By Aaron Waldron
In a Flashback Friday article from last December, I documented some of Traxxas’ most serious racing accomplishments. Back in the early- to mid-90s, when electric off-road racing reached its highest peak before brushed motors and NiMH battery technology turned the industry toward the relative ease of nitro, Traxxas was just as serious about racing as anyone else - even Team Associated or Team Losi. Rick Vehlow, John Walters, and Cory Williams were regulars in U.S. national A-Mains, and Scott Montgomery even drive a prototype TRX-1 buggy into the A-Main at the 1991 IFMAR Worlds, qualifying fourth and finishing seventh. The company produced several different iterations of their 2WD buggy and stadium truck platforms, revising them with input from team drivers and thousands of laps of testing and on-track data.
The Texas-based brand faded away from popular racing circles as larger brands dove headfirst into paying driver salaries and churning out new vehicles every couple of years, but that wasn’t the last time they took RC racing seriously. Between ROAR’s short-lived “Monster Truck” class and the RC Pro Series, Traxxas drivers combined to win eight national championships with the REVO. Upon the development of the short course class, which was spurred by the release of the original Slash, Traxxas sent team drivers across the country to compete with the Slash and Slash 4x4 for several seasons.
That’s made today’s phone call that much more intriguing.
“We’re going after it full throttle, y’all,” said a source from the company’s Plano, TX headquarters, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Our engineers have been testin’ and drivin’ cars from all the other brands and we’re working on putting together what we know will give ‘em a run for their money,” the source continued.
Though the brand’s nitro-powered T-Maxx and Revo can be credited for providing much of the company’s success in the RTR market, and loyalists around the world have been asking for a 1/8-scale buggy for years, the source confirmed that they’re instead going right after the hottest class in today’s RC racing climate - 2WD buggy.
“Why not beat the best at their own game?” said the source, who didn’t delve into any details but suggested that the new TRX team car would be different than what’s currently available, but not too far out of the box. “Besides, the Bandit was due for a revamp, anyway.”
He went on to say that although current plans are to offer the car as a pre-built rolling chassis, like the Slash 4x4 Platinum, as well as a lower-spec RTR, that producing a kit wasn’t off the table just yet. Though the focus will be on 2WD buggy, the Traxxas insider explained how their car could just as easily be transformed into a stadium truck-style racer as any other manufacturer, and that they’d likely produce one of them as well before entering the 4WD buggy class.
Oh, and a racing team will most certainly be part of the deal.
“We might have the most loyal customers in the industry,” said the source, “but we’ve seen the writing on the wall that even if this is the best car on the market, we’re going to have to give away some sponsorships to get actual racers to try it.” And when asked about securing some top-level names to resume competing for national and world championships after over 20 years, our source just laughed. “Have you seen our marketing budget?” he said, “I’m sure we can afford to pluck a pro driver or two of our choice from their current teams.”