Life-Like Racing’s Winners Cup HO Slot Car Set
by Glenn Shaw
Greetings all, I’ll be taking a look at one of Life-Like Racings current releases, the Winner’s Cup HO Slot Car set featuring the NASCAR COT. This set features the #17 DeWalt Ford Fusion vs. the #11 FedEx Toyota Camry. You could also look at it as Matt Kenseth vs. Denny Hamlin or perhaps Roush Fenway Racing vs. Joe Gibbs Racing. This will be the first new HO set I have put together in nearly 30 years & probably the first that I’ve used the designed set layout. Anyway time to see what I’ve been missing all these years.
That went well. I do advise reading the directions; besides giving you instructions of how the pieces go together and where, it has a troubleshooting guide and recommendations. I would add, to connect the track, as many pieces as feasible, while holding them on a flat surface as it makes the connecting them easier. I assembled the set in less than 10 minutes, but I did skip on assembling and placing all the available flags on the guard rails. The layout (per the box) fits in a 43” by 43” space with 15.5’ of running space. The set also includes a lap counter track piece (counts 0-9.) The lap counter worked without any issues, the cars pass through without any de-slotting or noticeable slowing. The controllers are hard wired to the terminal track, good for preventing loss of controllers and incorrectly plugging in the controllers, but if a controller gets damaged (there is a one year limited warranty on the set) it does make replacement, not-so-easy. The track does feel smooth. I don’t see any misaligned connections. I’ve got the power transformer in the power outlet; the controls are already attached, and now let’s get some cars.
The box set cars are the #17 Ford Fusion of Matt Kenseth and the #11 Toyota Camry of Denny Hamlin. Life-Like Racing has done a good job with the NASCAR COT bodies, both in the shape and detail.
The cars have enough magnet strength to hold themselves upside down.
The chassis (known as the “T” chassis) uses two small round neodymium traction magnets and two neodymium motor magnets which provide a lot magnetic down force. (Or “upforce” as in the picture above.) You can see the magnets in the picture below.
I removed the translucent plastic shield from the car’s bottom. You can run the car without the shield but be careful. The car’s motor can get hot and the shield helps keep lint and other objects out of the motor. The neodymium magnets helps keep the cars stuck to the track but the cars are still fast enough to come off the track. I got some fairly spectacular fly-offs, unintentional of course, I just wanted to see how fast I could go with these cars and this layout. The longest straightaway in this set is 24” but that doesn’t offer enough length to see how fast these cars can go, but the good thing is that this is sectional track and additional straight track (9” and 15” lengths) can be purchased, and then you’ll be able to see how fast these cars can go. Life Like does make other styles of track pieces and adaptor track pieces for adding other brands of track to Life-Like Racing track.
It may not be an issue for you, but it was easier for me to run the DeWalt’s car, because the yellow is easier for me to see against a black track. That may not be a bad thing; you’ll have a reason to get more cars & Life-Like Racing has plenty of other cars available for purchase. One issue I have heard is of cars (including other brands and scales) sputtering and stalling on the track, but a good warm up (as in the instructions) and care in assembling the track should minimize that from happening. I did have to nudge the FedEx car once, but it was just the maiden voyage around the track (also I didn’t warm up the car) and I haven’t had to nudge it since then. Ok I give up “Nudge Nudge, Know what I mean? SAY NO MORE.”
I haven’t tested the cars for durability, but the bodies and other parts have held up after multiple crashes. But remember being a good driver also involves taking care of your equipment, which goes for all racers of all vehicles. So try not to abuse your cars. However as with all cars, parts can break or wear out. There are two extra pickup shoes included in the set-along with sandpaper for rail cleaning (I’d recommend a lint free cloth for track cleaning.) Spare parts available for this car, but be sure to get the parts for the “T” chassis. Life- Like Racing (at the time of this review) makes a parts kit named the Life-Like Racing Master Tune-Up Kit but the kit was made for the earlier Life-Like “M” chassis and most of the parts won’t work for the “T” chassis. Walthers (owners of Life-Like Racing) carries spare parts , but the Walthers customer service rep I spoke to recommended checking first with your local hobby shop to see(if needed) that they would be willing to order parts-mainly due to the cost of shipping from Walthers (starts at $8.95.) If the parts aren’t available from or through your local hobby shop, you can always try searching on the Internet for parts and vendors. Just to add about Walthers’ service. I submitted an email inquiry at their site and they called me back in a couple hours. I wasn’t expecting service that fast-but I’m not complaining at all & I didn’t tell them that I was reviewing one of their HO Slot Car sets.
Time to come to a conclusion; this set would make a nice gift to introduce or re-introduce children, young or old, to slot cars or maybe a gift for you. It is fun as-is (easy to get started but does offer a challenge) but I do suggest getting extra track and extra cars for added enjoyment. Thanks for taking the time to read my review. I hope it is of some help to you in your slot car pursuits. If you do have more questions about HO slot cars (and cars of other scales) I recommend visiting and joining the Slot Car Illustrated forum.