RC Driver's Etiquette
Created by Antonio Garza from track rules given at Finishline Racetrack, common sense,
and from additions by Mark Brooks and Phil Cooper, and the guys at the Starting Grid Roar Conference
These are in no particular order.
Remember: The #1 priority is to have fun (and maybe win) while also allowing others to have fun!
- If you are an obviously slower car, or are being lapped, don't fight the position to a faster car:
- Hold your line until you can get to a safe place at which you can go to the outside line and let the faster driver through.
- If you didn't realize a faster driver was coming behind you until too late, stay on your line and let him/her make the pass!
- If you car is handling so poorly that it is unpredictable (e.g. zig-zagging down the back stretch, etc.) chances are you may have a problem or you are using too much throttle.
- On the back stretch hold the inside line (the same side as the inside of the next turn).
- If you are a faster driver passing a slower car:
- Get a feel for the abilities of the driver or the handling of his/her car (you don't want to attempt a pass and have him/her knock you out because he/she got nervous or his/her car was handling
- Wait for the appropriate time if the driver is a rookie or the car is not handling well.
- Otherwise...make the pass as safely as possible and remember, everyone is racing!
- If you and the other driver are competing for position
- Hold your line...and whomever's nose is ahead of the front doors has the line...if you don't have it...back-off and wait for the next opportunity to pass. Don't push the other car out of the
- Do not drive backwards on the course or in the pits!
- Tell your mechanic to pull the car off the pit straight if it's too narrow for more than one car. This allows everyone the chance to drive down the pit lane to get to their mechanic.
- Don't lean over to talk to your mechanic or see what he's doing--this doesn't allow other drivers to see the ends of the track. Instead, try kneeling... this way you stay out of the other
driver's field of vision.
- If your exhaust header and pipe become disconnected, pull into the pits for repair ASAP--don't risk loosing a temp track space due to an extra loud exhaust. Also, the sound is very loud and
bothersome to spectators and other drivers.
- If you have something broken that prevents your car from handling predictably, pull into the pits if possible. Otherwise pull the car out of the way, preferably close to a marshal. Don't take out
another driver's car if you are trying to limp a car home.
- Remove all sharp edges from your car. Some particular nasty ones are badly trimmed zip ties. Deburr any damage and trim any sharp edges on the body.
- Check all links on the car. If they are too loose, they will most probably become undone during the race.
- Clean your car and inspect it for damage--sometimes you may miss hairline cracks in suspension parts until you wipe them clean.
- Do not turn your radio on in the pits unless you have let the race director know and he has approved! Reasons for needing to turn on your radio are mostly limited to checking radio performance
and/or adjusting servo centering after repairs.
- Don't turn off your transmitter until your car ∓mp; engine have been turned off.
- Turn off the transmitter immediately after turning off car.
- Return the frequency clip as soon as you turn off your transmitter--another driver might be waiting for the clip to race.
- Don't turn on your transmitter until you have the frequency clip--don't assume someone just forgot to return the clip.
- If there is an active transmitter impound, place your transmitter in the impound AFTER you've turned it off and returned the clip.
- Use a clothespin with your name on it to put in place of the frequency clip--in case you forget to return it, the race director will know who's name to call.
Make sure your radio equipment is in good shape:
- If not mandated, try to have at least two available crystals (preferably three) These help in frequency coordination...and sometimes you might even need a spare during the race.
- Take a few minutes during practice session to range test your system: raise your car so that it can't drive away...turn off engine if nitro powered, collapse the transmitter antenna and walk away
from your car while you activate the controls. You should be able to have control of the car for more than 50ft this way.
- Check to make sure your transmitter is in good shape: make sure the antenna is undamaged, jiggle the frequency module to make sure the connector is in good shape (has happened to me), check to
make sure the controls are in good shape and not "noisy", and make sure you charged your battery fully.
- If your receiver has taken a big hit...it's probably a good idea to give it a close look. If the case is broken or cracked, it might be a good idea to look inside (if you have electronics
experience) or to have someone check it for you. Sometimes broken or loose parts are that easy to find!
- If you own a synthesized radio (Hitec Lynx 3D with Spectra) don't change frequencies unless the radio is turned off!
- Use a rubber band, zip tie, or twist tie to secure all the inline connectors (battery to switch, etc.) your car.
- Use servo tape, and either vinyl tape or zip ties to secure your Rx battery pack.
- Check your wiring harness regularly for frayed spots or cuts...particularly if they run close to graphite or fiberglass part edges.
On the driver's stand:
- Use a throttle return spring that will return your throttle to idle in case of servo, power, or linkage failure.
- Be courteous to the other drivers:
- Don't lean forward and obscure the view of the track
- Try to keep profanity to a minimum
- If you screw up....let the other driver know you're sorry...otherwise it looks like you did it on purpose!
(the following may be a touchy one!)
- If for some reason, your car dies in a bad spot, and there's no turn marshall immediately nearby.. make a nice loud announcement such as "DEAD CAR IN (Insert location here - such as "BACK
- Sometimes the marshal might have missed your car...or may be distracted watching the race. Yelling may get his/her attention but most probably if there are other cars around him/her the marshal
may not hear you at all! Any attempts to yell specific information to a marshal is probably in vain. Basically use your own judgment but keep the profanity to a minimum.
- While not well regarded in some professional sports, the "cut-throat" sign is probably a good one to use if you feel your car is done for the race or too unsafe to drive. When you do this, make
eye contact with the marshal...remember the marshal most probably does not know who the car belongs to and is looking for some sort of indication to figure it out.
- Your #1 priority is to get the cars that are racing back into the race, but don't forget:
- Don't neglect another car that is stuck because you are performing repairs to a car on the track.
- Take a quick look at the car to make sure nothing is broken--the last thing you want to do is to put a car that has some kind of failure back on the track and have it get even more damage after
it crashes again.
- Check to make sure the body is not rubbing against the wheels.
- If you have a runaway car and it's on full throttle...don't put your foot down to stop it, the best technique may be to press down on the car while covering the stinger on sedans or taking off the air filter and covering the carb inlet on open bodied cars. Yanking out a fuel line will also do if it's faster for you. Any of these choices will kill the engine
in 2 seconds. Only cover the stinger with your hand if you are wearing gloves...otherwise use your shoe.
- Gloves are recommended! Nitro powered cars (especially .15s and .21s) are extremely hot anywhere on the engine, header, pipe, and chassis under the engine. Even a pair of cheap gardening gloves
will do the trick. Leather work gloves will last you pretty much forever. These will also come in handy when you're helping to setup or break down the track.
- Shoes (as opposed to sandals) are recommended
- Use "sign language"...a good example is if you have doubts that the radio is working properly...make an "air steering" (pretend you're steering the transmitter wheel) to let the driver know to
test the steering...if it doesn't work make shake your head to let the driver know that steering is not working.
- Put the cars back down on the same side where they went off. Do not advance them on the track.