Short course racing continues to be the fastest growing segment in RC as it draws in huge numbers of newcomers and has even gained the attention of the hobby’s top pros. As with any new segment, there’s a lot to learn. So, whether you’re new to all things RC or just new to short course, here are the 10 things you need to know.
1. Three popular classes
For the most part, three classes are often offered for short course–Spec, 2WD and 4WD. Spec differs from track to track, so check out your local racing to see what rules they run by. The 2WD class is most often limited to 17. brushless motors and 7.4V LiPo. The national sanctioning body, ROAR, and most tracks use these rules for 2WD. ROAR dictates that the 4WD class can use any brushless motor, but limits the battery to 7.4V. Many tracks allow for any battery to be used.
2. Traction is king
Most racers focus on speed, but the most important aspect of your setup are the tires you’re running and the traction they provide. Most tracks require short course specific tires. Also, don’t feel you have to run the same compound or even tread pattern up front as you do in the rear.
Most people think electric when they think short course, but nitro is a very viable option. Associated, Exceed RC, Traxxas and others offer nitro short course trucks. Most of the short course racing is electric, but a good number nitro nuts turn out for the RC racing at the full-size TORC events.
4. Traxxas Spec
The Traxxas Slash single handily brought spec racing back to off-road. Many tracks have their own spec rules. Traxxas also has its owns for racing at full-size TORC events. Click here http://www.traxxas.com/v2/torcrc/rules/ for the rules.
5. Gear Diff
Short course trucks brought a return to the use of gear differentials in 1/10-scale electric off-road vehicles. Gear diffs might not be in the spot light for much longer as many racers are opting for easier to ball differentials. Associated, Losi, Traxxas and others offer ball diffs for their 2WD short course trucks.
6. Recognized by ROAR
No type of racing, in recent times, has taken off as fast as short course racing, but it took a while for the racing community to take short course serious. ROAR has helped legitimatize short course racing by establishing official rules for 2WD. A 4WD class will run as a demonstration class at the 2010 electric off-road nationals.
7. The short course standard tire size
For a more scale appearance short course tires have taller sidewalls. The inner sidewalls are hidden, so to speak, and can be larger. The “standard” size is 2.2″ outer diameter and 3″ inner diameter.
8. Durability matters
Short course racing is not a demolition derby, but it is definitely full contact at times. Smart parts to carry spares for or replace with stronger parts are front suspension arms, bearings, hinge pins, front and rear hubs, spur gears and shock.
9. Wider is better
For a wider and more stable racer, try running 2WD Slash front rims on all four corners of your short course truck. This trick should work on every electric short course truck that uses 12mm hexes.
10. Scale & fun are back!
Two qualities found in short course contributed to its rapid rise in popularity and what has essentially been a take over of RC–scale realism and fun. Short trucks, unlike many other forms of RC off-road racing, look just like full-size racing vehicles. The second reason for the huge short course following is that vehicles are fun. They’re fun to bash and even more fun to race. With full fenders and ample bumper protection, these trucks can get physical out of the track without each bump causing a crash.
To learn more about short course racing and get truly inspired, go to the RCStore.com and check out RC Car Action’s two special issues Desert & Off-Road and Short Course racing. These issues are loaded with expert tips and pro advice, as well numerous awesome project vehicles.