You have been playing around with your RC cars for a while and you think you are ready to take the plunge into the RC Racing world? Let me help you by telling you what I believe are the 10 most important tidbits on RC Car Racing.
1. RC Racing is not that serious, Don’t be Intimidated (This is the most important one.) With the exception of maybe 20-40 human beings on the face of this earth RC Car Racing is not really a viable career option. Most of the “pros” you see are actual normal people with normal jobs that do this as a hobby. Many of them take it too seriously for what’s at stake, but at the end of the day, in the words of the “Fabulous One”, Barry Baker, “We race toy cars for bowling trophies”. So don’t be intimidated, whenever you are ready to take the plunge into racing, don’t feel like you are too far out of your element. We all had to start somewhere and at most tracks you will always find friendly people willing to help out the newbs.
2. RC Racing does not have to be super expensive: In today’s world of hyper consumption, we are often led to believe that you need to spend a fortune in order to be competitive. This could not be further from the truth. The hobby is at an all time low in pricing. There are so many product options out there that if you own a transmitter and charger already, a little research can get you into competitive electric off-road or on-road racing for about $350.00-$400.00 (if you don’t, an additional $150-$250 should do) with solid equipment you can grow into and actually win at most any level. Visit your local track to talk to some of the racers and see what advice they offer.
3. RC Racing breaks down into a bunch of different classes, but the basic structure is simple and breaks down as follows
- Offroad (Electric or Nitro): Anything with jumps and/or dirt
- On Road (Electric or Nitro): Anything on a flat surface either paved/concrete or carpet (electric only)
- Oval: Paved or Carpet
Furthermore, each individual discipline breaks down into sub categories based on scale and/ or power plants. Before you decide to buy a car that you can’t race anywhere close to you, do some recon, visit a few local tracks or shops and ask questions about the classes and rules available.
4. Support Your Local Shop and Track as Much as You Can: Why? Because you need a place to race. Everyone wants to save a couple of bucks when they are trying to get into racing, but remember, every dollar you spend with your shop breathes life into and prolongs the lifespan of your local track. Most of the time, shop owners are willing to work with you on large purchases anyways, so just ask them if they can match or get close to the prices you are looking at on the internet.
5. Simple RC Racing Vocabulary that you need to be familiar with:
- Corner Marshal (marshaling): Track duty after your race in which you will flip over or get crashed cars back on the track
- Transponder (Lap Counter): Little Small (usually red) electronic transmitter that is used to record your lap times
- Drivers’ Stand: Platform where you usually drive from
- Loop: Lap timing system detection wire
- Sauce: Traction Additive Applied to Tires
- TQ (Top Qualifier): Person that runs the fastest time in qualifying. Usually starts at the front in the Main event.
- IFMAR Starts: In qualifying, starting manner in which cars all start on their own clock, usually called by the race announcer one-by-one.
- Boards: usually clip boards where the heat order, qualifying results and other information is posted.
6. Make friends at the track and ask a lot of questions: It’s the best way to learn and stay engaged in the hobby. Make friends with whom you can share info, make food runs, ask for advice, hang out, bench race, etc.
7. Listen to the Race announcer: Many times we get caught up in our own world when we are driving or working on our cars. however, it is super important to stay tuned into the race announcer. The announcer leads the pace of the race day and directs traffic during the races, so pay attention to what he says on the microphone.
8. Be respectful to all others at the track: It does not matter if you are racing or marshaling. Always be respectful of others. If you are the fast guy, don’t run over the slow guys. If you are the slow guy, don’t block the fast guys. If you are a Marshall, hustle!!! ALWAYS! There is no excuse not to! And lastly if you crash, don’t yell at the corner marshal, it’s not their fault you’re upside down.
9. Pay it forward: You won’t always be the new guy, so when the time comes, help the newbs out. Make them feel welcome, answer all their questions and keep them engaged so that they come back.
10. Have fun! Never lose sight of this. Always remember “We Race toy cars for bowling trophies.”