Slot Cars Adelaide

 Realistic Handling on a plastic surface!

I have painted the track surface with plastic under coat and and 2 top coats of Dulux Ferodor since I  produced this article. The project outlined in the article worked well . The only problem was related to the moisture in the air. On cool damp nights we would have to put on the patio heater to warm up the air to get rid of the dampness. Once we had run for about 10 minutes the traction was back to its best.

Because of damp conditions affecting traction  I decided to paint the track surface with Ferodor. It seems to be more consistant with the traction but more testing is needed. The Ferodor Surface is different  to drive on than the plastic surface. In most cases the traction was similar to the plastic surface but there is a little bit more drift of the cars. 

Most in our group arre pleased with the Ferodor and enjoy driving on it even though it has a bit less traction than the plastic surface using the same magnet set up with the front position magnets and a maximum down force of 230g.    

We have not tried any non magnet cars yet but will soon & will report on the handling. 


 ( This project did work well with dryer conditions and saves a lot of work painting the track surface)

I have been listening to many comments about magnet down force racing verses Non

Magnet racing . The non magnet racing is usually on painted , routed track surfaces.

The traction from the painted surface is usually more than that offered by the unpainted

plastic track.

Most of the time those of our experienced racers seem to prefer racing on painted routed

M.D.F. tracks. 

They prefer the cars to be able to drift around corners under their control. 

Also they prefer the slower and more true to scale speeds.

the slower speeds can reduce accident damage in some cases.

The comment about magnet racing was that the car looses grip quickly when the traction 

magnet moves away from the steel conducting rails. This is not so noticeable with wide

magnets as it is with button magnets.

The smooth continuous surface of the routed track is another attraction.

It is also thought more skill is required on the routed tracks. I rather say that similar skill is 

for each type of track but the driving techniques are different. 

With this in mind a set about trying to emulate the routed track features of car handling on

my Carrera "magnetic" rail track.

 My friends and I have enjoyed 2 years of Race & Practice  nights on the Carrera track

using Down force limits in each class.

Why Change? - well some cars have been to  developed to lap the track in 6.5 secs.

 This means 9 corners in 6.5 secs. which is a fair bit faster than scale speed. So we are 

aiming to get closer to scale speed & handling and not get giddy with the speed.

Also the cars should be less reliant on having 20,000 & more in motor revs. In fact a 

18,000rpm Mabuchi standard motor does quite a good job.

I first tried removing all down force magnets and adding lead weight to the chassis to get

traction & handling. I reached  120g in most cars before traction reached a desirable level.

This was not ideal as the weight deleted the dynamic braking effect  a fair bit.

It also made cars more likely to "Tip" out of the slot on some corners.

So i had some choices.

If I painted the surface with "Dulux Ferrodor" or Black board paint I

possibly would have got good traction with no or very little added weight or magnet down

force.  This is a reason why most routed tracks are treated this way.

 The surface of my track was not as rough as a new Carrera track because the 2years of

racing on it. It is not too bad though as the "magnet cars" are very fast on it. 

Painting was an option but most of the tracks that are painted have to be repainted every 

12 months with constant use.

So I tried the set up we are going to use. I removed the rear down force magnet(s).then 

added up to 15g weight in  its place. I then fitted a magnet between the center of the 

chassis and the front axle. This magnet I adjusted by adding small magnets to get a total

weight of 230g  including the magnet down force,  added rear weight & the weight of the

 car. I have since found that in most cases adding any weight to the car did not improve the

performance or more likely made it worse. So most of the converted cars only have magnets

to increase down force

I have now set up 20 cars of all our classes with the same measurement. All these cars have

have performed very similar to how the would on a routed track with the surface in good 


Advantages of the Front Magnet set up

1. Cars perform and handle in a realistic manner very similar to being on painted routed tracks

2. All Cars in all classes so far have performed very well with the similar Front Magnet      

      set up .

    In many cases we do not use very much added weight if at all.                           

3. The standard motors can be more competitive with those of higher power .

4. Less tire cleaning ( with water & cloth ) was necessary. A light sand of the tires

     with #600 sand paper before running on the track seems to work well.  

     a scuffing of the surface of the tire appears when using the urethane tires.

5. Very close competition right across the brands & types of cars.  

6. Although a variable sensitivity controller was a help with some of the more powerful cars

    the standard controller was sufficient. We have also fitted a supply power controller

7. Most cars are very easy and quick to set up with FM/AW with almost no cost. 

8. Once the car is set up should not need regular down force and set up adjustment as rear

   tire wear is not a factor and changing ground clearance should not change the   

   down force.

 9.  Less de-slotting due to slower speeds with car more likely to slide with too much power

        applied rather than de-slotting.

10. A lot closer racing with cars dicing side by side  . 

         Front Magnet racing it adds up to:

       a lot of fun and should satisfy the most critical & experience routed track racers.




 Front Magnet  Racing Rules

In the new rules for all classes we remove all rear down force magnets and add weight to the rear in front of the rear axle.Then we add a down force magnet in front of the central point between front & rear axle.

 The total of the down force magnet,  and the car is 230 grams for all classes .  to be less . In the GT / Sports Car class the down force can be increased to 250g if the car is unable to achieve 8 second  lap time.The Classic Touring Car class can also be increased up to 250 g down force if the car is unable to do 8.5 second lap.          

A steel "wand " will be passed over the chassis to ensure the "down force" magnets are only fitted in the front 1/3rd the distance  between the center of the chassis and the front axle.                                                                                                                                                                

Set up tips for Front Magnet Racing

Scalextric V8 Super Cars.

The original magnet can be fitted in the front magnet holder. It will usually have to be lifted off the chassis by the thickness of one or two pieces of paper of thin card. This is to conform with the maximum of 230 g down force including total car weight.

To fit the magnet this I remove the retainer lip on each of the retainers to allow the magnet to move up.

This Set up gives quite a bit of traction with some tail out and about 1/2 a sec a lap slower than the rear mounted magnet set up.

 Scalextric F1 after 2002

The rear magnet is removed completely.   A 1mm x 8mm x 28mm is fitted to the front magnet position in the chassis. A smaller magnet - usually 1mm x 6mm round. is placed      on top & central of the bar magnet. The down force is to be less than 170g from this position.

Also button magnet 8mm x 2mm x 1mm is fitted to the removable  plate under the nose of the car.  A 1mm x 6mm magnet can be placed on top of this magnet.  The down force  is then adjusted by sliding the magnets up or down in the holder . This is done until the total down force & car weight is less than 220g. So this is the total of the front bar magnet position and the button magnet position. 

If the 230 g is produced only by the bar magnet position there would be very little tail drift.

In some cases a bit of gel grip is need to retain the magnet and the removable plate so they won't move after setting. 

This set up results in  some nice controlled  drifting and  good handling but the output power and brakes need to be reduced by a controller with sensitivity & brake application control.

ATCC Classic Touring Cars - All brands.

This class uses a set up similar to the V8 Super cars.If weight is to be added it may not need to be much.

Make sure the body sits flat on the chassis without the interior interfering & pushing the body off the chassis. An example of this is the Scalextric Mustang.

Some times a non original magnet has to be used and also may not be able to find or fit into an original magnet position at the front. In this case a magnet can be gel gripped to the chassis 

With chassis that are higher off the track rails the front magnet  can be glued under the chassis. A magnet can then be added inside the chassis above the outside magnet.     Magnets can be changed to get the down force to measure less than 220g. for this class.     

Because cars in this class can be quite different  in dimensions and design there will need to be experimenting in adding a small amount  of weight to find the best set up.

It may take some work to get your car handling well in this class but to drive a nicely handling classic touring car doing controlled drifts is worth the effort.

 GT/Sports Cars

The set up methods used in the classes above also apply to this class . The maximum down force  is to be less than 230g. Very little  or no weight is usually needed to get the best         handling.  It is best to use the 1mm x 28mm x 8mm front position magnet. It seems to        give an improved performance over a smaller magnet even if both are adjusted to the same down force. The 2mm thick magnet may be used and packed up higher to adjust the down force. By using the 1mm thick magnet the adjustment is easier and done by adding small button magnets to the top of it.


Other Classes

Most of the principals above can be also applied to the "Match Race" Classes. 

Tire Treatment & Pick Up Braid

In all classes I have found rounding inner & outer edges of the tires produced the best handling. The tires need to be running very true and this can be corrected by truing in the tire lathe or by careful sanding by spinning the wheels on about 80 grit sandpaper.

The tires are then finished on 600 grit paper. The sanding with 600 grit can be done regularly if adhesion becomes not sufficient.                                                                    

Please make sure the tires are dry and free from lubricant before placing on the track.       

The front tire tread can be coated with clear lacquer - other wise known as clear nail polish (slow drying).  This is a very old trick but seems to work to help handling.                            


 I have tried many brands of pick up braid but have had very good results with the "Sloting" brand.

Controller & track power.

The voltage we use is 12.6 volts . We use Professor Motor Controllers with Variable sensitivity and variable braking control. It is essential at this voltage to use variable controllers with the cars using the front magnet added weight  format. There is a variation of motor outputs and some classes of cars the power has to be trimmed to get the right application of power. Some motors have very good braking ability which can lead to a "jerky"racing style. As with routed , painted tracks we need to have a smooth rolling driving style to achieve low lap times.

We have also added a separate voltage control in series to each lane. The controller is a assembled circuit board from Kit Stop. They also supply a box to suit. The box has to be drilled to take the pot shaft and for a wire outlet. The board is carefully screwed to the base of the box and then control knob & wiring added. This has made the control & handling  of the cars far more adjustable in conjunction with the variable controller. Some cars like the Scalextric F1 need the power lowered in the front magnet format . But others like the V8 Super cars need the full track voltage. Also new drivers that are having difficulty can back of the power.


As in any experiment we should present our conclusions.                                                      I have spent many hours developing a set up to satisfy my desire to have a magnet cars on unpainted plastic track handle as if they where being driven on a painted surface with out magnets.

I think I have come close to my goal. The plastic track surfaces also vary between brands for traction . This may mean adjusting the down force & weight perimeters to achieve the desired handling. 

If you give this system a try and please let me know the results. Different  brands of plastic  track have different traction levels and magnetic down force effect. The setup specification may have to be varied to achieve the desired result.                                                         email:  John -