Thought I'd throw my hat in the ring, mostly out of boredom at work, but in the ring none the less.
I think the new car looks pretty sweet. Although I have yet to see one in person, I really like that TL is at the very least TRYING to do somthing original. Ugly? I don't think so, but then again, who cares? If it's faster, more durable, cheaper, easier to work on, or offers any other tangable benefits, what self respecting racer cares about looks?
I do have to go against the grain a little on the CF plate chassis however. While I'm sure there are plenty of good reasons that TL has decided to go this route (most likely cost effectiveness and ease of manufacturing - which are two very valid reasons IMO) I still would have liked to see them release this car as another fully enclosed, tub chassis sedan. True, the enclosed belts made things a little tougher to work on, and it's quite possible that they couldn't get the weight distribution right had they gone that route (since that seems to be the primary design theme behind the car.) Still, I really like the tweak resistance that tub chassis offer and the fact that they can be made with variable cross sections to enhance rigidity in desired, high stress sections.
On the flip side, I think the shorter arms are a fantastic addition. For those of you debating like Cheney and Edwards (a great debate for those of you who missed it
) about the assumed advantages/disadvantages that the shorter arms will provide, it would seem to me as though you don't quite have enough information for any type of meaningful discourse. A TC has to be looked at as a system, all aspects of which influence it's response under any given set of conditions. Perhaps the shorter arms were designed in to decrease breakage due to collisions. Perhaps they were designed in out of necessity as the offset of the drive train, mandated by the component placement, left little room for arms to stay inside of width restrictions. Perhaps they were designed in to make the handling to be more/less agressive after some track testing of an original proto showed how the 'weight in the middle' design really responded. The point is, there are simply too many factors to take into consideration to make a worthwhile guess at how the arms will affect overall performance or why.
In the end, Losi has introduced a completley new sedan filled with innovation. Sure some of it looks familiar, but nobody's calling the new Mercedes a Tucker just because it has 'road tracking headlights.' Innovation should be applauded in this industry as long as it's true innovation as opposed to releasing a new kit with minor refinements every 3 month in hopes of selling more kits. In this case, it's the former, and I welcome it. Without it, we would still be driving pan cars.