Blast From The Past: "Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken...That’s An X1!”

Xray X1 1/10th 2WD Electric Pro Spec F1 Kit

Words & Images: Mark Christopher

Rumors had been flying around for a long time that Xray were working on developing a Formula 1 car, then pictures appeared from the ETS series where in prototype form Jan Ratheisky and Francesco Martini were running the car claiming first and third in the overall series. X-ray were able to speed up the development programme by using rapid part prototyping and having these two drivers do extensive testing giving quick feedback to chief designer Martin Hudy.

It’s been a long time since I’ve driven a competitive Formula One chassis and being a previous radio race car international F1 circuit series champion, which used to be run outdoors on UK tracks, I was eager to to try my hand at this class again. I already had looked into the BRCA status and the UK classes now mainly run indoors on carpet with a choice of 21.5 turn motor and 2S LiPo or 13.5 turn motor and 1S LiPo. Rubber tires are now used whereas the last time I ran Formula One it was on foam tyres. My local track Swifts Raceway at Killamarsh near Sheffield have a good club following and have opted for the 13.5 motor with a 1S LiPo and the Ride control R1 tyres, these also used at DTS rounds yet the BRCA have an open rubber tyre rule at the moment.

It Arrived…In Two Packages!
Upon taking delivery of the Xray X1 the first thing you notice is that the box is roughly the size of a shoebox and the body shell is not contained within it. That was supplied in a separate bag. The usual glossy box livery you expect from X-ray wraps the box in the form of a sleeve. Within the box is the usual high quality X-ray instruction manual with exploded parts diagrams and a full parts listing and your certificate of authenticity along with an X-ray X1 decal sheet.

After a quick read through the manual the first thing you are required to do is superglue the edges of the carbon chassis and the rear motor pod plate. This helps to give the edges some strength and prevent any delamination in the event of an accident. If you Google “X1 chassis preparation” there are a few good videos on YouTube. All showing you the best methods of doing this, and in the process aiding you obtaining the best results. The next step of the build is to prepare the front suspension. This has lower triangular wishbones cut from carbon fibre plate these have pivot balls inserted in them on the outer hole which are held in place by an O-ring which makes them easily changeable should any wear occur. Also mounted to the lower wishbones are some steering stops, these are handy as they will prevent the steering being locked over on clipping a barrier and also prevent the wheel/tyre hitting the lower arm on full lock. They are adjustable by inserting a 1.5 mm Allen driver into the grub screw and either winding them in or out to give more or less lock. Lower arms mount onto the chassis via aluminium posts which are anodised in the X-ray orange.

The use of spaces between these posts and the chassis allows adjustment of the roll centre. There is also an optional #372087 part which is a small fibre plate which braces the two front lower inner pivots. This is recommended if you are using on high traction conditions. A carbon fibre top plate bolts onto long posts this has three moulded inserts in it where it mounts to the chassis. The holes in these inserts are offset and are used for adjusting caster. Front caster can be adjusted in increments of 3° from 3, 6, 9 or 12. The top arm is fitted and has pivots on all three pick up points, two inboard and one outboard to allow the wishbone to move up and down.

This then mounts to the centre caster/camber plate again using various spaces which allow camber to be adjusted in .5° increments from 1°, 1.5°, 2° and 2.5°. In all cases X-ray give you a base setup to help get the X-ray X1 onto the track and then you can fine tune to your own driving. The X1 in-line axle is mounted to the composite steering hubs. Two positions for linkage pickup are provided to adjust the Ackerman angle and move on kingpins.

TOP TIP: Pay great attention to how you insert the kingpins through the suspension arms and steering hubs as you need to put shims in different positions. The shims are also used to adjust the ride height of the chassis. Next a coil spring is fitted to the bottom of the lower arm and clicks in place with an ‘E- clip’. Optional coil springs are available to tune your chassis. Once the front kingpin assembly is completed and clicked in place tighten the small grub screw in the axle against the king pin. Finally make sure all the movement is smooth and free if not disassemble and double check what is binding…

F1 Pod Racer
Moving onto the rear suspension the motor pod/plate pivots on a central ball and when you have assembled this part you need to gently sand the lower mounting positions to help them grip on to the carbon chassis and not move. Take note not to tighten this part fully at this stage of the build. A black machined aluminium motor plate attaches to the lower plate and the rear brace/wing mount made from carbon fibre is also screwed to them. This has various positions to mount the rear wing to enable fine tuning. To keep the motor pod tracking straight composite side links are provided these are adjustable to take out any play with small bolts clamping the composite socket to the ball. To control side movement and position of the Lipo a spring brace is bolted to the chassis. You need to insert two grub screws into the carbon and attach a spring holder then click the spring in place onto the holder. Set the gap to 2 mm as shown in the manual later these will be adjusted to compensate for any tweak. A top plate is fitted to the motor mounts this is to allow the fitment of the central damper along with a brace going the centre of the chassis which also holds the body posts. These are adjustable and have floating mounts to form to the shape of the body shell.

Composite bearing holders are inserted into the alloy motor plates and these allow the axle to be moved up and down thus adjusting ride height. X-ray supply options from zero through to 2.5 mm in increments of .5 mm which gives a total of 5 mm ride height adjustment. X-ray provide a steel rear axle which is identical to that of the 12th and 10th scale differential components with D ring diff plates a 64 DP spur gear with 96 teeth and carbide differential balls. The alloy outdrives are specific to the Formula One/X1 car as they are hex fitments for the Formula One style universal wheels. Tension on the differential is held by bevel washers and a thrust race.

TOP TIP: The thrust race has different size washers, pay particular attention when installing these into the differential. Once the differential is set an end adapter is fitted this is pinned in place and allows the central wheel nut to be used. By adding shims on the axle rear track can be adjusted dependent if you’re wheels have any offset, pay particular attention to the rules you are running on the rear and front track width.

Once assembled the differential builds up into a very smooth and nonslip unit using the grease supplied by XRAY in the kit and take your time applying tension as applying too much tension can damage the differential plates by creating indents from the hard balls. To control pod movement fore and aft, one of X -rays sealed damper units is provided using a three hole fixed shock absorber piston body is machined from aluminium and has seals on the lower chassis ride and diaphragm and compensating foam insert on the top of the damper. The spring tension is adjusted by rotating the threaded shock collar and down stop or droop is adjusted by lengthening the ball joints on the shock absorber shaft. Initially your shock absorber length needs to be set to 65 mm as stated in the instruction book. To control side to side movement a small sealed damper is provided by simply adjusting the damping oil in this damper you can control the amount of sideways pitch the chassis has. Once built the side damper does feel quite stiff, but once fitted to the car with the added leverage it feels about right.

Back To the Front!
Next we assemble the alloy steering linkages. These are true turnbuckles to allow easy adjustment of the track. These attached to a sensibly mounted steering linkage arm which is ball raced blitz post and has two holes for Ackerman adjustment on the track arms. Bump steer is also adjustable by changing the shims on which the inner balls mount. The X-ray X1 is designed around taking a full size low profile servo this fits centrally in the car and uses X-rays servo Saver and the linkage to a centrally mounted steering assembly previously installed. This gives a smooth steering assembly with lots of adjustments should you need them. The front wing consists of three main parts the first part being a composite holder which attaches to the front of the chassis with two M4 bolts, the range of Tamiya style wing fitments fit giving a vast range of styles and tuning options.

Mounting onto this composite part are moulded Lexan wings and X-ray provide a low and high downforce part, they do not look as realistic as the moulded Tamiya parts but I suspect they are more functional. The rear wing is a moulded part again wings from other manufacturers can be used to change style and performance. My usual painter Michael Parker from number five designs was busy and unable to help me with this body shell due to the birth of his new daughter. Congratulations Michael on your new arrival and I look forward to getting you back painting bodies once you’re getting some sleep. I wanted to replicate a style rather than go out with the tribal war paint and still retain my team Dremel racing colours. Luckily I knew that quite a while ago when they sponsored the Spyker F1 car Dremel had released a Revell grand prix model liveried in Dremel colours so I chose to replicate this and sent it to fellow contributor and racing friend Lee Chapman who did his magic. Using my vinyl cutter I created some logos and plates to stick on the black rear wing to fit in with the colour scheme.

I chose to run the ride control tyres these being slightly harder at the front and were known to give under steer. I can use setups from the team at the ETS rounds to help me. GRP Racing also supplied some of their control rubber tyres to try.

I tested the car at a local track, SYR (South Yorkshire Raceway) in Sheffield. This is a large indoor track with a good carpet and grip level. The meeting I attended had no specific F1 heat so I was granted permission by Chris the club organizer to run with the 12th lmp cars. My first run was on the ride tyres, these gave little grip on the rear and understeer on the front, they did get better as the heat built up in them, but before I adjusted the car I tried the GRP tyres. These had been put to good use by new BRCA F1 champion Mark Green. I applied the additive in the same manner as the ride tyres and straight away the rear tyres had more grip and the front still had understeer but not as bad as the previously tested tyres. Now I was not sure what to expect from the X1 and the electric set up, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, the car had a good turn of speed and punch out of the corner, but it did not have too much power to make it un-drivable.

I'm told from more experienced F1 drivers that the 2s light pro and 21.5 turn motor offers around the same top speed a little more punch out the corners and due to the heavier weight of the LiPo pack a little bit more secure handling.

Back on the track the car had slight understeer, but was very driveable, even if you went into the corners a bit too hot. I simply applied full lock and the front end reacted well under breaking providing you didn’t use too much. The handling through the fast sweeping sections was also more than adequate. Understeer was more noticeable going into the corners, and I felt the front end was a tad too hard. I have ordered myself some of the new soft front coil springs but for now I have change the camber from 2° to 1.5° and the caster from 9° to 6°, the main reason for the camber change was I'd noticed that the only the inside third to half of the tyre width was making contact with the track.

With this changed the understeer was less noticeable and with further tuning I'm sure the X-ray X1 will be on pace and winning Nationals. I also let my teammate Lee Stokes drive the car. He was pleasantly surprised at how well the car handles with so little setup-time, and how responsive and frankly nimble it was. The downside was that the front wing being Lexan was easily cracked and damaged in even the most minor trackside clip or shunt. For now this has been fixed with ‘Shoe Goo’, although I will be investing in a moulded plastic type of wing when I choose which style I prefer.

All in all the X-ray X1 is a thoroughly well designed and engineered kit more than capable of winning championships. Even after clipping a few track markers (all in the course of RRCi testing) nothing broke, the tyres remained securely glued to the wheels and I’m pretty sure that the scrubbed rubber aided the better handling.

Many thanks to X-ray/RC disco for supplying the car, Vapextech for the light pro and Gandhi racing products for supplying the wheels and tyres. And of course to RRCi for the chance to review this great and very different Pro F1 kit. If you’re a fan of the genre it’s well worth the investment. It’s meant to be driven though, it’s not a shelf queen or photorealistic race replica, it’s a ‘full on formula one’ mistake about that!