The speed and acceleration are comparable to a
well prepared Johnny Lighting Thunderjet 500 or an original Aurora AFX
car. Acceleration and top end is slower than either a Club Stock or Super
Stock car but is very much in keeping with the cars cornering ability. The
car corners very well and tends to slide at the limit. The limit is easy
to find and the car is very forgiving as usually spins out or recovers
nicely when overdriven as opposed to flying off the track and into the
My first experience with the car was at the 2006 HOPAC Western States
race. The Western States race is not so much an end of season race but the
end of season Party for the HOPAC Tour. This race has to be
experienced to be believed as the race is secondary to the camaraderie and
fun. There is no hidden agenda or politics at this race and help, set-up
tips, parts, and cars are available from everybody for the asking. The
level of competition is fierce and making the main is as tough or tougher
than making the main at the various National Championship races. The HOPAC
Tour ran the G-Jet during the 2006 season as part of the car's development
process. The car as raced at the Western States was very close to the
final configuration. It's my understanding that minor updates, designed to
further improve the car's performance, will be incorporated before the car
is officially released.
I really didn't have much time on the car when I got to the race. I was
sent a motor and a weight kit about a week or so before the race and built
the chassis that is sitting under the Chaparral 2D out of available parts.
The weight kit has heavy and light weights. I quickly settled on the light
weights and a 7/22 gear ratio. The first runs were with white AST tires. I
immediately ordered some "G-Jet tires." After fitting the black
tires, I hit the track for a final test session. After a few laps, I just
started laughing as the car was just so much fun to drive! It's my
understanding that I am not the only one to have that reaction. After
those initial laps, it was time to pack and get on the plane to Seattle.
the Western States there were two tracks that we ran the G-jet on. They were a Bucktrack Riverside with a painted wood surface and an
original Aurora Tub track with a new four lane Brystal plastic insert.
The cars could go from track to track with no change in setup or
performance. A good lap time was
3.5 seconds on the Bucktrack Riverside and 4.0 on the Tub.
First Scale Auto’s Dean "The Machine" Tweeddale showed
me what they do to make the rolling chassis and then what he would do to
make a race car out of a roller. The
changes are minor and easy to do. After
tweaking the home built car up to a competitive speed I decided to add a
second car to the stable and picked up a G-Jet roller at the factory.
This was not a hand picked car but a plain, out of the box, G-Jet
rolling chassis. The car was
immediately on the pace. Two days
later that same rolling chassis made the top eight in the Pro G-jet race
having won two consolidation races to make the B-semi.
With a bit more time the car could have made the main.
Those with more experience were faster but the field was relatively
flat and about half a second covered the 20 person pro G-jet field. The car is quite responsive to changes in tire height, pickups,
springs and gearing. The rolling
chassis comes stock with 7/22 tooth gears and the lighter weights.
Most ran the lighter weights and a 20 or 21 tooth crown gear but
the stock 22 tooth crown didn’t do bad at all.
Compared to the other cars the 7/22 tooth car accelerated out of
corners better and I was able to brake later.
Top speed wasn’t an issue with the 22 tooth crown.
My problems were a result of lack of seat time as opposed to
problems with the car's design or execution.
The car races very well.
Side by side racing is the norm and the fine art of nerfing is
alive and well!
As with T-jets you have to plan your pass as the guy on the inside
can take you out if you are not careful.
However, unlike T-jets, which when prepared to the Fray rules are
open wheel cars, the G-jets are full width enclosed wheel cars and you can
lean on and trade paint with the guy next to you!
The top photo was taken immediately after a pass in the esses.
A move like that with an open wheel car would most likely have
ended in disaster.
There were many cases where side by side battles went on for 10-20
laps or more.
I recall a segment long battle where no more than a few feet
separated the cars at any one time.
In the G-Jet Pro main Andre Perra went wire to wire to take the
In keeping with the R&D spirit of the HOPAC tour and the race,
Andre is sending the winning car back to the "factory" so it can
be evaluated and see if the base car's performance can be further
enhanced. Is this good or what!
Does the G-Jet work as an entry level car?
Let me offer the following as an answer.
One of Gary ’s neighbors sons showed up on Friday to see what was
One of the racers spent a few minutes discussing the event with him
and then handed him a G-Jet car and controller.
After a minute or so of instruction he was turning laps on the Tub.
I don’t think he ever put the car on the floor as he started slow
and mostly spun out when he hit the limit.
As a result of the cars good manners, he had the hang of the car in
less than 30 minutes.
Within a few hours he was running with the best and not leaving
much on the table.
He ended up running that car all night!
He really wanted to come back and probably will.
At the end of the day the pickups on that car were as fresh as ones
The “speed-crazed” may find the car a bit slow but for the rest it’s
a perfect, fun to drive, fun to race car.
I have been racing T-jets (Aurora Thunderjet 500 cars) in various
forms since 2001 and in my opinion the G-Jet is what a full tilt
Thunderjet built to the Fray rules wants to be.
At the limit they drive much the same but there is where the
The T-Jet is a 40-year old design whose driveline features one
plastic and two metal vertical shafts, a horizontal shaft, four poorly
made brass gears and one poorly made plastic crown gear.
They haven’t been made since the late 1960s or early 70s and per
my sources parts are running out.
The G-jet is a modern design with two horizontal shafts and two
well made plastic gears.
Building a competitive Fray, NITRO or Super Stock Thunderjet
requires a considerable tribal knowledge database, advanced building
skills, specialized parts and can take hours per car using parts and tools
are not that readily available.
Quite a bit of parts sorting is the norm to get a good car.
A competitive G-Jet can be yours with a few minutes of work and
requires no special skill or parts.
With the exception of the brass weights and armature any part built
for a Super G+ or G3 chassis can be used on the G-Jet.
The parts unique to the G-Jet are a phone call away as are building
and set-up tips.
The Thunderjet runs on 18 VDC and requires a fair bit of maintenance to
keep it running at its finest.
Rebuilds and tweaking sessions between races are the norm.
The G-Jet runs on 12 VDC and the arm, brushes and pickups seem to
There was little tire wear and no gear or bushing wear after three
and a half days of racing.
The car was packed up immediately after the race, sat in a suitcase
for about 30 hours and survived the long plane ride back to Chicago as
When placed on the track at home the car ran fine and didn’t
require any maintenance.
I'm convinced that, if sent back to Seattle, they would be as fast
now as they were then.
Scale Auto’s Gary Beedle and Dean Tweeddale indicated that my
experience is typical.
They recommend breaking in an arm and motor brushes (a.k.a.
endbell) for 24-hours on 3-4 Volts.
Other speed tweaks involve the usual endbell electrical system
tweaks, reaming the arm bushings with a 0.062” reamer and chamfering the
side of the bushings away from the magnets.
The side of the bushing facing the magnets is polished to minimize
The front axle holes are reamed with a 0.052” reamer. It is
critical that the front axle holes are reamed only after the front
weight is installed.
The roller arrives with stock bushings that have been reamed to
0.061” and the axle holes reamed to 0.051.”
The endbell electrical system has been tweaked as part of the
factory build process.
Each rolling chassis is
track tested by Gary before packaging.
If the car doesn't cut it, it doesn't get sold.
The cars are FAST right out of the box.
One of my best laps at the WS was set in the second practice
session with the roller chassis.
This was before we did the final tweaks to it.
I got a bit more speed later but my experience indicates that the
car is very good right out of the box.
From my experience I tend to believe that there is no such thing as
a bad rolling chassis. The car really responds to reducing friction and
As the above chassis photo shows getting the pickups just right
doesn't hurt either. The pickups on that car ran for four days and have a
good contact patch and very light wear.
Performance is excellent. The car runs in the middle of the gap between
superstock and Fray style T-Jets. After the race, the G-Jet I raced at the
Western States turned 4.3-4.4 second laps here at CRR in Red. Red is the
long way around and about 0.1 second/lap slower than the center lanes.
With work a very low four second lap is attainable. A four second lap is
midway between the best Fray style T-jet lap ever and a good superstock
time. Not too fast and not too slow either.
To date there have been several six and nine hour endurance races for the
G-Jet with no changes or maintenance with the exception of oil.
Because of the lower speeds the bodies don’t get beat up and can
be used for a season or more.
This, plus the requirement for black tires, encourages the painting
of good looking race cars which is another plus.
Some of the cars at the race were simply gorgeous and were driven
hard as the risk of crash damage was low.
After the races the cars looked as good as before.
Scale Auto plans a series of detailed premounted Lexan bodies for
What may be a prototype of a typical body appears in the following