JGTC 13 Slot Car Showdown
The guys that I race with had a JGTC race earlier this summer. The rules called for a stock car that had to be listed on the IMCA JGTC web site.
I decided to bust open my race cases and test all the different examples of JCTCs that I could find. I tested the cars without magnet on the 24m Scalextric Sport test track. The track was a replica of Reckless Racer's "The Coffin" circuit. The infield is very technical, and there's a nice long straight where these cars could wind out to terminal velocity.
What follows is a ranking of the JGTC cars in my collection from slowest to fastest in terms of lap time on the test track. Many of these cars are eligible for GT class entry in the Race Across America. My hope is to provide racers with a basis for comparison when choosing a JGTC or modern GT racer for club or proxy competition.
13. Pro-Slot Porsche 911-GT2 - DNS
Thirteen is Pro-Slot's (un)lucky number. The motor pinion started spinning on the motor's shaft once I was ready to run timed laps for this test. When the car did run, the motor seemed very NC1-ish in terms of grunt. The tires seemed decent enough too. The motor pod chassis design seems to have potential. This car is simply not a runner out of the box. It's a pity as it masks the potential that exists in this car. As you'll see though, there's some pretty hot stuff that works great off the rack...
12. SCX Ferrari 550 - 12.29s
I've really come to enjoy SCX releases. In stock trim, this is a great car for kids to race. Decent adjustable magnetic downforce with working headlights and tail lights. For the smore serious racer the chassis features a rocking motor pod. The SCX bodies are fairly light as well. Where this car falls short is in the horsepower department. If SCX starts putting more grunt in their cars, they will be a brand to watch out for. As it is, a Slot.it motor adaptor and your favourite S-can will transform this car. In stock trim it lacked serious grunt down the test track's long straightaway.
11. Scalextric Porsche 911 GT3 - 11.36s
This car featured the older style chassis with the blue clip-on guide. A smooth runner, but lacking in both grip with stock tires and horsepower. Still, almost a second a lap faster than the Ferrari, and lots tuning opportunities to be found in its sidewinder chassis. Working headlights, as always, are a nice touch.
10. AutoArt Porsche 911 GT3 - 11.29s
AutoArt is one of the brands that doesn't seem to get much recognition. This car (with working headlights!) was a smooth runner out of the box. It featured a sidewinder chassis, and among the skinniest tires in this comparison. The tires were a little loose on the rim, and wrap further around the back of the rim than the front. This should make for a challenge when seeking aftermarket tires for this car. Still, a decent handling sidewinder car. The body on this model would certainly be easy enough to relivery.
9. Cartrix Honda NSX - 11.21s
I bought this car on a whim. It was sitting at my local slot shop and had the Cartrix TX5 boxer motor in it. We tend to race a lot of stock classes at Raceworld Canada, so a stock car with a 22.5k motor is hard to overlook. While this car was a monster on the long straights of my test track, it was average in terms of handling in the more technical sections. Replacing tires and detailing the chassis and drivetrain would buy a lot of time here. Getting the power to the plastic pavement is the problem here.
8. Scalextric Nissan 350Z - 10.76s
This is one of the Takara chassis cars with the digital chip pod. The pod looks like a great place to mess around with weight placement. A smooth runner out of the box as one has come to expect from Scalextric. The brakes on this car didn't seem as good as what is usual for Scalextric. A race tuned version of this car was tied for second in terms of manufacturer points in our JGTC event. Slot.it has what it takes to move any of the Scalextric cars in this test up in the standings: a beefier new motor with more revs, and a decent screw-in wood track guide if you are inclined to replace the stock guide setup.
7. Fly Corvette C5 - 10.65s
I split up a box set to get this car. It is a Ron Fellows Corvette from the Fly Le Mans Team set. Mr. Fellows is a Canadian driver, which is one of the categories of cars that I try to collect.
The Fly C5 Corvettes are really good looking models. Lots of great detail on this model. Prior to running this car I glued in the motor with hot glue. I also ran a bead of hot glue on the driveshaft and rear axle bushings. Personally, I like the balance of a well set up from engined cars. The Scalextric L-88 Corvette being one of my faves in this regard...but I digress. This car ran well with the basic mods I outlined. Tuning in the area of the front axles to reduce play and rear tires and weight to increase traction would yield results at the track.
6. Scalextric Nissan Skyline - 10.52s
One of the more interesting aspects of this road test has been the comparison among different chassis setups between the same manufacturer. Here is Scalextric's interpretation of a JGTC sidewinder chassis. No digital pod, and no indentation on the plinth for you-know-who. I'll take a couple tenths out of the box over the Takara 350Z - thank you very much. A nice smooth runner, but like it's Scalextric siblings suffered in the horsepower arena when compared to the fastest JGTC competitors.
5. Scalextric Porsche 911 GT3 - 10.48s
Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Scalextric updates the Porsche 911 GT2 chassis with the black round guide as opposed to the snap in blue guide flag. This car was .9s faster than it's blue guide-flagged predecessor. Punchy off the line and a smooth handler in the curves made this an easy car to drive at the limit. Plenty of guide rotation on the round black guide probably helped lower the lap times of this chassis design. An exclusive hotter-motored version of this car will be released as a set-car only. This would be an interesting contender in a modern GT contest.
4. NINCO McLaren F1GTR - 10.48s
This is probably one of the first ten slot cars that I purchased. I was never that impressed with it when I was magnet racing. Now that I race without magnets (unless rules stipulate their presence) I have a whole new appreciation for this car. It has an NC2 can in it. I glued in the motor and rear axle bushings on this car. I find that with the NINCO inline cars that this is a necessity. The chassis of NINCO cars are generally quite flexible. This can sometimes work to a racer's advantage, and sometimes be a liability, especially in the are of the crown gear, rear motor mount, and rear axle bushings. Consequently, NINCO cars can sound a little rough in stock trim. Glued and trued, they're nice and smooth. This car is an excellent platform if you want to experiment with boxer motors.
3. McLaren F1GTR - 10.41s
The Jacadi McLaren is exactly the same as the Fina car except for the NC5 rather than NC2 boxer motor. The difference between the two motors being more revs and more torque. This translates to 7/100 ths of a second over its NC2 powered counterpart. Go figure. Still, a great car to race. The stock tires on all the NINCO cars are great right out of the box. This will save someone wanting to race this car a few bucks by letting them do so straight off the plinth. Another great runner.
2. NINCO Porsche 911GT2 - 9.96s
This car features an inline drivetrain with the venerable NC2 motor. The NINCO boxers are the big-block motors of the stock car world. Not big on the rpms, but plenty of torque. Once the motor was glued in on this car any trace of the dreaded NINCO hop was gone. The car settled down and was a fast and smooth runner. All the NINCO boxer inlines were very well behaved at the limit. A decent stock guide allowed a racer to really push the NINCO cars.
1. NINCO Honda NSX - 9.32s
By now I'm sure you have figured out why I did not publish my JGTC findings prior to the BFOS race. This car had .6s in hand over the closest competition. Only Reckless Racer's NINCO Mosler could best it during our race. And even then, it was a close fight when we raced those two cars together at The Coffin.
In stock trim I found the car overmagged, and the motor ran very hot on my Sport setup after a while. The NINCO boxer motors seem to stand up best to the rigors of a hot running car.
Ditching the magnets on NINCO cars gave me a whole new appreciation for them as a slot car manufacturer. Their generally handle very well in stock form without magnets. NINCO Classics are among my favourite no-mag cars, so this observation should have come as no surprise to me.
The NINCO NSX is a car that would benefit from stiffening in the motor/crown/rear axle area. The anglewinder setup is the hot ticket with this setup. I had a blast pushing the NSX to the absolute limit in testing and at the race. So did the other drivers who ran it during our BFOS tournament, bringing it to a tie for second. The tie was with my buddy Triggerhappy's Scalextric Nissan 350Z.
To settle the tie for second we had a race-off. The NINCO NSX romped away from the Scalextric 350Z. The extra NC grunt launching it out of corners, and decent stock guide keeping the car in the slot through technical sections. All this on stock tires! This car can only get faster with further tuning.
I was thrilled to show up at the BFOS race, and come in second in the constructor's points with what is basically a stock car. If only I could say the same for my driving skills. Kudos to NINCO for being the fastest JGTC in this test and getting me onto the constructor's podium for the BFOS race.