Updated 12th Sep 2013
What is NZSCA? Member Clubs & Contacts What size are the cars? What sort of track is used? What guides the car? What powers the cars? How are the cars controlled? What is the duration of races? What makes a good driver? What makes a car fast? How do I get started? What do I need?
What is the NZSCA?
The New Zealand Slot Car Association (NZSCA) is a non-profit incorporated society dedicated to the furthering of the sport of slot car racing in New Zealand.
Organised slot car racing has come a long way since the humble beginnings using home set equipment in the sixties. Modern cars can lap a typical 30 metre club track in around 5 seconds. In those five seconds the driver has to brake and drive around 6 or more corners. The faster cars are capable of 100 kph (60mph) on the straights (that's actual speed not scale speed) and have covered over 650 kilometres (400 miles) in 24 hours.
Executive Committee 2013 - 2014
President: Rob Dale Henderson HMMRC 09 818 3682 click here to email Rob Vice President: Chris Dillon Wellington SCC 021 461 6919 click here to email Chris Secretary: Keith Cheeseman Wellington SCC click here to email Keith Treasurer: Paul Belchambers Wellington SCC click here to email Paul Committee: Gill Andrews Palmerston North SCC 06 358 9486 click here to email Gill Tim Wright Pitlane SCC click here to email Tim Kieran Dale Henderson HMMRC click here to email Kieran Chris Wong Napier Performance SR 06 835 5100 click here to email Chris Barry Toomey Christchurch SCC click here to email Barry Neil Bidwell Marlborough SCC click here to email Neil RTR Sub Committee: Chairman Chris Wong Napier Performance SR 06 835 5100 click here to email Chris Paul Belchambers Wellington SCC click here to email Paul Craig Goodwin
Auckland Henderson Miniature Motor Racing Club Hamilton Hamilton Slot Car Club Tauranga Tauranga Slot Racing Napier Napier Performance Slot Racing New Plymouth Green Acres Slot Racers Palmerston North Palmerston North Slot Car Club Wellington Wellington Slot Car Club Nelson Hotslots Nelson Slot Car Club Blenheim Marlborough Slot Car Club Christchurch
Christchurch Slot Car Club Topp Slots Motorplex Christchurch Garden City Slot Car Club Dunedin Pitlane Slot Car Club
What size are the cars?
There are two sizes of cars regularly raced. The 1/32nd scale cars are about 15cm long by 6.4cm wide. The 1/24th cars are about 19cm long by 8cm wide. All models have to resemble a full size racing car. Racing is divided between classes for Grand Prix, Sports/GT and Saloon cars. Both 1/32 and 1/24 cars can run on the same track.
What guides the car around the track?
There is a T shaped guide at the front of the car, which fits in a slot cut in the track surface.
What sort of track is used?
Almost all clubs build their own tracks. These are usually built with the slot cut in either MDF board or chipboard. Most tracks are built on a frame raising the track surface to about 80cm from the floor. Most club tracks have 4 lanes, but a few clubs have 6 or even 8 lanes. The lap lengths of the tracks are typically between 20 and 50 metres. Every club track is different, some having short straights and tight corners, others long straights and fast sweeping corners, and many have all these features.
What powers the cars?
The track power is 12 volts direct current, usually from a car battery with a suitable charging system. Electric current is fed via the driver's hand controller to copper braids (or tapes) either side of the slot in the track surface. The car picks up this power with braids on either side of its guide. These pick-up braids are wired to an electric motor at the back of the car which drives the rear wheels.
How are the cars controlled?
Each driver has a hand controller which contains a variable resistor or a transistorised circuit. A spring-loaded plunger or trigger varies the amount of power supplied to the car... the harder the driver presses down the faster the car goes. To slow the car the driver releases the plunger / trigger, power is removed and a system of "dynamic braking" is applied. This "dynamic braking" is when the motor acts as a dynamo and generates its own braking force.
What makes a good driver?
The skill is to drive as fast as possible without falling out of the slot. You have to slow down for each corner, drive smoothly round and then accelerate away on full power down the next straight. If you go too fast into a corner or apply too much power in a corner the car will come out of the slot. If you "de-slot" you will lose a lot of time while the marshall puts the car back on. The best drivers can consistently drive to get the maximum out of the car, but rarely go over the limit and fall off. For beginners it's a question of plenty of practice to improve your driving. Technique and judgement come from practice; there's an element of natural ability in the need for lightning reactions, but perhaps the most important driver attributes are concentration and coolness.
What is the duration of a race?
Club races are usually 2 to 5 minutes long. Typical championship races have 3 minute heats and 5 minute finals. Some meetings are organised with one minute qualifying runs with the best lap to count, followed by a 3 minute run on each lane with the total distance covered deciding the result.
Team races are sometimes held; typically a team of up to 4 drivers shares one car for 3 hours. Occasionally there are longer endurance races which are team races running for 6, 12 or even 24 hours.
What makes a car fast?
The slot cars capable of such high speeds have come about through many years' relentless development. The engineering bears little resemblance to the home set type cars. The motors develop a lot of power, so the fastest cars can achieve over 100kph (60mph) in under 10 metres of straight, together with light weight and a low centre of gravity to help chassis cornering performance.
The bodies are feather-light, as heavier bodies make the car tend to tip over on corners. The bodies are made of transparent plastic, and are painted on the inside in the colour of the driver's choice. These bodies last a lot longer than you might think; they are flexible enough to deform in a crash, and then spring back to the original shape.
The chassis, although very light have carefully developed flexible and hinged parts to achieve high cornering speeds, and perhaps more importantly to make them handle so the driver can drive them close to the limit consistently. Many clubs race simple two-part pressed production chassis. The higher performance cars have more sophisticated chassis with many separate parts made from spring steel and brass.
How do I get started?
The best way is to go along and join one of the slot racing clubs. Here you will meet people who can help and advise you on how to acquire the necessary driving and chassis building skills.
What do I need?
At first seek the advice of club members. Clubs usually have cars and controllers available to try. The next step will be the purchase of a car and controller. Production cars are available from about $120.
Based on copyrighted document produced by British Slot Car Racing Association.
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