Thursday, September 29, 2011

Carrera Evolution Porsche 917/30 “No. 48” (27367)

Carrera took the slot car racing world by storm when they introduced their first Can Am models: the iconic McLaren M20 and Porsche 917/30 turbo panzer. The 917/30 represents the ultimate evolution of the legendary 917 chassis. In some respects I was surprised when Carrera released their first 917/30 as there are not many racing liveries. The yellow Bosch car sent to me for testing is a model of chassis number 917/30-006. Stripped of its roof, covered with wind tunnel tuned bodywork, and powered by a 5.4l twin-turbo flat 12, it is this model from Porsche that dominated the final years of the Can Am championship.

When the plug was abruptly pulled on Porsche’s Can Am program at the end of 1973, three of the six chassis constructed were never fully completed. This particular chassis was already at Penske’s shop undergoing preparation for the ’74 season so it quietly went into storage. In 1982, one of Porsche’s most famous car dealership/race team owners, Vasek Polak, acquired the chassis along with many spares though not enough to finish the car. He made it his mission to find enough spares to complete chassis #6. It took him until 1995 to complete this project after which he put it up for sale. It has since appeared in vintage races like the 2009 Monterey Historic Races where Porsche was the featured marque, and Rennsport Reunion III at Daytona in 2007.

In the few years that I’ve been collecting slot cars I’ve often noticed that for some reason yellow liveries are very difficult to reproduce. Carrera has done an excellent job with this Bosch livery. The yellow paint really pops and the tampo is very crisp and opaque. Fine details like the vents in the front fenders are nicely rendered. As is now common, Carrera Evolution cars share chassis with the D132 models. That means this model has independently rotating front wheels and a tray interior. Carrera also includes extra braid and mirrors for this car in the box. To run this car on my 20m Scalextric Sport test track I swapped out the stock guide for a narrower and shorter Special Guide Keel (85309). On the Magnet Marshal this car weighed in at 97g, and the dual traction magnets pulled 213g of downforce. Out of the box this car lapped my test track in 7.634 seconds – or about a second a lap slower than my lightly tuned Carrera Sunoco 917/30. A slight wobble on the rear axle of my test car was most likely responsible for the performance disparity between it and other Carrera Can Am models I have tested. A trip to the tire truer will be the first stop once I start tuning this car.

On the 22m wood test track I used the wheel issue also held this car back from its full potential recording a fastest lap of 8.810s. The massive rear wheels on this car use a sold centre rib. This car would respond favourably to aftermarket tires especially if they were glued to the rim. In addition to truing the tires, eliminating play in the rear axle bushings would be another area to examine in the quest for more speed.

Overall I think Carrera has done a great job on this car. They have picked an obscure but interesting subject to model the car after and have really done a good job of capturing the shape and colour of the original. The out of the box performance is acceptable and my test subject’s performance can be brought into line with that of other Carrera Can Am cars without too much work. Given that the only other way a slot racer can add a 917/30 to his collection is by building up an expensive resin kit, the Carrera becomes quite an attractive choice.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Carrera Digital 132 Opel GT Steinmetz – Tourenwagen 1972 (30519)

Carrera’s foray into digital slot car racing seems to be building up a critical mass among home racers. No doubt this can be attributed to Carrera having released a steady stream of track parts, accessories, and cars for their Digital 132 system. A recent D132 release that I’ve been given to review is Carrera’s ’72 Opel GT ‘Steinmetz’. I should start off by saying that I don’t race D132 in my club or at home, but I do have a few D132 cars in my collection. Running them on an analog track is simple: flick the switch on the bottom, put the car on the track and pull the controller trigger three times in succession. Lo and behold – you now have an analog slot car.

One aspect of Carrera’s slot car release strategy that I’ve come to appreciate since I’ve started racing slot cars is that the cars come out in competitive groups. In the past we’ve had classic sports cars like the Maserati A6GCS, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Jaguar D-Type, and the Aston Martin DB3 and DB5. Carrera has also released a series of 70s silhouette racers like the Porsche 935-78, Ferrari 512 BBLM, Opel Commodore, and DeTomaso Pantera. Carrera’s latest kick seems to be smaller European touring cars like the Ford Capri RS3100 and Opel GT. It’s great
to see Carrera continue to provide slot car racers with whole grids of cars that are competitive with one another. I am curious to see which other small displacement GT machines they choose to model.

The Opel GT was first sold to the German motoring public in 1968 through Opel dealers. In America, the GT was available through Buick dealers, which like their German Opel cousins were a subsidiary of GM. The GT was originally sold with a 1.1l engine, but by far the greatest numbers were built with 1.9l under the hood. The GT appealed to tuners of the day as its engine, transmission, and other parts were easily swapped with parts from other cars
in Opel’s lineup. Add a tuner to the equation, in this case Opel specialist Steinmetz, and we have the makings of a race car. The car Carrera has reproduced for us is a ’72 vintage Steinmetz race tuned machine with its characteristic bulging fender flares. In my research I could only find mention of the GT in a few races – but they were significant races. Namely the annual 1000km race at the Nurburgring, and the Targa Florio. Carrera seems to have done a good job of replicating the mini-Corvette curves and proportions of the full size Opel GT on their D132 model. Typical for Carrera cars is the excellent paint and finish as well as the very crisp tampo work. Like any Carrera D132 model the GT has a tray interior to accommodate the digital components. Also typical are the independently rotating front wheels on this car. All four plastic wheels on my test car seemed to run fairly true and concentric. Since the plastic track I race on is Scalextric Sport, I swapped the stock guide keel for the Special Guide Keel (85309).

The Carrera Opel GT has two substantial bar magnets which are mounted from the top of the chassis. Together these provide significant magnet attraction on plastic track systems. My test car pulled 252g of downforce on my Magnet Marshal and weighed in at 84g. On my 20m test
track the GT had a best time of 7.728s which puts it in the zone with their Capri RS3100 model. My test model ran great right out of the box. All I did was fluff the braid, change the car from digital to analogue, and let ‘er rip. As the downforce numbers seem to indicate, the GT is very stuck down but not to the point where full throttle laps are possible. This car needs to be driven through the corners. As with all D132 cars that have working lights, these also function in analogue mode.

On a wooden track in stock trim the Carrera Opel GT was drivable but would need additional work to be competitive. My test car would hop under acceleration and hard cornering. If driven conservatively the stock tires hooked up very well. My best time on the 22m wood track was 8.528s. For the sake of comparison, tuned Scalextric Trans Am cars can lap this same track around 7s. Eliminating axle play is the first thing I would look at in terms of getting the Opel GT to run more smoothly and bring those lap times down. The wheels on my test car are of a convention design with solid centre rib, not the ‘finned’ design seen on some of their other models with wider tires.

If you’re looking to add a unique car to your collection, Carrera’s Opel GT is certainly an interesting choice. Despite its diminutive size, Carrera has managed to cram digital circuitry and working driving lights into this very small package. Carrera has even taken the extra step of painting the inside of the body black around the tail light LEDs to help minimize light spill. The accessory bag in the back of this car’s case includes spare braids and spare mirrors. The extra body parts are appreciated as it helps racers keep their cars in like-new condition and provides extra bits for scratch builders. Magnet racing performance is typical of Carrera’s other cars so it will be competitive with other D132 models and it’s a great runner out of the box. It will take some tuning to improve the performance of this car for wood track racing, but at least the round wheels and straight axles make for a good starting point.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Carrera Digital 132 Ford Capri RS3100 – IMSA 1974 (30506) and Evolution Ford Capri – Group 2, 1975 (27369)

I was pleased these Carrera Evolution Capris arrived in my mailbox for review as they hearken back to my favourite era of motorsports. The first races I ever attended were IMSA events in the mid-70s. What impressed me at that time was seeing big block Detroit iron duking it out with small displacement European machinery. One of the competitors from this era that Carrera has chosen to model is the Ford Capri RS3100. Carrera currently has 3 racing liveries and 2 street paint schemes of this car so it’s always easy to find a suitable racing mate.

The Capri started out as Ford of Europe’s response to the American built Ford Mustang. It was first sold in European markets in 1969. The Capri was designed to appeal to European sensibilities in that it was slimmer than the Mustang and emphasized sporty handling over straight line speed. The Capri RS3100s modeled by Carrera represent those originally built by the works team in 1974 to defeat BMW’s CSL in the Group 2 Touring Car Championship. The factory prepared RS3100s extensively employed weight saving technology like magnesium in the wheels and gearbox case, fiberglass body panels, and Perspex glass. Considerable work went into the aerodynamics of the RS3100 and it was the first race car to use side mounted radiators – there was no radiator in the engine compartment at all. After winning the Group 2 championship, the Ford factory team was disbanded and the cars ended up in the hands of privateers. They went on to compete in European endurance races and in North America’s Camel GT Championship.

The cars Carrera sent me for review are a Digital 132 model from the Camel GT series (though the offending title sponsor is spelled ‘C M L’), and a Euro Group 2 machine. Carrera has done a great job on these cars in terms of finish and paint. These cars are painted two or three different colours and the lines in between are all clean and sharp. They same could be said of the tampo on both cars. Since I was checking the magnet racing performance of these cars on Scalextric Sport track, I swapped out the stock guide flag with Carrera’s Special Guide Keel (85309). Both cars feature a detailed tray interior and independently rotating front wheels. This setup helps in terms of packaging the Digital 132 circuitry and allows the analogue cars to be more easily retrofitted for D132 racing. To use a D132 car on an analogue track just flick the switch located on the bottom of the car, place it on the track, and blip the throttle three times. Since these cars use a common chassis, both have substantial bar magnets mounted from the top of the chassis. The D132 car weighs in 6g heavier than its Evolution brother. The difference is accounted for by the extra circuitry and working headlights in the D132 model. The D132 Capri stuck to my Magnet Marshal to the tune of 330g vs. 266g for the Evolution model. On the track the Evolution model lapped my 20m Scalextric Sport test track in 7.841s vs. 7.869 for the D132 car in analogue mode. It’s great to see that even with the disparity in downforce levels thes
e cars would still make excellent running mates.

A trip to my favourite 22m wood test track gave me a taste of how these cars run in non-magnet trim. Under hard acceleration or extreme cornering both cars would hop at the limit. The stock tires worked well on the test track’s flat latex track surface and propelled the D132 car to a best lap of 8.621s vs. 8.698s for the Evolution car. A tuned Scalextric Trans Am car can lap the same track in around 7s. Tightening up the play between the rear axle and the bushings will do a lot to tame the non-magnet handling of my test cars. Both Capris featured Carrera’s plastic ribbed wheel design. One of the Evolution car’s wheels had a bit of a wobble to it, but since it isn’t too excessive tire truing can help compensate.

Out of the box, neither of the Capri RS3100s disappoints. I only had to fluff the braids on both cars to get them running great on plastic track. Carrera also provides extra braids and mirrors to keep these cars running and looking like new. The lap times between the Capris and other Carrera models are very close so they will make for great competition partners. I’m looking forward to further exploring the non-magnet racing capability of these cars.

New SCX SLS Mercedes

Monday, September 26, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

News from Racer

Dear friends, today we will be attending Slotlandia Exhibition in Milan, as usual for our home fair event. We would like to share with you the most important news we will show there regarding SIDEWAYS brand. We will show on saturday the prototype of first new car opening a Group5 serie of models we will put in production soon. The first car will be the Capri Zakspeed Gr.5 which will be followed immediately by his natural rival, Lancia Beta Montecarlo Gr.5 We already have a list for following models which includes cars such as BMW 320, Sauber BMW M1, Porsche 935L IMSA, Porsche 935/77, Mustang GTP, Kremer 935K3 and Moby Dick. The priority for release will be anyway decided at a later stage.

Best regards RACER Slot cars

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New SCX Renault F1

New Slot It Audi

Photos and info about a new Slot It Audi R8C

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Slot It GT40 white kit

Details of the new Slot It GT40 white kit that's being released.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Carrera Xlap software

X-Lap 1.20

Here’s the latest update for the new ‘X-Lap’ software for the PC unit! The update includes the following new features:

Direct link-up to Control Unit 30352 now possible
New automobile database (Car list status 2010)
Race end can be set (slot und F1 mode)
Synchronisation of displays via use of the Position Tower 30357
and lots more...

Operating instructions in German and English are included in the archive in the download.

Note well: The previous version must be completely uninstalled before the new one is installed. If you wish to use the old versions of the driver and car databases in the new software version, please ensure they are saved before the old version is uninstalled.

Unpack the ZIP file and copy the contents into the X-Lap file at: C:\Progamm files\X-Lap (C:\Programme\X-Lap).

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Super Tires

Coming soon from Super Tires... tires with a sidewall bulge. Seen here exclusively, prototype tires from Super Tires that are under development, and shortly production, with a sidewall bulge.

Early production will be for thinner wheels they will fit the Super Wheels skinny wheels and the narrowest BWA wheels.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Slot It poster!

From Slot It:
Group C is, without doubt, a category which has become synonymous to has come a long way since 2003, when the first Gr.C car, the Porsche 956 Kenwood, was launched.
We've lost count, since then, of how many other models have been made. It was 9 years of success, racing, collecting, which turned the Italian company into a reference name in the world of slot cars.
A limited edition lithography will soon be printed to celebrate these first nine years.
It's printed on special drawing paper, in 70x100cm size, and reproduces in historical order all the Gr.C cars which were made. The images, real pictures of the cars, are in 1:1 scale, hence, optical distortions permitting, are a faithful scale reproduction of the model.
The caption for each model shows the selling date, production code, and other information like the name of the car, the race venue and date, and the driver's names.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

LeMans Miniatures accessories

Pix of some new LeMans Miniatures accessories.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Autoworld HO Dragsters!

Photos of the new Autoworld HO dragsters coming soon to North America.

Friday, September 09, 2011

New AMT 1/25 slot kits

Photos of 2 more, new AMT 1/25 slot kits.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

New BRM Megane chassis-detail pix

More photos to show today of the new 1/24 BRM Megane. Today the detail pix of the chassis, along with more photos of the limited edition green car. Limited to 40 pieces for each of the brightly colored little cars (grey, pink, green, white, and yellow)