What Are the Different Types of Slot Car Tracks?
The hobbyist sport of slot car racing features different kinds of track depending on the required use, location, and permanency of the structure. Slot car tracks can be made from premolded plastic, clip-together sectional sets, or pieces of hardwood, fiberboard, or chipboard for more permanent track installations and competition tracks. They usually take the form of ovals, figure eights, or representations of real-world tracks. Real-world track representations are usually constructed to match the scale of the cars to be used so that realistic track times and speeds can be calculated.
Injection-molded plastic slot car tracks are normally only used in home installations. They can include chicanes, uneven surfaces, and even jumps. Competition tracks are not permitted to include any of these types of additions and can only include bridged sections and banked corners as found on real-world race tracks.
Competition tracks are most commonly formed from solid sections of hardwood, fiberboard, or chipboard, where the slots for the cars are created with a routing tool. This construction method allows for a smooth and even running surface to be created. Generally, this kind of slot car track is only found in permanent installations at designated racing centers.
Many of the permanent commercial tracks are used for championship competitions and world-record attempts. In some competition track installations, the tracks are surfaced with polymer or epoxy paint or resin. Sometimes, recessed electrical contacts are incorporated into the track design.
Most 1:24 scale competition tracks feature between six and eight routed lanes. A notable style of competition track is known as a King track. They are flat tracks where winged slot cars are used. One of the most famous King-style competition slot car tracks is the Blue King, where the 2007 world record for 1:24 scale racing was set at an average speed of 75.2 miles per hour (121 kilometers per hour).
Another popular form of competitive slot car racing occurs with HO scale installations and cars. HO scale slot car tracks are smaller, and competition variations are commonly constructed from injection-molded plastic, clip-together sections. While this style of slot car racing is still referred to as HO scale, the cars utilized are actually closer to a scale of 1:64 due to the increased size of the vehicle’s motor installations; however, the tracks used in this racing division maintain the true HO scale of 1:87 in the majority of cases.
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