Monday, April 21, 2008

Slowing Down To Go Faster - BWA FF050 Motor Review

When I first got into the hobbysport of slot car racing four years ago, I'd do anything and everything to wring more speed out of my cars. I'd try fitting all manner of aftermarket parts: tires, axles, wheels, motors, traction magnets - you name it. Once I saw the light and started pulling all of the traction magnets out of my cars I had to relearn and rethink my approach to tuning. The most valuable lessons I’ve learned in tuning non-magnet cars has been from guys who’ve been having fun with the hobby for decades. One such group of guys that I race with West of my home base in Toronto has taught me tons about setting up non-magnet cars. They will probably forget more about the hobby than I’ll ever learn: Chris Walker, Marek Placheki (aka Ferrari1950 on the slot ‘boards), and Al Penrose (aka BWAminispeed).

I was invited to join these guys racing low powered cars that initially spanned three general classes: classic GT, front engine GP, and our premiere class of mid-engine GP. The thing that all these classes have in common is the choice of motor. We pitched the original hot power plants that came with the Scalextric and other GP cars we race and replaced them with NINCO NC1 or equivalent motors. One such equivalent is BWA’s BWMS050 FF050 size motor. Basically it is the same size as the Scalextric GP motors, with a 14.35mm long 1.5mm diameter shaft. It is a drop in fit for the newer MRRC/Rev/Mon chassis. For the Scalextric GP cars, you need to trim the shaft a bit. Power and torque rating is virtually identical to an NC1, and, on track performance is very close too.

My own testing on Mini Grid's 22m Scalextric Sport Maxport II track yielded some very interesting results. I took a stock Scalextric Ferrari Sharknose, removed the traction magnet, trued the tires, glued in a few grams of lead and took it for a spin. My best lap time with the stock powered car was 14.047s. I then Swapped out the stock Scalextric motor for one of Al’s BWA motors. This involved shortening the motor shaft and and using a Slot Car Heroes 1.5mm bore 9T pinion to preserve the stock gear ratio. This simple mod dropped the car’s lap time to 11.494s. That’s right: a slower motor got this car around the Mini Grid test track over 2.5s faster! How can this be? Well, I’d attribute it to less wheel spin both in the corners and on the straights making the car just that much more drivable everywhere on the track. The best part of this mod – well, the second best part (the best part being the reduced lap time!) is the price: CDN$4 is the selling price for this mild-mannered BWA motor. Beats the US$16+ that NINCO NC1 or NC8 motors sell for! With any luck we’ll soon see an FF030 (S-Can) motor with similar performance and pricing from Mr. Penrose. I know I’ll be remotoring my classic GTs with this mill just as soon as Al has them available. If you’d like to purchase one of these motors for yourself, check out the BWA web store at Have a look at Al’s wide assortment of aluminium wheels and resin inserts while you’re there.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant article by Van...who has learned less than I have forgotten...or something...what were we talking about...where am I....oh ya...being one of the three culprits named I submit that when you need quality parts Al is the man, BWA is the name....I too have been convinced that this is a great way to race a genre of cars from a couple of nostalgic decades....very reminiscent of racing slot cars in the sixties...not to say I shun other faster variants but these are a blast. Thanks for the kind words Van! Chris likes the slow suff 'cause like his last name says...he needs one!...I think you all catch the drift of how serious...not... this group of racers are...standings are new each time we meet!...enjoy the the way Art's track...super rat...was home to the first three pics...builds tracks like a one coming....then there is Franco...the happy bear of slotcarcircuit fame....Ray and Bernie, the two foreigners...hehehe!

Good day, eh!
I have to get back to making tires...Van..come out and get material for another wonderful article....

DaveKennedy said...

This is a really excellent article Van! I'm a huge fan of slower racing in any case, and this article is a great read as well as a great way of thinking of racing.

Lenny Broke said...

Hi Van
I really enjoyed this article
I would love to start a similar group here in Adelaide , just got to find the like minded people.
Cheers Alan