Fixing On-road R/C Racing

By: Josh Howard

I know we mostly talk about bashing and practical "daily driving" of our toys here, but there's been something that's been bugging me for ages: on-road racing. My love for it cannot be put into words. When you get your car dialed in on a nice surface, it's just sublime. What I don't love is what on-road racing has become. Raise your hand if you've tried it.... go on... I'll keep waiting.

Despite the increased number of classes at tracks, better tech, and friendly people, on-road numbers are still stagnant or plummeting in areas of the country. So, why is it not growing? I'll tell you why:

  1. Cost
  2. Comradery
  3. Creativity

Let's dive into these one by one. Maybe together, we can provide a solution to fix on-road in our area?


On-road cars can be as cheap or as expensive as we want them to be. The problem is, most racing classes are won by people with very expensive chassis. Not only that, the tech wars of a few years ago have produced a level of sophisticated brushless motor/esc combos that are constantly changing and getting faster with every generation. I'm still a huge advocate for stock(27turn brushed, 25.5 brushless) and blinky(no speed control adjustments allowed) classes. It really seems to even the playing field and make it easier to jump in with an old chassis or old electronics and have fun.


We have far too many classes trying to run at tracks. This is causing a detriment to people having fun together racing. Also, if you're a new person just getting into the hobby, how are you to get help and advice from people who are probably running classes twice as fast as your class? Slim the number of classes down to a few, break racers into groups according to skill, and watch people grow together. Typically this does happen when there are enough drivers. But, you'll never have enough drivers if there are 7 classes racing on any given day.


Part of the rise of the USVTA classes and USGT has to do with the amount of creativity people show when preparing and competing. The bodies look like cars you can actually drive. Speed is secondary in many cases. It's more about having fun and enjoying the hobby.... GASP. There will always be hyper competitive people, but I enjoy seeing the creative solutions people come up with for putting a faux driver in their old muscle car body and driving that around the track. I've also seen a lot older chassis and bodies being used with older tech in such classes.

Now, all of these complaints do vary from track to track. But, head to any local forum, race track, or even to and read about the barriers people have to having fun in on-road racing. Is there a clear fix? Probably not.

As a lover of all things on-road, I feel we at least have to try something. Why not start with less classes, slower motors, and more detailed bodies? We already know what going back is like.

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