Bashing To Racing The Learning Curve

Who doesn’t enjoy bashing rc cars, most rc racers still enjoy bashing too. It could be taking it up and down the street or on the park. Racers like to refer to this as “testing”. Let’s be honest I’m still playing with a remote control car. There can be a negative feeling towards bashing rc cars from the racing crowd. When a basher becomes a racer or races as well, you have the best of both worlds.

If you are currently bashing rc cars and thinking of racing. There are several tips and skills which you will need to learn. Racing rc cars is a very different to sending cars of jumps or racing with your mates at the park. 

13 racing tips a basher might not understand yet.

1: Racing etiquette – this is a big one and will always remain at number 1. When you bash rc cars part of the fun is brawling with your friends. When it comes to racing the cars usually cost more money. Allot of time and effort has gone into setting the car up. Sponsored drivers will be there to win and support their sponsors. If a faster driver is coming up behind you leave a little gap away from the racing line to allow them to pass. You won’t have to run wide and damage your own lap time. A tiny 1-2 car space will be more than enough.

2: Don’t buy before you try – your already in this wonderful hobby and we all know how exciting it is to go out and buy new kit. Hold off, pop down to your local track and have a look. It’s important you get a feel for how it all works. Take your current car on a practice day drive round the track. You will soon know if you have the racing bug. When you are ready for your first race here is how it works and what to expect.

3: Drivers perspective – all race tracks have a grand stand. This could be a bench in indoor racing or a purpose built stand in outdoor racing. The point is you will be operating your car from a central point. When you bash you can move around, when you race you need to stay in the same position. This takes a while to get used to. When your car moves away from you the controls are normal. When the car turns around and comes towards you the steering inputs will be reversed. Also that corner at the far end of the track looks tiny how can i get round without hitting the piping.

4: Walk the track – this is important when you arrive at a race track. You will see people walking round the track and not just the marshals. When you walk the track you will see bumps, humps and areas you did not see from the grandstand. If you walk the track you can make a mental note of what to be aware off. Now that corner you thought looked tight from the grandstand actually has more space than you thought.

5: Anti squat, camber diff oil what? – You will here terms like these being thrown around. It’s quite astonishing how many setup changes you can make to an rc car. The racing community are very friendly and enjoy helping each other out. Don’t be overwhelmed with the terms or settings. Drive your own race to begin with and learn how your car reacts to your inputs. Does it lean over too much in the corners. Are the wheels spinning when you accelerate. Is the front nose diving when you hit the breaks. Once you get a feel for how the car reacts you can learn about changing settings.

6: Car setup changes – once you have a few things you would like to change. It’s important to only make one change at a time. I can’t stress this enough, when you make multiple setup changes you could fix the issue. That’s great but which one of the changes fixed the problem? Now you may have a new problem.

7: A high quality servo costs how much? – before I started racing the most I had ever spent on a servo was £25 ($32). My servo broke after a couple practice days. Looking at the servo’s other people were using I just couldn’t justify the cost £75 ($98). Long story short I purchased a high quality servo wondering why. The most noticeable difference is the response time I turn the wheel on my controller and there is no delay. I still use the same brand of servo’s even with crashing they last around 4 years.

8: The Jumps – this only applies to off road racing. You might have experience of sending your car sky high or doing back flips I sure did. Jumping a car on the race track is very different to the park. You want to spend the least amount of time as possible in the air. The more time your wheels spend on the track the faster your lap time will be. I wrote an article on how to jump an RC car which goes into more detail.

9: Tire side down – aside from jumps, humps and bumps corners will drastically shift the weight balance on you car. Enter a corner too fast or turn to abruptly and best case scenario the marshal flips your back over fast.  Worst case you go cartwheeling off the track and you car is gone forever. Not quite that long but you could be put back on the track in last position. You don’t have to go slow to reduce the time you spend upside down. Try breaking in a straight line only and turn your wheels once you have stopped breaking.

10: Smooth criminal – its a cliché but smooth is fast. If you gradually accelerate you increase your traction by reducing wheel spin. If you turn your wheels smoothly you can better control the side to side weight transfer. Lastly if you break smoothly you reduce the amount of weight over your front wheels. If you break too hard you will nose dive and can flip your car over. Your inputs do not have to be slow just smooth. Try it and you will notice your lap times come down.

11: Latest technology – one of the great advantages of the racing scene. New products are constantly tested on the race track before release to the general public. You can quite often get a heads up and a sneak peak on the latest and greatest technology.

12: The racing line – in simple terms is the straightest route round the track.  Outside line approach to a corner then move to the inside line as you enter the corner. Move towards the outside line as you exit the corner. Try this approach when you head to a track and you will notice a big difference in lap times.

13: You will break your car – when it is time to purchase a new racing car, take your time to see which has the most support. You may find lots of people at your local track that use a the same brand. There is nothing wrong with being different, but there is often good reason for this.

When you are learning crashes happen and cars do break no matter what the manufacturer states about durability. Some shops and manufactures attend races with bucket loads of spares. See what is stocked in the local hobby shops and on-line. Internet shops and retailers both stock parts of the most popular cars. There is a myth floating round that bashing puts more stress on you car than racing. This largely depends on the type of bashing. Racing will does push the limits of rc cars. You can bash a professional high spec car but it would be hard to professional race a rtr rc car.

Is racing for me I love bashing.

The short answer is you won’t know till you try. I used to bash rc cars every weekend and ran a club. We built ramps and I spent most Saturdays sending a hyper 7 15-20 feet in the air. After a while at the club we started to make mock up tracks on the grass. This is when I and a few others decided to give racing a try. I had no idea what was involved or what to expect. When I entered my first race my hyper 7 was barely hanging together and would take ages to start. However I caught the racing bug instantly, now I don’t spend as much time bashing cars.  That’s mainly because there is a race on most weekends. I have also developed mechanical sympathy and prefer to “test” when I make a setup change.

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