Tamiya Racing Factory

The Team TRF history began circa 1998: at the time, Tamiya mobilized considerable resources for the development of an iconic buggy, The Avante. Outstanding piece of technology and demonstration of ultimate RC engineering of the period, the Avante was designed to raise Tamiya's name at the top of international leaderboards, and the Team TRF first mission was to test it. Unfortunately, despite the Avante becoming one of the most iconic RC buggy ever, the race results never met the expectations.

Fortunately, the Team TRF kept working in the shadows for over a decade, but some of their efforts could be spotted on a few models, proving that Tamiya was still thinking about serious racing. This article will list all the TRF models by category, including the history of development and known prototypes when available.

Unless stated otherwise, all photos are © Tamiya


Off-Road 2WD TRF

Historically, the first visible trace of the Team TRF involvement can be found at the beginning of the 90's with the TRF211X prototype. Based on the Super Astute and tested by TRF drivers on tracks in USA and Europe, this prototype will become the 1992 Dyna Storm. As far as we know, only 100 of these prototypes were made and offered to test drivers, but the number is not sure. Anyway, most of them have probably disappeared now:


93004 TRF211X (1992)

Tamiya 93004 TRF211X Prototype

Photo © RC Fan


Click for full-size images


From what we know, the TRF211X prototype seemed to be a good machine, but not enough to immediately offer an undisputed advantage over the competition. However, Tamiya rapidly stopped the development for this buggy, presumably because the main buggy market collapsed at the beginning of the 90's. However, performances were good enough to convert the TRF211X prototype into the Dyna Storm and to release it. Of course, it also served to make some money out of the development, but performances were really correct for club races, despite the overall fragility.

There will be an 18 year gap before the Team TRF worked again on a 2WD buggy, the 2010 TRF201:


42167 TRF201 (2010)

Tamiya 42167 TRF201

42203 TRF201 Upgrade Pack (2011)

Tamiya 42203 TRF201 Upgrade Pack

42277 TRF201-XMW (2014)

Tamiya 42277 TRF201-XMW

42288 TRF211-XM (2015)

Tamiya 42288 TRF211-XM


Best international results (to my knowledge)

Tamiya TRF wins 
2010: EFRA Europe Champion (Lee Martin/TRF201)
2011: EFRA Europe Champion (Lee Martin/TRF201)
2012: EFRA Europe Champion (Lee Martin/TRF201)


For a very long period, the TRF team was not involved in developing and operating 2WD racing buggies, probably because Tamiya focused on the 4WD Touring category. However, the TRF201 was well-born and proved to perform extremely well in good hands, but not by a significant margin over the competition. In fact, the lack of very significant results at international level and the relatively slow development rate tend to show that the future may be uncertain for this model.




Off-Road 4WD TRF

Historically, the first visible trace of the Team TRF involvement can be found at the beginning of the 90's with the TRF411X prototype... excuse me?
Well the story was pasted from the 1992 TRF211X prototype because the TRF411X was developed at the same time: it even used the same gearbox but mounted reverse. One of those prototypes was shot, probably during an RC expo in Japan in 1992:


93005 TRF411X (1992-1993)

Click the photos for full-size


The photos presented next belong to pUS, a TamiyaClub member who build the prototype he owns. The link to the model build topic can be found below in resources.


93005 TRF411X (1992-1993)

Click the photos for full-size


If the TRF211X is extremely rare, the TRF411X prototype is even more rare: despite the 100 units that were made (like the TRF211X, as far as we know), it seems that the production never reached the standardization level (all models are not identical because parts were continuously modified). The technical basis seems to be the TRF211X for the gearbox, and Top Force and Top Force Evo for the suspension (depending on the prototypes). Just as the TRF211X, the development of the TRF411X was rapidly abandoned: unlike its 2WD counterpart though, no standard model ever directly inherited from its development.

Almost 15 years passed before the Team TRF got involved again in 4WD racing buggies, the TRF501X from 2006:


49401 TRF501X (2006)

Tamiya 49401 TRF501X

42105 TRF501X World Championship Edition (2007)

Tamiya 42105 TRF501X World Championship Edition

42139 TRF511 (2009)

Tamiya 42139 TRF511

42183 TRF502X (2010)

Tamiya 42183 TRF502X

42275 TRF503 (2014)

Tamiya 42275 TRF503



Best international results (to my knowledge)

Tamiya TRF wins 
2009: EFRA Europe Champion (Marc Rheinard/TRF511)
2010: EFRA Europe Champion (Lee Martin/TRF511)



In this category, the conclusion is curiously the same as the 2WD buggys: the models are well designed, they perform extremely well and they offer significant victories in the hands of the best drivers, but they do not feature that extra "thing" that makes them the absolute best machine. As for buggies, both 2WD and 4WD, Tamiya doesn't seem to have found the good recipe for success, the recipe that makes the difference over the competition. In this category, even more than with 2WD buggies, the development rate seems particularly slow and the cruel lack of significant race results are definitely not in favor of a radiant future.




Gas-Powered Off-Road 4WD TRF

To my knowledge, Tamiya offers only 2 racing models at 1/8th scale. It looks like these models, or better said, that the TRF801XT truggy and its TRF801X buggy adaptation are a specific development from Tamiya USA, and more precisely. the designer is David Jun, a name we will meet again soon in this article.


49497 TRF801XT (2008)

Tamiya 49497 TRF801XT

84067 TRF801X (2009)

Tamiya 84067 TRF801X

84110 TRF801X with OS Speed 21 (2009)

Tamiya 84110 TRF801X with OS Speed 21



Best international results (to my knowledge)

Tamiya TRF wins 




As far as I know, these models are discontinued.




On-Road 2WD TRF

Before reviewing the Touring chassis the Team TRF is so famous for, here are the Formula 1 chassis that were recently released:


42252 TRF101 (2013)

Tamiya 42252 TRF101

42279 TRF101W (2014)

Tamiya 42279 TRF101W

42289 TRF102 (2015)

Tamiya 42289 TRF102

84432 TRF102 Black Edition (2017)

Tamiya 84432 TRF102 Black Edition



Best international results (to my knowledge)

Tamiya TRF wins 

no information available


The F1 category was popular in the 90's (F103 chassis period) before most fans lost interest until the end of the 2000's. Since then, the category looks like it is slowly regaining interest, both from fans and manufacturers. This is why it was a surprise when Tamiya released the TRF101, because the involvement of the Team TRF meant that Tamiya had ambitions for this category. However, the Team TRF program for F1 has been “light” so far, because only few selected drivers seem to receive support from local subsidiaries or distributors, perhaps because there is no official F1 category yet at international level. Tamiya may have decided to invest the category early in order to gain experience at a relative low cost instead of facing bigger investments later when attempting to catch up with the existing competition.