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 chassied LMP racing in Germany and 1/32 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 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 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.
Argentina finds itself linked to Brazil when it comes to matters involving slot cars with competition across the border between their respective clubs a constant occurrence.
The racing most favored in Argentina is USRA type Euro C-12 Scale and Grp 27 Wing Cars, the scale moniker being relative with high downforce lexan LMP bodies the norm.
Some of the top clubs or Automodelismo are the Haedo Ring in Buenos Aires, Circuito Fuego Slot, Danger Quattro in Buenos Aires, Alta Gracia Slot in Alta Gracia, Mendoza Slot in Mendoza and Argentina Slot in Cordoba. Argentina Slot has a 6-lane Blue King and operates a retail business as well.
The American slot car racer would sell 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 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..
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)
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 moulds. The Klasse 1 series for Belgium is held amongst four clubs including the Slot Racing Club Seraing which was inaugurated in 2010. The club has a 36 meter 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 meter 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 meter Fleischmann track, Slotracing Merlijn near Brussels on their 8-lane routed wood track and Speedlines Slotracing Club.
Slot Racer Leuven (SRL) is located in the city of Leuven near Brussels. The club races on a 27 meter 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 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.
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 meter routed wood track. The raceway 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 National Professional Racers Association (NPRA) is Brazil's slot car organizing body.
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 the world record of 1.386 was set by Peter Krcil in 2015 and the other is the Slot Racing Center Lustenice, located 35 km North East of Prague with their 4-lane 22 meter 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!
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, simi liar 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 te 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.
The Slot Racing Club de Bordeaux was founded in 1980 and host 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 even where the cars are judged both on appearance and race results in a combined score.
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 meter 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 Gaul Slot Club is installed in Royat near Clermont-Ferrand since September 2008. The club has a 30 meter four-lane Carrera track more than 30 meters long, equipped with the Davic digital system. In November of last year it hosted the French National Championship for 1/32 Digital Cars - Final. Dijon Racing Slot, a club in Dijon has 3 track for their racers to choose from. One 6-Lane 35 meter Ninco track and two custom Scalextric rally tracks. The focus is on 1/32 scale slot cars including some fantastic scratch-built vintage cars.
Sadly for Wing Car racers in France there are no tracks suitable for them to race their cars forcing them to race 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 meter 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 meter routed wood track and a 35 meter 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.
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)
Founded in 2008, The Slot Am Ring built the Renncenter Hockenheim. In May 2008, a 37-meter-long Carrera and a 24-meter-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 meter 6-lane Carrera track and a 5-lane 47.5 meter routed wood track. Slot Arena Berlin is a Club that races on two Carrera tracks (40/25 meters) 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 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.
Model Drome near Milan attempts to combine Slot Cars, Drones and VR Sim racing in one facility, with Drone Racing catching fire. Biella Slot Rally Club in Biella, Italy beside pruning 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 meter 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 Italian manufacturers and 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.
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.
Recently PRS began 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.
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 on their routed wood track. Many of the 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.
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 Port Jeff in New Jersey. One of their members, Koichi Kamoshita has become particularly adept at building custom 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.
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 Scalextric track and is also located in Yokohama.
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.
Slipstream Slotcar Racing in Zwaanshoek, The Netherlands has a 6-lane wooden track as well as a future rally track. Slipstream currently runs about a dozen classes including two that involve the old slot cars from the German Model Railroad company, Fleischmann. Other classes is for VW Buses with small trailers and the well loved Ninco Classics.
Slipstream also takes part in the Techno Challenge by Techport. Techport is the name of the region where the focus is on the energy, offshore, manufacturing and top sector high tech systems & materials sectors. The core of Techport is in the IJmond (The IJmond region consists of the municipalities: Beverwijk, Heemskerk and Velsen), but the focus is on cooperation with all parties in the Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam and North Holland that are active in these sectors. From the Techport region, companies, schools and governments work together to innovate and implement the Technology Pact NH.
The Slot Car Challenge is a program where students collaborate intensively. As a team they face the teams of classmates in an exciting competition with electrically powered slot cars on a model race course. During the Slot Car Challenge, control, patience and performance are central. That only works if all team members do their job well: the focus is on collaborations. The students fulfill the role of team leader, driver, mechanic and job officer. This makes it clear what the students like and what they are good at. They discover their talents, learn to consult, listen and learn to adapt to changing circumstances. The students build the final car, race the car and make a pit stop during the race to change the tires. The team that best shares the tasks and manages the nerves under high stress wins. Especially for boys this is a real challenge. The experience teaches that girls usually go home with the main prize!
X12 Wing Car racers in Holland can travel to Uden and the Mini Racing Team Uden (MRTU) to race their cars on the club's 8-land Blue King, the only king track in The Netherlands. The club also has a Ninco track and a 6-lane 32 meter routed wood flat track suitable for Eurosport and other 1/24 slot cars. The club also organizes a Youth League of racers with the local schools. One of the major series that the club is involved in is the Lowlands Trophy where the competition involves 2-man teams from clubs in Belgium, Germany as well as the Netherlands. The GT12 Cup involves racers from The Netherlands and Germany. Note that most club races are done using the "Dutch" system which does not use qualification for heat assignment but assignment are done randomly by the computer.
While New Zealand no longer has any commercial raceways, it does have a national organization, the New Zealand Slot Car Association and a number of clubs throughout the country. The NZSCA holds several national championships including:
- RTR National Championships
- For 1/32 plastic body/chassis cars that are basically ready-to-run with minor tuning.
- Slot-it Group C
- NSR Classics
- Muscle Car
- 1/32 National Championships - Lexan bodies
- Grp 3 Flexi Chassis
- Grp 2 Open Chassis with FK Motor
- Grp 1 Open Chassis with G12/25 or Open Motor
- 1/24 National Championships - Metal Chassis with various motors
- GTP – High downforce body with long side plates. Open or closed cockpit sports cars.
- LMP – Lower downforce body with short side plates. Open or closed cockpit sports cars.
- Classic and Can Am – Low downforce ‘scale’ body.
- Eurosport – G12 and Open classes
- Wing Cars - G12/15 Motor
- 1/32 RTR Team 12-hr Endurance
- 1/24 Team 12-hr Endurance
One of the premier clubs in New Zealand is the Wellington Slot Car Club located in Porirua about 18 km north of Wellington on the North Island. The club's main track is a 6-lane 54 meter wooden slot car track at 12.5 Volts. This new layout was built between March and April 2012 after the club moved to the Porirua premises from their old Ten Pin Bowling Site in Petone.
The club races both 1/32 and 1/24 scale cars including Wing Cars and Eurosport. The club will play host to both the 1/32 and 1/24 National Championships in 2017.
In 1962 in the heydays of slot car racing the Henderson Miniature Motor Racing Club was founded. The first clubrooms were an old barn in the suburb of Swanson in Auckland. Today the club races on a 6-lane 30.5 meter wooden track as well as a dragstrip. The Christchurch Slot Car Club has a new 4-lane 55.2 meter routed wood track to race on. The Pitlane Slot Car Club in Dunedin, 2360 km south of Christchurch on the East Coast of the South Island focus on 1/32 racing on their 6-lane 32 meter wooden track.
When discussing slot car racing in New Zealand, we would be remiss if we did not mention John Warren, probably one of the best resin body fabricators currently working when he's not teaching school. Most of John's work is from masters provided by diecast, kit, old slot bodies or by clients. Those that wish to purchase a body should contact John directly through his FB account for his latest stock list.
Askar Mini Racing Club has been in existence for 30 years and races BoxStock, Flexi Saloon (ISRA Production 24) and Flexi Sport/GT on a Hasse built 155' Blue King. Askar being relatively close to Sweden finds itself crossing the border often for inter-club racers.
Damstredet Racing in Oslo Norway has five track and a small Formula 1 slot car museum with many of the cars depicting Ronnie Peterson. The club has been going on since 2003
and Damstredet sports team was officially
established (with the local government) on 11 September 2008. When the members are not racing they compete in running including several marathons, definitely not something you would expect from most American slot car racers.
The 2018 Nordic Endurance Championship is scheduled to be held in January at Trondheim, Norway. This event is for 1/24 Scaleauto cars and is rotated between Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. The race last 6 hours and each country can send two teams 3-4 members to compete in the race. As with most Scaleauto races the cars are mostly stock with hand-out tires. All cars will have their motors checked permitting 7230 rpm measured on the rear wheels with no load.
Like Spain, there is no national slot car organization and rules are set either by the sponsoring manufacturer or the local club. Major clubs include GSC - Guimarães Slot Clube, Slot Clube do Porto, GTTeam ART Slot Clube, Open Slot Arrábida 2017/18 and Aeslotclub Slot. Even without a national organization inter club racing takes place in several series. Azislot is another club that races both circuit and rally on a pair of Ninco tracks.
Most racing is focused on 1/32 scale racing on Ninco and Carrera track. Raid and rally racing is very popular in Portugal and slot cars of this type on rally tracks is raced by several clubs. The cars feature suspension, drop arms and four-wheel drives., rally and raid cars on Ninco track. Popular slot car brands raced are Ninco, NSR, Scaleauto, Slot.it, Black Arrow, Arrow Slot and Thunderslot.
Olifer Racing was founded in the late seventies as a slot race team, participating in hundreds of competitions in Portugal and abroad.
Now run by second-generation racers, Olifer is a taking advantage of modern technology with a range of 3D printed slot car chassis and motor mounts, compatible with several brands including Scalextric, Ninco, Fly and Avant Slot
In Russia slot cars racing is actually an officially sanctioned course of study for school age children as "Young Engineers" where they learn how to build cars from scratch using bench top drills, milling machines and lathes to build everything including the chassis, motor, wheels and gears. In images of slot car races in Russia you are struck by the young age of the competitors.
There is a reason for this, all clubs in Russia are operated as a government entity for children under 18. Adults who wish to partake in the hobby must stay more or less under the radar and for any serious competition must travel outside the former Soviet Union. The clubs are managed by an adult instructor that receives a government salary. In St Petersburg there are 7 of thee types of clubs and countless others dot the Russian countryside.
These building skills will stay with the student for a lifetime and if they choose to stay in the hobby they tend to gravitate to the fastest cars in the hobby which are wing cars and Eurosport. There does not seem to be much of a market for hard body cars with the vast majority following the ISRA rule set with 5 classes being the most popular.
- Eurosport 24
- Eurosport 32
- Formula 1 32
- Production 24
- Production 32
There has also been a Russian National Championship for the last 20 years. Other important races are the White Nights Tournament and the Russia Cup.
The South African Model Car Association (SAMCA) founded in 1963 is the primary slot car organization in South Africa with a National Championship race held every year with rounds 3-4 to be held at the Cambridge Slot Car Club in Cape Town.
One of South Africa's oldest established Slot Car clubs dating back more than forty years, the East London Slot Car Club (ELSCC) caters for all ages as we meet every Thursday to race a variety of model Slot Cars classes on their permanently 6-lane 42 metre wood track. Another old time slot car club is located in Durban, the Ecurie Elite Slot Car Club that has been around since 1963 and has a 6-lane wooden track at their disposal.
Without a strong national organization Spain looks to the manufacturer or hosting club to provide any rule set with some clubs incorporating German rules. !/32 like most countries in Western Europe out numbers 1/24 in terms of racers, with 1/24 scale activities concentrated in 1/24 Scaleauto GT3 and to a lesser extent Production16 (lexan) and LMP (Metal/Carbon) chassis.
If there is one city that could be called the epicenter for all things slot car racing that city would be Barcelona in Spain with 6 raceways within a 30km radius and the largest slot car shop in the world in Cric Crac. The Basas family also own Scaleauto, build routed slot car tracks as well as run a thriving distribution business, IBB Auto Racing.. Barcelona is also the home to Ninco, which seems to be moving away from slot cars and Scaleauto a leading manufacturer of 1/32 and 1/24 Scale slot cars. It is their 1/24 GT3 cars that are raced in Spain and all over Europe. Scaleauto sponsors huge endurance races with 100+ entrants.
Located in Igualada, Spain, ICAR Indoor Slot Racing started out as an RC club but has since converted 100% to slot cars with a membership of over two dozen racers the club maintains an active racing schedule on their two large routed tracks. This schedule includes races for Klasse 1 (Formula 1), cars, 1/24 Scaleauto, 1/24 Production16 (Flexi Cars), LeMans Series, GT Pro and Group C Legends.
Another prominent club also in Igualada is Tim Comarca, founded in 2006. The name Tim Comarca actually refers to a region (though none in particular) and not the name of a person. The club has a beautiful Ivan Basas designed, CNC routed wood track and has started to use German rules with one of the most popular series being the GT Pro series but the club also races the "Danish Style" Retro F1 cars as popularized by Niels Elmholt Christensen. Recently the club started racing trucks as introduced by German racer Andy Pregler. Truck racing in Europe is quite a bit different that the NASCAR Truck series in the US with actual trucks being used.
Spain has a number of companies creating after market parts for the slot car hobby but RC manufactures have for the most part stayed away. Technical Racing Products (TRP) an RC specialist has produced a a chassis that will work with Kyosho's 1/28 MiniZ RC cars. The chassis built in Spain is being marketed under their GroupZ label.
Minibólidos Chamartíin is located in Madrid Spain has been in existence for 15 years with four tracks including one of the first BLST tracks in a club setting. The BLST or “Best Lane Slot Track” is a digital slot car track that automatically selects the best racing line.
Built in France by its inventor David Caille these BLST circuits incorporate an anti-collision system, a computerized race management system that allows the car to automatically switch lanes, refueling management with pit stops, safety cars and self-driving "ghost" cars. The club with about 17 active racers compete in a variety of 1/32 and 1/24 scale classes including GT/GTP/LMP, Digital Group C, 1/24 Scaleauto, Group 5, Ninco GT, 1/24 Muscle Cars and Classic Le Mans.
A new track inaugurated on the 17th of June 2017 is said to be the largest track in Spain. The 6-lane track at the Center de Modelisme de Les Franqueses located in Barcelona is more than 60 meters with a main straight of 13 meters. The club originally focused on RC Cars but in 2004 that focus switched to slot cars. The club with more than 100 members races many different categories including 1/32-1/24 Rally; 1/32 GT, LMP, Classics, Trucks, 1/24 GT Scaleauto , Classics, Group C and 1/28 Mini Z. For Raid and Andros ice racing the club uses flour to simulate the real conditions of snow or desert sand.
In Sweden there is a sister organization to the Danish DMRU called "sveslot" the Swedish Slot Racing Association, formed on 1 December 2002 to cover slot car racing or miniracing as it is called in Sweden. Traditionally the Danes have raced a lot with the Swedes, especially the clubs that are just a few miles from Sweden.
Races are also held at regular intervals between clubs in Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
Sveslot organizes a number of series including:
Serie Öst 2017
Sveslot also supports scale racing with the BCC and the Scaleauto Cup. The rule sets currently used include Slot-Z, Scandinavian Slot Classic (SCC), Scaleauto and the Scaleauto Nordic Championships which was held in Sweden in 2015 and scheduled for Norway in 2018.
Some prominent clubs include the Malmo Slot Racing Club which will host the North European Championship and the Scandinavian Masters. The track hosted the ISRA Worlds 2012. Önneköps MRK is one of Sweden's oldest yet active slot racing clubs having been founded in 1963. Unfortunately the club is no longer active and the title has gone over to Go-69.
The GO-69 in Partille, Sweden has as its name the abbreviation of "Gothenburg 1969" which is the place and the year when the club was formed. The Club organizes regular competitions in all formats and several of the club's approximately 25 members also go around and compete, both domestically and internationally. The club is home to the Gothenburg 1000 which has been run every year since 1972, and almost always on the first weekend in December. The race is for Production24, Open12 and Eurosport 24 slot cars, with entrants from Denmark, Finland , Norway, Sweden and the UK.
Slot car racing in the Ukraine is similar to the racing scene in Russia which is what one would expect with a focus on racing ISRA classes. In 2013 Kiev served as the site for the ISAR World Championships. Like Russia, slot car racing is thought of as a useful tool to teach young technicians in the Ukraine and many of their clubs are geared to children both young and old. Ukrainian Model Auto Sports (UFAMS) is the National Organization that used to organize slot car racing in the Ukraine but it has shifted it's attention to RC cars.
Prominent clubs in the Ukraine include Valico, KPDU and SFERA. The Ukraine has built a solid reputation for electronics in the amateur radio hobby and S&K, a manufacturer of slot car parts including gears, controllers, tire truers and power supplies continues that trend. The company located in Kiev maintains their own club track while S&K's controllers have been especially well received. Slot Racing Ukraine is another manufacturer of slot racing parts, producing power supplies..
The United Kingdom where modern day slot cars were invented maintains a strong national racing calendar with races conducted all over the country. There is one major organization, the British Slot Car Racing Association (BSCRA) has been organizing a National Championship since 1964. The BSCRA organized five main series with multiple classes under each series. These series: British Open Championship (BOC), Southern 32, British Slotracing League (BSL), Pro Am and the British Wingcar Championship. Additionally there are two rule making groups that have created rule sets that are available free for clubs to run under and useful for inter-club events. These are the United Kingdom Retro Racing Association (UKRRA) which runs a British version of the American D3 rules as well as the Tottenham Open and the Classic Slot Car Racing Association (CSCRA) for hardbody racing in both 1/32 and 1/24 though the smaller scale is much more popular.
In 2016 The Digital Slot Car Association (DiSCA) ran two events using pop-up digital slot car racing circuits at popular UK club venues. The events were well received, and in response to the enthusiasm for our GT3 formula we are pleased to announce three dates for the forthcoming season.
One of the largest slot car retailers Pendle Slot Racing serves the British public as well as the entire slot car world with an extensive online business. Founded in 1993 by Sean Fothersgill Pendle operates out of its facility at Lomeshaye Industrial Estate, Nelson, where it also maintains a custom 115ft, 5 lane MDF track for club gatherings. In 1999 the firm launched its first website. Pendle supports various events including sponsoring the Slot.it Digital Le Mans 24hrs race held in Henley-in-Arden and the annual UK Slot Car festival. Another premier online retailer is AB Slotsport that serves an international clientele with the latest slot car equipment.
England has many famous clubs, chief amongst these is the North London Society of Model Engineers (NLSME) was founded in 1944 and where the earliest diesel rail cars, forerunners to modern day slot cars were first demonstrated. The aim in which the Society was originally founded still remains today, and that is to promote and encourage model engineering and its related pastimes.
The NLSME has an active membership that has steadily grown over the 69 years that the Society has been in existence and the society has established different sections for Locomotive, Stationary Steam & Traction Engines,
OO & O Railways,
North American HO Railroad, Marine, Video, Junior, Garden Railway and
Ground Level Railway. While the slot car section holds many races the club is still dominated by the model railroaders.
The Rockingham Slot Car Club track, a 117-foot six-lane braided wooden track with a smooth gloss painted surface is designed for BSCRA-type 1/32 - 1/24 and UKRRA Retro 1/24 racing. Race control is through the latest version of the SlotMaster race management system. Controllers are connected through the usual BSCRA 3-pin 2 amp plugs that are standard in UK slot racing clubs. Oaklands Park Model Car Club, is the oldest slot car club in England, which would make them the oldest club in the world. Raceway 81 is the new home of the Newcastle Slot Car Racing Club, originally formed in 1990. Skyline Raceway in Essex has a new 6 lane routed wood track that will allow it to run anything from 1/32 hard body cars to BSCRA 1/24 Wing Cars. Viking Scalextric and Slot Car Club in Kent was launched in 1997 and races on a 6-lane 140 foot Scalextric Sport Track where they race 1/32 hard body cars. Scalextric, a name synonymous with slot cars no longer organizes a National Championship though many clubs base their racing activities on the plastic cars and those of Pioneer. Most of these clubs racing Scalextric also run on plastic Ninco or Scalextric track. In addition to Scalextric, the Italian company NSR promotes a national championship around their GT3 cars. Interestingly Scaleauto which runs 1/24 series and Slot.it with their Group C which are raced all over the world have not made a large impact on the UK market.
They toil away in a dozen workshop in England producing replicas of cars that have not seen a racetrack except for vintage events for the last half century. These are resin body builders in the image of master "panel beaters" that includes Penelope Pitlane, Pre-Wing, and George Turner. At his workshop in Twickenham there resides a violin maker and restorer by the name of John Dilworth who when not working with his musical instruments produces vintage vac-formed bodies of 0.5mm PETG for slot car racers, but don't look for a website or online store because John does not maintain a standing inventory and most of his bodies are produced upon request. With many of his bodies not available through nay other source John provides a critical service to those that want clear but scale appearing bodies.
Handbuilt resin or wood bodied cars are raced at special events such as the Wolverhampton Slot Car Club's Early Birds Race for vintage scratchbuilt Grand Prix and Formula 1 cars. Another club that still finds the times in their busy racing schedule to race vintage slot cars is the Southend Slot Racing Club in Bowers Gifford, a small village in southern Essex where they race mostly 1/32 scale cars including Pre-67 front engine GT/Sports cars as produced by Ninco, Carrera and Revell, Early Birds (F1 and GP) and pre-1977, 4-seater European, Japanese or American saloons, which are race converted hard top passenger cars.