Are you sure you've installed the MSC correctly? ie. At full stick, the MSC's wiper arm should be on the 3rd step - it should NOT have gone so far it's fallen off the end. If this is the case then try move the servo link *in* one hole. You don't have to stick with Tamiya's servo horn too, you can use the Futaba ones - cut off the unused legs if they get in the way. When properly adjusted, the stick should be proportionate to 1/3rd, 2/3rds & Full.
HobbyCo is good. If its not too far for you, I'm sure they won't mind taking 5 mins &checking out your car for you - since you've bought everything from them, right??
Yeah, for control ESC are an improvement over MSC.
But you have to work out what will suit you into the future <--- important!
Cheapest ESC? Probably about $70-80 possible but the good brandnames start from about $100. Most of these will be "forward & brake only", as that's what you need for racing.
(Fwd & Reverse ESCs do exist, but they are normally not as good performing as the Fwd-only ones for the same price. In Racing, reversing is not allowed too.)
Price of ESC depends a lot on the "motor limit", this is the hottest motor that it can handle. Hot modified motors suck a lot more current than a stock motor, so the ESC's transistors need to be able to handle the higher current without overheating or blowing up.
The cheapest ESCs (~$80-150) may do only Stock motors like your 540 (= 27 turn). (nb: There are some 27T motors that go a lot faster than a 540, such as the competition "rebuildable stock", or even Tamiya's own SportTuned black motor.)
A mid-range ESC (say $150-200) will do a mild modified motor, say 15-20 turns. Some of these ESCs in this pricerange will also be Reversing capable.
A top-range ESC (could be $300+) will say "No Limit", so they'll handle the hottest super modified motors of < 10t. Very rare to find these 'competition'-grade ESCs with Reverse, as nobody would want one.
So really, you have to decide what you want going forwards. The ESC can be transferred to your next car etc... and you're likely to want to buy a more powerful motor soon enough too. Don't make the mistake of buying a cheapie basic ESC, then have to buy another better one next month.
But yeah, it'll never 'creep' -not without risking burning up the Resistor anyway. Funny that... most ppl just go full speed & then say its too slow!
There's quite a few decent ESCs < $200...
My favourite is Futaba's 330CR. Its a modern compact unit, does down to 13T and the reverse is switchable too - a very good unit. It should sell for about $140-150? (If interested, Imight be able to score a unused demo one for a little bit less.)
Futaba's lower model 230CR is pretty good too, but it has a lesser motor limit. Its probably better than LRP's Runner Plus Reverse that Hobbyco sells for $110. Futaba 230 should be a little bit cheaper... but might as well spend just a few bux more and get the 330. http://www.futaba-rc.com/radioaccys/futm0922.html
LRP's Quantum Reverse is a tiny unit with 15T limit, but expensive @ $190 Hobbyco. Not a huge fan of LRP (aka Nosram)... the only ones I like is their F1 Pro Reverse (5T!! but expensive) and the LRP Sprinter (damned best 'basic' ESC for $110 Hobbyco, its fwd only). http://www.lrp-electronic.com/e/main_frameset_e.htm
I love Novak (orange!), but they don't make anything cheap & reversible. Novak Super Rooster is the ultimate reversible unit (NO limit!), but it ain't cheap & itschunky big- sized for Monster Trucks. http://teamnovak.com/products/esc/index.htm
Before you do anything... you need FULL BALLBEARINGS for your car.
BBs reduce the friction in your transmission, and those little white plastic bushings won't have a chance if you want your gears to go much faster.
Then you have to decide... are you just asking for High Top Speed? Or better Acceleration?
You can't have both - you've only got 1 set of gears!
(think 5-speed gearbox in a real car: 1st gear to pull away, 5th gear for the highway)
You can gear up a TL01 with a bigger pinion gear on the motor (you have 19-tooth, can use 21 or 23) and also there's a SpeedTuned gear set you can buyquite cheaply. Do both and you'll havea "High Ratio" gearing that's so high, its good enough for Land Speed Record runs.
But the acceleration ("pickup") will be less... your poor motor has to work much harder to pull the high gearing.
And when you want more horsepower... that's when a "hotter" motor comes in.
But don't do anything else before getting Full Ballbearings, ok?
(Ever wondered why you don't see WRC rally cars racing against a Formula 1 car?)
You'll have to change your car setup for each:-
HIGH SPEED:- high gearing ratio, high power motor with high RPMs, high voltage batteries & a big big space to run in. Sticky tyres are good too, for keeping your car in a straight line. Slippery shell is good, wings shouldn't be too big or else you'll have too much drag.
GOOD ACCELERATION (aka SMALL TIGHT TRACK):- lower gear ratio, a torquey motor (usually higher # of turns, low turn mod motors have less torque). Lots of grip from good tyres is good too, otherwise it'll all be lost in wheelspin.
DOING DONUTS?? :- put brain in neutral
, crank the steering full to eother side and step on the power - driving skills not necessary. Hard gripless every-lasting tyres... Tamiya kit rubber does well here!