New Items In Stock:
Autoart 13201 Koenigsegg CCX, orange – $44.99
Slot Classic CJ33 Hispano Suiza Type 68, 1934 – $499.99
These two models together provide an illustration of how cars have changed over the decades. The Koenigsegg CCX is considered one of the most exotic cars on the road today, a no-expense-spared example of the cutting edge of road car technology. The Hispano-Suiza was the Koenigsegg of its day, the ultimate high-performance driving machine of the 1930s. Both cars were made in very small numbers for a very wealthy and exclusive clientèle and feature the most advanced materials and technology of their respective eras. The models also represent the tremendous variety of products available in today’s world of model car racing. One is a mass-produced model selling for a very moderate price while the other is a hand-crafted masterpiece with a premium (to say the least) price tag, but both are part of vast array of choices available to slot car hobbyists. If ever there was a golden era of slot car racing we are living in it right now.
Slot Car Challenge 3
Some of our customers and friends have been asking when our next Slot Car Challenge will get under way. We are sorry to tell you all that the Challenges have been put on hold indefinitely. The reason is that our business is growing so rapidly we have all we can do just to keep up with it and the Electric Dream Team simply doesn’t have the time to run a competition right now and for a while to come. However, we have not abandoned the project and we will be reevaluating our situation periodically to see when we might be able to do another one. We will let everybody know when the time comes.
Just for fun:
Javelin Kitbash Completed!
It’s finished! A week or so late but it’s done.
The car is now finished, assembled, and ready to race. We completed the decals using more sponsor logos plus the SCCA wheel and TransAm series decals from the Pioneer decal sheet to be included with the soon-to-be-released Mustang kits. The exception was the Budweiser decals on the rear fenders, which came from an old decal sheet we had lying around. This car could easily be a model of a 1970s SCCA club racing car and occasional TransAm entry sponsored by a beer distributor with some help from a local AMC dealer. Note that we painted a sunshade onto the top of the windshield and simplified the front air dam slightly.
The project has turned out to be every bit as easy as we thought it would be. It required no modification to the chassis of any kind. The only modification to the running gear was to fit a pair of Pioneer TransAm car front wheels and tires, a bit narrower than the TA rears, to fit inside the Javelin rear fenders. A little minor fender flaring would have enabled us to use the complete running chassis from either a notchback or fastback Mustang race car, including the wider rears, but we wanted to keep this project as simple as possible so we avoided bodywork this time around. The Mustang interior fits the Javelin body with only very minor trimming, as described before. This is a project that even a first-time kitbasher can tackle with confidence.
We have it on good authority that Pioneer is working on making a complete TA Mustang running chassis, without body, available for hobbyists who want to do projects like this at the lowest possible cost. We also have been told that a complete selection of spare parts, including wheels, tires, gears, motors, and detail parts, is in the pipeline and should appear soon. Pioneer is aware of the potential uses of its spare parts that go well beyond just repairing the cars it makes and will be planning its spare parts offering with them in mind.
And just to give you a couple more ideas…
How about a late-70s Camaro? (A version of this kit is currently available from Revell-Monogram for just a few bucks.)
Or a Chevy Nova? (You can find these fairly often on eBay)
If you have any questions about this project we invite you to send them to email@example.com and our tech department will be glad to answer them.
Thanks for shopping with us!
The Electric Dream Team
Warehouse phone (310) 676-7600
Slot car technical information and advice: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fly Ferrari GTO Roadster Final Report (Sep. 4, 2009)
It’s finished! It really is!
We would love to see this in 1:1 scale diving through the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca or powering up the hill toward start-finish at Road America. We can just imagine the Ferrari V12 wail amid all the rumbling Ford and Chevy V8s. We could imagine it at the Pebble Beach Concours with pride of place as the rarest and most desirable Ferrari of all time. That’s one of the truly cool things about the slot car hobby — you can build and race cars that never existed but should have. We had so much fun creating this “phantom” car that we have even written a unique history for it. It isn’t true but it could have been.
First, however, a recap of the project. We built this car to the Slot Car Challenge 1 rules, starting with a Fly E1801 250 GTO as specified. Here’s a list of the performance mods we did to it:
- Fly B243 and B244 front and rear wheels and front tires.$13.98 for both. We retained the stock rear axle, bushings, and crown gear.
- Indy Grips IG1308 tires on the rear. $4.50.
- Slot It SICH07 guide. $5.99. This guide, made for wood tracks, is actually too big for Scalextric track, but using it allowed us to trim the blade down to take maximum advantage of the Scalextric Sport slot’s full width and depth.
- Scalextric W8475-2 traction magnet. $5.19. As installed, the Scalextric magnet only delivers 264 grams of downforce vs. 352 for a stock Fly GTO wit the original magnet. The difference in downforce is due to the Scalextric magnet sitting higher in the chassisthan the stock one. The advantage of the Scalextric magnet is that it provides downforce over more of the car’s width, making it more drivable. The Scalextric magnet certainly could be moved lower to deliver comparable downforce, but it would require some carving on the chassis which we simply ran out of time to do. Also, with the Scalextric magnet where it is the car is legal and very competitive for a local race series we can run it in, so we just decided to leave it as is.
- Scale Auto SC006 motor.$14.79.We retained the GTO’s stock lead wires and drive shaft assembly.
Those parts, along with the$39.95 priceof the car, bring the total cost to $84.40. That wouldn’t have won the BFB prize, but the the car is great fun to drive.
On our test track, with the same layout, power, and controllers as used on the official layout for Challenge 1, we got a 60 lap run out of the car and decided that was enough. There is more development potential, especially if we lower the magnet, but it’s time to move on to other projects.
Appearance-wise, the main thing we did, of course, was the coupe-to-roadster conversion. This has been the most satisfying part of the project. We are really pleased with the way it turned out and we think we have come very close to what a full-size GTO roadster would have looked like if Ferrari had ever built one. But there’s much more to the car’s looks than just that. We lowered the front of body over the chassis to get the fenders snugged down over the smaller-diameter front wheels. On the stock GTO the body sits too high even for the original wheels and tires, so as you can imagine, the lowering we did was pretty radical. As a result, we had to convert the interior tray extensively. There was still room for a full-depth interior and driver figure but we would have had to rebuild the whole drive shaft tunnel,so to save time and keep things simplewejust made the interior tub half-depth. It really isn’t that noticeable on the finished car.
Other appearance mods include:
- Driver’s head replaced with a more period-correct one.
- Rollbar structurefabricated from wire-filled plastic tubing.
- Stock windshield cut down to a low windscreen.
- Fire bottle from Scalextric Corvette.
- Shift lever and rear-view mirror from the junk box.
- Decals from assorted sources, including some from all the way back to the 60s.
We painted the car with Tamiya X7 red acrylic and Testor Glosscote, wet-sanding with 600-grit sandpaper between coats. We think the Tamiya red is just about the perfect shade for a Ferrari. You can see how it compares with the color of a stock Fly GTO in the nose-to-nose photo below. Also, check out how much lower the front end of our roadster sits.
We mentioned above that we wrote a history for the car. Here it is, along with more photos. We hope you enjoy reading it and looking at the photos. We certainly enjoyed all the building, testing, photography, and writing that has gone into the entire project.
The Back Story
(Every good phantom model has one)
We all know the Ferrari factory never built a GTO roadster.When the GTO first appeared its critics, and they were many, called it a “Testa Rossa with a roof”.It was not, they said, a true GT car within the spirit of the rules, even if it did barely comply with the letter of them.A GTO roadster would have lent too much credibility to that criticism.
That doesn’t mean that the Commendatore wouldn’t have liked to see one built, and thereby hangs a tale.
Toward the end of GTO production a few of them left the factory with 4-liter engines in place of the usual 3-liter unit, making them 330GTOs. In 1965, after the GTO’s competition heyday was over, the factory had several tired examples, including a 330, gathering dust in the back of the competition department.Remember that in those days old race cars were just that ‚Äö√Ñ√¨ old race cars.The vintage racing movement was still far in the future.
In the Fall of 1965 Samantha Hill, whose company, Sam Hill Realty, had made her a fortune in the California real estate market, toured the Ferrari factory.Ms. Hill was an enthusiastic, if only modestly talented, amateur sports car driver who had been racing an Austin-Healey in Cal Club races and had visions of competing in the upper production classes.Somebody at Ferrari saw her coming and convinced her that one of the castoff GTOs, specifically the 330, would be the perfect vehicle for her introduction to the faster classes. She wrote out a check on the spot.
In early December her racing shop, housed in a nondescript building on Sepulveda Boulevard, took delivery of the refurbished 330GTO.She immediately filed an entry for an upcoming SCCA Regional at an airport course in Arizona.
Her first unpleasant surprise came when the SCCA officials classified Samantha and her GTO into the modified class instead of one of the production classes.Instead of racing with Corvettes and Cobras as she expected she found herself on the track with Lola T70s, McLarens, and other mid-V8-engined rocketships.The next came in the first practice session.The factory rebuild apparently did not include much of anything in the way of proper suspension setup.Samantha headed for the pits after only three laps, wide-eyed with fright at the car’s diabolical handling and big-engined modified cars blasting by her at enormous speed differentials.
Samantha’s mechanic, Stanley Spanner, spent the whole weekend trying to find the problem without success.Then, in Sunday afternoon’s race the GTO snapped into a lurid slide beyond Samantha’s ability to get out of and ended up upside down in the weeds.The factory roll bar was little more use than the aluminum top itself, and Samantha emerged from the wreck with a concussion and a newfound appreciation for life that prompted her to end her driving career right then and there.She was still a sports car enthusiast, though, and soon moved on to Group 7 cars, hired drivers, and the USRRC.The GTO, its top utterly flattened but otherwise only lightly damaged, sat ignored under a tarp in the back of the building.Then one day in March of 1966 Bonham Neville walked into the Sam Hill Racing shop.
Bon, as he was known, was a natural-born automotive genius.He spent his high school years and several thereafter building and racing an increasingly wild assortment of coupes, roadsters, rail dragsters, and other creations that defied classification on California’s drag strips and dry lakes.By 1959, at age 22, he was already something of a hot rodding legend and had a thriving car-building business.That year a customer wanted to convert his Corvette from a drag racer to an SCCA road racer and invited Bon to a race at Riverside to check out the sports car scene. One look at sports cars and Bon was hooked.He jumped in with both feet and soon was racing a Corvette against Dick Guldstrand, Bob Bondurant, Andy Porterfield, Skip Hudson, Tony Settember, Dave McDonald, and Paul Rinehart, among many others who populated the huge big-bore production car grids of the era.Bon won frequently and his business prospered greatly.
By the mid-60s production car racing had changed radically with ever-larger engines being stuffed into the cars.Neville, gradually turning into an advocate of light, nimble cars, was becoming profoundly dissatisfied with his big-block Corvette.Some say he was the one who coined the term “plastic pachyderm” to describe what he considered theCorvette’s brute-force approach to battling the Cobras.He had even less liking for the 427 Cobra, which he had driven and freely denounced as handling like a pig, much to Carroll Shelby’s displeasure. He was looking for an outside-the-box alternative when he visited Samantha Hill’s shop that day to drop by some parts he had fabricated for her new Lola.
“What’s that?” he asked when he saw the canvas-shrouded shape in a dusty corner.
“Oh, that.” Spanner answered, “That’s Samantha’s old Ferrari.”
“Mind if I look?” Bon asked.
Bon Neville spent the rest of the afternoon minutely examining the damaged GTO and asking questions.It didn’t take him long to spot the reason for the car’s terrible handling.Both the Ferrari factory mechanics and Spanner had failed to spot a frame tube in a critical but easy to miss location that had completely broken at one end, allowing the rear suspension to do bizarrely unpredictable things.He also noted that with the exception of the crushed top the body would be easy for his fabricators to repair.Wheels began to turn in his head. He said nothing about the broken tube.When Samantha came into the shop he pointed to the GTO and said, “How much?”Samantha, thoroughly disgusted with the car ever since that race weekend in Arizona, named a figure.Bon couldn’t believe his ears.
Bon was, among many things, an avid reader of rulebooks. Two he had studied thoroughly were the SCCA General Competition Rules and Production Car Specifications and the FIA GT Class Rules.At the time they were still at least tenuously connected.The GTO was homologated with the FIA as a variant of a Ferrari production road car.That allowed it into FIA GT racing even though nowhere near enough GTOs had been built to satisfy the minimum production requirement.Those same Ferrari road cars were recognized by the SCCA for production car racing.Some were even being raced.They were almost, but not quite, fast enough to stay with the Corvettes and Cobras.The GTO, Bon realized, was a big step up in performance.If he could get it ruled legal for production class racing and develop it to the limit of the SCCA rules the possibilities were truly delicious.
Bon spent several weeks writing and rewriting a formal petition to the SCCA Competition Board.When he had it honed to perfection he sent it off.The petition, surprisingly, generated little debate among the Comp Board members, who did not see in the nearly obsolete GTO quite the same potential Bon did but did see the possible advantages of bringing Ferraris into the production class wars as something a bit more than spear carriers.They sent Bon a letter informing him that his petition was approved.He had his outside-the-box alternative.
Bon called Samantha, accepting her offer on the GTO.The next day he had the car in his shop, a few miles down Sepulveda from Samantha’s.He totally disassembled it and began putting it back together his way.The engine went to Traco Engineering to have that firm’s legendary magic worked on it.The frame was not only repaired but lightened wherever possible and stiffened and reinforced as needed.The chassis rebuild included a very stout and liberally braced roll bar that not only exceeded SCCA specs but also increased chassis stiffness by a very respectable percentage.All the body damage got fixed except the flattened roof.
Bon had sent a letter to the factory describing his plans for the GTO and inquiring about the availability of spare body parts, in particular a new roof.Weeks went by with no reply while the rest of the project forged ahead.Then one day a large, thick envelope with a Maranello return address arrived.Inside was a letter.
“Dear Mr. Neville,” it began, “I regret to inform you that the GTO body parts about which you inquired are no longer available.However, I heartily approve of your project and want to help you.I believe you will find the enclosed documents useful in pursuing your goal.I wish you every success in defeating the Cobras. Please be assured of my continuing interest and warmest regards.”
It was personally signed by Enzo Ferrari.
The “documents” accompanying the letter turned out to be a set of beautifully rendered engineering drawings, specifications, and manufacturing instructions for a complete GTO roadster rear clip, dated 1962. They also included a copy of a letter from the FIA confirming that the projected though unbuilt roadster was covered under the GTO’s FIA homologation.
When Bon hauled the completed car to Willow Springs for its first test it was 300 pounds lighter, 50 percent stiffer, and had 30 percent more power plus a torque curve much better suited to the shorter, tighter American race circuits where it would be competing.The roadster body, with the low Plexiglas windshield Bon made for it, reduced drag substantially and made the rear “duck tail” spoiler more effective.The chassis sat much lower to the track on American Racing Equipment 5-spoke magnesium wheels fitted with the widest, lowest-profile Goodyear tires the rules would allow. The first day it ran below the A-production lap record and revealed only a few small problems to correct.
Two weeks later Bon entered a National at Riverside. Even with more power and better aerodynamics he was losing ground on the long back straight to the big-block cars but he still beat all but two of them. The following weekend he towed north to Laguna Seca, where the car was in its element.Bon pulled out to a 20-second lead over a 40-car field and then cruised to the victory. The rest of the season went the same way.Wherever the Corvettes and Cobras had enough of a straightaway to use all their Detroit horsepower the GTO was at best a top-five car.Everywhere else it killed them.
The American Road Race of Champions, or ARRC for short, posed a problem, however.At the time the event alternated between Riverside and Daytona, both of them horsepower tracks. In 1966 at Riverside Bon qualified sixth and finished fourth.In 1967 at Daytona he qualified only eleventh and finished seventh.On the infield portion of the course he could easily pass any car in the field but as soon as he reached the flat-out oval section the bigblocks blew right by him.
Bon had also discovered another problem.The Corvettes, with their fiberglass bodies, were a lot better at handling body contact than the Ferrari was, especially those with the bumper brackets left in place, further reinforcing both ends of the car.As long as Bon could get clear of the field and away into the lead he was fine, but back in the pack it could be brutal, especially since some of the Corvette drivers were not squeamish about using their weight and durability to maximum advantage.On the first lap at the 1968 ARRC he was hit from behind and then from the side.The other cars, both Corvettes, continued on but the Ferrari needed major repairs.
In 1969 Bon went TransAm racing with a Camaro and had no time to race the Ferrari.Over the course of the year his shop rebuilt it with further upgrades and detail modifications, including the Minilite wheels it wears to this day, but the car saw no action.At the end of the season Bon decided he didn’t like all the travel required to compete in a pro series.He decided to go back to SCCA National racing and just run on the West Coast.When the SCCA announced that it would hold the 1970 ARRC at Road Atlanta, where Bon thought the GTO had a real chance to win, he had an idea.He decided to try to qualify for an ARRC invitation in both A-production and A-sedan, even though the two classes always ran in the same race group everywhere but the ARRC.
He carefully studied the 1970 schedule, calculating where the GTO would be most competitive in its class and where he stood the best chance of a good points day in A-sedan with the Camaro.He entered and qualified both cars in each race.That paid off on a couple of occasions when the car he intended to race that weekend broke in practice or qualifying and he was able to drive the other one and add to its point total. At the end of the season he had his two ARRC invitations.
At Atlanta Bon set the fastest A-production times right from the beginning of practice, much to the chagrin of the assembled Corvette racers. The Gulf Oil Company, seeing the possibility of an epic upset, signed on as Bon’s sponsor for the weekend.
Knowing the Ferrari’s susceptibility to body contact the Corvette contingent began playing head games with Bon.One of the Corvette drivers known for his aggressive driving appeared at the track in a t-shirt with “Designated Hitter” printed on the front and back.Throughout the days leading up to the A-production race Bon kept hearing subtle comments intended to unnerve him, but he simply wasn’t having any of it.He sent shock waves through the paddock when he qualified the GTO on the A-production pole, setting a new class lap record.He knew the start would decide everything.He and his crew spent hours trying to determine what speed, gear, and RPM would give him the best jump at the start.
In the A-sedan race he finished second in the Camaro after a race-long battle in which he swapped the lead several times with the eventual winner.He went straight from the A-sedan podium to the A-production grid, determined to make a perfect start.He led the field to the green at exactly the speed and RPM he had decided on.At the drop of the flag he nailed the throttle.He got a huge break when the other front-row driver, in a Corvette, got wheelspin and fell back.Bon led into turn one and just kept extending his lead.
But on the last lap, with 15 seconds on the field, he felt something go terribly wrong at the back of the car, nearly causing him to crash.The GTO was suddenly almost undrivable.He nursed it around to the checkered flag, but half a dozen cars caught and passed him before he got there.It turned out to be a broken part in the rear suspension.He suspects to this day that the failure was the legacy of a seemingly minor shunt with a Corvette earlier in the season.
That winter Bon bought a Formula 5000 car and took both it and the Camaro to the ARRC in 1971.He went back to what became known as the Runoffs many times, but never again with the Ferrari, though he continued to race it and even win with it every once in a while, especially after the SCCA dropped it down to B-production.
Unlike most racers, Bon Neville has kept many of the race cars he ran back in the day, including the Ferrari.He is still active and highly revered in vintage racing where he regularly exercises his favorite race car of them all, the world’s only Ferrari GTO roadster.He maintains it exactly as it looked on the day of its last B-production victory except for a set of big Gulf decals to commemorate his near-triumph at the 1970 ARRC.He often receives multi-million-dollar offers for the car, but he always replies that it’s not for sale at any price. And when he drives it he wears an old-style open-face helmet so everybody can see the big, wide grin on his face.
Fly Ferrari 250 GTO Roadster Update (Aug. 14, 2009)
Well, we didn’t get as far with the project this weekas we thought we would. The car is together and running and has been undergoing extensive track testing and development but it’s still not finished. Here’s what we’ve done so far.
Chassis and running gear — We replaced the stock wheels and tires by installing front an rear axle assemblies from a Fly Porsche 911. This got us muchwider tires front and rear and a significantly smaller tire diameter in front.. We replaced the rear tires with a pair of Indy Grips 1308 silicones for improved grip. We also replaced the stock guide with a Slot It SICH07 deep slot guide. This guide had to be trimmed forthe slots on our Scalextric track, but by starting with an oversize guide we were able to shape it to take maximum advantage of the available slot width and depth.
We replaced the stock magnet with astandard Scalextric bar magnet. The stock magnet was actually too low and bogged the car on the straights. The Scalextric magnet sits a little higher and seems to deliver all the cornering grip needed without any significant penalty in straightline speed. In addition, it provides magnetic downforce over more of the car’s width, and that helps drivability. So far we have not tested the car with an alternate motor or gears, though those options will be explored before we determine the car’s final specifications.
Body and interior — The coupe-to-roadster conversion presented no unusual problems. We simply cut off the top and filled in the rear deck with sheet styrene and body putty. You can see the results in the photos. The styrene strip structures on the bottom of the new rear deck are retainers to keep the rear axle assembly in place.
What did offer some problems was lowering the body over the chassis. Looking at the photo of our roadster nose-to-nose with a stock GTO you can see how much lower the roadster’s body rides, especially in the front. In order to get the wheel openings snugged down over the new wheels and tires we had to lower the body over the chassis. That, in turn, caused problems with the full-depth interior. It was not hard to trim the interior to clear the chassis; the problem was with the drive shaft assembly. We would have had to reconstruct the entire transmission tunnel to clear it. Finally we just decided to cut off the whole interior tub at a bit less than half depth, which solved the problem neatly. We still had to provide a little extra clearance along the centerline, but that was easy to do with sheet plastic strip. The bottom of the interior retains the drive shaft bushing in its mount.
One nice thing about the Fly full-length drivers is that they separate at the waist, makingthem easy to convert to half-figures. Ours needed a little additional trimming of the bottom of the torso to sit at the right angle. We also beheaded the poor, carved-up fellow and replaced his head with a smaller one wearing a more period-correct helmet. Our research had indicated that the size, as well as the helmet style,of the original head simply was not to scale, since none of the current F-1 drivers were even born back in the sixties, much less racing in sports cars. We also cut the windshield down into a low racing windscreen. This is something that requires special care, since clear plastic tends to be more brittle than colored plastic. We cracked our cut-down windshield in the trimming process but we will cover the crack with a few decals simulating tech stickers.
Our goal withthe phantom GTO roadsteris to model it as it might have looked in the late 60s if some SCCA racer had bought an old, worn-out factory race car and rebuilt it for SCCA production class racing. To that end we deleted details that would not have been required under the SCCA rules, such as parking lights, door handles, turn signals, and the like. We also eliminated the photo-etched bits on the hood, not so much for aesthetic reasons as because we have seen at least two cut fingers from them. We don’t want the turn marshals to be afraid to pick up our car.
Still to come: A roll bar, additional details, more on-track developmnent testing, and final painting and assembly. More info and photos in the next newsletter.
Just for fun… (Aug. 7, 2009)
The response to the photos of all the entries in Slot Car Challenge 1 has been great. It got usthinking about what kind of car we would build if we could enter our own contest. We decided to build a car incorporating the best ideas of all the entries plus a few wrinkles of our own. The car isn’t finished yet, but here’s a first look at theproject in progress.
Yep, we just had to see what a Ferrari GTO would look like as a roadster. As far as we know Ferrari never built a GTO roadster but they could have. The rules at the time allowed for alternate bodywork on an existing chassis. In fact, that was the rule under which all the GTOs were built and homologated for FIA competition. Carroll Shelby took advantage of the same rule to enter his GT championship and LeMans class-winning Cobra Daytona Coupes. If Shelby could rebody a roadster as a coupe, then Ferrari could have turned a coupe into a roadster. We’re working hard to finish the car and get it track tested before next week’s newsletter. We’ll have a full report on what we did to it and how it compared on the track with the contest entries.
BFB Competition Rules Clarification
It has been pointed out to us that we need to clarify the difference between modifications and basic car preparation required to make any slot car run properly. Therefore the following is added to the Official Rules for Slot Car Challenge #1:
For the purposes of the Bang For The Buck (BFB) competition within the Electric Dreams Slot Car Challenge #1 the following specific items are recognized as basic, essential car preparation and will not be considered modifications under the rules:
1. Adjusting the fit of stock parts in their stock locations for the purpose of correcting binding, tire rubbing, misalignment, or incorrect or inaccurate assembly at the factory.
2. Replacing a defective original part with an identical part.
3. Removing “flash” from molded plastic parts (excess plastic at mold part lines or at the point where the molded part was attached to the sprue).
5. Sanding the tires to correct an out-of-round or out-of-true condition.
6. Loosening the body mounting screws to allow the body to float.
BFB points will not be deducted for these items.
Competitors’ questions may be posted on the official contest forum at: http://slotblog.net/index.php?showtopic=14001
The Electric Dream Team
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.