Electric or nitro — So, which one is better? On the track that is…

Jun 21, 2011 11 Comments by

I was recently at our charity race and talking to some guys about running my 2wd nitro powered short course truck with them in the 2wd truck class. I was already running a nitro powered 4wd short course truck in the unlimited short course class and since my RC10 GT conversion was a close enough match I decided to run it there. With the guys being OK with that decision I was thrown a, you’ll be at a disadvantage anyway comment; which meant that the electric power was somehow better on the track. Well, I ended up only running on heat with my gas truck in that class and decided after a round of too many vehicles that I’d stick to the truggy class and unlimited short course truck with my converted Losi TEN SCTE. I qualified 2nd and after triple A-mains managed to get two first place finishes and a second place finish which when combined got me the overall win. So after seeing that, my question to you guys is; when it comes to racing what do you think is better; electric or nitro power. Let’s take the length out of the equation and go from there.

Featured News, Kevin Hetmanski

About the author

Simply put, I’m all about nitro. Well, almost. I’m down with electric for crawlers and some indoor racing, but if you really want to get my attention, it better make some smoke and noise. I’m a regular racer and I usually go with 1/8-scale buggy and truggy. When I’m not racing, I am usually fabricating custom parts and even entire vehicles.

11 Responses to “Electric or nitro — So, which one is better? On the track that is…”

  1. FreeJack says:

    The advantage of gas/nitro is strictly run time…they’re the only way to realistically run hour long mains. If you don’t want to run mains longer than twenty minutes? Advantage: Electric. Easier to maintain, cleaner and cheaper to run.

  2. BIG DOE says:

    ELECTRIC is better! The power is instant and there isn’t any tuning to have to worry about due to weather or track conditions. As long as you keep your electronics cool and have good lipos electric is better!

  3. FlyBoy38L says:

    I’d have to say that when it comes to determining whether nitro or electric is better at racing, I’d have to first see which track you are racing at and given that both are set up very well(engine/motor and chassis).

    I say this because I find that electric vehicles outperform nitro vehicles in tight, technical tracks because of the instant torque/bottom end that electromagnets have. I feel as if electrics pull harder out of the turns and need little to no run up on most jumps.

    Now for nitro it is the exact opposite. I find nitro has more “lag” on the bottom end and need a little more room to clear most jumps. But were nitro lacks in the bottom end, it makes up for in top end power. I am convinced that nitro vehicles will out speed their electric counterparts in the straights and will keep that speed until you hit the brakes.

    Now as for my opinion, I think electric is better as it suits my driving style. Anyone can go fast in a flat straight line but it takes skill and knowledge to set up for corners and jumps. I rather fight a suspension tune than an engine tune any day. I REALLY hate it my my nitro truck flames out during a race and then I have to waste a minute or two firing it back up. For that my vote goes to electric!

  4. Al Herr says:

    i love too bash and tinker so thats why i love my LOSI TEN T. It was my first nitro vehicle

  5. sKel says:

    I’m going to be the oddball and say Nitro! Electric (from my experience) seems to be more saturated with the “who can dump more money” people. They don’t take the time to actually learn to tune their truck (not only motor, but suspension) because they know that after a turn they can be back up to speed in a couple seconds anyways, with their $xxx+ brushless setup. Where the nitro people know that they need more time to get up to speed.. So they have to learn the turns better and tune their trucks to take the turns as fast as possible.

    I just like the challenge honestly. Not saying all electric people are like there, just seems there are a lot more like that racing.

    When you think about it. In racing, speed is just a by-product and not really the ultimate goal.

  6. Tom St-Onge says:

    Kevin your truck was dialed in.I go for nitro. Looks and sounds so cool.What a blast the Race For The Cure was. I can’t wait till next years.

  7. Kevin Hetmanski says:

    I think when you take the length of the race out of the equation; one doesn’t have a clear advantage over the other. If I have to choose I’d pick nitro because of the smoothness of it out of the turns. It’s easier to control.

  8. tellbell17 says:

    i say electric. why because its cheaper (in the long run) instant acceleration and its easier to maintain. Since electric guys don’t spend time tuning engines we spend more time experimenting with car set up so we can hit those corners as fast as possible. And in place of tuning your engine electrics use the esc’s settings to get the car/motor preforming just as well as a nitro

  9. bill mossor says:

    I think driver’s skill & track layout would dedicate the advantage of nitro or electric , if there is one .

  10. Nikolai Xander says:

    Dude, that entry was terrible. I could barely understand what you were talking about, despite having been in the hobby for years.

  11. Jim says:

    At my local track (On-Road) the Nitro Touring Cars are about 1 lap faster in qualifying than stock 10.5T Electric Touring Cars.

    But if you put a modified motor into the Electric, they’re about 1 lap faster in qualifying than the Nitro Touring Cars.

    Electrics will continue to get faster in terms of acceleration and top speed but I think Nitro has plateaued in terms of engine performance.

    Although we’re about to see a 200g weight limit reduction in Nitro Touring Cars and possibly the Introduction of Traction Additives, I think this could push the Nitro TC back up to the top.

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