You’re behind the wheel of a Ford GT GT3 tearing down the back straight, door handle to door handle with a Gallardo GT3. The hairpin is looming, and one of you will have to yield to avoid an accident. Who will give first? Who will push that little bit too hard and spear off the track? Who will give it a little too much gas on exit, sending the tail into a drift and washing off valuable speed.
For most of us this is the stuff of dreams, but I’ve just had refreshed to me a way you can experience this, at 1/32 scale.
Slot car racing is certainly not a new thing, but I’ve never really tried it because I’d written it off as child’s play. But when a friend was taking his 1 year old to go slot car racing at Hobby Habit on Daws Road, I came along to have a shot. And I had an absolute blast.
Like anything, it is only as expensive as you make it – a good quality 1/32 Scaletrix car will set you back around $45-65 depending where you buy it. And you don’t even need to own the expensive track infrastructure – for just $5, Hobby Habbit on Daws road will let you use any of their 10 tracks for as long as you like. There’s fast and flowing tracks that are reminiscent of Phillip Island, tight and twisty street circuits like the Macau grand prix track, a banked oval speedway where you can achieve some pretty impressive speeds and your basic figure of 8 loops and beginner tracks.
Although you’ve gotta be careful when shopping for your car, because the sheer range and variety of obscure race cars of decades past that are available could easily end up costing you a fair sum. Restraint is needed.
And then you can get into modifying them for more speed. Carbon fibre chassis, bigger engines, magnesium wheels and grippier tyres are common modifications. I’ve even heard stories from my Dad about how he used to re-wind the electric motors, changing them from their regular 18-20,000rpm speeds to well past 70,000rpm, bringing much more speed and a distinctive high pitched howl.
I’m not really ready for another new hobby just yet, but slot car racing could be a cost effective way of fitting in some proper competition over the summer break. The first Any Given Reason slot car challenge? Hmm… maybe.