As far as winning that takes a properly prepared car and LOTS OF PRACTICE
You can't just throw lots of money at your car and win. There definitely is a point you will reach driving where you will need a good car. But until you are able to control it, a completely dialed car won't do you much good. In fact most of your higher end cars tend to be more fragile as they normally use materials that are more brittle and lighter.
If you go here
, there are some setup sheets that the team drivers have used at various races. But the Ten-SCTE is pretty good right out of the box.
Really the most important thing right out of the box that does cost money is: get the right tires. Unfortunately they are track, condition, and weather specific so I can't tell you what ones to get; and it really does make a HUGE difference.
As far as technique: Go to a local track and talk to the fast guys. Most guys will help you out or guide you in the right direction. Also watch them and the lines they are driving on the track.
A few starter guide lines to corners and jumping:
When entering a corner think about where you need to be for the next corner. If you need to exit a corner tight (on the inside) to be able to make the next corner, then go out wide and cut it in tight. and Vice versa.
When jumping you have very little control in the air, so make sure the angle you hit the jump will point you where you want to land. When approaching the jump lift off the throttle just before the front wheels leave the ramp, this will preload your front suspension, and make the front fly higher than the rear. mid air you can control the angle of your vehicle a little bit. Hitting the brakes in the air will bring your nose down and your rear up; hitting the gas will bring your front up and your rear down. In a 4wd vehicle hitting the gas will also make you fall faster. When landing always try to land on the down side of the jump or another jump. You don't just want to come down on flat track. It is very hard on the truck, your electronics, and you will loose momentum.
These are just generalizations. They apply most of the time but not always.
When you are first learning simply try to stay in the middle of the track and not hit the tubes. When jumping its better to jump less than more; the higher, faster, and more air you get off a jump the harder it is to land and control once it has landed.
In the end its all about 1. Not hitting things (Slower is faster; only drive as fast as you can control the vehicle.), 2. Maintaining speed (in general run the corner as tight as possible with loosing as little speed as possible.), 3. Air is slow. (when you are flying through the air you are not accelerating.)
As far as diff fluids its simple
: Thicker fluid makes your diff react slower and therefore work more like a solid axle. The point of the diff is the two wheels can spin at different speeds, the thickness of the diff fluid changes how much this will happen (i.e. when you are turning the outside wheel needs to turn faster than the inside wheel.) On a 4WD truck such as the Ten-SCTE you normally run thicker fluid in the front as it makes the front wheels act as one and pull the truck around. You generally run a thiner fluid in the rear as it helps the car turn. And the middle diff controls how much your front vs your rear axels can spin at different speeds.
Socks are simple in principle.
The spring holds the weight and the oil dampens (slows down) the movement of the spring, this prevents bounce and makes the car more predictable. Thicker oil or smaller holes in the shock pistons makes the springs react slower. Thinner oil and bigger holes does the opposite. Heavier/Stiffer springs can hold more weight, and will also throw the car higher in the air over a jump, they will also not absorb the bumps as well; however they make your car more stable and predictable in corners. Softer springs do exactly the opposite. The coller around your shock at the top of the spring sets preload and is used to control ride hight. In the end the basics about shocks are simple but there are so many combinations and reasons for changing things it can get very complicated. It comes down to balance. The out of the box setup is a good place to start.