Want to race slot cars? I mean REALLY race slot cars?...
I’m not talking about that Tyco set that ran on six C batteries that you found under the Christmas tree when you were a kid. I’m talking about blistering fast slot cars on technical 8 lane tracks with race position telemetry and lap times as you race head to head against other racing fanatics. Driving one slot car around a track is fun, but going into turn 1 with eight other guys is what gets your blood pumping and your competitive juices cranking. And the best news is you can own these racing emotions for less than you paid for that billet aluminum, glow in the dark, skull shaped shift knob you installed. You know the one that has the hidden nitrous button that you have hooked up to… well nothing.
What is the cost? Slot car racing
is absolutely the cheapest
motorsport found to date. A good
car will cost you around $40. The
cars hold up pretty good to a
beating and they do take a heck
of a beating. After a number of
slaps to the wall you will need to start replacing parts. New motors are about $16 and bodies are about $10. A set of tires are about $6. Yes I said $6. Like I said, slot car racing is very inexpensive.
How are the people? These are probably some of the nicest people in motorsports. They are very welcoming to newcomers. They will let you borrow controllers, cars, lane stickers, anything to help you out. They will help fix your car and they can solder in a motor mid-race faster than you ever thought possible. These folks are easy going... until the race starts. Then they’ll put you in the wall or yell at you when you are a corner marshal to put their car back on the track faster. Hey, it’s racing!
Your competitors will be a melting pot of motorsports
enthusiasts. You will be racing against eight year old kids (who
will knock you off every corner), teenagers (who are very fast
slot car drivers), dads who brought the slot car demolition derby eight year olds, and serious slot car old farts. The best slot car
guys are actually the old timers. This is a sport that started in the sixties. These guys grew up building their own slot tracks in their garages as kids. Forty years later, they are still at it. These old
farts are the guys who will help you the most and they are the ones who keep the clubs and track running.
Well, how exactly do the races
work? You show up at the raceway and start bench racing. Literally,
you will set your car on a bench
prior to racing. You pay your entry fee and your car needs to be teched. For each class they check that the motor, gearing, tire compound, body and ride height is all legit. Keep things on the up and up as these guys will spot any Smokey-type shenanigans immediately.
They will put your name into the
computer program which runs the
race and announce which lane you
will begin on. Each lane is colored
and you need to bring some lane
stickers which are affixed to the
front of your car. This way, when your car falls out of the slot (and it will) the guys working the corners can put your car back into the appropriate slot, like the one attached to your controller for that heat. You hook up your controller with three color coded alligator clips to the power on the track for your current lane. The power will not come on until the race starts. You will hear a beep and you will have your controller floored for the start. Once the power comes on the race is underway. Three minutes of craziness and oftentimes demolition madness per heat. Three minutes later, the power is killed and your car coasts to a stop. Think of this as a quick pit stop. You move to the next colored lane, hooking your controller up, and then change the lane sticker (new lane = new color = new sticker) on the front of your car. You can make minor changes to the car, like bend it straight again, pop the body back into shape or lubricate your gears.
You also want to check the live
scoring on the computer or t.v.
screen to see how many laps you
have completed and what place
you’re in. This pit stop has to be
done quickly because when the
computer beeps the power to the track is turned on and the race is back in action. You do this for eight lanes and at the end, hopefully you’ve completed more laps than anyone else. Even if you didn’t win I’ll guarantee you had fun.
Just like autocross, after racing you have to work the track. The next race needs corner marshals to pick up errant cars which have fallen out of the slot (somebody did if for your race, now it is time to return the favor). The cars are coming at you at light speed and you are trying to put a crashed car back into the slot only to have your hand nailed by a passing car. That driver doesn’t appreciate being knocked of the track by the very guys who are supposed to help you stay on the track. It isn’t fun, but it keeps the cost down and you can learn by watching other driver’s mistakes or heroic moves.
Want to get in on the action?
Check out all the races we have to offer.
*Click on a race below to learn more information.