So, you want to race nitro?
You have been watching others guys at the race track for long a time now; you decided to hit the track for the first time. To make your first race experience a success, there are several things you should know before you go racing. Chances you will win are low but the chances that you’ll have fun are high and this is exactly what you should be looking for. You don’t need a 2000$ vehicle to have fun and success, follow those steps and have fun!
What class is for you?
Depending on where you are from, different classes are more popular than others. The 1/8 buggy and truggy classes are extremely popular since few years. Almost all race clubs offer the possibility to race those classes and depending on the number of entries, different levels of racing are offered. It goes from the beginner to expert. However, gas stadium trucks, short course trucks and monster trucks are also popular at few race tracks. Don’t overlook the stadium gas trucks class. It is one of the toughest and exciting class to race. Make sure to verify with your race club what rules apply to the class you want to race. In general, in the beginner class, there is no specific rule concerning engine size so any ready-to-run are accepted, great for beginners.
Pick the right car!
Now you must pick the right vehicle. The best way is to go with the most popular class. As mentioned earlier, buggy and truggy are popular, there are a lot of chances you’ll go in one of those classes. Today’s RTRs are well equipped and most of them are ready to race. Another trick is to pick a vehicle that you can have parts easily. Have a look to which brands the local hobby shop carry and to which brands others racers drive. There is nothing more frustrating to wait two weeks for a 2$ parts because no one in your area have it in stock or in their spare parts bind. Also, if you choose a popular vehicle at your race track, it will be easier to share setups or tricks with others racers. Companies like Losi, Team Associated and Jammin’ offer high quality RTR buggies and truggies. I always suggest to newcomers to buy their first vehicle new and at their local hobby shop. Why? Simply because a new vehicle is problem free and has never been abused or crashed heavily. And why buy it your the local hobby shop? The guys at the LHS are the best guys to give you support for breaking in the engine, to explain you how it works or give you help to repair your vehicle. You may find better prices on the internet but all those internet stores will not be able to help you as much as a hobby shop can. I suggest you to read this article I wrote to help you to choose the right vehicle (First time buying guide)
Which extra equipments you should buy?
Even if you have decided to buy a RTR vehicle, you’ll need to buy extra equipments to run your vehicle. Here is a list of the extra items you may need to buy.
- Receiver hump pack, at least 1200 NiMh.
- 8 AAs rechargeable batteries for the transmitter. A C or D cell for your glow starter if not rechargeable.
- If your vehicle is equipped with an electric handed starting system. You may need a 7.2v battery pack. A cheap 3000 NiMh pack will do the job just fine.
- Battery charger, you don’t need an expensive or high-end charger. Buy an AC/DC charger that can charge NiMh at different charge rates. Example: 1A for hump pack, glow starter (if rechargeable) and transmitter’s batteries and 3A for the 7.2v pack.
- Good quality fuel and extra glow plugs.
- Ask to others racers which part are the most prone to break and buy few extra parts.
- Buy good tools. L shaped hex’s included are “cheesy” and will make you swear when you’ll work on your vehicle.
- A toolbox to store your tools and parts.
- Air filter oil.
- Resist to the temptation to buy “bling bling” parts or any upgrade parts that are not necessary at this moment.
- At this stage, your best upgrade still practice, practice and practice. Remember, slow is fast.
What you should bring to the track:
If you go at the track for a practice or just for few laps, you don’t need to carry extra items others that your R/C stuff. But, if you go for a full day of racing, you need more than just your R/C stuff. Here are few things that you should bring with you…
- A folding chair.
- A folding table if necessary.
- Sun cream.
- Hat or a cap.
- Insect repellent.
- Money, just in case you need to buy parts from the hobby shop or from another racer.
Hope you liked this article and hope it has made your first race experience a success. Racing can be really exciting; it depends on how well you are prepared.