Electric Dreams Slot Car challenge 2 Results
By Philippe de Lespinay, guest driver
December 15, 2009
Electric Dreams owner Scott Bader and I, along with the entire Electric Dream Team, would like to congratulate all the entrants for the quality of preparation of their cars. Indeed, not only did they look nice but there were zero mechanical failures, and other than readjusting a few braided contacts so as to provide positive contact on the Carrera track, there were no adjustments needed.
The track itself is fairly concise but very complete in its design. It has been used in various hobby fairs and demonstration runs. Its lap length is only 28' but it has three different curve radii and fits on a 4' X 8' table. For our testing we used a 14-volt, 1-amp Carrera 1/32 scale power pack. Controllers were Parma 45-ohm with Carrera terminals. The track had outer crash barriers and was cleaned before the event.
Each car was driven for 10 laps to familiarize the driver (Yours Truly) with its specific handling characteristics before going “on the clock”. While there was a fair amount of de-slotting due the difficult task of keeping a consistent form over five minutes on this tight and twisty circuit that requires plenty of constant attention, only a few tenths of a second were lost in each incident due to extremely fast marshaling. In any case, it never determined the finish of one car ahead of another. Magnetic down force was registered for each car, using the Magnet Marshal available through Electric Dreams. Also tested were three stock machines for performance comparison, including a standard, unmodified FLY Starters Porsche GT1 as used by two entrants.
Here are the entries, listed in order of their on-track lap totals with concours and BFB scores.
The winning performance entry was Lee Watson's modified FLY Starters Marcos converted into a roadster. Lee chopped its top and made a nice job of it. It had the best balance between its mild to medium magnetic traction, the motor and gear ratio able to overcome its down force while making its handling sweet and consistent. It also had one of the lowest Magnet Marshal readings. The upgraded Scale-Auto front-mounted motor drove Slot. It gears through a long shaft, and a pair of Slot.It bar magnets was placed just ahead of the rear wheels and on a wider location to allow for drifting, the perfect location for optimum down force. On this car, the Maxxtrac tires worked well. In the five allotted minutes for each lane, it covered 196 laps and a best lap time of 3.26 sec. It was one of the very few entries able to do better on the shorter but challenging inner lane. This car was simply a step above the others, lapping so consistently and so effortlessly that I could actually relax while driving, something a bit difficult with several of the entries that required all my attention. MM reading 283, Concours 6th, BFB 4th.
The second place car, and Bang-for-the-buck winner of Trent Koerner was a modified Joest-Porsche. It used an added Professor Motor traction magnet, Indy Grip tires and an 11-tooth Slot.It pinion that was only placed there because the factory Fly pinion was split. So fair is fair and it has not been added in the total cost. The car ran well and was again an easy driver. However, with its stock motor, it lacked the raw horsepower of the Marcos to win, at least on this track. It covered 186 laps with a best of 3.94 sec., remarkable for a rather lightly modified car. It also had the second highest recorded magnetic down force, but this did not appear to strangle the motor to any great degree. MM reading 651, concours 2nd, BFB 1st.
In third place was the Venturi V6 coupe modified by Alan Wood. This was built regardless of cost as it ended to be the most expensive car entered. It used Slot.It motor, guide and tires as well as an NSR axle kit and Professor Motor magnets, no less that three of them, round and bar. On track, it almost had a perfect balance, that is, until it began drifting, when it lost just enough magnetic traction to go into a snap-over steer. So I had to keep it within its limits, and that cost time, especially on the inner lane where I had to really nurse it. Regardless, it covered 171 laps, but remarkably was only one lap off the first-place car on the outer lane. It lost its chance for second place all on the inner lane that rewarded a judicious location of the rear magnet apparatus. MM reading 389, Concours 10th, BFB 13th.
Fourth place went to another car owned by race winner Lee Watson. This was a Joest-Porsche with minor modifications, including a Slot.It 11T pinion, a pair of FLY magnets and Indy Grip tires. Again, the cost of the replacement pinion will not be counted in the total cost as it appears that several of these models had cracked pinions straight out of the box. Altogether, the car was fine but its balance was marginal and it was simply too loose on the inner lane. Its tires lacked enough grip to overcome a relative lack of magnetic downforce. Nevertheless is ended only 1 lap from also being on the podium, with a best time of 3.76 sec. All in all, quite an achievement for the Watson team effort. MM reading 254, concours 11th, BFB 5th (tie).
Fifth on performance and the winner in concours was the first of three entries built by Kevin Fleming. This Venturi coupe decorated in Tab colors was entered for Lee's wife Brenda, who apparently is one of the diet drink's top customers. The car was named the “Polly Car” as 1/32 scale driver Polly Pocket wore no helmet to avoid disturbing her blond hairdo. Apparently, Polly has great fashion sense, since the car won the Concours, picked as the winner by two out of three judges. The Polly Car registered the highest magnetic down force and indeed was pretty stuck on the track, its stock motor unable to overcome the magnet drag that goes with all that downforce. It never came off, but simply needed more torque to get a higher placing. It managed 169 laps and a best time of 3.77 sec. MM reading 658, concours 1st, BFB 2nd.
Sixth was the Joest-Porsche entered by Brian Winters. It had lots of Slot. It parts, $105.87 worth to be exact. Motor, tires, a floating motor pod beautifully inserted into a finely detailed and cut chassis plate, a twin set of magnets, beautiful workmanship and finish, and fast enough to win‚Ä¶except for one small problem: it simply did not like drifting. And it went from solidly planted to snap over-steer immediately after the magnet gave up any hope of down force with a mild drift angle, then to under-steer that rushed it off the slot. So I had to nurse it, trying to keep as consistent as possible while actuating the controller like 200 times per lap, or so it seemed. In my final conclusion, I will explain why this car could have won, if it was not for a small detail. I tried hard but lost it a total of 3 times, losing ¬æ of a lap in the process. It covered 169 laps, missing equaling the performance of the fifth place by nearly a full lap. MM reading 603, concours 4th, BFB 12th.
Seventh place went to Priestly Mance Jr., who entered a Venturi that only received a tire change, using Maxxtrac M5s. It was also one of the cars with the least amount spent on it, the total cost of modification being $4.79. On track, it simply did not have enough down force, being fast in a straight line but difficult to manage in the corners. I had to drive it quite prudently to keep it from sliding and de-slotting, and lost lots of time doing so. Regardless, it did quite well, achieving 81 laps on the outer lane, compared to the stock, out of the box FLY model that only covered 57 laps on the same lane. Its total of 155 laps is still quite good for so little spent. MM reading 384, Concours 9th, BFB 3rd.
Eighth place was achieved by Trent Koerner's second entry. This Vodafone Joest-Porsche simply would not come off the slot as the controller was stuck in full throttle. Simply too much magnet! It had plenty of good parts, Indy-Grip tires, Slot-It and Professor Motor magnets, Slot.It gears‚Ä¶ and too much down force. It covered 153 laps, slowing down considerably on the inner lane as the minutes went by. MM reading 413, concours 5th, BFB 11th.
Ninth was the second entry by the Fleming family, a nicely painted “Pepsi” Porsche GT1 Evo. Again, very low investment in added parts, only Indy Grip tires and a FLY traction magnet. It drove nicely but was simply too loose for our short track, that demanded a perfect balance between down force and motor speed. The car covered 145 prudent laps as I tried to keep it from flying off (which it did twice). MM reading 239, concours 3rd, BFB 7th (tie)
In tenth was the third entry by Kevin Fleming. This Coca-Cola Porsche GT1 was prepared in the same manner as car # 4, and behaved in the same way. It demanded very careful driving, losing all kinds of time and requiring complete attention. Its very low cost simply was not enough to get it any higher in the race, as it had a tough time on the inner lane despite my trying everything in the book to keep it from de-slotting. I lost it no less than SIX times, but driving slower would not have achieved as many laps, so it was a calculated risk. It worked well enough. MM reading 278, concours 8th, BFB 7th (tie).
Eleventh was the Mike Garcia entry. This “Dukes” Joest-Porsche was nicely turned out and had plenty of aftermarket parts, including a Slot. It motor, SCX wheels, Slot.It tires and a drill-blank rear axle. Only one problem, Mike kept the stock magnet, and the car simply could not be driven fast in corners, as its new tires had not enough mechanical grip to overcome the lack of magnetic downforce. As soon as the car's magnet was a few degrees off the track rails, it spun. Again, careful driving was required to keep it on track and make as many laps as possible, 136 of them to be exact, the car really suffering on the inner lane. MM reading 250, concours 7th, BFB 10th.
Twelfth was the Joest-Porsche (a definite favorite of many entrants) of Voitek Dolinski. This had the least amount invested of all the entries, at a mere total cost of $1.09 over the cost of the model. It drove nicely but its stock tires simply were not up to the task and it slid all over the place. So cruising was necessary simply to keep its stock magnet from being moved off the rails by basic drift. 136 laps were covered, and I lost control a total of 5 times, probably costing it another lap. MM reading 304, concours 13th, BFB 5th.
In thirteenth spot was the entry of Lee Cummings, yet another Joest-Porsche. Maxxtrac tires and a change to Scalextric gears plus a Professor Motor magnet were the only modifications. With the lowest measured down force of all the entries on a track that cried for some, it covered 127 laps. It especially suffered on the inner lane, covering 57 laps in tip-toeing fashion. I concentrated as if I were performing a moon landing. This car was nice enough, but it just needed more downforce. MM reading 201 (lowest in the field) concours 12th, BFB 9th.
Trent Koerner $400
Kevin Fleming $350
Lee Watson $200
Alan Wood $50
Priestly J. Mance $50
by Rex Easley
There isn’t an RTR slot car on the market that doesn’t have a lot of potential for increasing its performance. But where do you start to unlock all that potential? We get a lot of e-mails and phone calls from newcomers to the hobby asking just that question in one form or another. This article will take you through some of the basics of tuning an RTR car for better performance and help answer those questions.
The car we have chosen for this article is the MRRC MC0054 Chaparral 2F. Chaparrals have been popular with slot car racers since the full-sized cars’ glory days in the 60s. They continue to win thousands of new fans each year through their appearances at vintage races. MRRC’s 2F model does a good job of capturing the look and character of the 1:1 scale car and looks good on the track, but it needs some help in the performance department to allow it to race competitively with period-contemporary or near-contemporary cars such as Scalextric’s Ford GT40 and Ferra
ri 330P4 and Fly’s Ford GT40, Lola T70, and Porsche 908 and 917, among others.
The most basic step in tuning any RTR car is to make sure all the parts are fitting properly and moving freely with no binding, rubbing, or misalignment. The crucial areas are the guide and the axle assemblies. The guide should turn freely in its mounting and self-center readily without sticking at its limit of travel in either direction. The axle assemblies should turn freely with no binding or tire rubbing whether traveling in a straight line or cornering. First, make sure the guide and the axle assemblies are snapped all the way into their mountings. It’s not uncommon for the factory workers in Spain, China, or wherever to use a little too much force in screwing the car down to its case and pop an axle assembly out of place. In such cases the axle just needs to be snapped back in. Sometimes excess side-to-side play in an axle assembly can cause a tire to rub in the corners. Som
etimes this can be fixed just by pressing a wheel a little farther onto its axle. In most cases, however, you will need to put one or more spacers on the axle to reduce the slop and keep the tires off the body. Another thing that can cause problems is incorrect installation of some part of the car, such as a headlight bucket or the interior, which may rub on a tire or cause the body to sit incorrectly on the chassis. You may need to correct the fit of the offending part or do a little filing to provide the necessary clearance. Sometimes a lead wire will be caught between the body and chassis, causing the guide not to rotate freely or self-center properly or the body not to sit right on the chassis. Relocating the wire will usually solve the problem.
On our Chaparral everything was in its proper place and moving freely to begin with, so with a drop of oil in each rear axle bushing, motor bushing, and front axle mount the car was ready for its first run on our test track. The test track, by the way, is a 4-lane version of the 2-lane layout we will use in the Electric Dreams Slot Car Challenge #1.
Right from the start the car had good acceleration and top speed but suffered from a major lack of grip in the corners despite its two traction magnets. This is typical of most RTR cars and leads to the first and one of the simplest and most effective performance improvements you can make: sanding the tires. First, use a rubber band to hold the controller trigger on one lane of your track at full throttle. With one hand hold a piece of medium-grit sandpaper on that lane. 150 grit works fine, though you may want to finish the job with a finer grade. With the other hand, place the car on that lane and hold it as shown below. The rear tires will spin on the sandpaper. Keep doing this until the tires are sanded down to the point where the entire width of the tread is making full contact with the track at all points around the circumference of both tires. Since tire tracti
on with any given tire compound is a function of the “contact patch”, that is, the portion of the tire’s tread surface in contact with the track, this maximizes grip. It also makes the tire truer and more concentric for smoother, quieter operation and even lowers the magnet a bit. Before tire truing the best lap time we could make on our 56-foot track was 5.599 seconds. After truing, our best lap time dropped to 4.827 sec. with no other changes. This would prove to be the biggest single improvement of the entire tuning process.
From there we moved on to trying different brands of aftermarket rear tires on the stock wheels, in each case using the tire designated for the car by the tire manufactuer. Here are the results:
Ortmann 28L: 4.701 sec.
Indy Grips IG1009: 4.742 sec.
Maxxtrac M6: 4.554 sec.
After that we loosened each of the three body mount screws about 3/4 of a turn. That allowed the body to “float” a little on its mounts without making it loose enough for anything to rub. It didn’t significantly affect all-out speed for one lap, but it did make the car easier and more consistent to drive over the course of a run. This is something we recommend for any car, as it will yield higher lap totals over the length of a race.
At this point we had explored all the readily available options for getting better grip with tires that would fit the stock wheels. However, MRRC’s Sebring chassis, used on the 2F and many of MRRC’s other cars, leaves plenty of room for wider wheels and tires. The chassis also has lots of clearance underneath on stock-sized tires, so we had some scope to go to smaller-diameter tires at the same time. The stock rear tires, after sanding, were .795″ (20.19mm) in diameter. After a little scrounging around we found original-equipment front and rear axle assemblies for a Slot It Porsche 956. The rear tires were .762″ (19.35mm) in diameter. The Slot It fronts were correspondingly smaller in diameter¬†than the srtock fronts. Best of all the Slot It rears were .395″ wide, more than a third wider than stock. We did not have on hand at the test site a Slot It crown gear small enough in diameter to clear the 2F’s rear magnet so we used a press-on crown from a cannibalized Carrera car we had lying around. This gear not only fit well but gave a smoother gear mesh than the original MRRC gear. We had to shorten the axles slightly to fit the wheels, with their BBS inserts that look almost exactly like the classic Chaparral wheels except for their gold-colored centers, within the car’s width. On the front axle we used a couple of old Scalextric plastic axle bushings as spacers. If you don’t have a junk Slot It car around to pull parts from the Slot It components are all available on our web site under Slot It parts.
With the alternative axle assemblies snapped into place it was back to the test track. Right away our lap times dropped into the 4.2s and we ended up with a best of 4.174. However, with the chassis, and therefore the two magnets, now much lower to the track we were getting so much magnet downforce the car had only one braking point per lap and was bogged down on the straights and perhaps in some of the turns, also. Not much fun to drive, in our opinion, and not good for the motor either. So, we popped out the front magnet and tried again. This time the car was back to being quick in a straight line and much livelier all around. The best lap time improved only slightly to 4.170 sec., so we had clearly lost some speed in the corners as we gained on the straights. However, we were no longer overheating the motor and we had freed the car up to take advantage of the additional quar
ter inch (about 6mm) of available rear tire width on each side. We expect adding wider tires to deliver lap times under 4.0 sec., though we didn’t have an opportunity to explore it before the deadline for this article. Another avenue we didn’t explore was to test Slot It’s other tire compounds for these wheels. That would probably be good for another tenth or two, also.
Our final demon tweak for this session was to replace the stock guide with a Slot It SICH07 guide. Slot It bills this guide as being for routed wood tracks but on this car at least it worked just fine with no trimming on our Sport track. The guide upgrade was a straight swap with no mods needed to either the guide or the chassis. The eyelet connectors on the stock lead wires are a perfectly snug fit in the new guide. With the Slot It guide the ultimate lap times did not change, but again we noticed an improvement in the consistency and drivability of the car. This indicates that the stock guide was doing a pretty good job, but anything that makes the car more drivable will pay dividends over a race or a season, and on cars with less effective stock guides this upgrade can make a
big difference. Depending on the kind of track you run on you may also want to try SICH06 or SICH10.
One good thing about all these changes is that they are all snap-in mods and completely reversible if we want to return the car to stock form. The only fabrication of any kind needed was the shortening of the Slot It axles, and one could probably avoid that simply by buying axles of the proper length to begin with. With these easy changes we took almost 1 1/2 seconds off the car’s lap times and made it a much more consistent and pleasant car to drive. You can use these modifications to make your car faster for all-out competition or you can use some combination of them to tune your car to a desired performance level and equalize its performance with other cars you would like to race it with. The techniques described in this article can be applied successfully to almost any RTR car in your collection.
ELECTRIC DREAMS ANNOUNCES SLOT CAR CHALLENGE #1
Electric Dreams, one of America’s largest Internet slot car dealers, is pleased to announce the first of a new series of mail-in slot car competition events, the Electric Dreams Slot Car Challenge #1.
The event will be a competition for Fly E1801 Ferrari 250 GTO models built to a very liberal set of rules. With very few restrictions, almost any part of the car can be replaced or modified. There will be three separate competitions within the event:
Concours: The cars will be judged on overall appearance and quality of workmanship.
All-out performance: The cars will be run one at a time for two 5-minute runs on a Scalextric Sport track layout to be constructed for the event. The car with the highest lap total for the 10 minutes wins. It will not be a race, since there will only be one car on the track at a time, but will be like a car magazine comparison test in which the cars of many different tuners are tested individually to see who has built the best-performing car.
Bang For The Buck Prize: The winner will be the car determined to have achieved the best combination of a high lap total, low cost, and fewest and simplest modifications.
In each of these three competitions we will award prizes of $200 for first place, $100 for second, and $50 for third. Any entrant who can sweep all three can win a cool $600.
The contest begins April 3, 2009. All entries must be received at Electric Dreams by the close of business on July 10, 2009. The contest will be concluded and the cars on their way back to their owners by July 31, 2009.
“I’m excited about this contest,” Scott Bader, owner of Electric Dreams, commented, “because it gives slot car hobbyists with lots of different skills, interests, and budgets a good chance to win at least one of the three competitions.”
To make the contest as affordable as possible Electric Dreams is offering the Fly E1801 Ferrari 250 GTO at a special price of $39.95 for the duration of the contest or until supplies run out.
Electric Dreams Slot Car Challenge #1
Official Rules, Contest Instructions, and Information
¬¨¬®¬¨¬Æ‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö‚Ä†‚àö' Performance: The car with the highest lap total for two 5-minute runs wins.
¬¨¬®¬¨¬Æ‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö‚Ä†‚àö' Concours: The car judged to have the best overall appearance and quality of workmanship will be the winner.
¬¨¬®¬¨¬Æ‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö‚Ä†‚àö' Bang For The Buck Prize: This one goes to the car that gets the highest on-track performance at the lowest cost with the fewest and simplest modifications.
2. All cars entered must be built from a Fly E1801 car purchased from Electric Dreams during the period of the contest, which will be from April 3, 2009 to July 10, 2009. The official entry form and other paperwork for the contest will be sent with the car. Entry is free; there is no entry fee. However, you must purchase from Electric Dreams one Fly E1801 car for each car you enter in the contest. The number of entries is limited to the number of Fly E1801 cars in stock at Electric Dreams.
3. The original Fly E1801 chassis, body, windows, driver figure, and interior tub must be used but may be modified. The original wheelbase and guide lead (distance from center of rear axle to center of guide post) must remain unchanged. Only one guide is allowed but any guide may be used. Anything else may be changed. See section 5 for limitations.
4. The body must completely cover the chassis, wheels, and tires when viewed from directly above. No part of the car may be more than 2.375″ (60.325mm) wide. No part of the chassis may be visible through the cockpit (interior) of the car.
5. All parts used to modify the car must be available from Electric Dreams and must be listed on the official entry form along with their retail prices from the Electric Dreams web site. (NOTE: You do not have to buy the parts, other than the car itself, from Electric Dreams; they just have to be for sale on our web site and listed on the entry form at our retail prices.) Basic materials used, such as paint, glue, body putty, and sheet plastic do not have to be listed on the entry form and do not have to be available from Electric Dreams.
EXCEPTION: FOR THIS CONTEST THE USE OF NSR PARTS IS NOT ALLOWED. Please see the Official Contest Instructions and Information below for the reason why.
6. Each car entered must be sent with its completed official entry form and list of modifications to Electric Dreams at the address listed in the Contest Instructions and must be received no later than the close of business on July 10, 2009.
7. Upon arrival at the contest site each car will be carefully inspected and all modifications noted. The total cost of the car will be verified. The cars will be judged on appearance and workmanship and the Concours winner will be determined.
8. An experienced driver will drive each car for two 5-minute test runs on different lanes. The test drivers will be aiming for consistency over the entire run rather than the absolute fastest time for any one lap. The total number of laps completed will be recorded and the winner of the Performance competition will be determined.
9. Each car, along with its lap total, will be evaluated by one or more expert members of the Electric Dream Team to identify the winner of the Bang For The Buck Prize. The winner will be the car determined to have achieved the best combination of a high lap total, low cost, and fewest and simplest modifications.
10. The test drivers, judges, and evaluators will not be aware of the entrants’ identities. They will be given only the car and a corresponding assigned ID number.
11. Electric Dreams reserves the right to use images and descriptions of all entries for promotional purposes.
Contest Instructions and Information:
Thanks for entering the Electric Dreams Slot Car Challenge. We want you to have the best possible chance of winning, so please read these instructions and other information carefully.
The basic idea
The vehicle we have chosen for the three competitions is the Fly E1801 Ferrari 250 GTO. The object is not just to build the fastest car you can. There will actually be three separate competitions. One will be a concours competition in which all cars will be judged on appearance and workmanship. Another is for all-out performance – the car with the highest lap total wins. There will also be a competition, called the Bang For The Buck Prize (BFB), to build the fastest car with the fewest, simplest, and least expensive modifications.
This event will not be a true race, since only one car will be on the track at a time. Think of it as being like a car magazine comparison test in which you are a “tuner” and your car is tested individually against those of your competitors under the most controlled conditions possible.
With very few restrictions you can change as much or as little on the car as you want (see the rules for specifics). You can even enter a box-stock car if you think that will be the winning combination.
Concours: 1st place $200 2nd place $100 3rd place $50
Performance: 1st place $200 2nd place $100 3rd place $50
Bang For The Buck Prize: 1st place $200 2nd place $100 3rd place $50
1. Send your entry to:
3321 Jack Northrop Avenue, Bldg. 3-70
Hawthorne, CA 90250
2. Be sure to pack your car carefully with lots of packing material around it. Electric Dreams cannot be responsible for damage in shipping and besides, you’d really hate to put all that work into your car and then have it crushed by the postal system.
Please do not put your car in a plastic case for shipping. This increases the size and weight of the box needed to ship it in, and the case is much more likely to be damaged than the car is.
3. Be sure to put your filled-out Official Entry Form and List of Modifications In the box with your car. We can’t do anything without them.
4. Remember that your car has to be received by us before the entry deadline, so be sure to mail it out in plenty of time to get here by July 10.
5. The testing will be completed and the cars will be in the mail back to their owners by July 31, 2009.
The test track
The track we will use for this competition is a Scalextric Sport track with a lap length of approximately 56 feet (17m). The longest straightaway has a length of 15.5 feet (4.724m). The track has no radius 1 curves and only a few radius 4s. Each lane is powered separately by one stock Scalextric power supply via a stock power base. The track is equipped with Parma 45-ohm controllers, which will be used for all testing. Motor, magnet, and gearing choices should be made with these constraints in mind.
The track will be thoroughly cleaned before the beginning of testing and will be cleaned as needed as testing goes on to maintain the most consistent possible track conditions. Lap counting will be done with a DS timing and scoring system.
Each car entered will be judged for overall appearance and quality of workmanship. The cars will be judged while sitting on a piece of track. Any parts of the car not visible when sitting on the track will not be considered in the concours judging. Concours judging will be for appearance and workmanship only, regardless of performance, cost or complexity/simplicity.
Two 5-minute test runs, one on each lane, will determine the performance winner. The car with the highest lap total wins, regardless of any other factors.
Bang For The Buck Prize
Each car will be evaluated by the number, complexity, and cost of the modifications done to it as well as the level of skill required to do them. Cost and complexity will be considered separately. The cost of the parts used does not affect the evaluation of complexity. For instance, snapping in a $30 hopup motor would have the same complexity as snapping in a $15 motor, so both would be evaluated the same for complexity even though they raise the cost by different amounts.
Only modifications affecting on-track performance will be considered. Work done only to improve the car’s appearance for the concours competition will not affect the BFB evaluation.
Every part you change will raise your cost and every modification you make will reduce the simplicity of your car and your chances of winning the BFB. This means you will have to decide whether this set of aluminum wheels or that change in the location of the traction magnet will generate enough additional laps to make up for the extra cost and/or complexity they add to the car.
If you can make one modification serve two purposes you will be ahead of the game. For instance, if you put a set of silicone tires on the car, that will increase grip for faster cornering. If you can find a set of tires that also is a bit smaller in diameter than stock you can get the whole back of the car, including the traction magnet, closer to the track for even more grip, but that set of tires is still just one modification. But be careful you don’t get that magnet down too low, or you’ll end up with enough magnet drag on the straights to kill any gains you made in the corners. You will be making tradeoffs like this throughout the process of creating your entry for this contest.
The testing procedure
1. Each car will be inspected to ensure that it has not been damaged or otherwise adversely affected in shipping. If we detect any shipping damage we will notify the entrant immediately.
2. Each car’s tires will be cleaned thoroughly to ensure that there is no dust or other foreign substances on them. Each car will be given a short shakedown drive to ensure that it is running and to detect any problems that might cause damage to the car or the track during the official testing. The braid will be adjusted for proper contact with the track if needed following the shakedown drive. The car will then go directly to testing and no further work will be performed on it during the test.
3. Each car will be driven for 5 minutes on one lane then moved to the second lane and immediately driven for another 5 minutes. The test driver’s assignment will be to drive each car as fast as it can be driven consistently with deslotting kept to a minimum. There will be turn marshals. Sustained endurance for 10 minutes is part of the challenge. We will keep driving a car as long as it runs at all. If it quits running for any reason during the test it will be taken off the track and its lap total to that point will be its total for the test. Each car will be sent back to its owner in the same condition in which it left the track.
Keep in mind that the test driver will have driven your car only a few laps before the beginning of its official test runs. The easier and more forgiving your car is to drive fast the better it’s likely to do in the competition. (Hint: a car that tends to slide at the limit of adhesion will be a more drivable car than one that tilts.)
Q and A
Q. Why are you running the competition this way instead of as a typical proxy race?
A. There are several reasons.
¬¨¬®¬¨¬Æ‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö‚Ä†‚àö' There will be less chance of damaging the cars
¬¨¬®¬¨¬Æ‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö‚Ä†‚àö' We can control the conditions more precisely.
¬¨¬®¬¨¬Æ‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö‚Ä†‚àö' It takes fewer people to run it this way.
Q. Why the stock power packs and low-end 45-ohm aftermarket controllers?
A. This is the combination used by a very large proportion of our customers and it’s affordable enough that almost anyone can test their entry with it before sending it in. If we used expensive power supplies and controllers the relatively few people who have them on their tracks would have a big advantage. Also, one of the aims of this contest is to discover easy, low-cost speed secrets that even someone on a tight budget can afford to use.
Q. Why a Scalextric track?
A. Scalextric is the brand we sell the most of by a wide margin. Also, we have a really nice Scalextric layout available for the track testing. Future Slot Car Challenges may use different tracks.
Q. Why are you allowing magnets?
A. Most of our customers race on plastic track with magnets. Also, magnet racing allows the use of a much wider variety of parts including many less expensive parts than non-magnet racing and makes keeping the cars close to stock a more viable option, especially with a front-motor car like the Fly GTO.
A. We wanted a car that is not, relatively speaking, a great performer to begin with and has lots of potential for improvement. We also like the idea of seeing what people will do to overcome the drawbacks of the front-motor layout and a relatively bland livery. Will anybody take the plunge and move the motor aft? And, as you might have guessed, we have a supply of them on hand that we can afford to sell at a low price to make the contest as affordable as possible. By the way, don’t forget that the number of entries is limited to the number of these cars on hand at Electric Dreams, so order your car early to be sure of getting an entry.
Q. Will my track test scores affect my concours placing?
A. No. They are completely separate. The concours judging will be concerned only with the appearance and workmanship of the cars without regard to performance, cost, or simplicity/complexity. If you want you can enter two cars, one optimized to win on performance and one just to win concours, or even one for each of the three parts of the contest. Bear in mind, however, that all cars entered must be purchased from Electric Dreams during the contest and each one will go through all parts of the competition.
Q. Why limit the parts that can be used to what Electric Dreams stocks?
A. First, it levels the playing field by preventing the use of exotic or even one-off parts from obscure sources that are not readily available to all entrants. (Yes, we know there may be parts you would like to use from product lines we don’t carry, but this is the most practical and workable place to draw the line.) Second, it enables us to use our own web site as the authoritative standard for establishing the prices of items used in the contest. As pointed out already, you don’t have to buy the parts (except the car itself) from us, but you do have to list the parts you used at our prices, regardless of what you paid for them. This provides a uniform standard of comparison for all entries.
Q. Why are you banning NSR parts?
A. Only because the supply of them is so chronically sparse and erratic at present. So many of them are out of stock at any time and likely to remain that way for the duration of the contest that they create a situation in which somebody who just happens to have a certain part already might be the only one able to use it while it is unavailable to other entrants. If the NSR parts supply situation improves we will allow them where appropriate in future contests.
Q. Can I use my own unique performance parts that I make myself?
A. For this contest, at least, no. All performance-related parts used on your car must be available through the Electric Dreams web site. If we allowed one-off custom-made parts, people with high-level industrial skills and equipment would have an overwhelming advantage.
Q. I have other questions. Where can I get them answered?
We will post answers as quickly as possible.