Electric Dreams Slot Car Challenge #2
Official Rules, Contest Instructions, and Information
1. The object of this contest will be to build a Fly Starters car to win one or more of these three competitions:
Performance:¬†The car with the highest lap total for two 5-minute runs wins.
Concours:¬†The car judged to have the best overall appearance and quality of workmanship will be the winner.
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 Starters car (Fly 87000 through 87009) purchased from Electric Dreams during the period of the contest, which will be from September 1, 2009 to November 30, 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 Starters car for each car you enter in the contest.
3.¬†The original chassis, body, windows (if any), driver figure, and interior 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.
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 2.5‚Äù (63.5mm) 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.
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 November 30, 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.¬†Two drivers will each drive each car for one 5-minute test run. They will drive 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‚Äô 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:
The basic idea
The vehicles we have chosen for the three competitions in Challenge 2 are the Fly Starters cars, # 87000 through 87009. 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‚Äîthe 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.
Challenge 2 introduces the element of car selection into the competitive equation.¬†There are 4 different cars to choose from (Joest, Marcos, Porsche, and Venturi).¬†All are similar in many ways but each has its own unique attributes.¬†Picking the right car out of the available choices becomes part of the challenge.¬† For the contest we have priced all the Fly Starters cars at $34.99 to make¬†entering the contest more affordable.
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‚Äù 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‚Äôd 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‚Äôt 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 November 30.
5.¬†The testing will be completed and the cars will be in the mail back to their owners by December 15, 2009.
The test track
The track we will use for this competition is a 4×8 Carrera 2-lane layout as shown below.¬†The track is powered by one stock Carrera power supply via a stock connection track section.¬†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.¬†A track diagram will be published soon, along with further information.
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‚Äôs 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‚Äôt get that magnet down too low, or you‚Äôll 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‚Äôs 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 drivers‚Äô 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‚Äôs 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.
¬∑ There will be less chance of damaging the cars
¬∑ We can control the conditions more precisely.
¬∑ 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‚Äôs 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 Carrera track?
A. ¬†We used a Scalextric track last time, and variety is the spice of life.¬†Carrera is also our second-best-selling track system.
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
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‚Äôt 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‚Äôt 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.¬†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. Are NSR parts allowed this time?
A. Yes.¬†The supply of them has improved since NSR got a new US distributor.
Q.¬†I have other questions.¬†Where can I get them answered?
We will post answers as quickly as possible.