During the 1960s when the slot car craze was in full swing the United States could rightfully be considered the center of the slot car universe, fast forward 50 years and Italy along with Spain can be described as one of the centers of multi-polar slot car world, with flexi and retro racing centered in the United States, Eurosport in Eastern Europe, 1/32 and 1/24 Scale Racing in Italy and Spain with a strong push for composite chassis LMP racing in Germany and 1/32 Scalextric racing in the United Kingdom. The slot car scene is of course is more diverse than that with scale racing taking place in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Flexi racing in Spain but each type of racing has a distinct center of gravity. In this article we will attempt to travel this multi-polar slot car world stopping at various spots to discover the richness that makes up our hobby. Our travels won't be complete without additional input from racers around the world which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Argentina has a growing local slot car scene that extends to it's rivalry with it's Portuguese speaking neighbor, Brazil when it comes to matters involving slot cars with friendly competition across the border between their respective clubs. Within the last year new tracks have been added in the cities of: Tandil, Olavarria, Chivilcoy and San Juan.
The racing most favored in Argentina is ISRA type Euro G12 Scale and Grp 27 Wing Cars, the scale moniker being relative with high downforce lexan LMP bodies the norm. The various clubs hold events that are attended by racers across the country though most of the top clubs are located in and around Buenos Aires and Córdoba.
Several series of races have been organized with the help of CeFeSA or Certamen Ferderativo de Slot Argentino, a new rule making body which has been established within the last year. These series involve clubs for slot cars or Automodelismo, many with routed wood tracks includes the Haedoring Slot Cars, a long established club in Buenos Aires The club which has existed for several decades with a membership that fluctuates between 30-40 racers who race on a 6-lane 70 metre banked track. Other clubs are the Circuito Fuego Slot with a 6-lane flat track, Danger Quattro in Buenos Aires with a new 6-lane track 60 metre track, Alta Gracia Slot in central Argentina’s Córdoba province has a 6-lane 155ft Blue King and Mendoza Slot in Mendoza near the border with Chile., founded in 2010, has about a dozen members who race on a routed 6-lane 56 metre wood track. A recent CeFeSA race saw 59 entrants. Other clubs include Rosario Slot, Rafaela Slot, Rio Cuarto and Pergamino Slot.
Besides CeFeSA there are other groups that organize races including UPS (G12 Touring Cars) and COFCAS (G12 Sports Cars). Luis Brescia of Argentina Slot in Cordoba has a 6-lane Blue King and has operated a retail business for over 15 years that provides parts and support for the racers. Also in Córdoba is the ACV slot car club while in the town of La Rioja there is the Asociación Centro República de Automodelismo Slot (ACRAS) - La Rioja.
While much of the news from Argentina is associated with G12/G27 slot cars there are a number of clubs that run scale cars including cars from the legendary Argentine road races of the 1940s with famous drivers such as Galvez, Gonzalez and Fangio.
RAC, an Argentine company produces these cars from the Argentine Turismo Carretera, a road race over courses that are at times almost 10,000 kilometers in length, often over dirt road and high mountain passes. Driven by such legendary names as Juan Manuel Fangio, Froilan Gonzalez and Oscar 'El aguilucho' Galvez. The cars represent Ford, Chevy and Dodge as well as more modern touring cars. Two clubs that compete in a championship are Añeslot which is also a business has a 6-lane 64 metre Ninco track as well as several rally tracks, where they also hold competitions while Slot el garage has a 4-lane 30 metre wood track using their own custom timing system.
Every Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 PM Coco Calos takes a break from his hauling business to talk about his beautiful hobby that he has loved since he was 6 years old, model racing cars. Growing up in his native Argentina his father would take him to school each day which was a block from his work. In the early 60s he would pass a slot car track on the way and soon he would stop, first just to look but soon to race. He began to spend every day at the track.
What is unique to Coco is rather than talk "slots" to a small circle of friends he talks to the thousands who listen to his 1-hour radio program which he has hosted since 1995.
The American slot car racer would feel right at home visiting Thunderbird Slot Racing Center in Pooraka, Australia. This is definitely a commercial raceway of the American type and only challenge would be in getting there. Having moved to their present location in 2012, the raceway boasts 7 tracks including a 1/32 scale dragstrip and a Blue King high speed track. The raceway located in a suburb of Adelaide is eight hours from Melbourne, fourteen hours from Sydney and twenty-eight hours from Perth! Even still hardy racers from these two cities will travel that distance for a big race.
In 1998 a resident slot car club, Slotmasters was formed. The club with it's 50+ members races mostly 1/32 scale cars with club nights on Wednesday and Friday. The raceway has twice hosted the Australian Scale Model Nationals in 2012 and 2015 and in late September the raceway will play host to the annual Australian Plafit Championship for 1/32, 1/24 and 1/27 scale cars using the Japanese manufacturer's chassis and sponsored by Ace Hobbies of Australia, the importer of Plafit in Australia since 1994. Ace Hobbies also produce truer to scale clear lexan bodies.
Between the early 60s and 1981 in Australia, tin top motor racing had been a competition between Ford, Holden (GM local build) and Chrysler, with loyal followers for each.
Chrysler stopped building vehicles in 81, so it just became a Ford Vs Holden battle.
In 1991, a new series began, V8 Supercars was born, and it was strictly Ford Vs Holden up to a few years ago. An Australian racer, Cameron Neilson, the winner of 20 scale racing titles, decided to developed a slot car series to emulate the big boys, so he created a class of 1/24 scale cars to represent Ford, Holden, Volvo, Nissan and Mercedes and sent cars out to some of the best drivers in the country to get feedback.
Neilson, Senior Technical Officer in Engineering, at the University of Wollongong designs and manufactures the chassis in Australia, while also creating the moulds and his own vac former. The cars utilize Plafit running gear though the rules allow for the substitution of Scaleauto running gear, both popular brands in Australia. The overall effect of the cars is stunning and their handling is smooth and consistent. To promote his cars Neilson has developed the rule set for racing these cars. Slotworx cars have now become a 1/24 class in many local, state and national competitions, with the cars forming a class within the Australian Model Car Nationals.
Located in Jamisontown, NSW, Penrith Slot Car and Hobby Centre, a family owned operation opened in March 2013. Catering to all scales the raceway currently has six tracks including a Kingleman as well as a drag strip. Xtreme Trax in Dapto, NSW is located around 100 km south of Sydney in the suburb of Wollongong. The raceway currently has more than 6 tracks at any one time in both wood and plastic including a dragstrip. Races are held in 1/32, 1/24 and 1/27 scales. In 2014 the raceway hosted the Australian Scale Model Championship. At that time the following classes were held:
- 1/32 Ninco GT
- 1/32 NSR Classic
- 1/32 SCX NASCAR
- 1/32 Slot.It Group C
- 1.32 Scalextric GT/ Magnet class
- 1/32 Open class LMP/PROTOTYPE (Plastic Body)
- 1/32 Plafit DIV1/DIV 2 (Plastic Body)
- 1/27 Plafit Mini Z
- 1/24 Plafit Can Am (Scale Lexan Body)
- 1/24 Scaleauto
- 1/24 NASCAR (MJK steel chassis / Plastic Model Body)
The following tracks in Austria all race scale cars, most as part of the 3-Länder, ASSR24 Cups and Austrian LMP Endurance Race series races that involves clubs in Germany, Switzerland as well as Austria. This has served to improve the competitiveness of each club.
The Race Track Altach on the border with Switzerland, was founded in 2001 has a 4-lane 42 metre wood track. The club races scale cars in all scales; 1/32, 1/27 (MiniZ) and 1/24. Slotcar Club Bludenz has a brand new 4-lane 52 metre wood track and is located in the town of Blundenz in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg in the Western part of Austria. The Slot Racer (TSR) is located just South of Vienna and races on a 4-lane 36 metre wood track. Austria Slotcar Racer (ASR) is located in Vienna itself and races on a 5-lane 45 metre wood track.
Slotcar Freaks SCFS in Salzburg races various classes 4-lane Carrera track. The club races both analog and is in the process of adding a Scorpius Digital System. Some of the classes the club races include a GTC Mini Z class using a Motor Modern MP14V metal chassis and a Fox10 motor. One sure to be popular event for 2017 is the Beetle Battle Cup for 1/32 Group 5 VWs from Carrera.
In common with their Russian neighbor, the Baltic countries primarily race slot cars to ISRA rules on wooden tracks and like Russia, youth indolent in the hobby is strongly encouraged. Many if not most of the tracks are located in government supported facilities such as youth or technical centers and are part of a wider program to encourage education in technology and related fields. In Lithuania you can actually opt to donate 2% of your income tax to a local Technical Center that supports education and exposure to various technical fields including "Traction car radio" or slot car racing, a technical sport.
In 2011 the European Union funded a two-year program run by governments in Sindi, Estonia and Limbaži, Latvia to build up ties between the youth from the two towns, united by the hobby of slot car racing. Within the project, the municipalities of Sindi and Limbaži developed slot car tracks and organized cultural exchange camps for the youngsters. On April 5, 2013, the largest slot car track in Latvia was opened in Limbaži County High School. This track, a part of Estonia – Latvia Programme co-funded Hobby Slot Car Racing project, is similar to the one opened the previous August in Sindi, Estonia. The tracks help to teach the hobby slot car modeling in Estonia and Latvia, as well as host organized competitions between school children of both countries.
Situated between it's Baltic neighbors, Estonia and Lithuania, Latvia has a strong slot car presence for a country of relatively small size. Twice it has hosted the ISRA World Championships, in 1998 and again sixteen years later in 2014 while two of it's racers are currently in the top ten in ISRA's world driver ranking. Latvia also plays host to the annual Baltic Open Championship, which in 2017 will mark the 35th edition. Latvian racers also compete in the East European Championship which in 2017 will be held in Ventspils, Latvia.
Prominent venues in Latvia for slot car racing include Motormuseum in Riga, Jelgava, Rūjiena, Valmiera and Limbaži. In Lithuania that are slot car tracks in Kaunas, Siauliai, Klaipeda and the capital, Vilnius. In Estonia you can race slot cars or Automudelispordi as it is called in Estonian while visiting the seaside resort town of Haapsalu at the Youth Center in Sindi which has hosted a slot car track for over 16 years and at the Nõmme Youth House in Tallinn, host of the 2015 Estonia Cup.
Belgium has a number of slot car clubs that race a variety of classes. One series supported by Michael Niemas promotes scale racing with Formula 1 cars using variations of his chassis and hardbody Formula 1 cars constructed from plastic kits or custom GFK molds. The Klasse 1 series for Belgium is currently held amongst four clubs including the Slot Racing Club Seraing (SRCS) which was inaugurated in 2010. The club has a 36 metre 8-lane wood track dedicated to scale 1/24 and 1/28 racing.
Other clubs in the series include Slot4000, Dison Mini Racing (DMR) and CSR24. Like many clubs in Belgium, DMR has not converted to wood and still races on a large 50 metre 6-lane Carrera track.
The Belgian Scale Racing (BSR) organizes 1/24 scale racing in LMS for bolt-on chassis and Scaleauto classes. Clubs that race these series include the Mini Racing Club Nieuwpoort with their two tracks including an original American Orange, Slotfreaks located east of Ghent with their 30 metre Fleischmann track, Slotracing Merlijn near Brussels on their 8-lane routed wood track and Speedlines Slotracing Club with 4 tracks to choose from including a Ninco rally track.
Slot Racer Leuven (SRL) is located in the city of Leuven near Brussels. The club races on a 27 metre 6-lane wooden track. Currently the focus for its racing is 1/32 scale racing cars from Carrera, Ninco, Slot.it and NSR. The Brussels Scalex Club was started in 1989 and races 1/32 scale slot cars on a 8-land Scalextric track and is located naturally near Brussels.
You would think that Brazil, the birthplace of World Champions Nelson Piquet, Emerson Fittipaldi and Ayrton Senna would have embraced slot car racing and you wouldn't be wrong. Autoramas or slot racing centers have existed in Brazil since 1963. After the slot car fad subsided most of the original autoramas closed but in recent years new autoramas are sprouting up again. Autorama Slot Cars Brazil produces slot car tracks for customers all over the world. Brazil is also the home of top slot car racers; Ricardo Teixeira, "Gugu" Bernardino, and Alexandre Leite. In 2011 Brazil was the site of the ISRA World Championship. Slot Car Sao Paulo is a club dedicated to racing 1/32 scale slot cars on their 5-lane 44 metre routed wood track. Octopus Autorama also located in Sao Paulo, has been in business for 19 years and has a six-lane track called the "Paperclip". The raceway supports a wide range of racing activities from Flexi to scale and maintains its own online store.
The Monza Autorama opened its doors for the first time in
1981. Monza offers three routed wood tracks
including a Blue King and a Monza road course. It has been the scene of world championships with Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton recently visiting the Autorama in Sao Paulo, Brazil's cultural capita. The raceway supports a full program of wing cars, eurosport, flexi and scale cars. It also is available for rental to parties and corporate events.
Originally founded in 2004 DG Slot Racing, located in Morumbi, a district of Sao Paolo. The raceway has a 6-lane 35 metre routed wood track. DG Slot has decided to go in a different direction than ISRA style slot cars popular at other Brazilian clubs and promotes 1/24 scale racing though lexan cars are still raced. 1/24 BRM and 1/24 Scaleauto Championships are held each year. Red Fox Raceway is a company owned track that is only open for special events. The company, well known for their bodies and guide shoes and owned by champion racer Luis "Gugu" Bernardino, has a high-speed Blue King track at its disposal.
Association of Modelers of Czech Republic (SMCR) is a registered association of clubs with jurisdiction over the Czech Republic.
The basic mission of the association is organizing modelers including aviation, shipping, automobile, rocket, model railroad and plastic models. The association has approximately 400 member clubs with a membership base of 6680 members, including youth, which represents 1/3 of the base.
SMCR is a member of the Association of Sports Unions of the Czech Republic and a member of the international sports federations.
Having a well deserved reputation for some of the fastest slot car racers in the world, with Czech drivers occupying the top tree slots in the current ISRA World ranking, much of slot car racing in the Czech Republic is based upon speed with Eurosport and Wing cars enjoying strong support. The national organization coordinates with ISRA for eurosport and ESROC for wing cars.
Two clubs stand out with their size and influence. One club is the AMDK Pilsen, located in the Western part of the Republic where this year a new world record of 1.347 seconds was set by Brad Friesner from Toronto Canada during the Czech Nationals, and the other is the Slot Racing Center Lustenice, located 35 km North East of Prague with their 4-lane 22 metre plastic track and their high-speed Blue King where the current track record is 1.408. In 1997 a club with more than 40 years of history and one that hosted the first ISRA World Championship in 1992 closed it's doors. But after retirement a number of former members were left with little to do so they decided that their club, Mini Racing Club - Česká Lipa would make a comeback! AMC Slot Racing Club in Prague races on an "Orange Queen", an 8-lane 40 metre flat track and will serve as host of the 2018 Czech Masters. One of the oldest clubs in the Czech Republic, its origins dating back to the early 60s is SRC Brno. The club races on a 6-lane 40 metre routed track that was recently constructed. Major competitions include the Moravia Open, BPA Cup and a round of the Honda HSV Tour. The club also sponsors an extensive youth program.
Some of the series run in the Czech Republic include the Honda Cup which is a flexi chassis class for x12 motors and lexan Honda HSV bodies, Grand Prix which is a series of races for Eurosport cars for the Championship of the Czech Republic and is open to international participation, Euro Cup, Cahoza Cup and SPCV.
There does not seem to be any scale racing on inter-club scale. Most clubs have youth programs that are sponsored by local cities. Attan E-Shop provides slot car parts to the racers in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic is also the home of Cahoza Slot Racing Products, started in 1975. Cahoza is one of the largest manufacturer of gears, guides, tools, motor cans and setups for G7, G27 and G12 slot cars.
Slot car racing in Denmark follows a common pattern for the hobby outside of the United States with most of the activity revolving around local clubs. There are a few commercial establishments but these do not cater to walk-in traffic but rather rent out thier facility to groups. These groups can be in the form of one time events such as birthdays to team building or for the purpose of holding club races.
The DMRU or Danish Mini Racing Union was established on September 28, 1968 when delegates from a number of clubs met in Silkeborg, Denmark. Clubs can choose whether to host DMRU official championship races or not, these are usually 6-8 lane tracks. Average membership in these clubs are 12-30 racers and are spread throughout the country. While membership in DMRU is free not all clubs are members.
This national organization supports two forms of racing, what is called Slot Racing, similar to what we see in the US at our commercial raceways and Scale Racing where appearance forms an important factor. The main slot racing classes are Production16 and Open 32. The main scale racing classes are 1/24 Scaleauto, 1/24 RetroF1, 1/24 Can Am and 1/32 SCX Digital.
The 1/24 Production16 rules should look familiar to most US racers. The rules stipulate an ISRA approved flexi chassis and body powered by a sealed 16D motor. While the rules do require operating front wheels, interestingly there are no rules covering the rears as long as the over all width of the car does not exceed 83mm or about 3 1/4 inches. The cars are lexan bodied saloon cars which we would call NASCAR but also included are European Touring Cars. The Open32 class is for 1/32 ISRA Eurosport cars with high downforce LMP lexan bodies. These cars are very fast and take expert driving skills. They have even been restricted from a few tracks because of safety concerns with these high-speed bolides
One of the most popular Scale classes is for 1/24 Scaleauto GT cars that are run almost entirely stock with a minimum weight of 190 grams and a minimum body weight of 55 grams. The series leans heavily on rules established by Scaleauto in order to receive official sanctioning. These same rules are universal wherever 1/24 Scaleauto GT cars are raced and provides a strong single make series similar to Slot.it 1/32 Group C.
The 1/24 Can Am class up to recent years was based upon the old German White-Point chassis and motor. When the chassis went out of production an equivalent 3D chassis was produced by Niels Elmholt Christensen in attempt to keep the series alive. The WP motor was replace by the Carrera 18V Black motor and finally in 2017 a modified Scholar inline chassis would be allowed if any chassis movement was limited to the H-Bracket and in most likelihood would make all the other chassis obsolete. Bodies are Can-Am from the 60s made from fairly thick lexan (0.020) with no additional airfoils allowed. Originally made by Lancer, Russkit, Revell and Pactra they are now available from Patto and John Dilworth The restriction of 60s Can Am was a conscious effort to limit the use of any high downforce bodies with the earlier cars also being much smaller.
1/24 Retro F1 is a relatively new class for 1960-68 Formula 1 cars. Niels Elmholt Christensen was talking to his friend, the late Jan Juul on how they both liked the D3 Retro series just then gaining popularity in Southern California. Juul had been behind the White Point chassis based F1 Can-Am series. They discussed starting a F1 series based upon the cars that they had seen. These were the American Jail-door Retro F1 cars with replica Lancer and Russkit bodies. Christensen built a chassis that would be limited to 30mm in width and powered by Fox 10-25K motors. Replicas were created of the Lancer and Russkit bodies supplemented with bodies by Englishmen John Dilworth. The cars would race on both plastic and wood tracks using either urethane or sponge tires. The first scratch built chassis was made in May 2008 and in September the same year they held a support race with 8 cars for a White Point National Championship Round in Ikast, Denmark.
This was an immediate success and at the DMRU meeting in November 1:24 Retro F1 was approved a new National Series for 2009 and in 2010 it became a full National Championship class. The class is now run in Germany and Spain with sales of the cars from Vejle, Denmark to all racers and collectors all over the world. Retro F1 "Danish Style" continues to gain in popularity.
One prominent commercial track is RaceFun in Albertslund, Denmark. Not geared to casual walk-ins, the track hosts club races, corporate team building, birthday and bachelor parties. Groups can be as little as 4 and up to a practical limit around 32.
The tracks are permanent, although RaceFun is currently investigating another model with a portable 3 lane track that would be rented to i.e. auto-dealers shops for promotional events.
The portable track would need to run unattended or "rent and forget".
For the ordinary rental business, the host organizes and runs a race, usually in two rounds. One to get people to understand the concept, and then the race for the bragging rights.
The price is 200 DKr (~40 USD) per person for an event with a set minimum of 1600 DKr (~320 USD) per event and to make it all work you basically need a minimum of 4 or 5 events a week. Racers who get thirsty can purchase coffee, water and beer. Simple snacks are also available. RaceFun supplements this income with a web shop Slot World Slotcar Shop.
Like most other countries, slot car racing came to Finland during the 60s as part of the worldwide slot car boom. According to prominent Finnish racer and track builder Kimmo Rautama, the Finnish Championship of 1964 had upwards of 300 entrants. With the commercial raceways long gone any slot car activity is only in private or community clubs. Since slot car racing is thought of as an appropriate activity for youth most of the clubs have strong youth programs and the average age for a slot car racer in Finland is quite a bit less than it is in the United States.
Slot car racing in Finland is almost universally geared towards 1/24th, with most tracks resemble "American-style", banked 6 or 8-lane tracks or ISRA Eurosport tracks. The classes follow ISRA rules with some local modifications with six classes; Gp.7, Gp.27, Int.15, Eurosport, G-15 Eurosport and G-15 Stock cars being the most popular. In 2000 and again in 2009 Finland hosted the ISRA World Championships.
Finland is also home to a dedicated group of wing car racers that race over several tracks, usually some version of a Blue King layout. These tracks can be found in Kouvola, Seinäjoki, Hämeenlinna, Vaasa Huutoniemi and the Laihia Mini Racing Club and their 2010 built Gerding Black Ice track which hosted the Wing Car Worlds in 2014 and will host the European Slot Racing Organization Committee (ESROC) sanctioned European Championships in 2018. Slot Racing Club, Hyvinkää was founded in 1976 when the then church ward leader Vilho Viitala and Hannu Nurminen wondered how small electric car activities could be done in Hyvinkää. In 2014 the club hosted the Finnish Championship.
Finland has been selected to host the 2018 ISRA World Championship.
The Slot Racing Club de Bordeaux was founded in 1980 and hosts many types of events but the VEC (Vintage) International race has achieved international renown for the quality of the entrants. Held once a year, usually in June, builders from all over the world look forward to this event where the cars are judged both on appearance and race results in a combined score. The race is held on one of the few routed wood track left in France though that situation is due to change. Slot Racing Cognin (SRC-73) is a club located in Cognin situated in South-Eastern France and home of the 24Hr of Cognin slot car race. This year all the teams will race 1/32 Ferrari 458 Italias from Black Arrow on the club's 4-lane 40 metre Carrera track. Other popular races held last year included 1/32 Avantslot, Black Arrow, Rally Cars, NSR Classic, Slot.it Group C and 1/24 McLaren IROC.
The Modeling Maurepas Club a 40 year old hobby club that also races RC and a slot cars on it's three tracks including a 6-lane 30 metre track for slot cars. The Gaul Slot Club has been located in Royat near Clermont-Ferrand since September 2008. The club has a 30 metre four-lane Carrera track that is equipped with the Davic digital system. In November of last year the club hosted the French National Championship for 1/32 Digital Cars - Final. Dijon Racing Slot, a club in Dijon has 3 tracks for their racers to choose from. One 6-Lane 35 metre Ninco track and two custom Scalextric rally tracks. The current focus is mostly on 1/32 scale slot cars including some fantastic scratch-built vintage cars. Jouef, the famous French slot car brands still has many fans and several clubs and individuals still race these vintage cars.
Recently another routed wood track became available to French slot car racers when the famous Course de Slot Racing Régionale à Pont Saint Esprit slot car track was resurrected. The track, scene of many famous French Championships has been fully restored to it's former glory and now hosts both 1/32 and 1/24 scale races. The club is in discussions for 2018 regarding the renewal of a Championship of France for 1/24 and 1/32 slot cars. The regulations are in still being formulated but it should involve at least two classes of production flexi slot cars. The candidate tracks to date for this Championship are as follows:
- Pont Saint Esprit: South of France
- Bordeaux: South-West France
- Maurepass: Near Paris
- Strasboug: Eastern France (the track is under construction)
The championship will be determined by the series overall points winner for each class. Slot car racing is set to be reborn in France in 2018.
Slot Racing du Gard is a French language forum that brings together slot car racers from Southern France. In the village of Aubais a commercial wood track made by Revel in 1966 and marketed as a commercial track you could have in your home was restored and lengthened from 15 to 25 metres. The refurbished track is currently hosted in a private residence that opens it's door for monthly races. The original track was featured in an article published in Model Car & Science magazine in July 1966. The entire restoration project is described here. Sadly for Wing Car racers in France there are no current tracks suitable for them to race their cars forcing the adherents to this form of racing to travel to Holland or Germany to race their lightning quick cars.
Currently there is no National organization and the various series and clubs organize amongst themselves. Germany has a very diverse if not fragmented slot car scene based up clubs that race everything from old Fleischmann and Carrera to wing cars, Eurosport, Scaleauto, Production 16 to high-tech LMP and Formula 1 cars. In addition there is DSC and DTSW for different types of cars.
The oldest club in Germany is the Stolberger Automodellclub (SAC) in Aachen was founded in 1963. Located in a government owned building the club pays very low rent. The club races on a 6-lane 30 metre long wood track with popular classes; Production 16, Various Flexi Classes w/X12 (not common in Germany), and 1/24 Scaleauto.
In Bruhl near Cologne there is the Blue King Club that is seriously into speed and racing the fastest Wing Cars. Recently they played host to the Wing Car Worlds. The The Northland Racecenter in Neumünster (Schleswig-Holstein) is located 30 minutes from Hamburg and has two tracks, a 34 metre routed wood track and a 35 metre Carrera plastic track. Northland is a commercial track which rents out it's track for events (parties, etc) and hosts an in house club. Each has its own racing program with the club racing the following series which are typical for most clubs in Germany.
- 1/24 DSC - Classic racing cars up to 1974.
There are two classes driven, GT's and prototypes on professional chassis.
- 1/24 DTSW -
Modern racing cars from 1975 onwards
It is a very fast series, technically high-tech.
- Class 1
This category includes all GT2, GT3, GTS, DTM, STW, JGTC, ETW, roadworthy, super sports cars and the like.
- Class 2
This includes all vehicles of categories GT1, LMP, WSC, Gr.C, GTP, etc.
- Class 2A: Closed Grand Touring Prototype (GTP), Group C, Year to 1,992
- Class 2B: FIA GT1 Le Mans Prototype (LMP), WSC, open Grand Touring Prototype (GTP), etc. From 1993
- 1/27 Mini Z - Race bolides with prefabricated bodies
Also a beginner series. The car bodies of the company Kyosho are slightly smaller (1:27) and are finished lacquered (but also own lacquers are possible). The chassis is freely selectable.
- 1/24 Scaleauto - Modern GT vehicles
Our starter series. The cars of the company Scaleauto can be driven almost 'Out of the Box'. Changes are only allowed to a very limited extent.
- 1/24 Scaleauto Pro - Allows the racer to use any chassis.
- 1/24 Retro F1 - Old Formula One racing cars until 1968
Formula racers from past days with a high fun factor. Light-weight Lexan bodies and simple chassis (transitioning to hand built brass chassis) ensure fast racing.
German Scale racing is supported by numerous firms starting with online retailers Jens Scale Racing, Slotracing Werk, Slotpoint to fabricators and parts suppliers such as Niemas-Racecars, Slotfabrik and Doslot as well as model kit builder Fein-Design-Modell.
The Deutscher Slot Classic Cup (DSC) is a growing class that organizes 1/24 classic vehicles driven up to and including 1974. Starting from a single league, the LeMans Challenge organized by Dieter Jens for the first time in 1995 has evolved into six regional racing series:
DSC-South (Switzerland, Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg)
DSC-Ost (Berlin, Saxony), DSC-Mitte (Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia), DSC West (Nordrhein-Westfalen), DSC-Nord (Hamburg, Schleswig Holstein and Lower Saxony), DSC-Euregio (North Rhine-Westphalia, Belgium and the Netherlands)
Two clubs that race flexi and Eurosport cars in Germany are the Slot Racing Club Bannewitz e.V. in Dresden and the Slot Racing Centre Gotha in Thuringia founded during the mid 70s when the city was still a part of the Communist East Germany. One member from the club's founding is still active in the group at the age of 75. In 2016 the club was one of four raceways that were a part of the EuroCup series (Praha-Pilsen-Brühl-Gotha) on their 6-lane 45 metre routed wood flat track. The club focuses on Production16 (Flexi) and Eurosport class racing.
Founded in 2008, The Slot Am Ring built the Renncenter Hockenheim. In May 2008, a 37-metre-long Carrera and a 24-metre-long Ninco train were put into operation.
An expansion in 2011 saw the Ninco track replaced with a routed wood track. The new wooden lane attracted a whole group of new members and new racing series including DSC, NASCAR, Truck, DTM and Formula 1. The club now plays host to several regional championships. The German capital of Berlin has several slot car clubs that offer track time for non-members during regular open hours. Slot Freunde Berlin has three tracks, a small track for children, a 38 metre 6-lane Carrera track and a 5-lane 47.5 metre routed wood track. Slot Arena Berlin is a Club that races on two Carrera tracks (40/25 metres) in both analog and digital format. Europe Raceway Berlin has a large 68.5 6-lane routed wood track that supports multiple racing series including DSC, DTSW, SLP, MiniZ, Scaleauto, Scaleauto Pro and Modern NASCAR.
Slot racing in Italy is in some ways dominated by the Italian slot car manufacturers, Slot.it, NSR, BRM, Nonnoslot, Ninco and MB Slot who all sponsor large races or their own one make Championship Series throughout the year. These large races are attended by racers from throughout Europe. Some of the largest races are held in rented facilities with huge temporary layouts that are set up just for the event. Slot.it recently held a race on a replica of the Monza Autodrome. 100+ racers are a normal size for a major endurance race. Rules are set by the Associazione Nazionale Slot Italia. While tracks built with Ninco plastic track is still used widely in the clubs you are seeing more and more CNC routed wooden tracks created by companies like MB Slot. These tracks are so smooth and perfectly constructed it looks like you could almost eat off of them.
One of the most active clubs in Italy is the Slot Club Acilia in Rome. The club runs an amazing number of series. Just for 1/32 scale cars there is the Slot.it GT-LMP, NSR Mosler Cup, NSR GT3, Nonnoslot Formula 1, Slot.IT Group C WEC, Classic NSR, Sideways Group 5 and the NSR Fiat 500 Abarth Super Cup. Ascoli Slot's 12-13 members race on a 6-lane 43 metre track that's supplemented by a large temporary 8-lane track for national endurance events that see teams from all over Italy compete. The club is located in the town of Folignano with a population under 10,000 people is a municipality in the Province of Ascoli Piceno. Model Drome near Milan attempts to combine Slot Cars, Drones and VR Sim racing in one large facility, with Drone Racing catching fire. Biella Slot Rally Club in Biella, Italy beside running the usual classes also offer a rally track that is also a popular form of slot car racing in Italy as it is in Spain. These tracks are an attempt to recreate the environment one would find at a WRC Rally with hills, dips and low traction areas of mud and snow which their four-wheel drive slot cars have to navigate. Races are often run as a timed even with a single car racing at one time. The Autosprint Slot Club Genova was founded in 1974 in Genova, Italy. 1974. The club's main track is a CNC routed 6-lane 43 metre wood track.
Spare parts to complete cars are available through a number of online retailers including Slotcars.it and Crazy 4 Slot. Both online shops concentrate on 1/32 cars from the numerous Italian manufacturers as well as spare parts for maintaining and tuning the cars.
On the 6-14th of October 2017 the ISRA World Championship will be held at the Hotel Santacroce, east of Rome in, Italy.
While some of the bigger clubs have replaced their plastic tracks with routed would courses and the big events now being run on wood, the vast majority of clubs in italy still run on plastic track, primarily Ninco. The Brama Slot Club BSC in Perugia is another typical Italian slot car club that races 1/32 scale cars on a 6-lane 36 metre Ninco track. The club track is located in a hobby shop amongst slot cars for sale, planes, ships, drones, games, trains, and even 3D printers! The club has a bar, often serves meals and is open till midnight on Fridays.
PRS is an Italian company producing high-detailed resin slot cars, accessories, rims and tires for 1/32 and 1/24 scale slot cars. The PRS tires are some of the most used in Italy and since 2007, PRS are the official supplier to the Italian Association of Slot tires for classic category. PRS produces a beautiful range of wire wheels and tires for 1/32.
3D and CNC manufacturing continues it's growth in Italy with PRS producing replacement aluminum chassis for Carrera's beautiful 1/32 and 1/24 scale cars. The 1/24 scale chassis requires Scaleauto uprights and motor attachment to complete the chassis while the 1/32 chassis allows the use of a Slot.it motor pod which will greatly improve the performance of the car. PRS supports a series of races (GT ANSI) held at various clubs, one of which is located in Rovigo, just south of Padua. The club was founded in 2006 and currently has around 20 members. They have two tracks available to them, a 4-lane 35 metre wooden track and a 6-lane 67 metre Ninco track. Some of the races are for digital cars using the Oxygen system. Napoli Slot Promotion races:
- GT Ansi
- Gruppo C Slot.it
- GT3 NSR
- Classic NSR
The club has a 6-lane 43 metre Ninco track located in Naples, Italy.
When the Japanese Mabuchi Company made their small electric motors available it transformed the slot car racing hobby. In Japan raceways dotted the country but as the fad began to fade and Mabuchi finally left the hobby all that was left were a few isolated clubs, but the hobby never died in Japan though it may seem invisible to some.
One such club is Team Fox located in the city of Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture on the Ise Bay. The club was founded ten years ago and the 10 friends that belong to it race a eclectic assortment of slot cars, trucks and caravans on their routed wood track. Many of the 1/24 scale slot cars the club races are based upon plastic kit models that are readily available in Japan from several manufacturers including Tamiya, Fujimi and Hasegawa, kits that are also very popular in the United States. Chassis are usually Plafit type metal chassis with sponge rubber tires.
In Tokyo a group of racers led by Haruki Kan decided to race the cars that were used during the late 60s so they started a club racing Retro slot cars and had a Blue King track built by Gary Gerding in 2011. For their rules they chose the popular American IRRA rules. They currently have 45 registered members with around two dozen active racers. The racers at the Retro Tokyo club have also scheduled a number of trips to the United States to race, the last being to the Retro Palooza where 8 of their members were warmly welcomed at the Port Jeff Raceway in New Jersey. One of their members, Koichi Kamoshita has become particularly adept at building custom jewel-like chassis that are in high demand. While the club focuses on Can-AM and F1 during their Sunday race meetings, consideration is given to adding Stock Cars and Can-Am Plus with the first chassis kits for stock cars now being introduced.
Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture is the home to Banpro Project, the manufacturer and distributor of Plafit slot car products. Besides the factory producing the slot car parts the company also maintains a race center that is open to the public as the Plafit Club Course. Yokohama Slot Racing is a 1/32 scale club that runs on a 6-land 34 metre Scalextric track and is also located in Yokohama. Like other raceways, Yokohama also caries RTR Slot Cars and Parts. Racing Paradise Machida is a large commercial raceway that operates as a club selling membership to eager racers. It is located in Machida, Tokyo Prefecture. The club currently has 5 tracks including a dragstrip. The raceway operates a full racing program with 1/24 plastic kit bodies using Plafit type metal chassis being the most popular. One series that the club races is for 1/24 American NASCAR slot cars, with most of the bodies coming from various Japanese plastic model kits of which there is a well kept stock of them at the raceway. The club also maintains a strong relationship with a few 1:1 racing teams and drivers.
Mexico has a number of clubs around Mexico City that focus on 1/32 scale slot cars. Slot Club La Pista which also operates a retail store in the Northern part of the metropolis provides help in designing layouts using the Ninco brand of track. The company are also importers of other major slot car brands into Mexico including Cartrix, MRRC, Slot.it and NSR.
South of Mexico City there is a slot car club called Overspeed while Restaurante Pit's Top with a Formula 1 theme has a slot car track that guests can race on. This would be the place to go during Grand Prix weekend.
CONTINUE TO PART II