If you want to get into racing or are maybe thinking about trying a new class, this guide is for you. Here’s the real skinny on the different racing classes for RC trucks. Keep in mind, this is guide for racing classes and it’s impossible to list every possible vehicle choice.
2WD SHORT COURSE
The largest class in RC racing is 2WD short course. The trucks are affordable, durable and look like real trucks. This class got kicked off with the Traxxas Slash in 2008 and heated up with the introduction of the Team Associated SC10 and the HPI Blitz that followed. The current hot trucks are the Losi XXX-SCT and the Kyosho Ultima SC-R, but the simple fact is you could win with any of these trucks.
- Spec Slash. Bone-stock Slash racing is still being raced at some tracks around the country, and this can be some of the best racing available if you get in with a good bunch of racers who don’t let their competitive drive get the best of them.
- 17.5 Stock (No Boost). Of all of the short course classes, this is probably the biggest. With no timing boost/advance allowed on the speed control, it is a true stock class with respectable but controllable speeds.
- 17.5 (Boost). While popular in some areas, this class is also considered pointless by many. With boost allowed, the speeds are often very similar to Open Modified. If your track offers this class and you want faster than stock speeds with investing in new equipment, this may be a good choice.
- 13.5. This isn’t raced at every track, but it is found at various tracks around the country. By design, it is intended to offer a middle ground between 17.5 Stock.
- Open Mod. This the class the pros race and it’s also popular at the local level in some areas. At most tracks, those wishing to race high speed mod racing, go with the 4WD short course class.
4WD SHORT COURSE
Like 2WD short course, the 4WD class got started with the Traxxas Slash–the Slash 4X4 in this case. The competition heated up when OFNA and Jammin’ entered the class. Traxxas is still hugely popular at the local tracks, but at the pro-level, the class is now a war between Losi and Team Associated. More companies, such as Durango, are getting involved.
- ROAR Mod. ROAR established rules that limit the battery to a 2S (7.4V) LiPo. Any motor is allowed. Most racers use 550 motors, but some owners of the Team Associated SC10 4×4 use a 540-sized motor, especially for indoor racing.
- Open Mod. Most tracks don’t strictly follow ROAR rules for weekend racing, and a good example is the use of a totally open modified 4WD short course class. In this class, any battery and any motor is allowed.
One of the most popular classes back in the day, stadium truck is seeing a bit of a resurgence thanks to short course racing giving a collective boost to 1/10-scale electric off-road. Stadium trucks have a wide, stable stance and wide tires. This makes them fairly easy to drive. The two main trucks to choose from are the Team Losi Racing 22T and Team Associated T4.1.
- Stock. While this class used to be extremely popular, you are unlikely to find too many tracks consistently racing this class. If you can get a group together, it is a great class for all skill levels.
- Open Mod. Where stadium truck is popping up, most of the racing is Open Modified. This is simply because most of the racers turning to stadium truck are old school electric racers.
1/8-scale truggy is a popular class all across the United States–they are fast and big on durability. Almost every 1/8-scale buggy has a truggy counter part, so you can find truggies from Kyosho, Losi, Mugen, Team Associated and many others. All are capable of winning. At the pro-level, Kyosho and newly redesigned Team Associated are taking a lot of the big wins, but the Losi also has earned its share. The winning ways of the different brands seem to be more of a reflection of the drivers than the trucks.
- Electric. Many companies now offer electric and nitro versions. If a pre-made electric version isn’t available, odds are companies such as Tekno RC and Monster RC have what you need to go electric. Some tracks race the electric truggies separately, but most combine nitro and electric.
- Nitro. Many racers who race 1/8-scale buggies also run the truggy counterpart, and sometimes the nitro truggies put down faster lap times than smaller buggies.
The above are the most popular racing classes that are generally widely available, but there are always other options. While the startup cost may cause some sticker shock, 1/5-scale racing is growing in popularity and includes HPI, Losi and others. On the other side of the size spectrum, many racers also race minis from a variety of companies such as Losi, Team Associated and Traxxas.
About the Author: Matt has over 25 years of experience in RC and has worked professionally in media for over a decade. Matt enjoys everything from racing to rock crawling to bashing, and he believes RC should be all about having fun. Matt is as at home covering a world championship in an exotic country as he is showing a new hobbyist how to set gear mesh. His desire to share the hobby with as many people as possible inspired him to create RC Truck Stop and RCTruckStop.com.