Getting Into RCGT (Radio Control Grand Touring)
By Tony Phalen
What is RCGT?
RCGT is currently the hottest and quickest growing class in the touring car scene. RCGT (or Radio Controlled Grand Touring) was started in the SoCal area by local manufacturer, HPI Racing. Applying a few 'Spec' rules, their goal was to bring some of the fun and enthusiasm back to touring cars by adding a sense of realism to the class. This also means that anyone, including current racers, can get into this growing class by using an inexpensive touring car, a set of treaded tires and a realistic body!
If you've ever been to a RC touring car race, I'm sure you've noticed all the beautifully painted cars driving around the track. Think back and ask yourself...what KIND of cars where they? Could you tell? Probably not, as I'm sure all you really saw were wild flames, colorful scallops and fluorescent drips. You probably also noticed the racing-style 'dish' wheels. Very cool, but kind of same-ol' same-ol'.
Now, image some sort of real racing, something like you might see on TV or even in a video game. Do any of those cars have wild flames, colorful scallops or even fluorescent drips? How about those 'dish' wheels? Not a chance! All the real race cars (for example, German DTM, Japan Super GT, Speed World Challenge, etc) are painted in team 'liveries', purpose-paint jobs that distinguish one racing team from another. You can also tell the difference in the vehicles; some drive the Subaru STi, others Toyota Supras, some even Honda NSX's or Porsche GT3's. The point here is that you can tell what kind of car is it (the key ingredient to RCGT), and sometimes that fact can even sway your decision on who you want to win (lets say, if you're a Honda lover).
How is this done?
Since the RCGT rules (see below) basically revolve around using any realistic/scale body, treaded tires and a spoked wheel (no dish wheels here), this means that you don't need the latest and greatest touring car to compete in this class. Some of the faster drivers are currently using HPI Sprint 2s, Team Associated TC3s or Team Losi XXX-S sedans.
The Rules: Encouraged vs. Enforced
The un-official/official rules of RCGT were set up so that every car could be equally matched, the difference being the chassis/platform you start off with. Again, the idea is to keep it as inexpensive as possible while making it fun and realistic.
• Any 1/10th scale 4WD Touring Car chassis. New or old, it doesn't matter.
• Any "realistic/scale" Touring Car/GT body. No "Race" bodies, Stratus, Mazda 6 etc. Bodies should represent models that are running or have been run in the Touring Car, GT2, GT1 classes in ALMS, LeMans, Speed Challenge etc. HPI Racing has a huge selection of these type of bodies on their web site.
• Any 26mm spoked wheels. No dish wheels. HPI Racing has a huge selection of these on their web site as well.
• HPI Racing X-Pattern tires. There are 3 different tire choices:
• HPI #4790 X-Pattern Radial Tire 26mm M-Compound (base spec tire)
• HPI #4490 X-Pattern Radial Tire 26mm Pro Compound
• HPI #4495 X-Pattern Radial Belted Tire 26mm Pro Compound
• Kit Lexan wing or #85612 HPI Racing Plastic Realistic Wing Set only (keeping in mind the spirit of realism of the class)
• 27T Brushed or 17.5 Brushless Motor.
• 6-Cell NiMH or 2 cell LiPo 7.2/7.4v battery limit.
• Suggested minimum weight limit: 1350 grams
Why different tires?
Different tires work best on different surfaces. Because of this, HPI Racing has Spec'ed out 3 compounds of their popular X-Pattern tire for use with this class. Before you buy, check with your local race director to see which compound(s) they allow at your track.
• #4790 D-Compound Tire - Great all around tire.
• #4490 Pro Non-Belted Compound - Sticker tire for improved traction.
• #4495 Pro Belted Compound - Sticker and belted for more speed, but temperature sensitive. If it gets to hot, stick with the D-Compound Tires.
Car setup will vary from chassis to chassis and, without the benefits of the race tires and slippery bodies, you might need to start off with a slightly softer setup than stock (say that 5 times really fast!). In addition, since the rules call for equal motors, it is suggested that you start your gearing right around a 3.5 FDR (Final Drive Ratio). As the RCGT class is a fun class, your local competitors will probably be more than happy to share their setups with you.
They're the same...but different...
World GT, while bearing the 'GT' nametag, is not quite the same as RCGT. While there are similarities (actually just the bodies and electronics), the World GT (or WGT) car is based on a 1/10th scale, 2WD Pan car that uses foam tires and is extremely nimble and fast. This car is really at home on a carpet track, where the 4WD RCGT car can run on carpet, asphalt or concrete. This gives the RCGT class more track options and makes it the better choice for the first-time racer.
RCGT is a class that will open the door for newcomers, making it easy (and inexpensive) for them to hit the track, and look great doing it! With over 100 bodies and wheel sets to choose from (if you think I'm kidding, check the site!) HPI Racing has provided plenty of options for you to choose from to create a completely unique racing scheme. So get your car ready and I'll see you at the track.
Visit our web site at www.CompetitionX.com for more information on RCGT. In addition, there is a ton of useful info on RC Cars, Trucks, Monster Trucks, Rock Crawlers, Motorcycles and Mini-Scale.
More RC Car information can be found at www.CompetitionX.com. We have over 15 years experience of building, tuning and racing RC cars at all skill levels.