Sunday, July 22, 2007

Spirit BMW RAC Rally-review

The RAC Rally BMW 2002 is the second release of this body this year. And this time around Spirit has given slotters a classic and popular livery to buy.

There haven’t been any changes from the first release to this release. The wheels are different, but internally there’s nothing new to surprise a buyer. If you liked the Lauda car this one will probably be high on your list to purchase. This time around there are some very nicely done lights riding on the front bumper of this car.

Actually inside there is one change, much shorter wires from the motor to the guide. The wires aren’t a supple as the other wires used, but they are much more appropriately sized. As we continue to check out the chassis inside there’s the same long can, high torque motor featured in all Spirit cars recently. The power comes on quickly with this motor and the car streaks down the track at a faster clip than you’d expect (or maybe like to see) with a very, very small car. Again with this release from Spirit there are holes in the back of the pod, on either side of the gear, which would be perfect to hold this powerful motor in place. But there are no screws there.

Testing notes on my “Bay Bridge” Carrera plastic test track:
100 laps with pod screws backed off a bit, but no clearance cutting around the pod.
Tires profiled so they have a bit more clearance inside the fenders.
I got a hard fought 3.9 fastest time, with times around 4.0-4.1 average time.

100 laps with pod screws still loose but now I did a lot of clearance work around the chassis and the pod. The pod can now fit better inside the chassis after I sanded around all the edges. Also I sanded the bottoms of the pod pegs flat (the small posts that the screws for the pod fit into). Now the pod can sit flatly on the chassis posts and has much more play inside the chassis.
The lap times dropped to an average of 3.9-4.0, which might not seem like much but the car feels much easier to drive now and I got a fastest time of 3.8.
All testing was done with the stock bar magnet in its stock position ahead of the motor.

On the East New York Raceway (a wood track with 61’ lap length) the BMW achieved only a 6.3 time. A time which, given the large powerful engine, isn’t spectacular. The same issue that the first Spirit BMW is present in this car as well. The wheels wobble more than I’d like, also the molding of the tires adds to the problem. I can’t help lamenting that this car could really benefit from some tiny little set screw metal wheels, but then I’m always a “grass is greener” type of guy.

I think this slot car, despite the wheel problem, is a desirable car. The body detail wonderful, the chassis offers something for both the out of the box driver and the slotter that like to modify a car to their taste. A motor pod is a rarity in a slot car this size...that’s something to take advantage of if someone’s in the market for a under-2-litre class car...or nearly U-2 car it is a 2002 after all...

Dave Kennedy
Slot Car News

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