Looks like a pretty happenin' place around here.
Lemme introduce myself: I'm getting back into the R/C world after building my first car about 5 years ago. I'm a Tamiya kit fan; first kit car was a McLaren Mercedes MP4/13 (definitely a track-only car) and now I just finished assembling the 2002 Team Vodafone AMG Mercedes (not the new one; the TL-01 chassis) that should be a little more suited to sidewalk practice without having to sweep and polish the concrete
My kits stay pretty stock; my first one just has a Rooster ESC, Futaba Magnum Jr radio setup and the kit motor running off a 1500mAh Duratrax battery (which gives me more than enough speed and run time). Don't have the guts for the second kit, but the only change in what I buy for this new one is probably gonna be upping to a 1800-2000mAh pack (best my peak charger can handle, and I don't have the werewithall or inclination to get a new one yet).
One of my questions for y'all is, is there a class where a stock kit car like mine would be at least marginally competitive, or do even the base classes see more "super-stock" motors and high-amp packs?
Also, just my opinion on the "dumbing down" of R/C, but there's a place for everything and everyone here. Some people spend a year building a 1/4 scale R/C regatta sailboat practically from scratch. Some people get a kit and trick it out for competition or just for the extra hands-on stuff. I personally like the hands-on kit-building experience, but considering my kits out-drag my real car without any hop-ups, I'm in no hurry to trick them out with modded motors, high-draw packs, and $300 speed controls, especially when one good crash can destroy it all. Hey, I'm not even a big fan of soldering on batteries and motors a la Super Rooster; gimme the connectors anyday. And then there are some that just wanna tool around in the backyard. I think that's cool, but most RTR cars worth scratch cost more than my kits. I'd be ecstatic if someone gave me one of the glow off-roaders I saw on the repair counter of the local hobby store yesterday, never mind how it works.
Anyway, soap-box moment over, this looks like a really cool place I can come with questions and personal triumphs. Just remember there are casual hobbyists around too