Looking to get into the hobby? Great! Here’s a quick guide to help you get started and provide a little insight!
Whether you’re totally new to the hobby or are just looking to move from the parking lot to the track, it’s a good idea to come and check out the club first hand. Even if you don’t have your own car yet, we have a few ‘club cars’ ready for you to try out. Members can also answer any questions you might have. What better way to learn than from some of western Canada’s top drivers?
Next, it’s important to choose a class you’re interested in. If you’re new to the hobby it might be a good idea to choose a slower class like CTA or USGT. Though slower, these classes are still very popular, competitive, and add scale looks where Touring Stock and Touring Mod are all about maximum precision and performance. Starting out slower will help you learn the basics while reducing broken parts. Also if you decide you’re ready for something faster, a CTA or USGT car can easily be converted into a Touring Stock since they all use the same chassis platform!
Choosing a chassis can be difficult, and if you’re on a tight budget, daunting! There are many companies on the market that make competition grade on-road cars, X-Ray, Serpent, Team Associated, and VBC to name a few. Most of the club members use an X-Ray or VBC chassis, so choosing one of these will have the benefit of other members being able to help you set it up more effectively. Other members have had fantastic luck with some of the cheaper kits as well, such as the 3Racing Ultimate and Spec-R R2. These kits offer all of the adjustments necessary for competitive racing for a fraction of the price of higher end kits. A question a lot of new racers ask is if Traxxas makes anything suitable for on-road racing, currently they do not. Finally, ask around! A lot of members may have something used for sale, or know someone who does!
No matter what you choose for a chassis, you need to control it. A high quality radio system can make a huge difference, especially on a competitive level. Brands like Airtronics and Futaba are constantly pushing the envelope in terms of response time, features, and comfort. If you’re in the market for a radio system and not sure what to get, ask around the club to hold some and get a feel of what you like. Since it’s possible on most to bind many different models to one transmitter, choosing one you like is very important.
As far as motors and batteries go, anything that meets the requirements for the class will do. For a battery charger, make sure it is LiPo compatible, and has a balancing function. Some chargers are DC only, and require the purchase of a separate power supply, but there are also a lot of AC/DC chargers that work great as well. Two or more charging ports can be handy, but is not required. The higher the wattage and amp rating, the faster you can charge your batteries (within the safe limits of the battery itself).
A good set of tools will make your time at the track a lot more enjoyable and efficient. Most kits come with a very, very basic set of L shaped allan/hex keys, but anyone who has used one of these for longer than 5 minutes knows that a nice set of allan/hex drivers is invaluable. Almost all car kits on the market use metric, and a set of 0.5, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0mm hex drivers, as well as a 5.0mm, 5.5mm, and 7.0mm nut driver will have you covered, however some brands of pinion gear use a 1/16 size set screw. Here are a few other items a racer should definitely look into:
- Traction compound (Such as SXT 3.0)
- Non-chlorinated Automotive aerosol brake cleaner (For cleaning tires)
- Turnbuckle wrench (3mm, 4mm, 5mm)
- Needle-nose pliers
- Camber gauge
- Droop (Down-stop) blocks and gauge
- Ride height gauge
- Servo or Automotive grade double sided tape
- Pit Mat (or medium sized towel)
- Set-Up board, or any flat, hard surface to work on (approx. 12”x18”)
- Temperature gun
Most of these items can be found at your local hobby shop, or auto parts supplier. If you have questions, or are having trouble finding any gear, stop by the track or find us on Facebook, we’re happy to help and get you racing!