Carrera Digital Hybrid Power Race Set Review
By Jeremy ‘bibbster’ Bibbee
One of the newest slot car race sets released from Carrera, the D132 (which is short for Digital 1/32) Hybrid Power Race Set, item #30173, comes with everything you need to play. And boy will you be able to play with this set! To assist me in reviewing all the neat features and benefits of this set, I’ve enlisted two of my kids. This will offer you a family review of the set, which is what slot car racing at home is about; doing something with your family that is fun!. Of course, as we know, most of the time if kids like it, you know it’s a winner. And since we’re not dealing with Brussels sprouts, I know the kids will like it!
We began unpacking the parts from the box, organizing them in stacks by like parts. While the package contains many parts, they are all easily identifiable. The set came with a very nice operating manual that goes into every detail of the set including how to set up the track as well as how it operates. The manual is very lengthy for parents with kids who are eager to race, so thankfully, Carrera included a ‘Quick Start Guide’ with the set. The ‘Quick Start Guide’ covers all the necessary steps to get everyone ready for playing quickly. While the ‘Quick Start Guide’ allows for fast play, I recommend reading the operating manual in order to use the set to its fullest. While it is not hard to operate the set, the more you understand all the parts and how they work, the more fun you and your family will have with it.
Also included in the set is a product warranty card. This card should be filled out and returned so that, should you need a part replaced under warranty, Carrera can more quickly assist you. Additionally, this card allows Carrera to contact you should there be any recalls that you need to be aware of. So take just a few minutes and fill this card out and return it.
As we continued to unpack the parts, the kids made their way to the cars. The Hybrid race set contains two digital cars, a Porsche 918 Spyder in a race livery, and a Ferrari LaFerrari in a street livery. If you didn’t know, this set gets its name from the fact that both of the actual cars represented as slot cars in this set are hybrid cars. This means that the cars operate as both electric and fuel combustion. You can find more information on these cars by doing a simple internet search. You’ll find that the D132 Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari look almost identical to their full scale counterparts. Katelyn, 11, picked up the Ferrari LaFerrari, looked at it a bit and said, “These cars are really detailed.” At about the same time, Kelsey, 8, grabbed the Porsche and exclaimed, “I like the stripes!” As with all the newest offerings of cars from Carrera, the detail on the cars is impressive, especially considering their low cost. There is lots of value in those little toy cars when it comes to quality and fun.
As we finished unpacking the box of parts, Katelyn said, “Man! How big is this track?” The Hybrid race set comes with twenty eight feet of track that sets up in a 10’ by 6’ area. While this isn’t the largest set offered by Carrera, it affords plenty of racing action along the 28’ of track. And if you consider that you can race your car in both lanes, that essentially doubles the length! Should you decide that the track needs to be bigger, additional track sections can be purchased to add on to your existing set.
As we put the track pieces together we made sure to use the interlocking red clips that came with the set. These clips help to ensure that the track stays together where each piece is joined to the next. We found that inserting the clips into one end of the first piece of track that we started with and then adding the next piece of track was the easiest way to install them. Just repeat the process until you have the entire track assembled. It goes rather fast once the first couple of track sections are joined.
We worked our way around the track piece by piece which brought us to the first digital section of track. So I showed them the lane change pieces and explained to them how they worked as we assembled them. We continued putting the rest of the track together as indicated in the instructions, which included another lane change section, the power base and the controller charging station.
Controller charging station? Yep, that’s right, the controllers use rechargeable Li-po batteries (included) and charge on a special piece of track border. Not only are the controllers battery operated, they are wireless. The controllers feature 2.4 GHz technology and are good up to a range of about fifty feet or so. Upon seeing the controllers, Katelyn asked, “Are these controllers cordless? Awesome!” So not only was Katelyn excited, I was as well. Having wireless controllers means that the kids, and adults, won’t be getting tangled up in cords and we don’t have to stay right next to the track. We found that the controllers responded just like the wired versions. They are easy to use and easy to charge. One more feature is interchangeable color coded plunger buttons. This allows racers to be assigned a color which helps keep things straight.
Installation of the batteries is fairly simple though the plugs are very small. Even my daughter with small fingers had a hard time with them. A slightly longer pigtail on the controller would be helpful. You will need a small screwdriver to remove and reinstall the battery cover since a screwdriver is not provided. I think that Carrera could easily include a low cost screw driver for this making it a true ‘everything in one box’ product.
Included in the set are sections of ‘guardrail’ that can be installed in key turns around the track. These barriers help to keep the cars from getting too far off the track should the racing become a little heated. When the racing is side by side, racers tend to push the car to it’s limits causing the car to deslot from time to time. Just like real cars, you have to slow down in the turns! The barriers are held into place with clips which snap onto the edge of the track. Then the barrier slides into the clips which can then be adjusted left to right as necessary.
With that overview of the set and how some of the parts function, let me get back to what slot car racing is…it’s all about F-U-N! That is a simple three letter word that is sometimes easy to forget exists these days. My daughters and I, after setting everything up, enjoyed lots of racing. What is great though, is that while we were having fun racing, we were also talking to one another and interacting in ways that families should. When someone would drive too fast into a corner and deslot, we’d all laugh and joke about it. Sure, there is a time for serious racing and if you want to do that, this set, as well as the others offered by Carrera can provide that, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the fun. With fun comes great memories and an environment where families can break free from the chaos of life and just smile and relax.
My kids will tell you just how much fun racing slot cars is if you ask them. Guess what? So will my wife. Slot car racing is something that the whole family can enjoy. While there technically can be one winner, after only a few laps, it will be easy for you to see that everyone is a winner by nothing more than the smiles on the faces of each racer, or even those just watching. So give this set a try, you and your family will be glad you did!