the E Firestorm looks like a good truck. the HPI guys stopped by and let us have a peak at one. not much out there at a lower price. the only thing that might be a concern is the transmission. very heavy. all steel gears inside so durability is not a question. not too sure about the gear diff either, i race a jato and have a hard time keeping the diff full after a couple of runs, the HPI diff is steel not cheap plastic like the jato so the seals might last longer. one of our racers has the Firestorm, it drives great, if they built the E Firestorm the same way it will be a nice driving truck too.
i would say try it, the next race truck would be the RC10T4, or a XXX-Tcr. the kits are a bit nicer than a RTR, but if you have no electronics they get expensive. the kits are about 230-250, the hpi is 190ish. the AE and Losi RTR's are in the 250 price range. if you get the hpi you can get some good batts for the price difference.