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Meet the Members of SCI....Luf/Oldslotracer

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  • Meet the Members of SCI....Luf/Oldslotracer

    Hi folks,

    Now this is a huge treat for me. Following the rebuilding of my house following a fire, I contemplated building a large HO gauge train layout. The problem was that trains move to slow for my tastes. Reading on the internet showed me that slot cars were still around and better than ever. As I was reading through different sites, I found one concerning Archer Raceways and the many tracks built by our guest Luf.

    Luf goes by "Oldslotracer" on SCI, and while age is more physical, I believe Luf is still very young at heart. And I believe he has a few stories to tell. So here are your questions Luf:

    1) Tell us about yourself. I understand that you are of German heritage, however, there is a question mark there, correct?

    2) At what age did you start racing slot cars? Have you constantly been in the hobby since then or was it something you thought you grew out of then came back to the hobby?

    3) What was your first slot car set and what cars came with it?

    4) When did you become interested in racing on routed tracks? Who or what inspired you to start construction of your first routed track?

    5) When designing a track, what are some things you try to incorporate into every design? Do you draw the design by free-hand or do you use a computer program to help you design the general track layout? Do you design a track around the scenery you want to do or is it the other way around?

    6) You have invented a router guide system that many of our members have purchased and used to route their own tracks. Could you describe the system? What made you want to design the system to begin with and how many revisions has the system undergone?

    7) You are entering a new and exciting phase of your life better known as RETIREMENT. Do you envision spending more time with slot cars and designing/building tracks, or is it time to put down the controller and go hunting and fishing more?

    8) What is the single greatest advancement over the past forty years that has improved slot car racing in your opinion?

    9)If you had to pick one specific class of car to race, what would that class be (i.e. LMP1, LMP2, Clasic F1 cars....you get the picture.)

    10) What is your favorite slot car of all time?

    11) What is your most favorite track that you designed? Also, what is your most favorite track you have ever seen?

    12) And finally, a fill in the blank test: It would take an act of congress to get me to...........(do what.)

    I want to personally thank Wet Coast Racer for prompting me to contact Luf for this interview. I had it in the back of my mind when I saw the thread on the closing of Archer raceways, however, WCR said "now would be the perfect time", so here we are.

    Good luck Luf. Don't be surprised if other members have questions for you also. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Best of luck in your retirement. For some reason, I just don't see you not designing more tracks .

    KIITS,
    Lawrence

  • #2
    1) Tell us about yourself. I understand that you are of German heritage, however, there is a question mark there, correct?

    Born in '45 in a part of Germany that belongs to Poland now...came to Vancouver in '55 and have lived here ever since

    2) At what age did you start racing slot cars? Have you constantly been in the hobby since then or was it something you thought you grew out of then came back to the hobby?

    Played around with Aurora HO about 40 yrs ago, then, about 5 yrs later mentioned slot cars to some guys at work, and everybody dug around and found bits of track and Strombecker cars. Thursday night was beer night at work (4 day week) and we started racing. Got tired of the plastic track pretty quick and routed our first 2 laner in the lunchroom.

    Then I decided to build a 3 laner in my garage, and of course I wanted the middle lane to take a "racing line", so I made up a Lexan strip for that. I was the only one that liked the racing line, so I knuckled under and re-routed everything parallel...but the seed was planted.

    We ended up with a routed 4 laner at work, about 140' lap, 1/24 brass chassis, Lexan bodies, glue everywhere...raced on that every Wednesday for about 5 yrs and when I left that job, I also quit slot cars for about 15 yrs.

    Then I spotted a Ninco SLK, bought it because it looked so good, then found out it was a slot car! I was hooked again.

    By now I had my own business, so I built a 3 laner and called Norm, who raced with us 15 yrs earlier. The two of us got togethet every Monday night and flogged some cars around. After 5 weeks, a third guy showed up, then he brought some friends, etc, etc and pretty soon we needed a second 3 laner to keep everybody driving. I routed about half of this track with the "racing line" middle lane, to see what people thought. This group liked it and I've put squeezes and weird lane spacing into every track since

    3) What was your first slot car set and what cars came with it?

    I've never had a slot car set...it's always been scrounged stuff and 1/24 was all scratch built stuff (Tamiya models on plexi or brass chassis), looked great, but very fragile.
    None of our early group ever got involved with commercial tracks or racing, so we kinda developed our own style...almost no rules, and all our races were 10 lap sprints.

    4) When did you become interested in racing on routed tracks? Who or what inspired you to start construction of your first routed track?

    Think I answered that above, but the biggest plus for routing is there's no limits, and it's dirt cheap

    5) When designing a track, what are some things you try to incorporate into every design? Do you draw the design by free-hand or do you use a computer program to help you design the general track layout? Do you design a track around the scenery you want to do or is it the other way around?

    All my designs are drawn freehand, and I try to build flowing, yet challenging tracks. Sometimes I succeed, but most tracks need a little tweaking after driving them for a while.
    I like to experiment with different placings for squeezes. One of the most fun ones are the squeezed straight on our Upstairs track, and the squeezed section through the village on the Targa.

    I realize that 97.8% of the slot car world races to see who can do the most laps in a given time, so squeezes may not be the best idea for them.

    But the way we race, 10 lap Crash & Burn sprints, they add a whole lot of excitement and strategy. When cars are closely matched, a slower car can hold things up for quite a while.

    Most tracks I've built had different features, trying to keep things interesting for the guys, but the Targa and Nurburgring were built to a theme and I knew what scenery I wanted, tried to get the "spirit" of those tracks...but I'm pretty sure some of our guys haven't noticed any scenery or elevation changes

    6) You have invented a router guide system that many of our members have purchased and used to route their own tracks. Could you describe the system? What made you want to design the system to begin with and how many revisions has the system undergone?

    The Lexan strip is still the same as it was 35 yrs ago. It's the only thing I use now...no more compass and straight edge.
    The base plate used to be just a 7" disk (to give 3.5" spacing) but I changed it so it would give 3", 3.5" or 4" spacing.

    I still use a compass to draw out the odd corner, but I use the Lexan strip to do the routing. It makes for a very smooth transition into and out of corners, and it make increasing or decreasing radius corners.
    Also, I think straights are boring, so I usually put a slight weave in there.

    7) You are entering a new and exciting phase of your life better known as RETIREMENT. Do you envision spending more time with slot cars and designing/building tracks, or is it time to put down the controller and go hunting and fishing more?

    I'm setting up a two car garage at home...it will mainly be a workshop, but it will have a new suspended Targa track in it. So I'll only be semi-retired, and I ain't giving up slots...I've met too many great people through this hobby

    8) What is the single greatest advancement over the past forty years that has improved slot car racing in your opinion?

    The internet

    9)If you had to pick one specific class of car to race, what would that class be (i.e. LMP1, LMP2, Clasic F1 cars....you get the picture.)

    Being an old grunt, I prefer pre 1980 stuff (and tracks). Used to be a winning car just looked right. That sure isn't true anymore, thanks to the rule makers, I guess. The current crop of F1 cars are the ugliest lash-ups ever, and even the announcers don't know which car they're looking at half the time. Hope they never make those as slot cars. I can be old and grumpy because I'm SEMI-RETIRED!!

    10) What is your favorite slot car of all time?

    I promised myself to only buy cars I really like...I have about 65 of those...

    11) What is your most favorite track that you designed? Also, what is your most favorite track you have ever seen?

    My favorite is the current Targa...it's my third version...soon to build version 4, hope it turns out

    Favorite track I've seen is tough, but the last San Phoeno stands out

    12) And finally, a fill in the blank test: It would take an act of congress to get me to...........(do what.)

    ...build a track without squeezes

    Thanks for the opportunity to mouth off, hope I answered most of your questions...plus you're all invited to the Last Gasp Race at Archer on Sept 20

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the answers Luf. And of course, your answers lead to more questions. Would you be up to answering more questions? If so, then here goes....

      1) "A winning car just feels right." Could you be more specific such as do you get that feeling while turning the first laps on a new car? Does that feeling come when doing your initial visual inspection of the car? Or, and as silly as it sounds, does the feeling just come from looking at the car and holding it in your hands?

      2) Looking at your tracks on your website, I personally love the challenges that the squeezes pose on any track. Would you say your tracks are more of a thinking mans' track instead of a "ground-pounder" type of track where sheer horsepower decides the outcaome?

      3) To delve further into question #2 and the tracks you have designed, I am totaly impressed by your attention to detail beyond just scenery. In other words, you do not seem to "just" put in squeezes for the heck of it, rather, you seem to have a good feel for lines taken in 1:1 racing. Is this a correct statement, and if so, have you taken any racing classes (i.e. Barbour Racing Schools, etc...)? Also, do you reference any of the many books that teach racing dynamics and the concepts of racing?

      That's all for now from me. Thanks again for the answers Luf. I can't wait to see what you come up with for a track at your house. Stay well my friend!!!!

      KIITS,
      Lawrence
      Last edited by rolltidevet; 08-18-2008, 03:19 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the mention Luf. Was that the rally track or the 3 lane raceway ?

        Comment


        • #5
          Phoeno...I really liked the last 3 laner you built

          Lawrence...1) "A winning car just feels right." Could you be more specific such as do you get that feeling while turning the first laps on a new car? Does that feeling come when doing your initial visual inspection of the car? Or, and as silly as it sounds, does the feeling just come from looking at the car and holding it in your hands?

          I was actually talking about 1:1 cars there...but when it comes to slot cars, I'm not much of a tuner. Lotsa my cars "feel" right, but I get blown out of the water once the racing starts

          2) Looking at your tracks on your website, I personally love the challenges that the squeezes pose on any track. Would you say your tracks are more of a thinking mans' track instead of a "ground-pounder" type of track where sheer horsepower decides the outcaome?

          With squeezes, you can't drive like you're the only guy on the track...it adds another dimension, especially in crash & burn.

          3) To delve further into question #2 and the tracks you have designed, I am totaly impressed by your attention to detail beyond just scenery. In other words, you do not seem to "just" put in squeezes for the heck of it, rather, you seem to have a good feel for lines taken in 1:1 racing. Is this a correct statement, and if so, have you taken any racing classes (i.e. Barbour Racing Schools, etc...)? Also, do you reference any of the many books that teach racing dynamics and the concepts of racing?

          I've been a race fan all my life, but other than a bit of drag racing and lotsa laps at Malibu GPs, I've never done any "real" driving.

          Every track I've built lately has had different squeezes. The Speedway had a very fast sq'd corner at the end of a 28' straight, the Upstairs track has the entire straight squeezed, the Ring has a parallel straight and the wiggly bits squeezed, the Targa has three different sq'd sections...it gives each track a very different feel.
          Over the last 11 years of racing every Monday, we've probably averaged 15 racers per night, so I guess they enjoy the challenge.

          Also, everyone that's raced with us and went on to build their own tracks have included squeezes in their own creations

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks once again Luf. I must say, looking at the downhill straght of the old Nurbergring and your rendition of it, I am just blown away!!!! You captured the "feel" of the old 'Ring perfectly (imho), especially for those of us who never have known the 'Ring in any other configuration than the modern F1 track.

            Now I'm off to find pics of Phoeno's track.........

            KIITS,
            Lawrence

            Comment


            • #7
              Great stuff Luf! really interesting read...have a happy retirement and thanks for your inspiration.

              Regards

              Alan

              PS I also liked Martin's (Phoeno) three laner , it was used for a round of the Down Under Proxy Race a few years ago....

              Comment


              • #8
                Great read!

                Hi Luf,

                First of all, thanx! Not for answering Lawrence's questions, but for the inspiration and guidance without which the International Warehouse Track wouldn't exist! You, along with many others here at SCI, are responsible for us guys taking up the challenge to built a big routed track without the minimal experience in the matter. You simply rock, mister!

                Reading your story makes it easy to understand how you get to build some of the most attractive and seemingly fun tracks to drive on. Before seeing them I had never thought of using a squeeze, as we did at the IWT and, boy, does that squeeze make things different and fun (and sometimes a bit "hot" too, if you get my drift... ).

                Thank you for complying to Lawrence's "demands", thus filling us in with a bit of your background and ideas.

                Not enough people read this very interesting Thread!

                Cheers and thanx!
                BigDog

                Comment


                • #9
                  hi..

                  Now this is a huge treat for me. Following the rebuilding of my house following a fire, I contemplated building a large HO gauge train layout. The problem was that trains move to slow for my tastes. Reading on the internet showed me that slot cars were still around and better than ever. As I was reading through different sites, I found one concerning Archer Raceways and the many tracks built by our guest Luf..
                  ______________________

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