Hi, I've been racing rc cars for over 25 years on and off......
I race various tamiya cars trf417v5 and a tt01e truck on road and a top force evolution + egress for off road (also astute and dyna storm in 2wd)
My best advice for when starting out ie a new car or track etc is put the car back to factory settings, turn the timing down on the motor and then have a practice lap. You will get a feeling for the steering and on off power first. No point changing the suspension until you know how the car turns in, then dial the understeer/oversteer.
Yes take advice from other racers but remember they aren't driving your car so it might not work.
As for tamiya being expensive or a lesser car in my opinion they are as good as the person driving it. I race against x Ray and schumacher top end touring cars and it's always in the top 5.
At the end of the day have fun, that's what it's about.
Hope this helps you