Most of the chatter about this video is positive, but the first and last comments in this screenshot are what I want to talk about:
I get mad when I hear things like “just what we need – another class” or that something is too juvenile for them to have fun. No matter how you cut it, RC racing at its core is toy cars. Yes they’re expensive, configurable, luxury toy cars. But they’re still toy cars as much as a $400 magnesium yo-yo is still a skill toy.
Let’s look at the reality and see if can’t all get along or at least agree to disagree without starting a flame-war 🔥
Yet Another Class
Part of me understands their complaint – adding another race on race day means it will add more time to the racing schedule. Which means more time waiting between their races, and the possibility of getting home later in the day.
But let’s break down the argument. Does it really mean more time? If more 2wd buggy drivers show up, it means adding an E-Main and another qualifying heat, so if there are more drivers it means more time no matter what. It doesn’t matter if they’re driving rally cars, formula one, tamiya mini, euro trucks, short course trucks, etc. More drivers is more time.
Why not welcome new classes? There are so many aspects to the hobby, but the common thread is racing. Track owners across the country don’t care if they’re announcing on the tone for the E-Main of 2wd Buggy or the A-Main of Euro Trucks. They want as many (paying) racers at the track as possible. I for one, would love to watch a 2wd Spec Stampede race like in that JConcepts video.
Track owners and race directors recognize this and most have a policy that if at least 3-5 guys show up with the same type of vehicle, they’ll run it as a class of its own. The belly-aching by the other drivers simply needs to stop. It does not help grow the hobby, it just makes us look like elitist jerks. It comes off sounding like: If you’re not good enough to afford or compete with the type of car I have, you should just stay home.
Racing on the Cheap
“Yet Another Class” usually means someone is testing the waters to try something different and see if it sticks. More often than not, it is something affordable. Tamiya Euro Trucks are a hit because they’re just over $100 and they look awesome. My favorite class of racing is currently Spec Slash. It’s right next to Euro Trucks as one of the cheaper ways to race. I also have a 2wd buggy, which is always popular at any track, but that platform is expensive. The idea of a 2wd Spec Stampede monster truck class sound like a great way to get kids (young and old) into some fun monster truck racing.
Heads-Up Mixed-Class Racing
Another option that is rarely exercised, but should be, is mixed-class racing. It’s literally running two or more types of classes in the same race. It’s already happening at your track during open practice and it makes everyone a better driver if they’re actively looking out for slower/faster traffic. Many drivers pay zero attention to anything that isn’t traveling at their speed. To combat it, more tracks should host heads-up races like this:
When running multiple classes in the same heat, there are two schools of thought. You can run cars of similar speed together, or run cars of different speed together – each has pros and cons.
Running cars of similar speeds together is easy. Maybe it’s VTA & Euro Truck or Stadium Truck and Open Short Course. The race director likely knows generally what the lap times are for a specific class. Hopefully the two classes lacking a full field of drivers wind up being a good match.
The other option would be to run classes with different speeds together. This happens in several real world races, but most famously at LeMans. Why do I like the speed differential? It allows for the faster cars, usually piloted by better drivers, to pass quickly. If slower drivers are predictable in their racing line, the faster cars can use just about any line to overtake. Is it going to slow everyone’s lap times? Sure, but not significantly and the racing will be even more exciting.
Talk to your track
As a rule of thumb, always check with the track owner and/or the race director. At bigger events like trophy races they’ll be clear on what classes are getting trophies and it probably doesn’t include your new class. The guys running a new class aren’t there for trophies anyway. They’re there to race against their friends and build some interest around what could be a fun racing series.
Don’t listen to the naysayers. If you want to run a class of Tamiya Dancing Riders, get some people interested and head to the track. You could even ask your local hobby shop to give the racing info to others buying that model. Even if no one has joined you (yet), bring your car to the track. If there’s a Sportsman class, which is usually a smorgasbord of classes, run it in that. Or when you’re racing in a different class, run your new model during open practice time or before/after the race. Sometimes just seeing something new go ’round is all it takes to get others interested. I did this with my F1 car in 2016 and it has been a regular class in my area since.