Shop   |   Log In   |   Search    
Shop Site

Special Track Layouts For Specific Purposes

December 3, 2010
by  

Not everybody who sets out to build a slot car racing layout wants to duplicate a specific life-sized track in miniature.  Many layout builders have  limitations on the size or shape of the available space and want to maximize lap length within that space.  Others want to build a track with certain racing characteristics regardless of what the course ends up looking like.  Still others are looking for a track design suitable for public participation events, one that is easy to learn to drive and minimizes crashing and car damage.  In the course of advising people on building layouts of various kinds we have come up with a library of track designs adapted for various purposes and in this article we will publish the best of them.

Click on track drawings to see larger images with part numbers.

4×8 Maximizer

4x8Maximizer in Scalextric Sport track

The most basic layout configuration is one using a 4×8 sheet of plywood.  We are frequently asked for a track plan that gets the longest lap length into that space. This is the best 4×8 design we have developed over the years.    It uses all 4 of the curve radii available from Scalextric.   Its average lane length is  just over 30 feet.   This circuit makes an excellent starter layout for beginners of all ages and its track components can all be used in expanding to a larger configuration.

4x8 Maximizer showing possible scenery arrangement

The plan even allows room for some buildings and other scenery touches to increase play value for children and add a more realistic and visually appealing look to the overall layout.  This is a track you can have fun with even if you never expand it beyond this configuration.  Remember also that you can build this layout using the Scalextric Sport Digital system and run up to 6 cars on it, though we think 4 cars might be a more manageable maximum for a layout of this size.

5×9 Maximizers

5x9 Maximizer inScalextric Sport track

Upsizing from a 4×8 sheet of plywood to a 5×9 ping-pong table sheet adds just enough table area to let you get a lot more track into the plan.  This first 5×9 plan is simply the 4×8 Maximizer spread out a bit and lengthened slightly to give a more open design with more room for scenery.    The lap length increases slightly to just over 34 feet.

5x9 Maximizer 2 in Scalextric Sport track

This 5×9 plan takes full advantage of the extra foot of space in each dimension to increase the average lane length to  39 feet.  This would make a good digital track, also.

5x9 Maximizer with overpass in Scalextric Sport track

We’re not great fans of overpasses in slot car layouts due to the sight line and turn marshaling access problems they can cause, but to some hobbyists the equal lane lengths provided by an overpass are very important.  So, here is a 5×9 layout that uses an overpass to achieve equal lane lengths of 40.23 feet.  that’s only about a foot more lane length than the 5×9 Maximizer 2 without overpass above, but it does equalize the lane lengths.  One caveat:  This layout makes fairly extensive use of Radius 1 curves, which makes it more of a track for experts than beginners. We have found over time that beginners and children typically find Rad 1 curves difficult and frustrating, so we try to use them as sparingly as possible, preferably not at all on track plans we publish for the general public.

2010 Race Of Champions track

2010 Race of Champions track in Scalextric Sport track

One of the inherent drawbacks of slot car layouts is that none of them, or very few, ever reach the scale dimensions of a life-sized track.  Even a small road course like Lime Rock, at 1.5 miles, would be 247.5 feet long in 1/32 scale.  This track, however, may actually come pretty close to matching the scale dimensions of its life-sized prototype.

If you’re not familiar with the Race of Champions, it’ an annual event that brings together top-level drivers from major racing series, including Formula One, sports car racing, pro rallying, and even NASCAR to compete two at a time on a course laid out in an enclosed stadium.  The 2010 event was held in a stadium in Dusseldorf, Germany.  We don’t know the length of the course, but at 67 feet our Scalextric Sport model of it scales out to 2144 feet, a little less than half a mile.  That ought to be somewhere close to what can be laid out in a soccer stadium.

The ROC race procedure has the cars starting out from a start/finish line that spans both the inner and outer lops of the track, one on each loop, effectively placing them half a lap apart.  In completing one lap of the course each car will cross the extended start/finish line twice.  A 4-lane lap counter/ timer system will serve to time and count laps with this kind of arrangement, bearing in mind that each car will count twice per lap.  Or, you can have the timing and scoring system counting just on the outer loop and race on this course like any other 2-lane track.  This layout would make a good digital track with ample passing opportunities.  It probably would accommodate the full 6-car field possible with Scalextric’s digital system.  Its 7.5×14.5-foot size makes it fairly compact while leaving lots of room for scenery whether you approach it as a scale stadium-sized track or as a compressed version of a much larger road course.

16×5-foot 4-lane demo track

16x5-foot public demonstration layout in Scalextric Sport track

Another type of track we get inquiries about is one suitable for public participation events such as parties, trade shows, fairs, fund-raisers, school carnivals, church events, and public events of all kinds.  Such a track needs to be easy for a complete beginner to learn to drive and should be designed to be as easy as possible on the cars, minimizing as much as possible both the incidence and consequences of the very frequent crashes that occur at public events.

Members of the Electric Dream Team have done countless events of this kind, and the layout pictured above is one that has served very effectively for several years.  It sets up on four 8-foot by 2.5-foot office tables, a table type available almost anywhere either on-site or for rent. The average lane length is about 36.5 feet, enough to look impressive to non-hobbyists but compact enough for many types of venues.  Al the components to assemble and operate the layout can be carried in 4 or 5 plastic totes and with practice two people can set up the whole thing in not much more than half an hour and take it down in even less time.  This layout uses only Radius 2 and 3 curves, simplifying assembly.

The longest straight (really the only significant straight) has curves leading into and out of it which are configured to slow down the cars enough to mitigate end-of-straightaway crashes.  The rest of the circuit is technical enough to keep the speeds down.  When used with Scalextric super-resistant cars this track design keeps car attrition to a very manageable level.  We have found that most people, even children as young a six, can get the hang of driving this track with only a minute or two of practice, often by simply finding a constant speed at which the car will go around the entire track, yet it is challenging enough that when used by more skilled racers it is still lots of fun.  The layout works equally well in either direction.  Placing  the drivers’ positions along one side of the table and the start/finish line on the other makes directing the racing more efficient because the race director is always facing the drivers and is in the best location to direct their participation.

We will be adding more track layouts to this article as time goes on.  Check back frequently to see new track plans .

If you have questions or comments about anything in this article please send them to support@electricdreams.com.

Need more information about race sets and building track layouts?  Check these articles:

Information for First-Time Race Set Shoppers

Comparing Race Sets and Track Systems

Big Track, Low Cost

Track Power Basics

Scalextric Sport Track: Better Continuity For Better Racing

Famous North American Racing Circuits In Miniature

Comments

4 Responses to “Special Track Layouts For Specific Purposes”
  1. Artice McDowell says:

    Does anyone have the configuration of a 4X8 track for the Strombecker from the 1960′s?

  2. Electric Dream Team says:

    We’re looking… anyone?

  3. Bill Stoffers says:

    these designs look great, but what SIZE track do the represent? I have 1:24 from Carrera. thanks

  4. Alton Lin says:

    Hi the ED Team,

    Your article is very informative. Especially for new players.

    I’d like to run a slot car shop this August in Vancouver, B.C.
    What’s your suggestion about the track layouts.

    I’ll set up two tracks: one for beginners and children (4×8 area); another for adults with some challenge (5×9 area).

    Alton, 604-338-3010

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

1/32 Slot Cars, 1/24 Slot Cars, Vintage Slot Cars, Slot Car Track Sets, Slot Car Accessories and much more!

Slot Cars by Brand: | Scalextric | Pioneer | 1/32 Carrera | 1/24 Carrera | Cartrix | Fly |Revell |
| Ninco | MMK | Proto Slot Kit | NSR | Racer | SCX |1/32 Auto Art | 1/24 Auto Art |
| Sloter | TSRF | Spirit | Dreamslot by Ostorero | Pink Kar | Slot.it |

Vintage Slot Cars by Brand: | AMT | Atlas | Cox | K&B Vintage | Vintage Monogram | MPC |
| MRRC | Vintage Pactra Competition | RehCo | Vintage Revell | Russkit | Vintage Scalextric |
| Strombecker | Testor | Unique |

Slot Car Accessories & More: Parma Slot Car Accessories | Slot Car Race Sets | Slot Car Track and Accessories | Slot Car Power Supplies | Slot Car Controllers |
| Slot Car Kits | Vintage Slot Car Parts | Slot Car Tools | Slot Car Supplies | Slot Car News | Slot Car Reviews | Slot Car Tech Help | Vintage Slot Car News |
| Slot Car Racing | Slot Car Newsletter Archive |