Let’s Just Go Ahead and Make Electronic Stability Race-Legal

Let’s Just Go Ahead and Make Electronic Stability Race-Legal

First things first: go visit our friends at LiveRC.com and read this to get the scoop on the DNC shenanigans: DNC: Gyros, why do we care?

Author Tyler Hooks closes with this:

Either we need to find a way to definitively catch anyone using [electronic stability assistance, i.e. gyros], or work on technology that prevents it. Until then, it is almost impossible to enforce the rule. Or you could allow [electronic stability assistance] which stops all need to enforce stopping them.

I’m on the “just go ahead and allow electronic stability control” side of the equation. Back when tough-guys’ heads were exploding over the idea that anyone anywhere should enjoy RC more via electronic stability assistance when Spektrum announced Active Vehicle Control, I was firmly on the side of “easier to drive is more fun and more fun is good.” And if racers want to use electronic stability assistance too, I say go for it. As in, make it legal. But until then, I think it’s pretty crummy that racers (easily the most vociferous of the “electronic stability bad!” proponents) would sneak it into their cars–especially at a big event like The Dirt Nitro Challenge. It’s against the rules (specifically ROAR rule 5.2.3), and therefore it’s cheating, and it’s just a bad look for someone to secretly employ a technology they outwardly claim to be unfair or lazy. 

But moving forward? Yeah, go ahead and make electronic stability systems legal. I understand it may chafe some folks’ sense of purity to allow electronic stability in RC racing, but allowing them is much easier than policing them, and there’s no advantage if all drivers are allowed to use the tech. Nor is it expensive, so there’s no chance it’s going to unfairly tip racing success toward a select few with more money to spend. And the tech doesn’t drive the car for you; the guy who crosses the finish line first will still be the guy with the best setup who chooses the best lines. Guys with less setup skill and driving skill aren’t going to suddenly outperform more-skilled racers. But they will have an easier time getting around the track, which is more fun, and builds confidence, and makes them want to stick with racing. And that’s never a bad thing.  

Sound off in the comments!


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Updated: February 25, 2018 — 12:49 PM


  1. I’m all for it, it means people will go faster, and faster is always better.
    In 1:1 racing cars (say formula 1), they don’t allow many advances in tech because 1. the budgets of the different competitors isn’t the same, and it shouldn’t be about who has the most money to spend (as it partly is now with RC cars), and 2. People were dying.
    None of this applies to RC cars. It would just be more fun, and make more people be able to race without.

    And Larry, that slippery slope argument of yours? Get out.

  2. Thanks so much! Glad you like it!

  3. Hi Larry,
    You raise some relevant questions. Let me see if I can address them.
    Where do you stop? steering only or traction?
    -I think the limitations of the technology will determine this better than personal opinion. It’s not unreasonable to think that what will benefit one channel will work for the other to a degree.
    How about anti-lock braking?
    -We’ve already had this function on transmitters for the last decade or so. Have average drivers rocketed to the top of the timesheets by making use of these previously unavailable driver aids? Of course not.
    Why not just make the cars unmanned?
    -The cars ARE unmanned, that’s what radio-control implies. If they were autonomous, most people would lose interest because it would no longer be interactive but simply a spectator sport. Stability enhancement with throttle and steering does not remove the driver’s input, nor can it function without the latter.
    Also where is the skill when everything is run by the radio?
    -Depending on the category, there are dozens of parameters and settings from tires, geometry, clutches, gearing, carb adjustment, diffs, shock fluids/pistons/springs all the way down to basic maintenance which are not controlled by the radio and have perhaps far more of an impact than whatever the servos can compensate for. The best gyroscope cannot help you if your clutch shoes are shot, or your carb settings are poorly set. To suggest that everything could/would be run by the radio is factually incorrect, if not misleading.
    Traction and course correction (not direct steering) are skills you NEED, to progress in RC.
    -I wholeheartedly agree, you need to have skills and competence to be competitive. Furthermore, if everyone has access to the technology, it raises the bar evenly, so drivers with skills and gyroscopic stabilization will still be quicker than an average driver with identical equipment. If you look at modern supercars, which benefit from far more sophisticated driver aids than would ever be possible (or affordable) in RC, you’d understand that they can make an average driver better, but they can’t make a bad driver good, they won’t make an average driver better than a skilled & experienced driver, and most importantly, they won’t save you from silly driver mistakes that lead to costly and humiliating crashes.
    When you just need to buy a radio and go racing, Where is the Pride in the accomplishment?
    -See above.
    There is none, unless you just like spending money instead of putting in work.
    -There will always be people willing to spend money rather than effort, but I’ve seen no evidence that spending more will trump skill, dedication and practice.

    I suggest a set or class of radios that are termed legal for racing.
    -All radios are legal for racing, even the ones with ABS braking/throttle control, etc. That doesn’t mean there can’t be a stock/sportsman class for drivers who want to focus on basic driving skills. Those classes mandate the use of specific electronics, similar to what’s already on the market. We already have this with 1/10 electric buggy and it works well.
    You can try to ban the tech, but that’s like building sandcastles on the beach and thinking they will withstand the incoming tide. The devices are small, the cost is negligible, and I think it’s more efficient to legalize it so that the playing field remains level.

    1. What i meant by unmanned was without driver input. I do realize that the cars are a bit too small for an actual driver. adding steering correction and possibly throttle control (traction), removes a skill that is needed to progress. What happens if the TC or Gyro function stops working and the guy can’t control the car? You have a mess, This is why, you need to be competent to step up. If you can’t at least control the car without crutches, you need not be in the class. You are right all radios, fitting the frequency descriptions are legal. But there is no way to know, if the gyro is on till you see the guy doing laps 3-5 seconds faster and not making any mistakes. I understand gyro radios in novice, But pro’s? As far as leveling the field? For who? The guy that does not want to work for it? You make it sound like RC racing should be a participation award thing. Just show up and get your accomplishment (plaque/trophy). Look at all the people, that both put the time in and race honorably. This would crap on their accomplishment, I know I would not come back, if all I had to do was spend money and race. I want to know my time and skills are represented, not something that can be bought. I appreciate your points and appreciate the conversation, but we’ll have to agree to disagree

      1. just to add, since everyone uses pretty much the same tech (2.4 GHZ) you can have controlled recievers handy at the track to limit the gyros, if you wish

  4. I can see both sides, but would rather see SC not be allowed in professional racing. The reason, simply these are supposed to be the upper crust of drivers. It’s sad, when the same guys complaining, are actually using it. I used to have an electric converted RC10GT (blue chassis), on actual race tracks (loomy sandy ones) I had to use a gyro, just to keep it straight. I used a T4 for racing, this was a play car. I was running a 1200KV brushless lehner XL motor and 5s 2200 MAH lipo. So i know the torque, was a factor as well. The point was the gyro was needed, due to so much weight on the front. I wish people had more honor in activities (Sports, RC whatever), it’s no fun winning, when you have the absolute advantage. Unless you are just that dang good, like Masami Hirosaka or Jared Tebo

  5. Legalizing Active Vehicle Control (gyros) for cars would also, at least theoretically, allow manufacturers to refine the technology and adapt it more specifically to the requirements of cars. Manufacturers have another valuable product to sell, racers/bashers get more stable vehicles, and race stewards don’t have to waste time dismantling cars’ electronics in search of forbidden tech: everyone wins.

    1. The only problem with legalizing it, where do you stop? steering only or traction? how about anti-lock braking? Why not just make the cars unmanned? That third one (anti-lock) i know a lot of radios, can actually do already, just making a point. Also where is the skill when everything is run by the radio? Traction and course correction (not direct steering) are skills you NEED, to progress in RC. When you just need to buy a radio and go racing, Where is the Pride in the accomplishment? There is none, unless you just like spending money instead of putting in work. I suggest a set or class of radios that are termed legal for racing. Much like the flasher ESC’s that have been used by stock class racing for so many years. The radio reciever should be a bare bones setup with three channels max and no gyro’s at all

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