Well whether you like them or not Tuners are a large, and growing, segment of the slot car releases. One upcoming release looms very large on this front is the SCX "Tuning Series" set. Keep in mind this art is from the latest North American catalog and is still listed as a prototype of an analog set...
With this set SCX addresses something that's gone over the head of every other company. The ethic in the tuning world is on having a car that they've built. So the parts shown allow the racer to custom build or make their car, their car. No one else has thought to allow racers to do this. It's about getting the same car and tricking it out differently from your buddy. I can't emphasize this enough...
Something else different about this set is that it's a simulation of a street race. With a stoplight at an intersection. The track itself is slated to be a 21' circuit. Not huge but large enough for a small city, eh? Notations in the catalog are that there will include a "reproduction of city scenery"...I'm interested to see this, since after all my own wood track is loosely based on downtown San Francisco.
I was shown an artist mock up of this set at the New York toyshow and one thing the rep was happy to talk about was the MP3 interface with this set. That's right you can play your favorite music through the set while racing.
It doesn't seem like there's much room to expand in the traditional race car market. And the tuners address a market segment that's sure ripe for expansion. Now if the slot companies would just get someone out to some NOPI events with a nice sized layout maybe there would be some in-roads made to this market.
Publisher, Slot Car News