I'm hoping we get a few new people around here. Getting into running little race cars can be a bit of an assault on the senses. Lets talk a little bit about what you need to know to understand what you're hearing.
Before we get to deep here, there are going to be a lot of rules listed here. don't let that stop you from coming and running. If you're not fighting for a win, and you're not being a jerk, a lot gets let go with the idea of "hey, you'll fix the rule infraction when you're a better driver and it matters."
Because some of you just want to know what the common classes are, here you go:
We have no special rules regarding those classes, we use national rules for weight, ride height, etc.
We'll revisit those all, and where they came from, later. Detailed Class Rules
The Cars are separated into classes, based on a handful of rules. Usually this is body type, total weight, tire type, chassis type, and power-plant. These don't make a lot of sense until we define them. So, lets define a few classes.
"Euro Truck" is the cheapest way into racing. At least if you're buying a new car. You build your car as the manual says, you put in a battery, servo, receiver, paint the body, and go. This is a very tightly controlled spec class. "You need to run what we tell you to run, or you don't get to race."
"VTA" This is an abreviation for Vintage TransAM. This class is one of the slower classes at the track. The cars are all four wheel drive, and being a "slow class" older, or "more toy like" chassis can be competitive. You run spec (that is specific for the class) tires, a 25.5 turn brushless motor,
a "blinky" speed control, and a 1970's body that's shared with the cars that ran in the heyday of TransAM car racing. The class tires are HPI or Protoform tires on vintage looking wheels.
So lets talk about that 25.5 brushless. Electric motors turn slower with more turns. So VTA, running 25.5 has just about the slowest motor on the track. Brushless means it needs a special speed controller that can handle 3 phase sensored electric motors. This has become the defacto motor for r/c cars, so it's easy to find.
Blinky is important too, as most on-road classes are "blinky" classes now. Blinky is the slang term for speed controllers with fixed timing. You can make a slow turning motor turn much faster if you advance it's timing. We're going to stop there before we get to deep in the weeds. If you see a car on teh track, that looks like it just took a hit of nitrous halfway down the back straight? That car is running with adjustable timing. AKA, boost.
Next are the "typical touring car". They're almost all four wheel drive. USGT, 17.5 Touring Car, Spec Touring car. These cars all run a 21.5 turn motor, and are significantly quicker than VTA. So we have three classes, what's the difference?
"USGT" is defined by a 2 door mostly scale spots car body, a 21.5 motor, and a spec tire. (Ride, rain tires and foam). USGT has a special rule for FWD chassis, FWD cars in USGT have no weight limit, but also need to run a FWD based body.
Then there's the "touring cars". These all kinda fall into a pile, they wear the generic, "well it's kinda a 4 door sedan" body. And they're mostly differentiated by tire and motor spec. You'll find 21.5 touring car, 17.5 touring car, Spec 21.5, and then "mod".
"Mod" means modified. And is a throwback to the days of "stock" motors. When brushed motors were still commonplace, a 27turn motor, with a 540 can, and a fixed 24 degrees of timing, was "a stock motor". With the brushless revolution, "stock" more or less lost meaning. But mod has lived on. These cars typically have a 3-8 turn motor, ESC's that are not blinky, and sound and look like nothing else on the touring car track.
Then there's the pan car classes. Pan cars, are cars that have the motor and rear axle on a pod, live axle style, and most of the chassis of the car, is just a flat pan. F1, World GT-R, and 1/12 scale are the common pan cars classes you'll see.
"F1" are cars that look a lot like formula 1 cars. Front and rear wings.
"World GT-R" is essentially USGT bodies on a pan car chassis. They don't brake well, but have the magic traction you'll find of any car that has it's CoG somewhere lower than the ground it sits on.
"1/12th Scale" is where the sport as we know it, began. That's a story for another time. They're roughly half the size of a World GT-R car, and run wedge bodies, on foam tires. Foam tires drive differently, but.. are rare in todays racing. 1/12 Scale also runs both a "stock" and "modified" class. Stock being whatever turn motor they think is reasonable for the layout. Modified being "whatever you dare to run".
The last common class that you'll see out there, is "mini". Mini's are smaller chassis, somewhere between 1/12 and 1/10th scale, and run a wide range of chassis layouts and drivetrains. They're small, they're slow, they're heavy, and they're tightly regulated. They're also more fun than you'd ever imagine. Due to the variety of bodies, and chassis, the racing is often exciting, or at least interesting to watch.
Most classes run "2s" batteries. "#s" is how many cells in series a battery pack has. 1s, is a single cell, 2s is two cells. In 1/10 scale racing, essentially everything is 2s. World GT-R and 1/12 both run 1s.
So on your first day of racing, you'll need to be prepared to hear some other terminology too. Most of r/c car racing is about setting up for the final race of the day. You will run in between two and four heats. That's short for a heat race. These are short races where you're effectively doing qualifying. And results from those races will set you starting position in the "main". The Main is the last race of the day, and the one that matters if you want to say you won "the race" that day.
We're looking forward to see you at the track. If you have any questions, ask away.
Oh yes, to catch that question right away. "Where do I start?" My answer is you should start with EuroTruck, or VTA. Beyond that pipe up, and we'll help you figure something out. Otherwise, follow this link for the bigger answer: Getting Started.