Not everybody is able to make a permanent racetrack, but carpet racers enjoy slot car racing also. How can all slot car racers enjoy racing at home?
Do you need a permanent race track?
Not every slot racer owns a permanent race track. There are many people who have to put a track on the carpet. At the end of the weekend or holiday they have to dismantle the track.
The more dedicated enthusiast wants to build a permanent track if he is not a member of a race club. The basement, garage or spare room is a perfect place to build your own raceway.
Before you start to design a track you have to decide if you want for both lanes the same slot length. You can only make both lanes equal if you create a kind of 8-figure track or use crossing sections. If you do not use these options you get a track that has different lap lengths. This won’t be a problem if you divide the races into heats or to put the slowest car in the inner slot lane.
Testing your lay out
It is wise to test a few track plans before setting up the more permanent track.
After hours of racing you experience what you like and dislike. Most people want a track with a long straight. For a long straight you need at least six or seven standard straight track sections. Design a track by using all types of curves. Most slot car brands offer four different curve radii. You will notice that your driving skills are tested when you combine all different curves. Of course, the design is limited to the space you can use. It is wise to make the track not too long. A track length of 10-15 meters is sufficient. It is no fun in putting a car back in the slot that has been crashed at the other end of the room. People who have a lot of space available can have more fun if they build two tracks instead of one very long track. A combination of a Formula-One circuit and a Rally track is popular. Or you can create a Nascar speedway besides your regular track.
To complete a permanent track you can add ‘scenery’
For inspiration you can check out the different homepages (check out the links page). Scalextric offers a grandstand, a control tower, a pit building, a bridge and figures. Some buildings and figures of Scalextric look out-dated. SRA offers a modern pit building and crews. You will find track buildings in the catalogue of SCX. Carrera sold grandstands and other buildings in the eighties and nowadays the company has a nice assortiment of track buildings. There are also other (small) manufacturers which offer scenery items.
Most slot racers do not share their hobby with other enthusiasts. I mean, the average hobbyist is racing by him self.
Of course, slot racers are not socially handicapped. They can seek for contacts through the Internet or join a race club, but in general it is not easy to find someone whose racing skills are at the same level. People who race alone need a lap-timing device to enjoy model car racing. All major slot car brands offer lap counters. It is also possible to use a computer, (free) software and a couple of photocells. On the Internet you will be able to find the software and instructions.
There are many ways to enjoy slot racing by using a timer
First of all you can make a list of all your cars. Write down the fastest lap times of the cars in all the lanes. When you feel lucky you can try to beat your own records. If you do not succeed to break the lap records you can start racing a number of laps. You can use the same record list. Instead of timing one lap you can make a sprint race of 10 laps. The only limitation to this schedule is your imagination.
Slot car racing is having fun. Also when you are racing alone on a carpet track or permanent circuit.