First off- where is the closest track to you?? Where do you plan to race??
Now go there and watch them race, ask a few questions? What do the fast guys drive? What car does the shop carry alot of spares for?? What classes are available to race in??
For the most part you will get a few answers....
Off-road/dirt oval- most guys will drive a B4, T4, RC10GT, XXX, XXXT, or XXX-NT..... which are all good choices because Associated (B4,T4,GT) and Losi (XXX cars).... As for classes they will all be detrmined by chassis (buggy/truck, gas truck) and powerplant (stock/modified/brushless electric, or nitro)...occasionally they will have a beginners class that only allows for a specific slower motor so that you can learn to drive.....
On-road- gets a little trickier, but not much. For electric most guys will drive a TC3, XXX-S, Pro 4, or X-ray. All parts are readily available for each except for the X-ray at the moment, but that will be changing soon. Agian the classes are determined by chassis (electric or nitro) and the powerplant (agian stock/ modified/brushless electric) and there may also be a spec beginners class too, however sometimes this classis is also limited to a specific chassis.
For Nitro on-road there are several classes 1/10th, 235mm (which is also 1/10th, but the cars are wider,more powerful, look like can-am racers and much more expensive), and 1/8th which is the biggest, most powerful,and most expensive, but also look like can-am cars). For 235 it will cost your entire budget for the chassis and engine and 1/8th your budget will be gone with just the chassis. also sometimes 1/10th nitro will also be subdivided into regular and outlaw classes which are determined by the engine.
For the most part I suggest you stick with electric and if there is a beginners class jump into there,unless it is a chassis specific class then you need to decide if you plan on moving up, because for he most part these chassis' just cannot compete in stock or mod.
For a beginners class associated has ready to run versions of all of it's racecars that will be competive out of the box. Losi also has a RTR XXX-S car.
As for which car, look at the ones that have parts support at your track and then decide which one you want by looking at them taking the advice of other racers and finally which one gives you that special feeling in your pants....LOL
G's RC Raceway- Best off-road track on the east coast...period!!!
Pitman for Team Dallas Austin...