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Old 03-12-2008, 04:12 PM   #1
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Default Growing a 1/12th Scale Class

I'm looking for thoughts and comments from those whose local race scene consistently supports 1/12th scale racing.

Here in Seattle, 1/12th scale has proven to be very seasonal and fails to attract new racers who stick. Explanations vary from "People hate foam tires" to "The cars are a pain to set up and drive" and "People want to race lipo and brushless," and on and on ad nauseum.

What I have found, practicing with mine (I bought a battered T-Fource and rebuilt it), is that they are simpler and easier to set up than their reputation suggests. That running brushed motors is hardly a pain as the light weight and low voltage is very gentle on comms and brushes. Two NiMH six packs builds three sets of batteries and I'm still on the first batch. And that driving one, even casually, is super fun. In short, they're affordable, fast, and skill building. So what gives?

From those whose scene supports 1/12th scale, why is it working? Are your new drivers transitioning from entry-level sedans, or do they start in 1/12th and master it first? Do you emphasize stock motors, or even silver cans? And finally, suggest a formula for a series that would attract new racers as well as those with experience in the class (Motors? Spec tires? Hot trophy girls?)

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Old 03-12-2008, 07:10 PM   #2
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1/12th cars in the past have been a pain to setup and run for the new guys getting into the 1/12th scene. They see experienced drivers running them and the cars looked great until they try it for themselves. With the limited 1/12th setup support in the past really gave the cars a bad reputation as far as durability and ease of use is concerned.


With the current 1/12th cars on the market, they are much easier to set up and much more durable. Instruction manuals are much more in depth and explain alot more than they used to. Setups are readily available via RC forums and company websites. The batteries are better now than back in the day so run time is not an issue. The experienced racers can run 19 turn, be fast, and not even come close to dumping.


A good practice for local club tracks to attract new people is to run stock 1/12th. It is cheap, easy to tune and easy to drive. Drivers can concentrate on learning setup and driving the car. If it does gain popularity at your track, start a 19 turn class for the guys who really do well and allow the beginners keep running or start there 1/12th hobby in stock.

1/12th is an extremely fun class and can be very sucessful throughout the year on both asphalt and carpet if people stick with it. Batteries are cheaper, motor life is longer between cuts, and tires last longer. This class has been gaining alot of popularity on the national level and can at a club level around the world.
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:20 PM   #3
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Growing 12th racers....

What we did to "plant the seed" is myself and another owner of our track (www.michianarc.com) purchased (4) used 12l3's, digital radios, servo's and made "rental" cars. We purchased each car for "roughly" 225 including all the radio/electronics gear. Instead of stock motors...as they are FAST on our track (only 60x36) and used the johnson (maubachi sp?) 540 silver can motors). The cars were about 1.2 seconds slower then stock but have a wide "gear range" to get them to go the same speed. given (2) drivers with similar ability...it's very easy to have a close race. At one point..from nothing, we had 6-8 12th "novice" guys. and are down to 4, but only becuase (2) got laid off of their jobs and are no longer able to race this season, and the other (2) don't really stick with any class for very long anyway. So out of the (4) drivers we have left, 1 will be advancing to 12th "advanced" which is basically 12th stock. we have antoher guy that "practices" with one of the rentals and will probably pickup racing it this coming fall.

It was well wroth the investment as all 4 "rentals" were sold and are still being used or are getting ready to be "resold" to other people interested in this class.

Next year, were going to do the same approach with a spec "oval" class using the same parameters to get people interested in oval at our place. it seemed to have worked out very well.
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:23 PM   #4
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Very cool. Its nice to see tracks with that kind of dedication.
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Old 03-12-2008, 11:18 PM   #5
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1/12 is the best class imo, but it can be a difficult class at times. One problem is that the suspension system is limited and really requires a smooth surface or the cars get upset easily. Another issue is the short wheelbase will make the car twichy when not setup right. It was these issues that led to the development of 1/10 cars around 1990, and then to touring cars. Both of these are more sutted to less refined(parking lots, the street outside your house) surfaces which means lower costs for a track owner and more racing time for users.

With dedicated drivers(look to canyon up in your area) who like 1/12 racing you can build a program but it'll take some work.
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Old 03-13-2008, 02:54 AM   #6
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Racing thrives and flourishes where it is fun. That's all there is to it. How to make it fun, that's the kicker.

Where the club is sound, the people are fun, respectful, logical, and understand their limits, the limits of others, and how things work, it's almost perfect.

Keep pit areas friendly. Where possible pit everybody together, don't pit facing a wall. Build pits to face your fellow racers. Helps build camaraderie and trust.

I've been to a club race recently where we thew a heckuva potluck dinner on Saturday night. Guys had crockpots and chili cooking in their pits all day. Wives helped out, brought snacks and cookies, and it was freaking AWESOME.

Anybody that says it's all about money or it's to expensive is generally full of it. If it was only about money, paper airplane contests would rule, and nobody would race full size cars. It's about fun, it's a hobby, have fun, keep it fun, don't get to caught up in what's going on anywhere else if your program is successful, even though you might look around and wonder how come your not doing what somebody else is doing. It's possible that you're the only person doing it right.

Classes, easier to drive is better. Bottom line.

Fun to look at brings in people. Like the trans-am cars are doing now.

On class ideas. I'm a big supporter of silver can 1/12th. It's surprisingly fast, and anybody that says otherwise has never raced in a heat of them. The racing is tight, and you're on the edge of your seat the whole time. Go to nearly any local club that races 1/12th stock, mod and 19. I'd be willing to be that 50% of the racers can't turn faster lap times in full mod than they can with stock. Stock, as is, is to fast for the majority of racers. Maybe even to fast for anybody out of the top 50 at a national event. If you're 4-6 laps off the pace in stock, that may be you (generic term for "anybody".)

in place of that 21.5 brushless or higher (I'm betting we see something higher before fall).

Don't be afraid to simply use some oddball body. It's the same for everybody.

1/12th is a tough sell in the summer, for the same reason roller blades are a tough sell in the winter.
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:43 AM   #7
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In the UK 6 cell stock is dead...we mainly run 4 cell 19T. They are as quick, easier to drive (less intertia) and easier and cheaper to maintain and setup.

The reduced weight of a 4 cell car also means less wear and tear on motors and tyres, and we find the cars are much more nimble thru corners.
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Old 03-13-2008, 04:21 AM   #8
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I'll be watching this thread closely as I've tried to keep things going at Trackside for 1/12th scale. We had it going for a while a couple years ago and there were at least a few of us racing every week. I ended up having almost all of my stuff stolen so I was out of racing for a bit and those nights where there would have been a few turned into 2, and that's not going to keep a class going. However, I've been trying to drum up some interest and people are coming out of the woodwork with 1/12th scale cars. We've run it a couple times in the last month or so but there were only two people racing. This week we had 5 or 6 show up with two others wrenching at the track and picking up gear to get ready for next week.

I don't have any illusions that 1/12th is going to keep growing at this quick rate. However, I'm sure there are others that are on the fence about getting a 1/12th scale car to run with those of us that are doing it already. Those people will probably get cars if we keep it going for a while and show them they're not just tossing money at a class that is going to disappear again.

In short, I think if you have 3 or 4 dedicated racers that will show up to race nearly every week any class that's fun can do well.

Yes, 1/12th scale bodies are boring. Yes, when a 1/12th scale car is not set up well it can be quite tough to drive. But, if you get a few of those more dedicated and experienced 1/12th scalers willing to get people's cars working well and showing the newcomers how simple it can be to set up a 1/12th scale car the class will slowly grow. Also, letting those that might be interested and on the fence about getting into 1/12th drive your car helps as well. People are going to be more comfortable shelling out money on something that they've been able to experience a bit.
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:25 AM   #9
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As already said, it is important for the newcomer in 1/12 to be helped with setup on a car (until they can do it themselves,unaided) which can test the nerves of even the more experienced racer when its handling is below par.

Silver can 1/12 is a good combination for a ametuer class, as any problems with the cars handling will only be magnified if using a hotter motor, (even a stock). Then have a second class for the pro's and up the motor limit. Stock or 23t maybe? or even 19t if everyone feels happy with that.

Sure, you can have an ill handling car in any class, but the 1/12 design makes the car light and therefore faster than most other scales so the faster the car the more the newcomer will struggle,or give up completely if the setup is ill and no one is there to guide them through it.

1/12 scale is (in general) cheaper than 1/10th, so one of its key selling points when trying to convince new blood to r/c is precisely that. Demo cars and a race director/ experienced racer always on hand for any questions are always useful pointers too.

just my .2$
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:34 AM   #10
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You could also use some of the experienced racers at your club to hold 'lessons' on chassis setup, motor maintenance, driving styles, etc to help out the new guys. I have seen many 'father and son' teams over the years where the father is the mechanic and the son is the driver. Both of those guys would benefit from someone 'teaching' them the basics.

You could use of the many setup quides online to help if needed.

http://www.carsrcracing.co.uk/?page_id=65 would be a great help.

All the best,

Chris.
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:36 PM   #11
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Gotta agree with every post on this thread. It's grown in our area due to the increasing expense and complexity of TC racing. We've seen guys switch just because they have so much more free time in the pits between rounds and more time on the track when they run 12th scale.

As far as keeping the class going and growing, like everyone else is saying, your regulars are the key. If your regulars are helpful and encouraging, the class should flourish, but 12th scale will always taper in the summer. 1/8th nitro on-road, nitro tc, outdoor off-road, as well as watersports, and other summer activities tend to take their toll on the indoor rc scene.
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:58 PM   #12
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I just started actually racing a 1/12th scale two weeks ago. The track is dominated by 1/10th scale TC. Some of the guys have 1/12th scale but don't run them because "there's nobody to run with". We hope to start a black can class to encourage participation.

They've been letting me run in Novice TC because there are rarely enough people showing up with a 1/12th scale pan car. Funnily enough the two top TC drivers also run a local RC12 type conversion called an O'Donnell iirc. They helped me set the tweak on the car and made various suggestions. As a result I'm just 3/10ths off the fastest TC. Of course the top pan car guys are running over a full second faster. I'm feelin pretty good, attainable goal I think, dunno though.

Everyone says with my Audi racing experience I should be running TC. It's tempting but I have really thrashed this car in the last two weeks and the only thing I've broken is bodies. The simplicity, durability/cost of running these cars is very attractive to me. It seems the TC drivers are always breaking something or futzing with the nearly unlimited setup options.

I'm hoping to rejuvenate 1/12th scale at my local track, allspeedhobbies.com

Getting the top guys to switch from brushless may be a bit of a problem . . .

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Old 03-13-2008, 08:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boscoj View Post
I just started actually racing a 1/12th scale two weeks ago. The track is dominated by 1/10th scale TC. Some of the guys have 1/12th scale but don't run them because "there's nobody to run with". We hope to start a black can class to encourage participation.

They've been letting me run in Novice TC because there are rarely enough people showing up with a 1/12th scale pan car. Funnily enough the two top TC drivers also run a local RC12 type conversion called an O'Donnell iirc. They helped me set the tweak on the car and made various suggestions. As a result I'm just 3/10ths off the fastest TC. Of course the top pan car guys are running over a full second faster. I'm feelin pretty good, attainable goal I think, dunno though.

Everyone says with my Audi racing experience I should be running TC. It's tempting but I have really thrashed this car in the last two weeks and the only thing I've broken is bodies. The simplicity, durability/cost of running these cars is very attractive to me. It seems the TC drivers are always breaking something or futzing with the nearly unlimited setup options.

I'm hoping to rejuvenate 1/12th scale at my local track, allspeedhobbies.com

Getting the top guys to switch from brushless may be a bit of a problem . . .
Let em run brushless, just make them run a 17.5. There was a guy running 1/12th scale at Trackside this week and I couldn't figure out why he was so much faster until someone told me he was running a 13.5... I could sorta stick with him in the infield but it was kinda ugly on the straights. IMO a Mabuchi class is going to discourage more people than it will encourage.
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:24 PM   #14
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Yeah I was thinking about that, I mean we're in it to run cool state of the art type stuff, possible appeal factor. Money doesn't seem to be a factor for most, they're there every day just after lunch!

I also got the specs from Associated on my "unkown" 8 year old Reedy Nova motor. Go figure, it's a 14 turn, heh, no wonder I'm keeping up with the brushless LiPo TC guys ; )
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Let em run brushless, just make them run a 17.5. There was a guy running 1/12th scale at Trackside this week and I couldn't figure out why he was so much faster until someone told me he was running a 13.5... I could sorta stick with him in the infield but it was kinda ugly on the straights. IMO a Mabuchi class is going to discourage more people than it will encourage.
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boscoj View Post
Yeah I was thinking about that, I mean we're in it to run cool state of the art type stuff, possible appeal factor. Money doesn't seem to be a factor for most, they're there every day just after lunch!

I also got the specs from Associated on my "unkown" 8 year old Reedy Nova motor. Go figure, it's a 14 turn, heh, no wonder I'm keeping up with the brushless LiPo TC guys ; )
Doesn't have to be state of the art since a 27T stocker with any old speedo is damn close to a 17.5 Brushless. Those on a budget can get some used gear or use an old speedo and stocker they have lying around and those that want the ease of brushless and don't mind spening a bit more can use a 17.5.
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