47443 Tamiya TA03R-S Porsche 911 GT1 street Build and Review

During the mid-late nineties, Tamiya released the TA03 platform. The chassis utilizes a single belt 4wd system with gears in each gearbox to transmit power to the axles. This came out in 4 configurations: F (Front mounted motor) R (rear mounted motor) & S (short wheelbase) which could be found on both configurations

The TA03 was a great performer, and provided Tamiya with a car that was surprisingly good on the track. Testament to this was when David Jun skillfully achieved the following touring car titles while piloting the TA03-F: 1996 NORRCA 4WD Touring National Champion, 1997 ROAR Champion, 1997 NORRCA Champion

The TA03R-S was originally available with only 4 variants. 58193 Porsche 911 GT1, 58215 Porsche 911 GT2, 58243 TA03R-S TRF & 49139 TRF w/49126 body then in 2001 the chassis was re-released with a Lancia 037 body
In April 2020, Tamiya re-released the chassis again, this time with a Porsche 911 GT1 body.

I have always been a fan of the 911 GT1 and this came as a perfect opportunity to replicate the car in R/C form. I owned a TA03F in my early days of R/C racing, so this should feel familiar.

The GT1 was an epic car, it is the only 911 to not have a rear engine, instead it is mounted in the middle. It also took elements from the 993 and 962. It has a water cooled four valve per cylinder 532hp engine and is basically a Group C monster / sports car mashup. It is notable for winning the Le-Mans 24 hour in 1998.

Following the Tamiya Eurocup Austria, they have recently introduced a 911 GT1 control class. The only upgrades available are bearings & different screws. I am going to build the kit to their rules. Maybe a trip to Vienna is on the cards?

I will plan to build the car pretty close to kit specification. I used hex head screws throughout most of the build as I prefer using Allen drivers. I also invested in some JIS screwdrivers as Tamiya screws are not conventional Philips size. You will end up chewing up the heads if the wrong screwdrivers are used

I reached out to Racing edge & they were able to sort out a full set of ball bearings. Every bearing is there & feel silky smooth when span up. If you ever need a bearing set, send them a message & they should be able to supply any kit you require

I will detail areas of interest in the build. This is a Tamiya kit, you rarely get issues when building them & this is no exception.

This kit utilizes the tried & tested 3 bevel gear differential front & rear. Common place on most of Tamiya’s kits. I used anti-wear grease as I found it gives a tighter feeling diff without having to use oils. I have found to slot the outdrives in during the build to align all the gears correctly. I once found I couldn’t fit them after building them as the grease doesn’t allow the gears to turn freely

Dropping the diffs with the bearings into the gearbox housings proved a little fiddly. I slotted the outdrives with the bearings & aligned with no issues. There are a couple of gears that transmit drive & link up to a pulley for the belt to connect

The plastics are black in colour. Originally the TA03 cars came with grey plastics & the black was only available on the David Jun edition. This car comes with black plastics. I’m not sure what the difference is, but the black looks better in my opinion

The suspension is a pretty simple layout. There are fixed upper links which offer no terms of adjustment, the standard setup would be fine.

The lower hinge pins are attached to a screw end to make fitment easy. These look polished & when fitted, had zero binding issues, silky smooth!

The lower suspension arms are effectively triangular in shape. The shock mount is very low but allows a longer shock to be fitted.

When compared to a fairly modern touring car (TRF415 pictured), the lower shock mount is flat across the suspension arm with short shocks. Its shows the rate of development in the world of racing to keep the centre of gravity & chassis roll as low as possible

The hub outdrive uses 2 different bearing sizes. Most modern cars use bearings of the same size. I’m guessing the theory is that the power is transmitted through the drivetrain, a larger inner bearing will support the load.

The front & rear gearbox housings are built very similar except for the motor & idle bearing on the rear.

Be careful not to over tighten the idle bearing as you will create excessive load on the drivetrain

I chose to fit an HPI Saturn 20t motor as I had a new one spare. Also fitted a RW hardened pinion gear as the stock pinion gear is very soft & wears put quickly

The shocks are very different front & rear. The front uses a short body & short shock shaft. It looks like that this stops the front of the vehicle bouncing when used. The rear uses a limiting spacer.

The shock shafts are different in colour, so its easy to identify which shaft suits which axle. I still built the dampers with AE green slime on the seals & built them as kit setup. The kit advises 1-hole pistons, 900wt (maybe CST?) oil & silver springs.

I still use the Ride air remover to remove all of the air! The shocks felt very firm in terms of damping, but we’ll see how it fairs on the track

The steering uses threaded bars for the turnbuckles. The manual suggests setting the steering links with a 1mm gap. I kind of cheated & fitted a 1mm shim between the cups to give the perfect gap when tightened up!

The 2 gearboxes join up to the chassis while fitting the single belt. I chose not to fit the supplied tensioner as I feel that there is enough tension from stock. This may change during use

I borrowed an SRT servo from another car & used the kit servo saver. Not the strongest unit but may be enough for the car.

I also fitted a Hobbywing 1060 esc. A tried & tested unit that’s perfect for the saturn motor I fitted.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a spare receiver at the time, so one will be fitted soon.

The final chassis in all its glory.


This changes from the original body released in 1997 as it replicates the street version that was required for homologation to allow competition in sports car championships & the Le Mans 24hr endurance race. Although no reason has been given, I suspect that the original race livery wasn’t able to be re-released due to licensing. License agreements expire & sometimes can be difficult to reinstate.
However, you now have the option to choose your own paint scheme & aren’t hindered by sponsor decals that may be part of a grill or light unit decal

I suspect may people will choose to paint the shell white. However, I had a spare set of decals left over from a 2002 Honda Raybrig NSX. I sourced the correct PS & TS paints & set to work replicating the JGTC look onto a sportscar from the ninties.

A very unusual move, but I don’t think it will be replicated & I will be able to recognize it on the track against a full field of 911’s!

The Porsche has a longer nose, but has a shorter rear compared to the NSX. In the end, I started with the door decals, then lined everything up to suit. The big logos are Team Kunimitsu written in Japanese.

You won’t be able to make this out on the shell, but the effect it still there. Unfortunately, the decals are 18yrs old, so weren’t easy to manipulate. Some ended up creasing & tearing, but I aimed to gain the total effect rather than the precise detail of some expert model makers

Track test…………………or maybe not!

At the time of writing, the United Kingdom is currently under a lockdown situation due to the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. This has suspended all racing activities for the foreseeable future.

I was planning on using the chassis during round 1 of the Iconic cup at Mendip. As soon as I can attend, I will be hitting the track at the earliest opportunity!


The car went together without any issues or areas of concern. As usual, the Tamiya manual was very easy to follow & provide no areas to address.

The bodyshell was actually a joy to construct although the decals were a bit tricky. The fact that a race car is supplied with no sponsors attached allows you to paint the car as you desire. Many people now offer custom decal sets so you can choose any iconic or modern design that you like


Generally on a kit like this, I normally fit threaded shocks, clamp hex hubs & a decent servo saver. However, I feel that I want to try the car as a stock spec, then look at what areas would benefit from upgrades. Looking through my spares box, I located some black wheel hexes, black TRF shocks, a 51000 servo saver & even a ball diff set. These may be fitted after an initial track test, tune in for a track report.

tamiya 2261091183949326605

Post a Comment

  1. I have to get one of these before they're all sold out. I just have one question about the bearings. Why did you go with the rubber shield bearings instead of metal shielded bearings if you might want to race? Rubbers ones do a better job keeping out dust and water, but don't they introduce more friction into the system than metal shielded bearings?

  2. Can i quite ask. What are the threads on the screws? Are they machine threads or self tapping?



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