If you want to get into RC car racing, this article is for you! So you’ve had some fun toying around with your performance RC car, but you’re ready to take it to the next level and enter your first RC car race. Congratulations! you’re about to take a step that you won’t regret.
To get started, you’ll need to select a suitable RC car for racing if you don’t already have one. Most competitive RC car races have specific rules and regulations governing the types of cars that are allowed to compete. These rules cover a range of factors, including the size and scale of the car and the type of propulsion (gas vs electric). Generally, the two most common scales for RC cars are 1:10 and 1:8.
There have been some interesting additions to the RC racing circuit in recent years. Here’s a list of some of a few of the main classes of racing ordered by popularity, followed by some interesting additions that are gaining in popularity:
- 1:10 Scale off-road buggy racing.
- 1:8 Scale off-road buggy racing.
- 1:8 and 1/7 Scale on-road street racing.
- 1:10 No-prep drag racing.
- 1:10 Scale drifting
This isn’t an exhaustive list of RC racing classes, but it can serve to give you an idea for what’s out there, and a starting point for what to look for at your local RC tracks.
Finding an RC Track Near You
Obviously, you can’t race without a track or people to race against. The first step is to find a track in your area. You could perform a Google search for RC tracks near your zip code, but Google isn’t always on point. RC Car Action has a pretty up-to-date track directory that you should check out.
Once you’ve found a track near you, give them a call and ask what kind of races they host. If you have a 1/8 scale buggy for instance, and they only host 1/10 scale buggy races, you may want to sell your buggy and purchase a 1/10 scale in order to get involved.
Getting Signed up and Booked
Signing up and getting booked in is a process that will vary among tracks, so we won’t go into huge detail regarding that process. When you talk to the folks on the phone, also ask them how to get signed up. Some tracks handle everything online, whereas others require you to show up in person.
One thing you should keep in mind when signing up is your level of proficiency; most likely beginner if you’re reading this. Most tracks offer three types of drivers: junior, senior, or veteran. Even if you feel like you’ve been practicing and are up to par, it’s probably a good idea to enter your first race as a junior (or novice). The competition can be pretty stiff, and it might surprise you!
Here’s a helpful high level introduction to 1/10 RC Racing:
What to Expect on Race Day?
So you’re all booked in, awaiting your turn at glory. Well, you’ll probably want to get warmed up right? Tracks almost always offer 1-3 practice rounds before the races begin, and some simply offer open track for an hour or so before the qualifying begins. This is your time to get warmed up, make sure your car is operating 100%, make any needed adjustments, and so on.
At some point, usually when you book in, you’ll be issued a transponder to attach to the body of your RC car. The transponder is what keeps track of your lap speed and position, and ensures accurate results for tight races.
Attaching the transponder involves simply pinning it to a hole in the body of your RC car, but some guys have their own methods for handling this. The important thing is to make sure it’s properly secured; the last thing you want is for the transponder to fall off at your first race!
Next, you’ll have to enter the qualifying round. This is where you’ll circle the track, usually once, and have your lap time logged. Your time will determine where you qualify to start in the first heat, and you’ll want to perform well in order to secure a good starting spot.
There’s no one way to go about it, but most tracks break up the races into groups based on qualifying time. Then, the winners (or highest placers) are grouped from these initial qualifying groups into the final rounds. If you didn’t place high in the qualifiers, you won’t make it to the finals, and your day is pretty much done. If you did make it to the finals, it’s time to show everyone what you’ve got.
The Winner’s Circle
Once all the racing is wrapped up, winners are presented and announced. It’s common for tracks to offer some kind of reward to the winner, and perhaps the runner-up as well. This can range from anywhere between a full RTR RC car, a new electronic speed control, or a pack of stickers. It just depends what the RC club has decided to offer up on this particular race day.
Details will vary from track to track, but this is a general description of what you’ll typically experience.
RC Racing Overview
Competitive RC car racing is an awesome hobby that will challenge you and offer a rewarding experience that lets you test your skills and apply hard-earned knowledge. There’s nothing quite like rounding a steep learning curve and reaping the rewards, and RC racing is no exception. To continue to improve your times, here are our tips on making your car go faster.
At the end of race day, you’re probably going to feel pretty exhausted. But one thing’s for sure, you’ll be back for more!