21st Century Sites !! Editorial Reply

Go Fastest!!

To: Paul Meiers - Slotcar Bulletin
From: 21st Century Sites
Date: January 23, 1997

Dear Paul,

Your November 1996 Inside Track editorial "The Last Real Racing" was right on target!!

At the 33rd Annual Reno Air Races, the world’s fastest Motor sport in the air, the Unlimited Gold Final Heat may have seen some 400+mph laps but they were doing it using WWII-vintage Rolls-Griffon V-12 engines. And to capture the APBA Gold Cup in Unlimited Hydroplane racing, the world’s fastest Motor sport on water, you can use any turbine engine you want to TQ at over 170mph as long as it’s a Lycoming T55 L-7C.

Thank goodness for Slot Cars, the world’s fastest Motor sport on land, whose nature actively encourages unlimited technological advancement in the pursuit of sheer speed for its own sake, unencumbered by restrictions save adherence to "scale".

On Beyond "Opens"

Unlimited Class Slot Cars slot cars are specifically engineered as are real cars to operate at peak performance, with one power plant, without major repairs or maintenance, from starting gun to checkered flag.

Unlimited slot cars are unique among all land racing vehicles by possessing complete cornering traction capability, without slip.  Their chassis uses carbon fiber composite thermoplastics for optimum strength/weight. Power trains are quick release modules.  They use neodymium iron boron motor magnets for maximum electromechanical efficiency and power. Double and even triple winds are frequently utilized to achieve an optimal torque curve. Adjustable spring tension is a built in and even lower class cars have timing-adjustable end bells.

Their front wheels are fully functional and have critical cornering characteristics.  Their rear tires maintain constant diameter for consistent performance (although ground clearance calibration to within .001" is common). Unnecessary moving parts (such as guide flag and lead wire) have long since been eliminated.  The problem of mangled braid is ancient history. The potential for cars to prematurely drain their available power supply during a race is hardly a problem (they suck amps like a nite-light).  And yes, even Dan Ruddock builds electronic controllers specifically designed for Unlimited slot cars.

One might think that any package of such advanced applied vehicle technology might be overly miniaturized, except that any old Group 7 motor you might find is dwarfed by comparison.

How Fast Is "Fastest"?

How do you validate the claim of the superior "scale" speed of slot cars vs. the real speed of real cars when both are measured in real time?

A clinically scientific comparison of any two "scales" (simple mathematical conversion is superficial and inadequate) would require parallel worlds with all the forces of nature, including gravity, adjusted for scale which is of course, impossible.

Well, how about straight up slot car vs. real car on the clock?  No thanks. The NHRA says Kenny Bernstein has us all beat in the quarter (318+mph), and the Guinness Book of Records says that Richard Noble is fastest through the measured mile (633+mph).

Since driving a slot car essentially involves eye-hand coordination, it’s the fastest reaction time that validates slot car racing’s "speed" dominance over all other forms of motor sport.

Event:

1996 HOPRA Nats

1996 USRA Nats

Host:

Gasoline Alley

JK Raceway

Site:

East Windsor, Conn.

Chicago, Ill.

Track:

DeCosmo "Clubman" Ogilvie "King"

Lap Length:

75 ft

155 ft

# Lanes

4

8

# Turns

8

6

Driver Inputs/Lap
(# brake points)

4

2

Class:

Unlimited

Group 7

Scale:

1/64 (H.O.)

1/24

TQ:

1.685 sec

1.788 sec.

Main Event:

20 min.

40 min.

Total Laps:

580

977

Laps/min:

29

24

Driver Inputs/min:

116

49

Conclusion:

Check

 

Maximum Driver Input/min =
Minimum Reaction Time/min =
Fastest *Sensation* Of Speed!!

A Word From Our Sponsor:

Of course, the world’s most technologically advanced slot cars require the world’s most technologically advanced slot car tracks. From fully automated slot routing with computer controlled precision, to a racing surface literally as smooth and consistent as glass (Formica), to minimum rolling friction and maximum electrical contact, the slot car track for the 21st Century is one that can easily be raced (in both directions!!) up to the car’s own potential.  Such was the case at the 1996 HOPRA Nats.

On Beyond "Opens" (Part 2)

If your November Inside Track was right on target, then the December Inside Track "Deja Vu All Over Again" or, "Where Has All The ‘Scale’ Gone?" was a direct bull’s eye.

Your embattled plea that "dimensional rules are needed now to at least limit this trend, and provide the alternative to them" has long since been addressed.

Since Unlimited slot cars (and all lower classes as well) do not primarily depend on aerodynamic down force for effective performance, the actual scale proportions of the 1:1 racing vehicle upon which it is originally based can easily be maintained. And with a total enthusiast population ratio of roughly 10 collectors for every racer, strong cultural forces help ensure that it stays that way.

Reality Check

And what about those racing classes which do not even purport to maintain scale vehicle authenticity?

National USRA Division I car specifications are replete with rules (driver figure, three numbers, unpainted windshield/wheel wells, no openings viewed from above, front wheels touching, transparent air control, etc.) which are a vain attempt to maintain a minimum semblance of scale vehicle replication, even though no such practical intent exists.

The National USRA Director (and Inside Track author) would naturally be the first to recognize that "Thingies, Doorstops, and Blobs" as you called them are indeed just that. They are not "slot cars" in any meaningful sense at all, nor do they claim to be.  They are merely "slot racing devices" burdened by counterproductive aesthetic rules that do not acknowledge reality.

Saving The Best For Last

Meanwhile, The World’s Fastest Motorsport is also the least expensive!!  Besides, who can afford those big, old, dirty and slow "slot racing devices" anyway?

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