Slot Car Racing in the Digital Age by Robert Schleicher
by Kerry Davis
This is the latest update in the series of books from the publisher of Model Car Racing magazine: Racing and Collecting Slot Cars (2001), Slot Car Bible (2002) and Slot Car Racing: Tips, Tricks & Track Plans (2005).This edition builds on the introduction to Digital in Slot Car Racing: Tips, Tricks & Track Plans, has more tuning tips, Test Results, Track Plans in both 1/32 and HO Scales, as well as, interestingly, features some racetracks of people I have met through Slot Car Illustrated.
The chapter Real Racing in 1/32 Scale describes chip installation, some Pros & Cons and has tips to modify the Carrera Digital 132, Ninco N-Digital, Scalextric Sport Digital and SCX Digital Systems, including continuity improvement and modifying track pieces to allow Digital OR Analog racing on the same track.
In the chapter on replacing chassis, the only Slot.it motors mentioned for the original HRS Chassis are either the SIM*04 V12/2b (white endbell) or now discontinued Boxer 24. While the SIM*09 Flat-6 Motor is mentioned in passing, the only hint of the now-standard SIM*06 V12/3-21.5K (orange endbell) is in a picture of the Slot.it 312PB kit incorrectly captioned “Carrera 2005 Corvette C6R”. The more powerful versions of the V12/3, SIM*08 Boxer/2 and the more versatile HRS/2 chassis are not mentioned either, possibly due to publishing lead time or this book cleans up the loose ends before starting fresh with another in the future.
Again, there are a lot of track plans in this edition, for small to large spaces, with most based on actual race tracks and many to fit a 5’ X 9’ Ping Pong table. While I can understand a reluctance to use R1 (“inner” or “inner inner”) track pieces, especially for newer racers, some of the layouts would need a lot more of them to even remotely resemble their full size counterparts. Having routed a 6-Lane, 78’ version of Suzuka, I know the difficulty in compressing a reasonable facsimile of a historic track. One of the finest, most spectacular slot car tracks I have ever seen is pictured. The now-defunct HO Katz-Spa-Ring had fantastic elevations, with scenery and detail to rival any model railroad.
This book, like the others in the series, also serves as a summary for Model Car Racing magazine track tests as well as car comparisons using a variety of tires and, in some cases, motors. For relative newcomers to Slot Car Racing, Slot Car Racing in the Digital Age is a good overview of the hobby from its revival with the arrival of FLY in the mid-‘90s and the advent of Digital Racing to the relative present. There have been a lot of new cars and parts released as well as significant innovations in the last few years that are not covered. Fortunately, Model Car Racing magazine and Slot Car Illustrated exist to help with that.