What do I need to go racing?

New to RC racing?

It’s the age old question and one we get asked all the time. You are new to RC racing and want to know what to buy. Well, we have decided to put some of the top heads together at the club to come up with a list of key items you need to go racing. Wherever possible we have given you options on items so that you can make up your own choice.

We have not listed any top of the range equipment as it will not make you drive any better. Having said that, we have tried to stay clear of really cheap equipment that might be attractive due to it’s very low price, but will not last you long and we guarantee you’ll be replacing it before you’ve even started. So what we have listed below is great value for money items that will be great for starting out but will also last you well into the hobby of RC racing.

However, before we proceed we must remind everyone who’s interested in starting RC racing that there are three golden rules that you MUST follow at all times.

  • Rule No.1 – Expensive equipment will not make you a better driver, only practice, practice & practice will improve your driving
  • Rule No.2 – Going faster does not equal more laps! Learn your race craft before you even think about speed – run a slower motor to begin with or reduce your throttle by changing the settings on your Transmitter – going faster will only result in more breakages and more money to fix your car!
  • Rule No.3 – Don’t spend a penny until you’ve visited a club. Come and see what RC racing is all about first and speak to our members and get a feel for what this hobby is all about, you can learn a lot just by spending 2 or 3 race meetings as a spectator and often club members might even be selling second-hand cars or spares.

We currently race GT12 cars on a Friday night and in this class there are two main chassis manufacturers, both of which are British. The choice is the Mardave V12 or Schumacher Supastox chassis and it’s best to come along and chat to our members to see which one you feel is right for you. The rest of the equipment is required no matter which chassis you choose.

Should you buy new or second hand?

It really depends on the condition of the second hand chassis. Some could require just as much as the cost of the chassis to get fixed and working correctly so take care in what you decide. Speak to our Club members to gauge what you think is the best option and often we have club members selling used cars so there could always be a great bargain at the Club. If you do see something on eBay or any other auction website, let us know what you are looking at and we can assist in gauging if it’s a good buy or not.

Please note that we have not listed any brushed motors, speedos or Nimh/Nicad cells as we would highly recommend even beginners to go Brushless/LiPo as they are so much easier to maintain than the old brushed systems and the LiPo batteries can be charged over and over again during a race meeting without damaging them. The prices listed below are just for reference. Shopping around you might get even better deals so take care when buying online.

So what do you need and what we recommend

2.4 GHz Transmitters

Transmitter – There are two types of transmitter available to choose from, the conventional stick type or the more modern trigger/wheel type. It’s really down to personal preference as to which one you prefer to us and we have a selection for you to choose from:

  • Stick – CORE-RC Code 2.4GHz FHSS (£60)
  • Stick – Sanwa Gemini X (£190)
  • Trigger/Wheel – HPI TF-40 2.4GHz (£50)
  • Trigger/Wheel – Spektrum DX3C (£75)


Servo – There are two styles to choose from, the normal size servo that comes as standard with most combo sets, or a low profile sevro which although the most expensive of our choice for you, does provide easier installation in either the Mardave or Schumacher chassis:

  • Standard size – HPI SF-10W (£13)
  • Standard size – CORE-RC CR194 (£35)
  • Low profile – Savox SC1252MG (£45)

Electronic Speed Controller

Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) – We strongly advise that the best starter ESC is from CORE-RC. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to spend £100’s on a ESC to make you driver better. However, if you have raced in the past and are coming back to the hobby of RC racing then the range of Hobbywing ESC are very popular, even if they are expensive:

  • CORE-RC PACE 45 Brushless System (£50)
  • Hobbywing – Very popular amoung F1 drivers but very expensive

13.5T Brushless motors

Brushless motor – The selection we have for you to choose from here are all 13.5T Brushless motors. There are 17.5T and 21.5T versions which are slightly slower and probably a good starting point if you are new to RC racing. However, you can reduce the speed of the motor using any of the transmitters and the CORE-RC ESC listed above – just ask a club member for advice on how to do this. There are loads of motors available, but we would recommend the following, available from only £32:

  • Speed Passion
  • LRP
  • Thunder Power
  • HPI

LiPo battery and LiPo charging sack

LiPo battery – There is simply juts one LiPo we would highly recommend for all beginners and that’s the CORE-RC 3200mAh 1s LiPo available from £22. We would recommend no more than 2 LiPo packs to start with, but YOU MUST use a LiPo charging sack or box when charging your LiPo’s at the club.

ESC, motor and LiPo combo pack

ESC/Motor/LiPo combo – There is a great value combo pack available on the market form under £100 which includes the CORE-RC ESC listed above, 1 x CORE-RC LiPo battery and a 13.5T Speed Passion brushless motor. This is a great setup if you are starting with nothing and many of our club members begin using this in their cars.

LiPo chargers

LiPo chargers – When using LiPo batteries, you need to ensure that you have the correct charger that is designed for charging these batteries. Thankfully we’ve chosen to well priced chargers that are perfect for charging your LiPo safely:

  • Fusion LX40 Breeze Plus (£30)
  • CORE-RC UAC50 (£60)

Ascari lexan bodyshell

Bodyshells – The great thing about the GT12 class is that there are a wide range of bodyshells on the market for you to choose from. However, even at 1:12th scale, a bodyshell can change the handling characteristics of your car and therefore we would always recommend that a beginner starts out with the Ascari as this is the most neutral bodyshell and will give you a very stable car that is easy to control in and out of fast or slow corners. Bodyshells are available from £13 and remember that you will also require some paint for your shell – have fun coming up with your own designs!

Tyres, wheels and additive

Wheels, tyres and additives – Our club has banned oil-based tyre additive and have chosen to select 3 types of water based additives listed below which are safe to use at the club. In terms of the wheels and tyres there are two brands on the market to choose from and all are similar in price:

  • Water-based additive – Spider Green or Spider Blue (£16)
  • Water-based additive – Schumacher SXT (£10)
  • Contact Tyres (£6 per set of two pre-glued tyres/wheels) : The compounds we would recommend are 47 on the front and 35 on the rear
  • Mardave tyres (£6 per set of two pre-glued tyres/wheels) : The compounds we would recommend are Jap 48 on the front and UFRA Pinks on the rear

Basic tool kit

Basic tool kit – There are some basic tools that you’ll need to both build your new RC car and also maintain it. Prices start from as little as £7 for these tools and many can be purchased from normal DIY stores. We also recommend that you get a pit towel (household tea towel is just as good) so that you do not mark the tables we use at the Village Hall:

  • Short nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Pit towel
  • 1.5mm & 2mm allen driver
  • 3mm & 5mm nut spanner

If you require any more help about getting started then come along to one of our race meetings, watch us race and chat to the members.

Back to Top ↑