The Renault 5 Turbo
After several weeks working on the bodyshell, the expected moment came to place the bodyshell onto its chassis to get the final model overview:
Honestly, this is a true moment of pleasure to admire the final result: it may not be perfect, but I think I managed to get the very specific model look and feel that made me dream when I was reading my RC Guide Book back in the mid 80's:
Photos © Tamiya
At the time, I had no idea about how much efforts it would take to work on this bodyshell in order to achieve the result I liked on the photos. Now I know, and I am impatient to drive this model at the track and to see how it handles. Both for the pleasure of driving it and the pleasure of seeing this old timer in motion.
The Renault 5 Turbo at the track
This model was finished several months ago but I couldn't bring it to our usual track due to the weather conditions. It is a non-sense to drive such a model in winter: plastics get fragile due to the cold temperature and turn any hit into a potential if not likely break. By the way, this applies to modern models too.
Several months later, at last, the great moment arrived to bring the model to the track for a test drive and taking photos with my friend David from RC 4 Old Nuts:
After a quick photo shooting, this iconic model finally hit the track. First spins of wheels to check everything works fine but also mainly to test the old tires grip. First corners taken like a charm, the driver feels confident when approaching the long straight: ideally placed in the middle of the track, front wheels straight, throttle... oooops, it's going too fast!!!
My Renault 5 Turbo in action
VPromotional video of the Renault 5 Turbo and VW Golf Racing Gr.2
As I was suspecting from the build, this chassis is surprising for its age, from the (old) tires grip, to its overall excellent handling, vivacity and most of all, its top speed. In this video, the maximum top speed was limited between 70% and 85% by the radio setup. Despite this limit, we hardly ever applied full throttle at the radio trigger, both because the track grip didn't allow to safely keep control of the model and because we felt the top speed was way too high for a model of this age.
The chassis handling reminds my Toyota Tom's 84C's, even if I never drove it on this same track for a direct comparison. However, the Racing Master Mk.6. chassis is more recent (1985) and technically more complex. The feeling of lightness also reminds my Road Wizard's and my Williams FW11B's, but the Renault 5 shorter wheelbase and track bring a lot more maneuverability and vivacity in corners. Quite surprisingly, when my Road Wizard and Williams FW11B suffered from the track imperfections despite their suspension system, the Renault 5 chassis perfectly handled the track conditions. Overall, the chassis is much more flexible despite any suspension system: in addition, the model never bounced on bumps or rubbed the chassis underneath despite its low ground clearance.
Driving this Renault 5 Turbo is a great pleasure, even if quite stressful due to the incredible top speed. Fortunately, the radio setup can remedy the problem and help preserve the tires that resisted well during this test drive. The overall chassis handling and maneuverability are excellent, the suspension works very well despite relying on the sole chassis flex and the amazing tire grip make the model quite easy to control. In fact, the drivers decided where the limits had to be fixed because the chassis in itself can handle a faster pace: the amazing top speed and fear to damage the model if we made mistakes made us think twice about being too optimistic. As for watching the Renault 5 Turbo running on the track, it is a true pleasure, both because you rarely see these models being driven and because the bodyshell looks even more beautiful when it is in motion.