This is an anecdote addendum to my story arc as an RC driver. I’m still not great, but I’m getting better, and in the last month I earned three 2nd place spots at club races 🏆 I’m going to be honest about how I wound up there, but it’s really a commentary on consistency.
In R/C club racing, similar to 1:1 scale club racing, the drivers must also help as a corner marshal after they race. This means helping out cars that get stuck, crash, or flip so they can continue their race. It’s a dance as you help crashed cars while other cars are still racing on the track. I’ve picked up a couple of tricks here and that help me – and maybe they can help you be more adept at marshalling. And since every driver is also a track marshal – there’s a section for drivers too. You should read both. 😎
Introduced as the Traxxas Slash in 2008, 10 years later many racers are asking, “Is it dead yet?” Check out this recent episode of Radio Impound Podcast. The chatter about Team Associated’s new releases start at the 19:30 mark and you’ll hear them ask about the Associated SC6.1, “Isn’t it that class obsolete yet?”
Short Course Truck
Also known as SCT, Short Course Truck is going to be a mainstay class. I’m talking about the staying power of something like 1/10 scale buggy, which has been around for multiple decades. SCT has already stood one decade, and it will continue the trend. Let me explain… In a sea of increasing costs to get into the hobby, anyone can get into off-road racing for around $200. When others are spending $1000 to get into racing, I was looking at getting into on-road for half of the cost. But how does getting into off-road at 1/4 of the cost sound?
I did this mod to my TC6.1 because it’s a dedicated VTA racer. To be honest, 99% of the people out there racing VTA are using 190mm touring car chassis’. However they’re all also running 200mm bodies on them, which can sometimes look a little weird with the wheels tucked way up underneath.
Many of the 200mm VTA bodies that we use today were created by HPI in the early 2000s before the USVTA series existed. They were originally intended to be used with their RS4 chassis which included settings for both 190mm touring car bodies (The chassis actually measured 180mm), and 200mm for their wider bodies. The rear vintage wheels and tires have an offset so the 200mm bodies don’t look too bad on a 190mm chassis. But a select few bodies like the ’70 Charger and ’68 Camaro have an extra-wide 210mm rear. This is when the wheels tucked under look a little silly. Let’s fix that…
After having some troubles playing VRC, I started to look at my hardware to see if there was some gains to be had there because while I’m not a great racer in real life, I’m also not terrible 😎 I wound up doing a lot of research regarding the relative speed and latency of various tx/rx brands and models. The most concrete measurement I could come up with is the PWM frequency sent from the receiver to the ESC & servo(s). PWM signals are often much faster than PPM signals that are used by buddy-box or direct servo control systems. This is important in regards to playing VRC.
I gathered results measured by myself and others using the SkyRC Program Box. It is not a foolproof measurement of end-to-end latency – the delay from when you give a controller input and the ESC reacts to it. But it’s a clear metric, and part of the overall latency we can measure easily.
Much of this may not even matter to you. The average human reaction time is on the order of hundreds of milliseconds. For transmitter latency we’re talking about tens of milliseconds or less. Also, the transit time on the fastest servos are around 50 milliseconds, so that is another part of the equation that is difficult to reduce. But just because the measured latency is less than what we as humans can react to, it doesn’t mean these delays can’t be perceived, even if it’s just in the way something feels.
I can’t always get to the track to actually race, so the next best thing is playing Virtual RC Pro. I can practice or race at anytime, no matter what my family’s schedule is or what the weather is like. I initially had some trouble playing VRC, so I put this together to document how I was able to improve gameplay, and my driving. The first part of this is about getting VRC set up and working well. The second part is about racing electric on-road cars in VRC (that’s what I drive at our local tracks). But there may be a buggy in my future so subscribe to get those updates as well!