Someone who has recently been introduced to slot car racing soon realizes that they have discovered an exciting hobby slot. This fun hobby’s enthusiasts can be found all across North America and the rest of the world where people meet to have fun.
The scale sized autos are motorized miniature racing cars that are guided by a slot in a race track. A pin extends from the model’s bottom into the slot. Some slot cars are modeled after normal automobiles but the vast majority are modeled after full size racing cars made famous on the NASCAR, Indy, and Grand Prix circuits. These are the cars that are used in competitive slot car racing, also known as slot racing.
All racing slots have bodies that have been specially designed for miniature racing. Most people who engage in this hobby use slot cars which are commercially available for purchase. Some of these cars have been modified to give them better performance. Some slot car racers build their own racers from parts and mechanisms that can be purchased from slot car makers and at many specialty shops online.
The “driver” of the car uses a hand-held controller to send a low-voltage current to an electric motor concealed within the car. Usually, each individual car will operate in its own lane. Some new technology has been developed recently to allow cars to share a lane. You can find this feature on some of the new digital racing sets. The biggest challenge for the drivers comes when these miniatures have to take a curve at a high speed. Drivers must be skilled enough to ensure that their car does not “deslot” or leave the track altogether on the curves.
Some people who engage in this exciting hobby build detailed tracks which include miniature stands and buildings and scenery. Most hobbyists tend to prefer tracks which are not obstructed by scenery as they are very distracting to drivers while racing.
Power to the motor is carried via metal strips that sit next to the slot. This is picked up by contacts along something called a guide flag which is a swiveling blade that is located under the front of the slot car. The car’s speed is regulated by a resistor found in the hand controller which is held by the driver.
In all modern slot cars, traction magnets are often used to give “downforce” which helps the car stay on the track when racing at higher speeds. Many slot car racers believe that using a car without traction magnets gives a much greater challenge. They also enjoy the way a magnet-free car will slide or “drift” outward while racing believing that this gives more visual realism.
Racing slot cars come in three scales or sizes. They are made in 1:24 scale, 1:32 scale and the often called HO size 1:87 to 1:64 scale.
The scale length refers to the unit of length (either one inch or one millimeter) so that 1 unit on the model is equal to 24 units on the actual car it is made to resemble. Most 1:24 scale cars require a course that is too large for the average home enthusiast so people who race with 1:24 scale cars usually do it a club track.