Get the holeshot!
No one was thinking about radio control short-course trucks until Traxxas launched the Slash. No one was considering a 100mph RTR until Traxxas dropped the XO-1 on us. And while it wouldn’t be fair to say no one has been thinking of RC drag cars until now (the RC drag niche has always had its fans), odds are you weren’t thinking of making your next car a drag car until this second, when these images of the new Traxxas Funny Car flashed before your eyes. Unlike the slivers of graphite that dominate the current RC drag-racing scene, Traxxas’ new Funny Car is big (it’s 1/8 scale) and highly realistic—not only in its appearance, but also in the way it drives. To use Traxxas’ words, the Funny Car doesn’t just duplicate the look of an NHRA racer, it simulates its performance as well, from staging, to launch, to the way it blasts down a scale quarter-mile.
Length: 27.2in. (692mm)
Width F/R: 9.0 in./9.2 (228.5mm/233mm)
Height: 7.9 in (203mm)
Wheelbase: 15.3 (389mm)
Wheel diameter F/R: 2.0 in./3.3 in. (50mm/84mm)
Transmission: Direct drive
Speed Control: ET-3s Brushless
Differential type: Hardened steel bevel gear, sealed
Chassis type: Tubular tub
Radio: TQi 2.4GHz (4-channel)
Straight from the Strip
Traxxas took great pains to get the proportions and look of the body just right. In addition to the Courtney Force model, Traxxas will offer the other three Ford Mustang funnies in the John Force Racing stable: Mike Neff’s Castrol GTX car, Robert Hight’s Auto Club car, and the GTX High Mileage car of John Force himself. The body arrives fully decaled, and the wing is a separate injection-molded part for easy replacement. Now, Courtney Force (right) is not the only one who can drive this Funny Car!
The Funny Car’s suspension is one area where Traxxas departs from technical authenticity in order to ensure a realistic driving experience. Full-size funny cars do not have any suspension other than chassis flex, but flex-suspension isn’t practical in 1/8 scale. And compared to the glass-smooth pavement of a full-size dragstrip, the surfaces the Traxxas Funny Car will run on will be downright bumpy. So, suspension is a must. Up front, versions of Traxxas’ 1/16 scale shocks are tucked between the chassis rails to preserve scale appearance. In the rear, a unique 3-link setup locates the solid rear axle, and a pair of 1/16 scale shocks provide the damping. An anti-sway bar is also fitted to control chassis roll when cornering—even if all you’re doing is straight-line running, you still need to turn around!
Hideaway Bumper and Tilt-Up Body
Traxxas didn’t want the Funny Car’s foam bumper to detract from the chassis’ scale appearance, so instead of mounting to the chassis, the bumper is attached to the body. And there are no body clips; a quick-release latch clips the body and bumper to the front of the chassis, and the body tilts up like a full-size Funny Car via pivots at the rear of the car. Detents hold the body in the lifted position for chassis and battery access.
DTS stands for Drag Timing System, and the DTS-1 is exactly that. The system duplicates the NHRA’s actual Pro and Sportsman staging and timing system, as well as the “Christmas tree” light configuration. Laser beams are used to precisely stage the cars for heads-up racing and determine the winner of the race with millisecond accuracy. The staging system folds for storage and transportation, and all the components store in the system’s box, which conveniently includes a carrying handle.
Solid Rear Axle—with Diff
The Funny Car’s solid rear axle incorporates the motor mount and is direct-drive; the spur gear is attached directly to the differential. Differential? Full-size funny cars don’t have differentials! Like its suspension system, the Funny Car’s diff is a departure from full-size tech but a requirement for real-world driveability. The internals are the same as Traxxas’ Revo models, which mean you get steel gears and a sealed, silicone-filled housing. Extra-thick 500K oil prevents the diff from unloading in low-traction conditions but still allows appropriate diff action. Notably, the differential is perfectly centered so the driveshafts are equal length. This ensures equal power delivery to each rear wheel.
The Funny Car is equipped with Traxxas’ waterproof 2080 steering servo, but the Funny Car is not a waterproof model. The receiver is in an enclosed (but not sealed) box, and the ET-3s speed control is “powered by Castle Creations” and based on the Mamba Max Pro. Unlike the standard Castle controller, the ET-3s includes custom software for compatibility with Traxxas’ unique staging system (more on that in the “How It Works” section). Castle also provides the 2400Kv motor, dubbed ET-2400 and anodized Traxxas blue instead of Castle’s usual green. A battery is not included with the car, but the Funny Car is good for top speeds over 50mph with a 2S 4000mAh LiPo and over 70mph when paired with a 3S 6400mAh LiPo battery.
4-channel TQi Radio System
The Funny Car includes the latest TQi radio system in a 4-channel configuration, even though the car only requires throttle and steering control. The top switch controls the three throttle modes (Burnout, Staging and Race), and the red toggle switch is the Launch Control. The additional channels allow you to warm the tires up by doing a burnout, precisely stage the car in Traxxas’ DTS-1 electronic timing system, then drop the hammer at the green light using launch control to set a specific torque level that you choose to match track conditions. Torque is set by the transmitter’s Multi-Function knob. Dial it back, and the power system delivers less torque. You can set it so low that you could launch on ice without wheelspin, but what you’re looking for is the perfect amount of torque where you’re on the edge of wheelspin. Finding this perfect setting is a huge part of drag racing success—full scale or RC.
Tall-Profile Look, Low-Profile Rubber
When testing revealed an authentically sized tall-sidewall tire did not perform realistically, Traxxas arrived at a unique solution that allowed a low-profile tire to be fitted to the rear wheels without compromising the high-sidewall look of a full-size funny car tire. The Traxxas Funny Car wheel does not stop with the chrome deep-dish center. The black sidewall is actually molded with the wheel, creating the illusion of a tall-sidewall tire. As for the tires, they’re direct lifts from the 100mph XO-1. So, in addition to offering plenty of traction, the tires are belted to prevent ballooning and include molded inserts to fully support the tread. Up front, skinny 5-spoke rims and “brick tread” tires complete the realistic Funny Car look.
See the June 2012 issue of RC Car Action for the full review.