Reader Discussion: Is Short Course the New Top Racing Class?

Reader Discussion: Is Short Course the New Top Racing Class?

Is Short Course the New Top Racing Class? Speak up and share your thoughts on this hot topic. Want a voice the whole industry will hear? Now is your chance. We’re giving each of you your own soapbox. So, let’s hear what you have to say. If you think it is, explain why. Don’t think it’s the top class, why?

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Updated: April 4, 2011 — 10:30 AM


  1. James,

    SC racing was huge from the 1970’s and into the 1990s. It was shown on TNT, TNN and ESPN at prime time slots, before it started to hit unpopular time in the late 90’s early 2000’s. Besides even if people haven’t seen a Short Course Truck race, or Trophy Truck race, they have seen a Pickup truck. It’s not hard to see that a SCT looks more like the real Truck than a ST. A ST was explained to me in the mid 90’s as a “buggy with a truck body that is to make it easier to drive”. STs are their own class and are a good in-between between buggies and trucks, in reality it’s a hybrid class.
    So for me and from what I’ve read from other other posts, it’s nice to see a proper truck class for off-road RC.

    I really think SCTs thrive on the same thing the TC class did. It looks like something you own, like to own, or have seen. So getting an RC version lets you drive the wheels off it for a minimal cost. (compaired to running a full sized version)

  2. I recently got back into the hobby. I’m running an 1/8 gas buggy. While spending some time at the track a got to see the “new,” well, new to me, SC trucks. They looked like a lot of fun and someone let me drive one. I was hooked. I like that it looks real and can take a bouch of abuse for a 1/10 scale elec. Most importently to me though, is that it brought a smile to my face. I miss that with racing. The fun factor.

    I picked up a Slash 4×4 for my step son (and for myself). He’s new to R/C and likly won’t be in it long, he’s 13 and will be doing “other” things soon enough, so I’ll get it back. He’s brand new to R/C and after a little over a month, hasn’t broken a part yet! Love the deriblity of the SC trucks.

    SC isn’t the biggest class at my track here in Florida, but It’s a lot of fun, and growing. I agree with the prevous posters, bone stock class and a mod class.

  3. SC? Where to begin?

    It is popular? With out question, yes. Is it the biggest class going? That all depends on where you are. Yet is getting bigger. Is it the best class? To some yes and some no. Is it farily cheap to get in to? Again with out question, yes. Has it revived the 1/10th truck class? For sure. Has it brought in new racers/hobbiests? For sure as well. Do I like the SC’s? Nope, not at all (tough the 4X4’s are much better). They just don’t do it for me.

    Perhaps it’s the old racer in me that still favors the Buggy and ST classes. It’s what I came up with and will always have a place for. Now if the SC class was around when I started running ST, I might have a totally different outlook. With some of the current SC’s being based off their ST brethern, I should like them.

    The main thing that chaps me the most is the constant reference of, well it’s scale. While they are more closely scale looking than other classes, I just don’t get why that is as important. Lets face it, full scale SC racing isn’t shown in prime time TV slots. IF you do find it on TV, it’s usually at some 2 am slot on ESPN 8, the ocho. Out side of that many people haven’t even been to a full scale SC race because it’s still a regional event. I personally would love to see it be more televised, but it’s not. I’d go as far to say that full scale dirt oval sprint cars have a higher popularity, yet the small scale isn’t as big. Never did understand that one. Even the Monster trucks on the Monster Jam series are more easily indentified with than SC and we all know where the MT class is. So why then the huge push to be on the SC bandwagon? Just don’t get it. If the scale look of the class is the big reason people like it, then I think we are all missing the boat. Scale has a place in RC, but that factor alone shouldn’t be the “it” factor for the class. It is unfortunetly what some powers that be are pushing for.

    Think I’m crazy? Chech this out. I was down at the Nitro Challenge in Az. this year and while warming up my Truggy for one of the heats I had someone come up to me and say they thought the Truggy class should just die and it should be a SC8 class only. Why? Well according to this person, the Truggies don’t look like anything real and the SC’s look real. That said at an event where the Truggy class was still bigger than the SC class, by a fair margin. It didn’t take me too long to figure out that this person was a huge SC fan. Which is fine, everyone has their opinion. Had this person not been who he was I probably would have been like, whatever floats you’re boat. But this person has raced and worked in the industry for a long time and is respected. Even worked for one of the Mags for a number of years. I even respected him. Up until that point. When the comment that the Truggy class should just die was made, I about lost it. To say that in gerneral is one thing, but to say that at an event like the Nitro Challenge, to a nitro guy no less, was either very brave or stupid. Maybe both?

    My point is that it’s no secret that the SC’s are popular. Just about every MFG. has jumped on the SC bandwagon. I get that. SC is where the focus is, but it comes at a lack of focus to other class’s offered by that same MFG. Some of which are still doing well. That to me is not a good thing at all for the hobby, more so racing. That is in part what has helped to kill off other forms of racing.

  4. I will not disagree that the SC trucks have taken over race tracks lately, but there is an exponential curve in the amount of skilled drivers in the class. I love that more people are getting into the hobby, but at the same time I’m tired of running a crash derby type of race. I’m not talking about the kinda wheel to wheel bump. I’m talking about taking your line in a turn as some guy throttles down into your inside corner clearly about to overshoot the turn, but in dire hopes to pass you they spin you out of a race… Sure SC might be the biggest, but if this is how people “race” I’m going to stay in the 1/8th scale and 1/10th scale buggy classes. (especially now that I have the TLR 22 in my inventory. ;D

  5. SC will be the top racing class, if it already isn’t. I agree on the three class, box stock, spec, and open. The thing that chaps my rear end as someone talked about earlier is that the savvy experienced mod racers don’t like rubbing fenders, the contact aspect of SC racing. I love it. I had this happen to me last weekend, a mod driver who is decent got upset cause we contacted a few times while he was trying to pass, he got upset because I simply wouldn’t get out of his way. I say if you are THAT good, then you can pass me while rubbing. ST and Buggy racers need to understand, that rubbing is racing in the SC class. +1 on keeping the money out of it. I agree the wheel options need to be standardized.
    I think everyone should be limited to SC tires only, they are getting super creative with the new tires ie., Suburbs and calibers 2.0 wider version with long wear. But ultimately we need the box stock class for entry level, spec racing for the budget minded as stated above, and the open class for money endowed or speed junkie. I have found that using a less powerful motor makes you a better driver and you learn to utilize what you have so you concentrate of driving and not fighting the power you can’t control.
    SCT are super durable, screw all the exposed A arms, I like the ability to rub fenders, land wrong, or hit head on with out breaking my entire bulkhead or chassis. SC is here to stay. I want nothing to do with buggies or ST. Keep making the SCT durable, scale like, and standardize wheels and tires. KISS (keep it simple stupid)!

  6. Hopefully shortcourse won’t go the same way as touring cars did!

    SC trucks need to have a BOX stock spec class to help keep costs down, and racing close. The only problem is that many companies don’t offer similar speed packages. I think that either ROAR or all of the SC companies should agree on a motor/ESC package that is slow enough for beginers, yet reliable and cheep. I think that 17.5 is probably too fast for the box stock class, so the manufacturers should take something like 21.5 because it is slower for the newer drivers, and brushless because it is low maintenence.

    I have a 17.5 touring car that can compete in mod it is so fast. I think that 17.5 is far too fast for any new driver or a ‘close’ racing category. This should be a second class for guys that want to go faster, but have this be the only option available.

    Then there should be an open or modified class to please those with fat wallets and happy trigger fingers, where anything goes.

    Batteries shouldn’t be more than a 2s lipo, or 6cell stick pack. Tires should be modeled realistically after the full scale cars they represent. As aforementioned, It is a very scale category so the tires should be scale too. For mod though, there can be an exception because it is all on the table for the fastest possible set up.

    We have a similar set up to this at our local track, it works great and helps new racers get to know their cars and how they work without too much hassle on electronics or set up. It presents a good learning curve to help the hobby grow and maintain itself while sattisfying as many people as possible.

    Thats just my 2 cents, hopefully it will be heard.

  7. SC trucks are great!!! I mean the way they race, the way the take abuse, how much they cost and how real they look. An RC company most be Dumb not to have 2wd SC and 4×4 SC in the market! They appela to the bashers, as well as the racer!.

  8. Yup! biggest class; sale your ST’s and buggies while you still can!

  9. Short Course is a great class of racing… long as the rich folks don’t turn it into a game of money. Keep SC close to its roots and keep the money out of it. Make it two class racing, 100% box stock except for 2.4 radio conversions and make the other class modified where anything goes. Keep it simple and the people will come and continue to race Short Course.

  10. In my opinion SC is awesome!!! Not only has it EXPLODED it single-handedly brought a ton of new racers to the hobby. All of us racers/bashers wish at some point in our lives that we could race some sort of motorsport (nascar…sprint…indy..ect) with the birth of more “realizm” in r/c its almost as good. For the longest time 1/10scale stadium truck was the biggest thing in r/c but at the sametime its the biggest letdown for all who race them….god forbitd you land wrong or hit the draintile funny cuz it will break or pop a ball cup off were all NOT Jared Tebo…we all wreck and if your using a 1/10scale you WILL BREAK!!!! 1/10 scale used to be HUGE here in Wisconsin with tons of drivers every Sunday at our local outdoor track now there isnt even a class cuz NOBODY wants to drive them because of the ‘wrenching factor” but the 1/8scale buggy/truggy and short course has blown up 10 fold wich is a good thing for all involved!! Now insted of removing broken Lunsford from ballcups and rebuilding diffs I have time to relax during heats!!! Long live short couse as it is the best class in r/c!!!!

  11. oops noticed a typo after submission.

    “New customers would be happier with a motor that burns out after approx 2 months, and only leaves them with the option to buy another $20+ motor, or pay $150+ for a brushless setup.”

    was suppose to read:

    “New customers would be happer knowing their motors would last instead of having to replace a motor that burns out after approx 2 months of regular use, that only leaves them with the option to buy another $20+ Motor or pay $150+ to go brushless.”

  12. SC is approachable, in pricepoint and racing classes (obviously not true in all cases, but from what I’ve seen) The short fall I see that TB hit on earlier is that lack of consistancy between the RTR kits. The Kyosho Ultima, AE SC10, Traxxas Slash, Hpi Blitz, and Losi XXXSCT, have diffrent motor turns/motor size. The SC10 and Slash Brushless RTR models don’t start off at the same speed as well. Not to mention the wheel offset and how the wheel mounts to the trucks varies, I think that the diffrence in wheel mounts is starting to change slowly (main oddity is the SC10)

    Far as keeping the trucks for diffrent levels, why not make entry level brushless kits with the same motor turn, so Stock classes are far more approchable? Brushless is less maintence than brushed motors, and typically have longer life and runs than brushed versions, and the price between the two is not drastic, for example the SC10 17T Brushed RTR I bought cost $30 less than the current 13.5T Brushless RTR that AE makes now. $30 more to go brushless is a nobrainer. New customers would be happier with a motor that burns out after approx 2 months, and only leaves them with the option to buy another $20+ motor, or pay $150+ for a brushless setup.

    I think expendable parts like wheels and tires should be universal, kinda like they are for the 1/10 scale touring car class or 1/8 buggy class, wheel selections is too complicated for entry level hobbiests, (will this wheel make the truck to wide to race, will it fit properly on my truck etc) These where problems I never had when I ran 1/10 TC in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

    Perks are as TB mentioned earlier Durability, and entry cost, and this leads to new inexperienced drivers… Another perk is the closed wheel SCTs help prevent breakage in tangle ups durring practice or race sessions.

    One thing to keep im mind, is that most everyone was not the best driver when they first got into RC, It is important for other seasoned hobbiests to reach out to guide new hobbiests to discover and learn, not to critize and act superior. This is what helped me grow with the hobby.

    The other big draw SC has is the fact it has a Scale look, Lets face it out of all the current off-road RC, the SCT class looks the most like it’s real-life counterparts (exception of new monster trucks by Traxxas) than any of the other classes.

    I found in my experience at the tracks the best way to setup classes is RTR or Box class (ran it as it comes) a Spec motor class(es) (for the SCT class make the SC wheel mandatory), and Open.

    this caters to the big 3 types your beginner, costminded intermediates (Sport Racer), and your ‘Run what you brung’ types.

  13. SC is definitely the biggest item at the track here. In fact we just had the 1st stop in the Short course showdown here in Fitchburg, MA and there was just under 200 entries! I have a slash, my youngest has one, my oldest has a Hyper 10SC, several kids my neighborhood have them. I think the price point, and durability probably are bringing this class to the top in the near future if it’s not already. That said I really want a Losi 22! 🙂

  14. 17.5 is def faster than stock RTR motors. I think the stock class should allow kit motors or 17.5. Most places do just this. Mod class seems like a waste to me. 17.5 and open 4wd are all you really need or the classes just get watered down as someone said.

  15. Heres the deal where I race- Illinois . Most entries-SC. Cheapest price to enter racing-SC. Most durable-SC. The problem most racers have is the full contact approach SC racing has. You just have to change your mindset while racing with less experience/savy drivers. If you do it is incredibly fun! The main drawback is inconsistency of rules and watering down of classes which always kills racing. Try to explain to someone why there is a 17.5 class where you purposely buy a truck and make it slower(according to the 17.5 guys although I tend to disagree) than a RTR and exclude RTR’s from running. Spend an extra $300 on esc and motor to be allegedly slower? SC classes need to be simple- mod and stock. Let those that want to spend $ race in 1/10th 2wd and 4wd buggy and 1/8th scale. Keep SC inexpensive and the sport will grow

  16. For club racers it is the biggest, but not so on the pro ranks just yet

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