Thursday December 08, 2005

New Scalextric NASCAR!

One of the most important releases for myself this year from Scalextric are the new NASCAR series of models. Finally, this Motorsport is represented once again after being long overdue in our hobby. Although many enthusiasts have already read the great reviews on this car, I simply could not resist sharing a quick look at a model I have been waiting to have for quite some time.


Right out of the box this model is simply impressive. Overall fit and finish is outstanding to my eyes. Scalextric has provided us with an excellent scale shape of the body and the small details just bring the model to life. My model was virtually flawless in the paint and Tampo stamped markings department.

Accuracy is also at a high level. It is very hard to try and paint one of these models as they change design and color combinations quite often from race to race, but here the base #97 is well represented. Of course a few small items might be out of place for the fine scale enthusiasts out there, but these mean nothing when you are burning up the track at high speeds.

Looking at this model just lets me know how lucky we are in this hobby compared to 7 or 8 years ago. The very first NASCAR by Scalextric was pretty poorly executed and performance matched the scale detail. It did however pave the way for the second versions that in my opinion are still today one of the finest models in our hobby. After that, more versions followed with the final releases being in sidewinder format that although did not have perfect scale appeal, still satisfied most enthusiasts of the sport.

Wheels and tires appear to be standard fare and were very round and true. I have been impressed with the tire compounds of newer models and with just a slight sanding I found these tires to hook up very well on both our Artin and Carrera tracks.

Testing this model out of the box was important and this hot rod passed with flying colors. It was very smooth and fast with only the slight familiar wine of the gears which will slowly go away as you break the model in. For many newcomers, first impressions are lasting ones. If they chose these new NASCAR'S, I am pretty sure they will be hooked for life.

Underneath you can see the car is again a sidewinder motor configuration and several magnet pockets for you to adjust the set-up and handling of the model. There are 6 screws located here but only 4 attach the body to the chassis. The 2 screws in the center hold the detailed interior firmly in place.

And speaking of that interior, it is pretty impressive. Personally, this is more than enough for my tastes and I imagine for the majority of enthusiasts as well. Since I have already heard many positive things regarding this model in our forums and others across the web, I think you will too.

Removing the interior we see the Scalextric motor fitted with a 11 tooth pinion that turns a 36 tooth spur gear. We also see the large bar magnet that keeps this model stuck down to the rails quite nicely. For my personal taste in driving, I moved my magnet to the center position. this allowed a smoother operation in the corners and made things more of a challenge.

Up front we see the front guide system with the quick disconnect braid assembly and that the chassis has the pre-drilled holes and mounting brackets for digital conversion. There is not much room inside here for tuning for non-magnet purposes, yet still some enthusiasts always find a way. I removed the magnet and the model was smoother than I expected without adding any additional weight. Of course upgrades in wheels and tires are most likely the hot set up for non-magnet and wood track operation.

However, this model was designed for plastic tracks and I have to judge it based on that. As I stated, right out of the box this model was very fast and smooth. We ran the model on our Artin road course and lap times were very pleasing. 3.9 seconds was the average and that is right with the latest Vipers.

Personally though, it is on an oval track where I feel this model truly belongs. On our new Carrera 4 lane oval this car was fantastic to drive. It has very good acceleration with crisp braking allowing you to dive very deep into the corners. It has been quite awhile since I have ran a Scalextric NASCAR on my track since many of my local newcomers did not get the chance to acquire the older versions. I did however pull out one of my personal favorites to compare it to. Although I felt the original 2nd release cars were fantastic, the old brown magnet simply will not keep up. About a year or so ago I put many of those prior releases away and although performance is very close with the models equipped with the new magnet and sidewinder drive, I decided to keep them right where they are.

My reason is simple: Availability. There might be a few older versions out there but we have the new ones to choose from in force. There are 4 models planned ( Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson Monte Carlos) to get anyone started in 2 or 4 lane racing and that is a pretty good beginning. White or "blank" versions are also planned for release to allow those modelers out there a chance to create even more selections. Hopefully though, we see more versions from Scalextric in the future. I would imagine that we should given the popularity of NASCAR in this country.

Perhaps my love for NASCAR has given me a biased opinion of this model...but I don't think so. This car runs and looks great and should impress most any new or veteran enthusiast. I will certainly see more of these models in my collection as our oval racing series has literally exploded in the past couple of years. Having brand new selection of modern NASCAR to add with it is about the best Christmas I could ask for.

- Harry

As always, feel free to contact me about this article or just the hobby in general.

Also, try and visit our online forums to find out more about this great hobby.

Thanks go to Gene at SLOTCARPLACE.COM for providing me with this great slot car!