Category Archives: Slot cars

Scalextric Ford Daytona Prototype

The Daytona Prototype series seemed like an odd choice for Scalextric to choose. This series is not the most popular, but there are those that follow it with a passion and having a new player in scale is a welcome sight.

One reason for the lack of a large fan club is most people simply do not like the look of the cars. And I cannot argue that because they certainly have a very unique shape. Just one of those types of cars that either you like or you don’t with no middle ground.

If you are not up to speed (ahem) on this series, here is an interesting overview. With the series going through a dramatic change for 2017, this mold by Scalextric will have limited liveries to produce, but with some creativity I can see it lasting for quite awhile.

This car represents the “Gen3” series of DP cars and the last of the series as we know it. As it is Scalextric did a fair job in 1/32nd scale. Nothing is ever perfect of course, but a clean and acceptable job all around for my eyes.

Quick Data
Height – 34 MM (36 MM @ Rear Wing)
Length – 145.5 MM
Width – 61.75 MM
Wheel Base – 87 MM
Weight – 74.8 Grams

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LEB Product Review: Carrera D124 BMW M1 Procar slot cars, #23821

While the BMW M1 didn’t make a huge impact on the racing world back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the looks of the car and the drivers that raced them left a small mark in the racing history books. BMW hoped to compete with the Porsches of the day, but failed to succeed. While the M1 wasn’t much of a race car, it is hard to not do a double take at the body design and eye-catching liveries they donned on the race track. We’ll take a look at Carrera’s version of the car driven by Hans-Joachim Stuck in 1980, Carrera D124 BMW M1 Procar BASF, No.80 (item #23821).

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For those with experience racing Carrera slot cars, the fact that this car looks great is no surprise. While there may be a sponsor logo missing here or there for licensing reasons, the artwork that is present is clear, crisp, and brightly displayed. Although with the BASF livery, you may have to give yourself a shake to snap out of the trance you’re in created by the red and white paint scheme!

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I don’t want to jump ahead of myself, but when taking photos for this review, I happened to notice something that, while it makes no difference to the performance of the car, it does show just how detailed and to scale Carrera slot cars are. So imagine yourself following this M1 down the racetrack just hoping to get to the inside of the next turn. Too bad you won’t be able to because Hans sees you in his rear view mirror! Look closer!CarreraD124_BMW_M1_Driver_Rear_Small

Speaking of Mr. Stuck, the other details in the cockpit are impressive too!

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Looking at the underside of the car shows the guide setup that has become the standard on Carrera D124 cars, which includes a double braid system to insure good contact to the track while racing. You’ll also see the small, white dip switch that changes the car from digital to analog, as well as the IR sensor for digital operation. One other thing to notice is the part number stamped on the bottom of the chassis in white, in this case ‘23821’.

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Removing the body from the chassis is quick and easy by way of four screws, two near the front and two in the rear. With the body removed we can see the simple wiring that is nicely routed to and from the digital chip.

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The front and rear lights are each on separate boards and are held in place by housings made into the chassis.

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Taking a quick look at the parts that make this car go, we see the standard motor and gearing from Carrera, a 14 tooth brass pinion on the motor shaft and a 50 tooth spur gear on the rear axle. This gear combination give us a 3.57 gear ratio which is a nice setup for good top end speed as well as some quickness out of the turns.

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The half tray interior can be seen from the underside of the body as well as the mounting posts with threaded brass inserts and blacked out areas that prevent light from showing through the red body where it isn’t wanted.

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Now that we have taken a look at what makes this car not only look great but run great, let’s talk about how it runs on the track.

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Since the majority of folks that race slot cars do so with a car that is unmodified and raced on a plastic track, that’s how I did the testing for this review. I removed the car from the case, made sure everything moved freely, checked that the tires were on the rims correctly, and began testing.

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Right out of the case the car was smooth and quiet. All the lights worked as well as the digital functions of the electronics inside the car. The tires have sufficient grip and with help from the single bar magnet located just forward of the motor, the car zipped around the turns with ease.

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While the Carrera D124 slot cars are quite heavy compared to most cars that are geared to organized racing, this BMW has no problem going from zero to fast. Throttle response is very good between the controller and the car. Braking (completely letting off of the plunger of the controller) nets a stop in less than 24”. The combination of acceleration and deceleration makes for a very responsive car in both the straight sections of track and the twisty technical sections too.

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As with all of the Carrera D124 cars that I own, this one performs well. The quality is top notch in all areas and one would be pleased with adding this one to their collection. For those that are interested in scale racing, the Procar series was limited to the BMW M1 so your only option for a competitor car is the other livery of this same model that was just released, the Regazzoni, No.28, 1979 (item #23820). There are two more BMW M1’s scheduled for release sometime this year though, so a nice lineup of four of these cars racing around the track will be a great sight to see! You can see all four liveries being offered by LEB Hobbies HERE. Grab an M1, or two, and enjoy some friendly competition on the slot car track! And remember, when racing slot cars, if you’re not having fun you’re doing it wrong.

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by Jeremy ‘bibbster’ Bibbee
3/4/2016

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Slot Cars

The average person has probably heard of “slot cars” at some point in their life; while most may not know exactly what it is, slot car racing has been around since the 1930’s.There is a significant segment of the hobbyist population that races slot cars in competitions, and while popularity may have risen and dropped several times over the past eighty years, there is still a core group of enthusiasts who race these small-scale vehicles. Slot cars are considered to be “classic” and oftentimes, worth a good amount of money. Many collectables are often modeled after real-life vehicles, making them very valuable. Just as vehicles change shape and size over time, slot cars often imitate vehicles of their respective time period.

What is a slot car and how does it work?

A slot car is a miniature scaled automobile that is powered by a small electric motor. Scales include: 1/28, 1/24, 1/32, 1/42 and 1/64 or HO. The cars are raced on a track that has a groove for each vehicle lane, and the slot car has a small pin or blade that extends from the bottom and into the groove.  The contacts for the electricity are picked up by the swiveling blade, or “guide flag” on the slot car, which provides the power to run around the track. The vehicle is controlled by a hand-held speed controller that filters in the voltage amount; the more that the trigger is pressed, the faster the car can go. The two types of controllers that are used are called analog and electric controllers. Analog slot car controllers allow the car to accelerate by distributing the desired amount of voltage to the car. Electronic controllers, unlike analog controllers, do not use the variable resistance method for power delivery, but instead use an electronic circuit to dispense the correct amount of voltage to the car. Because electric controllers offer improved control and the ability to command a wide array of cars, this type of controller is most recommended for a beginner.
What are the main parts of a slot car?

·         Body/Shell – The top of the slot car is molded and scaled to a real vehicle. The shape actually does not influence the car’s performance, as it would for a real car. Instead, the mass and distribution of the weight affects the car’s performance.

·         Interior – The interior often features a real driver and imitates the interior of the real, life-size vehicle. The driver and interior are typically modeled just below window height to allow more room for the motor. It is usually clipped or glued to the body shell.

·         Chassis – The bottom part of the car is called the chassis, which is often one piece but can be made with a separate motor pod section. This piece attaches all of the other parts.

·         Motor – The electric motor is what powers the slot car, placed at the front, middle, or rear of the car. It can be in-line, sideways, or at an angle. Like a real car, small gears transmit the power from the motor to the axle.

·         Axle – The axle is the steel rod in which the wheels are attached to.

·         Guide or Guide Flag – This is a plastic fin with the ability to pivot, which sits on the slot of the track and holds the braids.

·         Braids – Copper metal contacts or copper braids provide power to the car by making contact with the rails on the track. It’s important that these are adjusted correctly for optimal car performance.

·         Magnet – Front and rear magnets provide force to keep the car on the track.

·         Chip – This refers to the circuit board which interprets signals on the track and operating the motor for digital cars. Some conventional cars have a chip to control the lights, but many do not have a chip at all.

What are slot car racetracks made out of?
Slot cars include a variety of other features and parts and differ depending on when the car was made and the maker. The majority of the slot car racetracks used for home races are made from molded plastic snap-together track sections. This allows the racer to reconfigure their track at will. The tracks used for competition are often hand-built; the guide slots for the vehicles are routed into a type of sheet material, generally either medium-density fiberboard or chipboard. Voltage supplied to the track by the power supply is typically between 12 to 18 volts and 1 or 2 amps.

What types of slot cars are best for beginners?
Cars of the 1/32 scale are most recommended for beginners, as they are very durable and are actually the most common size among hobbyists. The cars with very strong magnets are good for beginners initially, but may limit the development of driving skills. As racing skills develop further, the magnets are needed less and less and you may find you need to update your slot car as your skills progress.

What types of racetracks are best for beginners?
A simple track plan allows one to learn how to drive properly and enjoy the hobby. Sometimes an oval of track is best so that beginners can learn the fundamentals of accelerating, braking and controlling speed in the corners.  A more elaborate and challenging track can be then enjoyed after some skill has been developed. Unfortunately, many sets do not have a good track layout for beginners.  The beauty of plastic track is that you can configure a simple oval first, practice and then expand the layout with the balance of the track to make a more challenging circuit.

Clubs are a perfect way to get more involved in the hobby. Whether it’s a few people getting together informally to share tips and run their cars for fun, or large clubs that are a little more serious, joining a club will allow you to get the most out of slot car racing. Major competitions do exist on large tracks in commercial raceways, but these are typically for 1/24 scale cars, which require more sophisticated cars and equipment.

Slot car racing is a wonderfully diverse hobby that can stay with you for a lifetime and can be shared by generations of enthusiasts.  Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned pro, there is always something new to keep you in high gear!

Lynne Bernhard