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Almost perfect...

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  • Almost perfect...

    Had some family and friends over throughout the holidays so I decided to throw a track together to kill some time. We had a blast and the layout was fun with some high speed sections and an enjoyable infield (largely constructed by my seven year old grand daughter). It was almost perfect...

    If we could have run four cars simultaneously, I wouldn't be here but I figured it was time to try a 1/32 digital layout (currently using 1/43 Carrera Go!) so we could get some more cars running. I have a large basement with a decent amount of space to play with (the carpet remnant the track is currently on measures 12'x17'). So a couple questions:

    1) To maintain some high speed areas (i.e. wide open), how long do the straights realistically need to be?
    2) Am I better off buying a couple sets for the track pieces or just one and go with all expansions (and hopefully some used stuff if I can find it)?
    3) I was going to stick with Carrera unless there was a compelling reason not to? I have no brand loyalty, it's just the only stuff I've looked at thus far.

    We're just having fun so lane lengths weren't even a consideration when we slapped it together and the layout will likely end up on the floor again; I'm not opposed to elevating it but we'll probably change it up frequently.
    Last edited by madweazl; 12-29-2018, 08:17 PM.

  • #2
    Design practices differ from person to person, however as a digital racer, I usually take the following actions based on it being raised on a table, which you WILL want to do unless you're a child and close to the floor to begin with. Bending over to re-slot cars gets old SUPER fast.

    1) determine table size.
    a)Make it as long as you can, leaving enough room to pass by the table on at least 3 of the 4 sides, preferably all 4.
    b)You can make it as wide as you have room for, so long as your layout allows for "cut ins" to walk into, or you make it no more than 6' wide (allowing for 3' reach from either side), OR you do your best to keep the infield simple so that crashes are always in reach.
    2) Make the longest straight you can fit. With a table 16' or longer, accounting for R4 turns at either/both ends is advisable. This might also be the straight along which you include your pit lane and S/F line (power base/lap counter).
    3) Connect the ends of the straight with a variety of turns, different radii, different degrees, different lengths of straights between them. Try to avoid more than one sequence of left/right turns (esses). Those are nice to have, but not really long or all over the place.
    4) Ask for feedback. Yes, you will be changing it. People will offer all kinds of advice, but until you and your competition actually race on it, there's no telling what will be lasting for you and yours. That said, a lot of people on here have been through a lot of the early stuff already, and can help you get to the good layout faster.

    And yes, RAISE IT UP ON A TABLE! If it can't be a permanent table, then get/make a bunch of folding tables or even sawhorses with ply laying across them. As I mentioned, it gets REALLY old/tiresome picking cars up off the floor. Speaking of which, get/make some kind of fencing in the crash areas so that when cars crash, they don't fall to the floor. Not only will you have to pick them up, but also the cars are likely to suffer additional damage.

    You can't go wrong with the current offerings from Carrera or Scalextric for digital. Pick what suits your style and budget. Do you prefer trigger controllers or plunger? Do you want to run 1/24 cars at some point as well? What kinds of cars do you like, and will you be up for some Dremel and/or soldering work to install a chip into an off-brand car?


    • #3
      I'm not a fan of the Carrera controller but it looks like there are trigger options available from the aftermarket?

      I dont see myself running 1/24 scale; the smaller space I'm working with would likely be rather boring. With that said, most seem to really enjoy the Carrera track width to let the cars hang it out (sounds fun to me!).

      I've been racing RC cars most of my life so solder and Dremel action is a native skill

      I did notice there was a Scalextrics set that included four cars and four wireless controllers that looked to have a little more track but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere. Perhaps it was discontinued? Not sure what the most economical path is for acquiring new track and controllers is at this point?

      In regard to cars, the prototypes have always been my favorites (goes back to the early tracks I had around 1980) but I enjoy pretty much everything (mostly GT3 right now but that is largely because of local availability). From what I've seen, you can run everything on the Carrera track with the applicable chips (goes back to your solder/Dremel comment I assume)?


      • #4
        Yes, you can get a TruSpeed or Digital Racing Solutions controller for Carrera. I have the DRS one for Carrera, as well as TruSpeed for Scalextric, and they are both great.

        1/24 cars are a lot of fun, but for that size, or for "hanging the cars out", you'll need border pieces at LEAST on the outside of every turn, with a little lead-out after the turn, and on the inside of the tight turns if running 1/24 cars. Trust me when I saw that you'll be running all kinds of cars, and if your track can handle 1/24, you'll end up getting some. Ask me how I know. ;-)

        The Scalextric set is still available, but you're coming in after the X-mas buying season, so stock is probably on the low side. Keep looking, or make some calls to your favorite retailer to ask them to get it in. I know Alan at is very accommodating. I've seen him create a set from individual parts for the cost of the comparable set, when the set desired is not available.

        I love Scalextric. It's only meant for (up to) 1/32 cars, but because the track is narrower and they have a tighter inside turn than Carrera, you can fit a more complex and interesting layout into the same space than you can with Carrera. You'll still want borders on turns, but you'll still have more flexibility.

        You can run everything on every track with the applicable chips. Yeah, that's why I mentioned Dremel and soldering, since installing a Carrera chip into a Scalextric or or Fly or whatever, isn't as easy as putting one into a Carrera car. Same goes for Scalextric chips in other cars. Sounds like this won't be an issue for you, though.


        • #5

          Here's a 12x5 4" Scalextric layout based on the 4-car Pro Platinum digital set. The 12' x 5' 4" (64") tabletop is easy to make from two 4 x 8 sheets; cut each @ 64" to get two 4' x 64" pieces and two 32" pieces that can be combined to make the third 4' x 64" section. The illustration shows the two 32" pieces in the center of the layout.

          It's hard to get a good list of the Pro Platinum set contents, but it appears to include
          8 full straights (powerbase, 3 w/grid markings, 4 plain)
          2 90 degree R2 curves
          8 45 degree R2 curves
          2 1/4 straights
          4 1/2 straights
          2 straight lane changers
          Pit lane set

          There also may be 2 'long bridge straights' in the Pro Platinum set. I don't know for sure what they are. They may be the 584mm extra long straight (stamped SA on the back). For design purposes, I assume they are. I don't know a Scalextric part number for the 584mm straight, but it's available on eBay and from

          This layout uses the parts from the Pro Platinum 4-car set (inc 2 584mm straights) plus
          2 standard straights (C8205--not the 584mm straight)
          2 90 degree R2 curves (C8529)
          10 R3 curves (C8204)
          8 R4 curves (C8235)
          2 584mm straights (if not in Pro Platinum set)

          Scalextric retail track packages usually have two pieces. Track may also be sold singly.

          These part lists don't include fences or borders that may be needed for add-on track pieces.


          • #6
            I've dedicated a roughly 14x19' area of the basement (everything from the couch back in the first post); I can make it longer but this fits a specific area pretty well and doesn't infringe on plans I have for other areas of the basement.

            Stumbled across this car a couple of days ago and had to have it.

            With my Birthday around the corner, I requested a Scalextrics C1388T set because it had some bits I thought would be nice to have (pit, three controllers, etc.) unless I can find C1374T somewhere before then (one on ebay but it ships from China and will likely take quite a while to arrive).

            Appreciate the info and the layout idea!


            • #7
              How long can the table be? Is 12' too much? An old 9x5 pingpong table can be enough for Scalextric, tho you won't have long straights or big-radius curves.

              16x6 is plenty for Scalextric.


              • #8
                Originally posted by thatguy01 View Post
                How long can the table be? Is 12' too much? An old 9x5 pingpong table can be enough for Scalextric, tho you won't have long straights or big-radius curves.

                16x6 is plenty for Scalextric.
                The table can be the full 19' length and the width just needs to facilitate room to access areas of the table and places for drivers to sit/stand. I havent spent any time playing with layouts yet; for some reason I cant get the track elevation to sit on top of the "table" in Ultimate Racer. Oh, the right side of the room layout is open to the rest of the basements (no walls), the rest are walls.

                Edit: the attached zip in the previous post has the Ultimate Racer layout of the room.
                Last edited by madweazl; 01-01-2019, 03:39 PM.


                • #9
                  Came up with this rough outline this morning (call it Hint of Monaco). Need to add pits, lane changes, power, etc. but I wanted to get some feedback on whether or not the basic layout would even be enjoyable to run? The back will climb in elevation and start to decline just before the hairpin similar to the actual Monaco circuit. There should be enough room to walk behind that section for marshal purposes and I'll leave the middle area open for the same purpose.

                  Last edited by madweazl; 01-02-2019, 07:38 AM.


                  • #10
                    The bus stop chicane is a nice feature.

                    Diagonal straights will increase the entertainment value. It's exciting to see the car running at odd angles. Also, odd angle corners (not 90/180) are exciting to drive.

                    My personal opinion is that 180 degree R1 corners suck, but MrFlip and I disagree about that.

                    Long straights connected by 180 degree corners tend to be tedious to drive. It's good to design one straight in the layout to be as long as the area allows, but other straights can be shorter, or interrupted with chicanes or fast bends.

                    You can create increasing/decreasing radius curves by using a larger radius piece at the beginning or end of a corner. These are attractive and fun to drive. It's also a useful technique for adjusting the radius of corners and the position where the corner connects to the adjacent straight. I like to minimize the number of short straight pieces in layouts to reduce joints and minimize cost; fiddling with these end pieces can help make the track line up, or fit a corner in the space where I want it without conflicting with nearby track. For example, in the attached layout I mixed corner pieces to make the long diagonal straight smoothly align with the track that wrapped around the outside of the area.

                    To simplify marshaling, I recommend designing the table/track so the track (esp corners) is a maximum 4 foot reach from a table side. 3 feet is better. If you have a bigger table, you can run straights through a less accessible area, but avoid placing corners there.

                    Digital tracks only run one direction. With the area you have to work with, consider placing the pit lane on the outside of the layout instead of inside. The pit lane will be accessible to place/remove cars without reaching over the track. That location will affect the position of the pit entrance/exit and the lane changers.

                    For a digital track, there should always be at least a full plain straight before any track that has a digital sensor (pit entrance, lane changer, lap counter). This allows the car to get straight over the slot before the sensor.

                    Here's a layout with the same track footprint that applies some of my ideas.

                    Last edited by thatguy01; 01-02-2019, 09:50 AM.


                    • #11
                      Thank you for the pointers! I was trying to keep things close enough for 3' reach and open enough to walk around but you're much more creative than I am; you were able to maintain the spirit of the track (being Monaco) but really smoothed it out and it's certainly more visually appealing!


                      • #12
                        OK, think I was able to recreate what you had laid out; wasn't quite sure of some of the curves as it's hard to read but it's close enough so I have a starting point (added a bit to the straight which required some odd short pieces to match up well but I can live with that). Wont be able to walk all the way around it (top right corner) but I think it will be ok; I could elevate that area a bit more and duck under the track I suppose.

                        I did have another question; I've read that you want equal length lanes but that doesnt seem to be possible without crossing over the track some how. This one measured out at 95.37' for one lane and 93.76' for the other? Is that something I should work out to even up?

                        Cant thank you enough, that was tremendously helpful!
                        Last edited by madweazl; 01-02-2019, 11:23 AM.


                        • #13
                          There's no way to get the lanes equal without a figure 8 crossover that puts each lane on the inside of one loop and the outside of the other. The actual length of the loops doesn't matter, or how many left and right turns are on each loop. Equal length is less important for digital tracks, and it's less important for long tracks like yours. The difference in length is the same regardless of length; as your numbers show, it's about 2 percent for a 90 foot Scalextric track. The difference in length would be the same if the track were a plain circle, but the percentage would be much higher.

                          A "loop inside another loop" crossover makes the lanes more uneven, not less.

                          I would suggest shrinking your table area as necessary to make it easy to walk around. I think it will still be plenty big. I'm guessing that you hope to have some big crowds enjoying the track, so "surface area" would be valuable.


                          • #14
                            That is what I figured; I dont think the crossover would go well with the design so I'll leave it out. Added some lane changes and a pit area but I may move that to the infield of the center long straight due to the space constraints. We're waiting on a reply in regard to how much of the basement we can finish before we get hit with taxes on it due to "living space." It frees up quite a bit of space if I cant frame and finish this portion but I can get a little creative with that as well if need be (and the layout can be tweaked though I didn't find a good compromise there).

                            Edit: Little shorter but it fits better and you can walk all the way around now. I'm sure I'll try a few more things out but would love some more feedback.
                            Last edited by madweazl; 01-02-2019, 05:45 PM.


                            • #15
                              Went back down to the basement and double checked my measurements because things didnt seem to be matching up. After that I switched the Ultimate Racer preferences to inches (vs feet) to get a little more precision. With those two things, I was able to get much closer to your (thatguy01) awesome layout and we'll be able to get all the way around the track table. Front straight is about 16.5' long; should be exciting.