Digital Slot Car Racing
Packs More Action Into Speedway

Digital slot car racing is barely three years old, but is already causing racers wordlwide to rethink their racing systems as it promises to have an impact that rivals moving model railroading into the digital age.

Up until the advent of digital, slot car racing was confined to multiple tracks (2 to 6) with each competitor relegated to his or her own slot.

The new systems can handle up to 6 cars on the same lane and the driver can choose to switch lanes at will - all controlled from the hand-controller. Pit Stops and racing tactics are now a reality, the game play element now makes Scalextric an even more enjoyable game.

The system was developed by Scalextric, a divison of Hornby Hobbies Ltd., Margate, Kent in southern England.

Lane Changer

The Scalextric Lane Change track piece works very much like a set of points on a model railway. For years, model railway enthusiasts have been able to change a set of points remotely, to direct an oncoming train into a platform or siding. Now possible for slot cars, this request to "change the points" is sent by the chip in the car, in response to a command sent down the track via the digital hand throttle.

This is explained real well by members of the Cheddar Gorge Model Motor Racing Circuit, a major distributor of Scalextric Digital. "Cheddar Slot Car Centre's primary aims are to help people get started with Scalextric Sport Digital and provide a knowledgeable and experienced service that helps slot car racers get the most out of their SSD systems."

They also note the Scalextric system uses the same command system that changes the points to also control the power to the car's motor. Pre-digital, if you put two cars on one lane and squeeze the hand throttle, both cars move, and at half their normal speed, because the power control is going direct to the cars' motors and is shared. Pit view of Cheddar layout With the chip in the digital cars acting as a middleman, the digital throttle sends information only to the chip in the car that it is driving, so that in turn, the chip can control how fast the motor in the car is going. Through separate software, the digital system can also be used to simulate refueling, pit stops and other features of the modern Grand Prix, plus keeping track of laps and lap times, and offering additional game modes (Rally, Endurance, etc) - so it's not just about changing lanes.

Digital slot car racing also opened the door to racing against other drivers on identical tracks, over the internet with fully computerised race management and 3D graphics, pit stops, qualifying and so on.

Full layout diagram

Internet racing is based around the standard "box set" Scalextric layouts. Create the track, drive the circuit in your favorite car, and your time is then posted to the web and you then see how you did compared to other people who tried that car/circuit combination.

Apart from the internet functions, it is also a comprehensive slot car management system, with tips on getting the best out of your cars, organizing your collection, and also runs race championships.

Back to Slot Car Racing


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