Remote Control Car Racing
by Greg Carloss
Here at MotorWeek we’re fans of all things automotive. That’s especially true for our Over the Edge guy, Greg Carloss. He will drive just about anything. Well, this week he scales down, trades a steering wheel for a controller, but keeps all the fun.
GREG CARLOSS: I’ve had my fair share of remote control cars and usually after just a few hours and maybe a couple jumps, they would meet a spectacular demise, but here, they take this hobby to the next level.
Adrenaline RC Racing in Winchester, Virginia is the embodiment of the saying, “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.”
And what owner, Seth Hardison did was create a local mecca for Radio Control Car enthusiasts.
SETH HARDISON: So this building that we’re in now is my hobby store and we are mostly a pro shop. So we gear towards the race cars...and then behind me is pitting, so on race day or even on practice day, people can come, just drop all their gear and hang out. Kind of like a corner bar for RC racers.
GREG CARLOSS: The racing takes place just steps from the shop on a well-manicured dirt track housed completely under cover.
But for those who embrace the elements, Adrenaline offers an ever-expanding rock crawling course for miniature Wranglers and the like to strut their stuff.
The main draw during my visit is a USRC Championship Series event on the indoor track.
ROB ISAAC: Well we are touring the East Coast promoting the race series traveling all of our region too. This is our home track so we kind of base out of here.
GABE GALEANO: We have like today we have about six different classes that we are running...you can run Nitro. You can run Electric. You can run a sportsman.
GREG CARLOSS: Electric RC cars are mounting a charge with advances in battery technology, but the Nitro cars, powered by tiny two-stroke engines get top billing here with a 30-minute race to end the day, which does require pit stops.
GABE GALEANO: The car goes into the pit lane and there's a pit guy over there fills the car also if he needs to adjust a little you know like the top end bottom end, they do that for you down there.
ROB ISAAC: The cars are highly tunable. They have fluid-filled diffs, fluid-filled shocks. They are completely tunable. Every aspect of the car is adjustable to actually work around the track.
GREG CARLOSS: When geared for longer tracks, these 1/8th scale cars can reach speeds over 40 mph while spending half their time in the air.
And no one here spends more time in the air than Ryan Lutz.
RYAN LUTZ: My name is Ryan Lutz and I’m a professional remote control car driver.
I fly probably a hundred plus thousand miles per year in general all around the world...you kind of go to a race and you compete against other competitors. Try to win for your sponsors and at the same time you’re also trying to help the customers trying to give them a good experience with the hobby and learning how to do it.
GREG CARLOSS: RC racing is, at its core, a hobby with a tight-knit community, eager to teach newcomers like myself what it’s all about.
ROB ISAAC: It’s track ethics, you know. Good sportsmanship. Coming out to marshal is a biggie because a lot of guys, they overlook that part and it's crucial to keep the program going.
SETH HARDISON: I would really love it if people thought of it as a potential sport like soccer and baseball. Usually you tell them, "Oh, I race remote control cars," and they're like, "Oh, that's a toy." And it is a toy potentially, but I mean, we also race seriously and it’s like a little car...plus there's just a pure adrenaline rush from driving.
GREG CARLOSS: Fittingly, Adrenaline RC Racing offers a track day unlike any I’ve experienced. And there’s no doubt about it, these miniature cars are full-size fun.