get onto the finals.

MTC A Final Rd1



I re-glued the tyres, checked it over & took my place on the grid. I didn’t want to change too much in case it made the car worse for the finals. We set off, I made around a few corners, then hit a flapper hard, and causing the car to spin & I got passed for 3rd. I was also just in front of car 5, they had more pace down the straight & I was passed again. Unfortunately, I got collected by a couple of cars behind me being opportunist to pass me, so fell off the lead pace. 5th was my finishing position.

MTC A-Final Rd2


I put the car on the setup gauges to check if it was all tracing straight & true & took to the line for the 2nd final. We got off to a clean start. I took a wide line & was unfortunately passed for 3rd. The same car came charging up to 2nd, they collided & I was up to 2nd place. 1 lap later, car 1 flipped off the track, so I got up into first place in the first few laps. Car 2 started to gain momentum & was catching me over a few laps. He hit a barrier & pulled away. It stayed that way for the rest of the race & was able to take the win!

5th & 1st gave me 6 points, which netted me 3rd overall (where I qualified). A great debut for the car if you ask me!


Set-up



Conclusion

This is a top spec car for a class that is looking to control costs where possible. Normally, when a budget car comes out, people will add the option parts in various stages. This car eliminates that step.

The tuning options that come with the car allow you to tune the car to almost any track condition. Optional springs/ roll bars may be required to fully allow the entire range of tuning available from the chassis

The car builds with no fitment issues. I did have to remove some material from some suspension components, but that just removes the molding flash associated with plastic molded parts. Once done, a silky smooth suspension system is your reward.

Although the alloy chassis & vertical top decks aren’t standard, I would recommend these for indoor racing. The front diff is also a worthy addition & a great tuning aid to keep in your pit box.

The Phat bodies bodyshell complimented the car. It gave a lot of steering & gave great balance. It’s very close to production spec, so keep your ears to the ground!

The MTC scene is great fun and I have really enjoyed racing this class, the Xpress Execute XM1 has given me a great base to start competing at the sharp end of the field, and I cannot wait to get it back on a track and see how far I can push it :)

Thanks to the following companies for their support:

Xpress 6957608416425741461

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