Traxxas Nitro 4 Tec Pro
Gonzalez, George M
Not too long ago, Traxxas * was known mainly for its competition-level off-road vehicles, and the company sponsored a racing team of medium size who traveled around the country to compete at the more major national championships. Traxxas’ top-of-the-line offerings were the TRX 3 buggy and SRT stadium racing truck, which both boasted racing features that rivaled Team Losi’s and Team Associated’s best efforts at the time. In fact, Traxxas team driver Rick Vehlow put the company in the A-main at almost every event in which he ran the TRX 3.
After several years of fielding a factory team, Traxxas decided to get out of the competition market and put all of its efforts and resources into producing high-quality, “sport-level, ” ready-to-run RTR) RIC cars and trucks. It’s interesting to note, though, that all of today’s Traxxas off-road vehicles have many components that originated with the TRX 3 and SRT and that has a lot to do with why the newer vehicles perform so well.
Even though the folks at Traxxas seemed to have opted to stay away from the racing end of the RIC market, they apparently just couldn’t resist producing a racer to ride the wave of the surging touring-car segment-the limited-production, all the bells and whistles Nitro 4 Tec Pro. Hands down, this is the most race-ready vehicle Traxxas has ever produced. It looks as if “the team to watch” is back.
And even though Traxxas has absolutely no plans to field a racing team, the lucky few who get their hands on one of these cars will be rewarded with a true factory ride that might just make some sponsored drivers envious.
California R/C Center in Anaheim has been the test site for many of my past “Thrash Tests” mainly because the racing program is organized, the people who race there are cool and the courses always have both technical and high-speed sections. There’s also a large contingent of regular nitro TC racers, but on this particular race day, the threat of rain kept the turnout low-only enough racers to fill one complete heat (hey; all the more chance for me to win-right?).
I had a few chances to practice with the Pro before the qualifiers (such practice time is a rare commodity on normal race days). Because the temperature was down in the low SOs, I knew that the stock Pro-Line V-Rage tires in the S2 compound would not be the best choice; they’re better for warmer conditions. I installed a complete set of Pro-Line S3 Slicks and used the molded inserts that came with the kit. The resulting tires looked and felt like Jaco capped tires-very impressive. It took only a couple of adjustments to the Pro’s front and rear swaybars to get it locked to the track’s surface, and once I had set the shift point correctly, it was all systems go. I set the Pro up to have a slight push so that I would be forced to use more braking, which I’ve found lowers my lap times dramatically. The graphite disk-brake system provides smooth braking action without a hint of fading.
The O.S. engine provided plenty of punch, and the CVEC pipe distributed it evenly throughout the engine’s powerband. I finished both qualifiers without a single glitch and ended up in third behind some talented locals.
My luck held during the Main, and even though I hit a board on the very last corner, I managed to finish in fourth as the car slid across the finish line on its lid. The Pro lived up to its name by providing an afternoon of excitement without demanding my attention the entire time. This was a good thing because I competed in two other classes that day, and the other cars I ran weren’t quite as cooperative.
The Traxxas Nitro 4 Tec Pro just might be the most well equipped touring car I have ever tested. It’s also the car that receives the most comments at the track: “That’s a Traxxas?” and “Where can I get one?” are the most common responses. Even though the Pro is limited as far as pullstart engine choices are concerned and working on it can be a little more timeconsuming than with some other cars, I have no problem recommending it to serious racers. Traxxas has plans to produce only 3000 Pro kits, and they will sell out fast, but if, for some reason, you miss out on the opportunity, any Nitro 4 Tec RTR can be converted into a Pro by ordering almost every available hop-up on the Traxxas optional parts list.
*Addresses are listed alphabetically in the Index of Manufacturers on page 217.
Copyright Air Age Publishing Jul 1999
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