Slot Cars: Racing Tracks And Track Layout

Slot car racing is a competitive hobby which makes use of miniature replicas of genuine race cars. These mock-ups are guided by slots or grooves so they stay on track as they race against each other. This hobby ranges from usual family gatherings around home tracks to serious competitions wherein contenders carefully make or modify their own race cars for superb performance. Some competitions are even made up of series of races to determine the ones who qualify for the national championship.

Slot Car Tacks

Home Racetracks
Racetracks for home use are built using injection-molded plastic snapped together to form tracks. Such courses are dubbed as plastic tracks. Home tracks usually have features that increase the racing challenge. Among such features are slots that wiggle or join lanes together, airborne jumps, bumps, and uneven surfaces. These features are typically found on toy tracks.

Tracks for Competition
Race tracks used for serious competition are built by hands and are called routed tracks. In such tracks, guide slots used for the whole racecourse are sliced into a few large sheets to offer smooth surface which allows slot cars to perform at their best. Tracks for competitions are made very much like road courses with twists and turns although ovals and trapezoidal ovals are commonly used.

Tracks for formal slot car racing competitions can be built with banked corners and may connect one portion to another without using trick configurations. Among the common tracks used for slot car racing are:

1:24 Scale tracks
These tracks, which are used for competitions, are normally six to eight lane routed tracks with retaining walls that are made from wood or flexible plastic. The said tracks are usually seen in commercial racing centers.

HO Scale tracks
These competition tracks are usually 60 to 100 feet long and four to six lanes wide.

Slot car tracks are powered by a power supply that's being plug into a wall outlet. The power supply converts the alternating current coming from the wall outlet into direct current. The voltage delivered to the track usually ranges from twelve to eighteen volts and one or two amps. Slot car racers may increase the power supplied to the track by employing separate power supplies for every racing lane. If additional power supplies are used, the powerbase sometimes require modification to deal with the extra power used.

Track Layout

While many slot car racers concentrate on upgrading and modifying their cars to improve their speed and racing performance, some spend their time making elaborate tracks with landscaping and other details. There are in fact, a variety of special track segments that can be added to a race track to realize a more competitive racing. There are track pieces made to bring cars closer to each other, forcing the racer to increase speed so his car can run ahead of the other car or to avoid the dangers of being pushed off the track. There are also pieces that make sharp turns and inclines, making the racer think as to when the right time to slow down or to speed up is.

The current advancements on slot car racing are the digital tracks which enable racers to transfer from one lane to another. Digital tracks and slot cars usually employ microchips which make it possible for several racers to run on the same lane.


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