RC Car Rules for Racing

Governing Bodies: ROAR (http://www.roarracing.com/core.htm) ROAR (Remotely Operated Auto Racers) has been the official North American sanctioning body for racing RC cars since 1967. ROAR is responsible for producing and maintaining fair rules and for organizing race teams that represent the US and Canada at the International Federation of Model Car Racing (IFMAR) World Championships.

Made up of 19 regions in the US and Canada and their representatives, ROAR has been making the rules for RC car racing for more than 35 years. These rules are designed to promote fair competition and define the equipment allowed in ROAR races.

Though ROAR does not run races, it does sanction races from the club level to the National Championships. It is important to note that if international racing is your interest, ROAR is the only organization authorized to qualify and send drivers to the IFMAR World Championships.

The strength of ROAR lies in local clubs spread throughout all 19 regions. Clubs pay $35 to be sanctioned and to be covered by the member accident and liability insurance. Weekly competition in the local clubs provides racers with ample time to practice, and prepares competitors for the State, Region and National Championships.

Individual annual membership in ROAR is $30, which includes a copy of the rule book and the ability to vote on important rule changes, as well as insurance coverage for ROAR sanctioned events.

ROAR also provides extremely detailed specifications for engines—if you’re planning on racing seriously, it is best to build your RC along these guidelines, to prevent having to make difficult changes later. Size outlines for both nitro and electric cars and all the regulations governing official races are also given.

Other Mains Race Length
8 minutes
4 minutes
4 minutes
5 minutes
5 minutes
15-30 minutes
15-30 minutes
15-30 minutes
15-30 minutes
15-30 minutes

5.1.1 ROAR aims to promote family-oriented racing. Unruly or unsportsmanlike conduct will therefore not be tolerated. Individuals judged by the Designated ROAR Official or Race Director to be in violation of the spirit of this rule will be disqualified and requested to leave the race area.
5.1.2 For Level 3 and 4 sanctioned events, any deviation from ROAR rules must have been applied for in writing and approved by the ROAR Executive Committee (by signature of the Competition Director) in advance of the event, and must be prominent on entry forms and all advertisements. Deviations at Level 1 and 2 events must be prominent on all entry forms and advertisements but do not need written ROAR Executive Committee approval.
5.1.3 The race lengths specified for each class are mandatory for Level 3 and 4 events. At lower level races, race length is optional, but must be announced in advance.
5.1.4 Race lengths are:
A Main Race Length Qualifiers
8 minutes 8 minutes
4 minutes
4 minutes
5 minutes
5 minutes
45-60 minutes
45-60 minutes
45-60 minutes
5 minutes
5 minutes
5 minutes
5 minutes
45-60 minutes
30 minutes 5-10 minutes
1/12 Electric On-road
1/12 Electric Oval 4 minutes
1/10 Electric Oval 4 minutes
1/10 Electric Off-road 5 minutes
1/10 Electric On-road
1/10 Gas On-road
1/10 Gas Off-road
1/8 Gas On-road
1/8 Gas Off-road 5 minutes
1/5 Gas On-road
5.2.1 All vehicles entered for a ROAR-sanctioned event must comply with the dimensional requirements contained in this rulebook for the relevant class.
5.2.2 Vehicle batteries must be securely mounted. ROAR recommends limiting the radio receiver battery pack in all vehicles to 6 volts. This is usually accomplished by the use of five (5) NiCad or NiMh cells or four alkaline cells. Slightly higher voltages (Maximum 6 NiCad/NiMh cells) may be used for direct receiver power but this can result in an increased risk of receiver failure by over voltage. Receiver and servo power for electric vehicles may come from an electronic speed controller equipped with Battery Elimination Circuitry (BEC) or from a separate battery pack used for this purpose only. (See rule 1.5.18)
5.2.3 The use of traction control sensing devices, active suspension devices, and steering control devices aided by gyroscopes or accelerometers (G-force sensors) of any kind is strictly prohibited. Sensors may be used for the purpose of passive data recording but not for adjusting the performance of the vehicle while in motion.
5.2.4 No roll-over antennas are allowed unless noted in the class rules. Roll-over antennas are defined as any vertical antenna strong or stiff enough to support the weight of the vehicle when resting on the tip of the antenna and one side of the vehicle.
5.2.5 Multiple speed transmissions are not allowed unless noted in the class rules.
5.2.6 Any material used to add weight to a vehicle in order to comply with the minimum weight requirements for the class must be securely attached to the vehicle chassis. If such ballast falls off the vehicle during a race for any reason, and the vehicle is under weight at the post race technical inspection, the vehicle will be disqualified for that run. For all fuel classes, chassis weights must be securely mounted with solid mechanical fasteners such as bolts or screws.
5.2.7 No hazardous bumpers, nerf bars, chassis extensions, or other objects protruding from the vehicle are allowed.

5.3.1 Vehicle class definitions: For the purpose of establishing specific rules, vehicles used in ROAR competition are divided into various classes according to the following criteria: • Scale
• Drive configuration
• Type of power
• Track surface and configuration
• Body style Scale Definition:
• 1/12 scale
• 1/10 scale
• 1/8 scale
• 1/5 scale Drive configurations definition:
• Two wheel drive (2WD), where power is transmitted to the rear wheels only, and
• Four wheel drive (4WD), where power transmitted to all four wheels. Vehicles that are driven by the front wheels only are classified as four wheel drive. Type of power: Vehicles may be powered by electric motors or by fuel engines. Electric motors are further classified as stock or modified. Fuel engines are classified primarily by fuel type, and then by engine displacement. Track surface and configuration: Authorized surfaces include carpet, dirt, and pavement. Configurations include ovals and road courses. Surface and configuration can be combined in many ways to provide a variety of racing venues. Body style: A wide variety of bodies are authorized for use in ROAR competition. These are covered in detail in the Body Rules section. ROAR reserves the right to specify what classes of drive, power, and body style can be used on the various track surfaces and configurations. Provisional or Demonstration classes are those being raced where the level of interest or participation does not warrant National Championship status. Rules may be provided for these classes, and they may be run at all levels, unless specifically prohibited. Cost controlled classes are authorized and encouraged. See Cost Control Rules.
5.3.2 Driver categories: Drivers may also be categorized according to various criteria. Juniors and Masters categories are encouraged, as well as Novice and Beginner’s categories. Any driver category may be linked with any vehicle class. Drivers not qualifying for these categories compete in an open category. When Juniors and Masters categories are run, the following rules will apply:
• Juniors must be 15 years old or younger on the final day of the event
• Masters must be at least 40 years old on the first day of qualifying.
• At level 4 events, proof of age is required for entry in the Juniors or Masters categories. Proof of age for Juniors is provided by means of a Birth Certificate, and for Masters by means of a government-issued ID or Driver’s License.
• At Level 4 events, Juniors and Masters may enter other classes in the open category, but not in the same vehicle type. When Novice or Beginner categories are run, the following rules will apply:
• The definitions used to determine Beginner and Novice must be clearly stated on the
• Beginner and Novice categories may be offered at events up to and including level 3
• Drivers entered in a novice or beginner category may not enter other classes in other event entry form or otherwise publicized before the event. only. categories, but may enter multiple classes within their category, if available.

5.4.1 Each vehicle should satisfactorily pass a pre-event technical inspection before being allowed to compete.
5.4.2 All rules must be strictly adhered to. No vehicle will be allowed to race until it has been cleared to do so by the Technical Director. Any violation must be corrected before the vehicle is raced.
5.4.3 All vehicles must pass technical inspection prior to or after every race, or both. For A Mains both pre and post race inspections are required. Any vehicle found to be illegal during a pre-race inspection will not be allowed to race in that condition. Vehicles found to be illegal during a post-race inspection will be disqualified from that race.
5.4.4 Technical inspections include but are not limited to checking the vehicles height, length, width, and minimum weight (with personal or handout transponder installed).
5.4.5 Except in the case of 2.4GHz DSM/DSS systems, the technical inspectors will ensure that the driver’s radio is on the proper frequency.
5.4.6 During width measurements, vehicles must roll freely in the tech box at ride height. This will be verified by lifting the rear of the box to 45 degrees above horizontal, and the car must roll forward under its own weight.
5.4.7 All dimensions or other specifications quoted as “maximum� include all manufacturing or other tolerances. No further tolerance is allowed above any maximum specification.
5.4.8 Bodies must remain as originally approved. Flaring front fenders or making any other aerodynamic modification is not permitted.
5.4.9 The minimum vehicle weights listed in the Class specifications include transponders. No distinction is made between personal and “handout� transponders.
5.4.10 All vehicles must have the correct numbers.
5.4.11 The Designated ROAR Official, Technical Inspectors and the Race Director have the right to subject any vehicle to mechanical or visual inspection or impound at any time. It is the driver’s responsibility to tear down a vehicle for inspection if required to do so.
5.4.12 The Race Director has the right to limit admission to any area in which inspections are being made.
5.4.13 During post race inspection, the effects of normal wear and race distortion or damage should be taken into consideration. For post-race inspections, a “cooling-off� period of no more than 10 minutes may be allowed to eliminate any temperature effects on sizes, capacities, etc.

Governing Bodies: NORRCA (http://www.norrca.com) Also, if you live in the US, another governing body for RC racing is the National Organization for Racing Radio Control Autos (NORRCA). Established in 1987, NORRCA's purpose is to help clubs and tracks promote their existing facilities and develope current and future endeavors in order to better meet the needs of the racers. NORRCA is a full-time organization whose paid officials help organize, plan and run events, as well as provide a host of services to all sanctioned tracks and clubs.

Membership in NORRCA costs $25.00 and includes the official rule book and access to all NORRCA-sanctioned events. Additional family members can join for $5.00 each. Racers not wishing to become members may also enter a race by paying a "per event" fee, but NORRCA requires a full year's membership in order to participate in any National Event. Only members can vote on rule changes. NORRCA lays out the rules of qualifying and code of sportsmanship, and it is also worth having a close look at the General Technical Rules, to get an idea of the strict and specific guidelines used at an official race. If you are going to compete, it is very important to know the requirements of the races you are entering. Also included here are the General Rules NORRCA uses to govern their races.

GR.3 A driver can qualify himself or herself with any car as long as it meets Class requirements. Each car used for qualifying must be technically inspected or “teched� by a race official prior to each Heat/Main. If for any reason, a driver fails to make a lap in a qualifying heat, and if they choose to run their Main, they must use their own vehicle. The driver must be entered or preentered prior to the event before the first qualifier begins to be allowed to run any Main. For the Main events, a driver must race the car that has been teched and qualified with. If a driver destroys their car during qualifying, NORRCA reserves the right to allow the racer to use another driver car. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can one driver qualify or run a Main for another driver.
GR.4 For all Main events, drivers have the right to choose their position on the Drivers Stand, based on their qualifying position. All cars will “grid� by their qualifying position in all Mains.
GR.5 NORRCA reserves the right to call the race “official� and award trophies as per a completed Qualifier if weather conditions, acts of God, etc. prohibit or hamper the efforts to complete the scheduled event. All races are considered official after one round of qualifying has been completed. If a second round of qualifying has begun, and the race must be called, all classes that have completed their qualifying will have the second round included for awards/points. Only complete rounds count.

GR.6 A “Black Flag� (which means a driver must immediately remove his/her car from the race) will be given to the driver whose driving or operation constitutes a hazard to other cars in the race. Ignoring the Black Flag is cause for disqualification.
GR.7 All cars must cross the finish line under there own power. All cars must finish the race intact. All cars must have its body and all wheels and tires still attached to the car. Any car losing a tire or tires or body must be removed from the track.
GR.8 Unsportsmanlike driving and behavior (i.e., intentional hitting of other cars, short coursing, corner cutting) is not allowed. A person threatening to intentionally hit another car is not allowed. Anyone doing so will be disqualified at the judgment of the Race Director. Abusive language by a driver to a turn marshal or any Official will not be tolerated and immediate disqualification will result.
GR.9 Any driver who deliberately takes out another driver and/or threatens another driver will be suspended and placed on probation for 6 months. If, during that 6 month probation period, the offending driver has any contact with the driver that was threatened and this conduct was viewed by an Official to be deliberate, the offending driver will be suspended for 6 months from all forms of NORRCA events.
GR.10 Jumped starts before the tone will result in a restart of the race. The driver that caused the restart will be placed at the rear of the field. The driver that caused the restart will be disqualified if he causes a second restart.
GR.10.1 All Tracks must have a clearly marked Start-Finish line. Scoring area should be at or near finish line.

GT.1 TECH INSPECTION: Will be explained at each event prior to the start of the first Qualifier. The Race Director or Tech Official may also inspect cars immediately after the race.
GT.2 TECHNICAL RESPONSIBILITY: All tech rules must be strictly adhered to. No cars will be allowed to race if they are found to be in violation of the rules. Any violation must be corrected BEFORE the car is raced. It is the responsibility of the racer to insure the car meets all technical requirements. If a car passes through “Tech Inspection� and a technical illegality is overlooked, the car is STILL ILLEGAL.
GT.3 1st-2nd-3rd PLACE CARS: in all classes may be etched immediately after their respective Mains. At National, Divisional or State events, the top 5 cars in the “A� Main must return for technical re-inspection. If the driver or their designated appointee takes the car back to the pit area before returning to tech inspection, the car will be disqualified. These cars will be held in Tech for a period of 15 minutes following its Main event.
GT.4 BUMPERS/GEAR COVERS: Non-shock absorbing front bumpers are not allowed. No metal front bumpers. Most stock bumpers are acceptable as well as many aftermarket bumpers. All Off Road cars and Oval Sprint cars require a bumper. All Off Road and Dirt Oval Sportsman Gear classes require a gear cover. No sharp or protruding objects allowed on cars. This includes nerf bars. See specific Class rules.
GT.5 BODIES: All cars must have a readily removable body. A car cannot compete unless its body is properly secured. If a body falls off, the car must pull off the track and have the body refastened before resuming the race. No car shall be counted or allowed to cross the finish line without a body secured. It is the driver’s responsibility to have a NORRCA legal body on his/her car prior to inspection. No body may be reformed from its original configuration that was previously submitted and approved. A complete approved body list is available from NORRCA upon request.
GT.6 WINDOWS: All vehicle windows must be “Transparent�. Windows may be tinted on the upper portion of the windshield (Sun shield).
GT.7 WINGS AND SPOILERS: A spoiler is an air deflector mounted on the front or rear deck of a race vehicle to reduce the tendency to lift off the road at high speeds. A wing is an airfoil used for down force, usually mounted on the front or rear deck of the vehicle. Wings cannot be made of metal material. See Class rules for Wing/Spoiler specifications.
GT.8 COMPOUNDS: Tire cleaners or traction compounds applied to vehicle tires that can coat the track surface are not allowed. Use of tire cleaners or traction compounds is at the discretion of the Race Organizer.
GT.9 ROLLOVER ANTENNA: If the rollover antenna is made of wire, it should be made from .078 or smaller wire. Fiberglass or Graphite may be used. The rollover must end with a closed loop or have a blunt tip for safety reasons. Rollover antennas are not legal in oval racing.
GT.10 APPEARANCE REQUIREMENTS: The sport of R/C competition is racing between realistic models of racing automobiles. All cars must be painted. Absolutely no clear bodies will be permitted.
GT.11 MISCELLANEOUS: No portion of the chassis, nerf bars, bumpers, wheels or tires should extend beyond the body. Exception: When Indy Formula 1 or Modified classes of bodies are used. Servos, receivers, batteries and servo savers are not allowed to protrude through the original body shell.
GT.12 BODY DETAILS: Wheel wells must be cut out if the original car ran that way. When entered in a race, the body must be neatly finished and complete. Grille and air vents may be cut to original size. Bodies may not be modified in any way that changes the NORRCA-approved shape. Bodies may not be mounted so as to change the NORRCA-approved shape.
GT.13 WHEEL NUT OR AXLES: No portion of the axle or wheel nuts may protrude beyond the wheels.
GT.14 MOTOR CLAIMING RULE: A motor claiming rule for STOCK CLASS ONLY is in effect at all NORRCA State, Divisional and National Events. The motor used in 1st-2nd-3rd place cars in the “A� Mains will be available to be purchased by the first racer to claim the motor after the event has finished. Only the driver in the same Class and Main can claim a motor. The owner of the motor will be paid $50.00 in cash and must sell his/her motor. After a motor has been claimed the race is final. A racer that refuses to sell his/her motor will be disqualified from the event and all NORRCA events for one year.
GT.15 MOTOR TEAR DOWN: The motors used in 1st-2nd-3rd place cars in all Classes may be torn down to be certain of legality. Other motors may be torn down at the discretion of the Race Director or Tech Official. Any motor found to be illegal will not be replaced and the driver will be disqualified. The drivers assume the risk of having their motors torn down and therefore motors will not be replaced by NORRCA.
GT.16 STOCK MOTOR PROTEST: Stock motors can be protested by filling out a Motor Protest Form and submitting it with $50.00 in cash, within 10 minutes of the heat that the motor in question raced. A racer can only file the protest from the Class in which the motor was raced. If the motor is found to be illegal, the protester will receive back the $50.00 and the racer using the illegal motor will be disqualified. If the motor is found to be legal, the protester will forfeit the $50.00 to the owner of the protested motor.
GT.17 DRIVE TRAIN: All two-wheel drive vehicles must be rear wheel driven. Front wheel drive cars are only allowed in 1/10th Off Road racing and Touring Class. 2WD cars cannot compete in a 4WD class and 4WD cars cannot compete in a 2WD class, with the exception of NOVICE CLASS. Front Wheel Drive Off Road cars cannot compete with Rear Wheel Drive cars. Front Wheel Drive cars will compete under the same rules as 2WD Rear Driven cars, with the exception of the drive train being in the front. Multiple speed transmissions are not allowed in any class.
GT.18 WEIGHT: The weights are outlined in each Scale and Class. Weight is measured prior to the placement of the transponder. All weights will be based on the scale in use in the Technical Inspection Area. It is the responsibility of the racer to make sure his/her vehicle is within weight on that scale. Weights from scales other than the designated scale in the Tech Area are null and void. Drivers should check their weight often, changing tires, or other components can cause a weight change.

GR1.1 RACE STARTS: A two minute warm up will be announced, followed by a 30 second call to the starting line. At the 30-second call, the cars will move to the line or be placed in position by their pit crew. The cars may be fueled at this time, providing it does not impede the start of the race. At the 5 second time, the pit crew will leave the starting grid and the Starting Director will motion with their hand that 5 seconds remain. The race will be started with a flag or over the PA system.
GR1.2 QUALIFYING: Qualifying heats will be five minutes in length. Main event race times will be determined prior to each event.
GR1.3 FLAMEOUTS: If a vehicle flames out during Qualifying and must be removed from the track surface to be restarted, it cannot be returned to the racing surface during that Qualifier. Vehicles may be restarted during the Main Events, however, under no circumstances are the pit crew allowed onto the racing surface to retrieve a vehicle, nor are turn marshals allowed to assist in restarting or repairing any vehicle. If a vehicle is restarted during the Main Event, it must be placed back onto the surface past the transponder line/scoring area.
GR1.4 PIT STOPS: All classes must pit a minimum of one time during a race exceeding 10 minutes. The number of required pit stops for each event exceeding 11 minutes will be announced at the event.
GR1.5 TRACK REQUIREMENTS: Tracks shall be fully surrounded with a minimum barrier of 8" above the highest portion of the track surface. Barrier should be anchored to the ground or have the outside braced with a heavy weight such as a hay bail.
GR1.6 PIT LANE: A portion of the non-race surface will be designated as "Pit Lane" and must be separated by a barrier from the race surface. Pit Lane will only be used for re-fueling and minor repairs. The vehicles must be removed from the track surface and placed behind the barrier for re-fueling and repair. Drivers are to exercise caution when exiting Pit Lane. Any vehicle exiting Pit Lane that interferes with a vehicle on the racecourse is subject to a penalty. The Race Director will assess penalties.
GR1.7 PIT CREW: Pit crews may not exceed 2 persons.
GR1.8 MUFFLERS: All vehicles must have an exhaust system that directs the exhaust parallel to the ground or directly at the ground. Mufflers must be intact while the vehicle is running. The muffler can be no louder than 77db when measured from 30 feet.
GR1.9 TRANSMISSION: See Individual Class Rules.
GR1.10 ENGINE TIMING: No variable timing engines are allowed.
GR1.11 ENGINE COOLING: No liquid cooled engines are allowed.
GR1.12 AIR INDUCTION: No forced or ram type air induction systems are allowed.
GR1.13 ENGINE TECH: At National, State and Divisional Events, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place engines may be disassembled to insure proper compliance with all specifications.
GR1.14 CLUTCH: All vehicles must have a clutch between the engine flywheel and vehicle drive gear. See Individual Class Rules for clutch specifications.
GR1.15 SUPPLEMENTAL THROTTLE RETURN: In case of servo failure, vehicles must incorporate a positive action return spring attached directly to the carburetor throttle arm.
GR1.16 FUELS: Fuels will contain only 20% Nitromethane. No other additives will be allowed. At NORRCA-Sanctioned events, the Track/Promoter may supply fuel for a nominal fee. This shall not exceed the ounce per gallon price. Racers must supply a fuel bottle.
GR1.17 FUEL TANK, FILTERS & LINES: The maximum fuel allowed in the tank and fuel lines is 75cc. 1 filter allowed in the carburetor line. Maximum of 8" of fuel line on the carburetor side. No reserve tanks allowed.
GR1.18 BRAKES: All cars must have a braking system capable of slowing the vehicle to a complete stop.
GR1.19 TECHNICAL INSPECTIONS: Engine, fuel tank capacity, carburetor bore, exhaust bore, and/or any other scale specifications may be checked at any time by the Race Director.
GR1.20 SAFETY: The Track Owner and/or Club President are required to provide gloves to be worn by the Turn Marshals. It is highly recommended that pit crews also wear protective gloves.

DISCLAIMER: Any Pit Crew or Turn Marshall that receives a burn and is not wearing protective gloves will not be covered by NORRCA insurance.
GR1.22 QUICK CHANGE PARTS: No Quick-change parts are allowed. In addition to the rules it provides, NORRCA also has a full club and track listing, as well as a list of endorsed brands.

Though it is not necessary to purchase membership in either of these or any other organizations, if you plan to race your RC you must be aware of all of the rules governing the sport. ROAR and NORRCA exist to make it easier for numerous small clubs to consult just one set of rules. This makes races, championships and other events more consistent and better for the racers.

Whether your RC car will be racing at the Nationals or just up and down the street, these organizations can be great resources for finding out about local clubs and events. They also provide excellent technical information so you can be sure your RC vehicle is up to specifications.

Next: RC Truck Pulls