Scalextric 2017 and the Most Beautiful Car Ever Made
2017 announcements are a bit like buses here on Test Track – it’s been a bit of a wait and now they’re all coming at once! Well, let’s keep the excitement rolling and get stuck into another special (and hopefully enjoyable) blog.
We revealed two 2017 BTCC cars in the last edition two weeks ago, with the promise of much more to come. It’s a similar story here as we have an exclusive announcement for you, with another promise of more to come. Alongside this huge news, we also have a few stories we know you’ll be interested in, plus a solitary new arrival that will please MINI fans around the world. However, we’ll get to all of this after our second 2017 announcement!
Exclusive to Test Track, Scalextric can announce that we’ll be producing the Jaguar E-Type next year as a brand new tooling. This iconic and distinguished British sports car is a favourite with millions of car enthusiasts around the world, and we’re hoping with slot racing fans too.
The elegance and beauty of the Jaguar E-Type, backed up by a 0-60 in under seven seconds, took the motoring world by storm when it was released in 1961 and it has remained in the heart of enthusiasts ever since. Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made” (hence Test Track’s title) and the E-Type continues to top polls of the most beautiful cars of all time.
The journey for Scalextric for the E-Type started all the way back in 2014, where in September a research team was dispatched to look at the real thing. The good people over at Eagle E-Types were able to accommodate us and our team travelled to East Sussex to see them.
Interestingly on this trip the team chose to scan the E-Type using LIDAR technology. This was because the E-Type has such a beautiful, sweeping front end that scanning the car was definitely the best option (and a worrying prospect to get right from scratch). Sharing an office with our colleagues over in Airfix was hugely beneficial, as LIDAR scanning is common place for their research and designing process. While we have used LIDAR in the past, the Airfix guys seemingly use it every chance they get and were a great help in getting everything arranged.
What is LIDAR?
Light Detection And Ranging (or Light Imaging, Detection, And Ranging if you prefer) is a scanning technique which uses laser light to accurately map the surface of an object in three dimensions, resulting in a high-definition 3D image of the object.
A laser scanner is placed around the object in as many as 40-50 positions, both from the ground and above (using things like a scissor lift). The scanner rotates, sweeping the area with a laser, which is constantly taking measurements throughout the scan. As many as 5 million points are mapped in each sweep, which produces the 3D image, with detail as small as a fraction of a millimetre.
Once scanning is complete, all the separate scans are aligned and all the unwanted material (the surrounding area, any people, errors etc.) is removed. This leaves a point cloud, which is converted into a solid polygonal mesh object, which can be used by our designers in CAD (Computer Aided Design).
By our research team’s standards the car ride out to Eagle E-Types was a short one, and with fantastic access granted to the team the selected E-Type was prepped for scanning. Rather ironically perhaps, Eagle E-Types keep their cars so clean and tidy that the car was actually too polished for the LIDAR equipment to work effectively (highly reflective or refractive surfaces cause some of the errors mentioned above).
With the car “dulled” down somewhat (much to Eagle E-Types’ enjoyment), LIDAR scanning could begin. While the results from LIDAR are fantastic, the process (as you can imagine after seeing the description above) does take some time, all day in fact. Fortunately, there’s worse places to be trapped waiting for a long technical process to be completed than one of the leading E-Type experts in the UK, so our team kept themselves busy while the specialists did their work.
While useful, a lot of work is still required after the LIDAR scan has been completed
As I’m sure many of you will have clicked through to Eagle E-Types’ website, it’s important to note that we scanned an unmodified, original E-Type, thereby ensuring the accuracy of the finished design. While the work Eagle E-Types does is beyond impressive, we were after an original Series 1 E-Type, which we were definitely able to work with.
With the LIDAR data in the bag, our team were able to head home and get everything ready for the designers. We’d like to offer a massive thank you to Eagle E-Types for their assistance, and we're sure a few Scalextric E-Types will make it into your garage!
The LIDAR scan even captured the numberplate!
We now need to fast forward to the beginning of this year where the Development team were able to complete the design in CAD. With the LIDAR data being a huge help, development was started and took approximately two months. While LIDAR means the designer doesn’t need to start from scratch like normal, there is still a lot of work to be completed to turn that scanned car into a Scalextric slot car.
Other sources are also used at this stage, including any original drawings, measurements and photographs we’ve taken. In fact, for the E-Type, the Airfix team were able to help again as they had original drawings in the archive, supplied all in the way back in the 1960s by Jaguar. We can share a little of these drawings here, but as with any official document we must be careful.
It’s worth mentioning that the work during this period was also to create a suitable racing E-Type, as the LIDAR scan was of a road version. These changes, whilst not dramatic, are incredibly important, especially for what we have planned…
However, soon the CAD design was complete and it was over to the artwork. But before we look at that, let’s enjoy a few more images of the glorious Jaguar E-Type.
With this new tooling out there, the next question soon becomes, well, what’s it going to look like when you release it? Now as I mentioned in the introduction, we wanted to make you sweat a bit on all the details but we can announce one model now.
The C3878 Union Jack E-Type will be available next year, in a (you guessed it) Union Jack livery. However, the car is available for pre-order now on the website. We have a feeling this will be popular with UK collectors and slot racers but it’s likely there’s an appeal outside Great Britain too. Here’s the planned artwork:
There is more to come with the Jaguar E-Type as we have more planned for 2017 but that’ll have to wait for another time. We don’t want to have too much of a good thing, although much like having room for desert after a huge meal, we do have a few other things to talk to you about – we hope you have room!
There’s just the one new 2016 model for you this time, released last week. The C3742 BMW MINI Cooper F56 raced in the MINI Challenge in 2015, driven by Harry Vaulkhard. The F56 class is the pinnacle of MINI racing and Harry had a decent season, finishing 9th overall.
This is another model we’ve shown you at an earlier stage as the C3742 MINI appeared in Test Track all the way back in February this year. The Decoration Sample is pretty spot on for the final release and we hope all you MINI fans enjoy!
The family event Kidtropolis took place this week at the ExCeL in London and a good time was had by all. Bringing together a huge number of brands, as well as popular YouTubers, children of all ages, enjoying their half term, attended three days of stalls, events and shows.
Many thanks to our team who provided these pictures whilst at the event!
Scalextric was in attendance, offering youngsters the chance to race with ARC AIR and enter our fastest lap competition. This was incredibly popular as hundreds of budding slot racers entered, and while there can only be one winner, we’re fairly sure everyone who had a go enjoyed themselves.
With the younger children, Micro Scalextric and QUICK BUILD were definitely the most popular. Being able to pick up and play (and destroy your car completely) was obviously very appealing!
Keeping new generations involved in slot racing is vital to the hobby’s future and we’re hopeful a number of children in attendance today will be the slot car enthusiasts of tomorrow.
Digital Kids Live
There isn’t much rest for our Scalextric exhibitors as almost straight after Kidtropolis they’re off to the Digital Kids Show in Manchester. Held at EventCity on 29th and 30th October, this event brings together children’s favourites from TV and YouTube, plus some enjoyable digital toys and games.
If you’re in the Manchester area, please check it out as it’ll be a great day out for youngsters. If you do attend, please make sure you pop over to the Scalextric stand and say ‘hi’.
Before we disappear, there’s a couple of News stories that we thought you might be interested in. The first is all the way from Australia, where Daniel Ricciardo has teamed up with Fox Sports in Australia to build his dream F1 track. Including sections from Hockenheimring, Monte-Carlo, Monza and Silverstone, Daniel has created a circuit he would love to race on. And as we all know, when you can’t do it in 1:1 scale, try it in 1:32!
Image: Will Russell
You may remember that Daniel’s circuit follows in the footsteps of Martin Brundle who’s Ultimate Circuit in 2015 provided hours of fun and then was auctioned for £11,000 at CarFest South, with proceeds going to Children in Need. Quite a tough act to follow Daniel!
Image: Fox Sports
That brings us to the last piece of news and that’s the return of the Calendar Wallpaper competition. This is the third time out for the competition and every time we’re blown away by the level of response and quality of the images submitted.
Now there’s only a couple of days left before the closing date for entries so be sure to get your images added to the website over the weekend to be considered for the wallpaper for November.
Please remember that images, where possible, should be added to the relevant model on the website (just navigate to it and scroll to the bottom of the page). However, if you have a layout, car or scene that doesn’t match up with something listed on our website, please just email your pictures through to firstname.lastname@example.org or add them to the Facebook page to be considered.
We’ll be looking through all the submissions on Monday (31st October) and picking the winner for the start of November. Be sure to check back with us early next week to see if you’re the lucky winner (and even if you’re not, you get a free desktop wallpaper for your computer!).
So then, that’s two 2017 announcements in October, which isn’t bad going. While we can’t promise the same pace before everything is revealed with the 2017 Range Launch, we definitely have a few more things in store for you before all the beans are spilled.
We hope you’re happy with the announcements thus far and please let us know what you think via Facebook, Twitter (#TestTrack) and the Forum. We really can’t stress how useful it is to get feedback on what we’re planning and this blog is an effort to keep the lines of communication open. We hope to hear from you soon!
Assuming (always dangerous) nothing else comes up before the end of next month, we’ll see you back here on the last Friday of November.
The Test Track Team
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