Over the past three seasons I have been running a fleet of Team C cars in both on and off road. The only reason these vehicles were chosen was due to their cheap price and at the time, local track side support.
These vehicles are priced at the lower end of the market and do not have the pedigree of the established brands, but that does not mean that they are not durable or capable vehicles.
My experiences have been with the TS2TE 2wd short course truck, the TC02 2wd buggy in both rear and mid mount and the TR10 all-wheel drive touring car. All of these vehicles have been around for some time now and are generally similar to vehicles once produced by the established brands. I won’t go into the specifics of each car as an online search will get you any specifications you may need, but I will elaborate on the shortcomings and issues that I have overcome.
I’ll start with the on road car first, the TR10. This car was a ready built and only needed electrics, it was cheap and I mean real cheap. I only purchased it to race indoors during the winter when we couldn’t race off road due to the weather. The car is very basic and comes with absolutely useless pre mounted tyres, that offer no grip and are not suitable for racing at all. It has plastic hexes which always fall off the hub or get jammed in the wheel hex when changing tyres. The plastics are of a low quality and strip easily so care is needed. I found the servo mount to be particularly annoying as the plastic is so poor is flexes easily and the servo twists in the mount. The only real positive I found is that despite its short comings it can handle a beating, I regularly hit the boards around the local track and never broke anything except for popping a rear axle pin out once. Overall I wouldn’t recommend this car to anyone interested in racing, but it may make a good drift car by locking the rear diff and fitting some drift tyres. In hindsight I would have been better off finding a used X-ray or Yokomo as a cheap platform to get into on road.
Now onto the off road cars and the TS2TE has been a solid performer and I have enjoyed owning it but if you want to make it a reliable truck then the first thing you will need to upgrade is the rear chassis brace. The kit comes with a plastic brace which is just not up to the task and it is common for the ball studs to tear out of the plastic brace. Replacing it with an alloy brace will solve this issue completely and give you a little more weight in front of the rear axle which can only help with some rear traction.
The other areas which need beefing up are the ball cups and hubs. If you have the alloy hubs which is part of the TS2TE kit you will be fine, but you will want to get these if you have the plastic hubs as they tend to fail at the ball stud. The ball cups are fine initially but they seem to lose their strength pretty quickly, I have found replacing them with the cup used on the TLR22 has worked well.
The only other area that requires some attention is getting out some of the slop in the arms, this is common with all Team C cars as they do not have the tolerances of the established brands. A little time spent shimming out the slop is all that is required.
The TC02 buggy is a similar story to the TS2TE and a lot of the parts have commonality which is pretty handy if you’re running multiple cars. The TC02C mid mount buggy is actually a pretty good car, it doesn’t have all the adjustability of a TLR or AE car, but you can achieve a reliable and predictable setup.
There are no real weak points with this buggy and the only modifications are performance orientated. The kit springs are of average quality and there are not a lot of factory tunning options available, but fortunately they use the now industry standard 12mm big bore shocks. This allows you to use a variety of other manufacturer’s springs, such as the TLR low frequency springs on the rear and standard TLR springs on the front. With the springs and shocks sorted the car is well balanced and provides predictable handling.
Overall Team C cars are a cheap and reliable platform however their biggest downside can be parts availability, local suppliers seem to have little stock and are regularly sold out for long periods. Unlike the big brands you do not have much choice when it comes to hop ups and option parts and the prices of some of the hop ups are way more expensive than an equivalent hop up for a TLR or AE car.
The TC02 and TC02C represent exceptional value on the second hand market and well sorted mid mount buggies regularly change hands at my local club for around $100 or less. This makes them a very cheap entry level car for someone just getting into racing and a great car to learn on.
Purchasing these Team C cars new is a different proposition and the value equation is not as compelling. At a local Adelaide hobby shop the TC02 is being sold for $399 which is only just cheaper than a Team Associated B6 or $100 more than the TLR 22 3.0 which is currently in run out. At this price you would expect the TC02 to be comparable to the other vehicles in this price bracket, but in reality it is not even in the same league. Add to this the lack of local support, lower quality componentry and lack of parts availability and you should be looking elsewhere for your first or next 1/10 car.