The Final Track Day @ Tamiya Raceway
No matter what interest you may have, there is a location in which a place exists that defines that interest and is the Mecca of that interest. For movie goers, there is Hollywood. For surfers, there is the North Shore. For art aficionados, there is the Sistine Chapel, and for Tamiya Radio Control race car fans, there is the Tamiya America Raceway.
Radio control cars have existed for well over 40 years. Most people are introduced to these curious things from a toy store experience. Tamiya R/C cars are quite different. Tamiya brought about its radio control products with the intent of creating a rewarding experience. That experience involved building, painting, and then detailing a model car kit that could be controlled with a radio control system for realistic enjoyment.
After the experience of the building process, hobbyists used their finished product in various ways. For most, the simple joy of running their car in the park or in an open parking lot was satisfaction enough. For others, there had to be more. That more for the Tamiya fan came about in 1993 when the newly established Tamiya America constructed its R&D test track facility in Aliso Viejo, California. Whether it was by design or by chance, what was built ended up being something very special. We often don’t know what special is until we experience it, cherish it, then lose it.
There are amazing R/C track facilities across the globe, but there was something uniquely special about the Tamiya America Raceway. Once people found it, they understood why it was special. We feel the specialness was mostly due to the people that came to the raceway. Yes, the track was nestled in an affluent area. Yes, it felt like Disneyland, and yes it was close to fun places to visit, such as Laguna Beach and all of south Orange County’s offerings. However, it was the Tamiya fan that made this place very special. This place created new fans of Tamiya products and these fans brought something to the facility in return. They brought their enthusiasm, interest, curiosity, thirst for learning, love of the hobby, and even the love of friendly competition to the track facility.
No matter how cool, how amazing, how unique a Tamiya R/C product is, it is nothing without the people who use it. Tamiya’s fan base at the raceway loved to get the most out of their product. Whether it was the process for a better car set up to get across the track faster, trying a new chassis, installing a new tuning part, painting a new replica race car body, or getting a tuning tip from the person next to them, it was the comradery that made this place come to life. What also came to life are the life-long friendships that have come from this piece of land. The raceway brought common interest minded people and from that friendships were born.
People come together for that need of community. Tamiya America’s Raceway brought together a community of car racing hobbyists. They came from all backgrounds. They came from all walks of life, but in the end, it was running around a closed circuit that brought us all together to laugh, challenge, and bring everyone together for one common purpose…to race a R/C car around a challenging closed circuit. For some, it even brought about a place to grow up in, win a championship, then at the facilities final event, see their father, that brought them to the track since they were a baby, finally win their own championship. A better final event at Tamiya’s raceway could not have been better scripted. For those who know Max Valles you know he loved the track, the hobby, and those he helped and made friends with every weekend. He is among the countless enthusiasts that made the raceway and Tamiya’s products what they are…special.
We thank each and every one of you for coming to the Tamiya Raceway these past 24 years. We especially thank the devoted Tamiya fanbase that helped Tamiya America run the facility each and every Saturday for the past decade. The place could not have run as smoothly and be as welcoming as the fans that use our products most.
The future of a new home is unclear, but a new beginning is what is upon us. That future involves all of our retailers that support Tamiya and support its racing series activity, TCS (Tamiya Championship Series). We look forward to seeing you continue your community while we travel to bring a little bit of our community to you in the coming years in your respective home track.
We leave you with a gallery of images of those that joined us on September 1, 2018 for the facilities final Saturday opening. We thank you all for coming and running on the circuit this last and final time. There will never be a track like it!