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SPlans for new Digital track pieces?

Andy P.

1635 posts


Community Moderator

Mostly because a lot of cars would bottom out...

Sealevel

15 posts

Given that the Digital Pit Lane Game has disappeared from the Scalextric UK website (but still appears on the US website) that leaves us with only the pit in/out (left and right) and straight double lane change "X" (C7036) for digital pieces.  I don't consider the single lane R3 (C7017) or half straight (C7016) to be "special" since they can be made with regular track and a knife (also no electronics).

By contrast, I had a look at the 170 page Carrera 2019 Catalogue and noted the following:

- 3 digital straight lane changers - left, right, and double (i.e.XLC) ... plus the non-digital straight "X"

- 4 curved lane changers (CLCs) - left and right as both in-to-out and out-to-in ... but NO non-digital curved "X"

- digital narrow section pairs (like the Scalextric pit lane entry/exit pieces) for both left and right

- not to mention start light, position tower, pit lane with pit stop adapter, lap counter (matched by Scalextric), and driver displays

PLUS a 1:24 digital cam car streaming video from the car on the track

AND a digital Check Lane track piece for sector timing!

I was stunned by the number of track pieces Carrera offer compared to Scalextric (especially considering the number of non-digital pieces Scalextric had in the 1960's).

Now, in fairness, 3 Carrera straight lane changers are a bit excessive and can be replaced by one Scalextric double, and the Carrera pit lane entry/exit pieces are also redundant if they also have the narrow section pairs, which are used by Scalextric for the pit duties.  But not having CLC's is significant, especially when we see how many people are using them for pit entry or other unique applications. 

Maybe Scalextric should reconsider the CLC as a 2 piece curve in both left and right configurations and allow electronics to be swapped to the opposite end by the hobbyist (symmetrical flippers) to create 4 possible curves PLUS the racing line unit!

The SlotForum community has filled the gap on many of the other items (e.g. start lights and RichG lap tower) but the lack of CLCs mean passing ONLY on a straight and no more racing lines etc.

It concerns me that with only pit lanes and double straight (XLC) digital pieces, the significance of digital racing is not as appealing to newcomers.  So maybe bring back the CLC rather than remove more track pieces?

Cheers!

Andy P.

1635 posts


Community Moderator

Thanks fo ryour thoughts.

Most of those Carrera pieces come at the price of no longer being analog compatibility if I understand correctly.

I never understood why they have so many straight lane changes except that it does force you to drive in a more tactical manner because you could get "stuck" in one lane.

You could of course disable half of a straight lane change (XLC) for the same effect but you may have trouble getting people to realize the flippers are disabled.

I wondered about the straight analog lane crossovers when I got back into slot cars a while ago. Nearly all track manufacturers have them in straights. Then I "twigged": Like so many things in the Scalextric catalog they realized that have a switch in the straight was pretty much a guarantee for massive crashes. By putting it in a curve where you have to slow down anyway you reduce that risk. That is part of the reasoning why the old straight lane chicane requires 3 whole straights to complete: You need to give people a chance to slow down. Also the person racing from outside to in is actually on the "racing line" and it looks more realistic.

All manufacturers that heavily support clubs (mostly of Spanish persuasion) have curved analog lane crossovers. Even the Germans have that in their Go line.

Apart from the lack of analog compatibility I vaguely remember there being other reasons why the curves lane changers (CLC) won't be back (apart from the cost) any time soon.  The brain is night firing on all cylinders but there was a good reason for it.

The narrow (chicanes) will never work with ARC PRO as it needs to keep the lanes seperate for analog compatibility. Making a "digital only" version of ARC PRO though would be cost prohibitive.

You could get darn close though with the C8222 adapters and the classic straight lane and R2 curve chicanes. The Spanish facsimile is sometimes .2 mm deeper than the Hornby Classic original but still shallower than Sport. I have sometimes dreamt of just cutting the Classic track along the slot and gluing or affixing the track to thin wood or stable plastic to get the guide depth.

To be honest though, I have not met many racers who like the cars getting that close. This is again what I be bold enough to say the modern Sport "squeeze" track is genius in that the cars get close enough to touch but not so close as to cause horrific crashes. Narrower cars can even go through side by side but the visual appeal is them getting close.

Personally I would like an R2 or even R3 version of the "squeeze/hairpin" R1.

At the end of the day the major inhibitor is cost. With Scalextric finally seeing some light we have to give them some time. The old adage is still true today: Good, Fast, Cheap: You can only have 2. If we want good pieces at a good price we will have to wait.

Without going to far down the politics rabbit hole with a a "no-deal" Brexit a real possibility any major investment or export is going to have to wait until the 51.89% get what they asked for. We all want them to be successful nonetheless.

As far as lack of different digital lane changers causing a lack of appeal: I would like to see hard evidence to prove that. I would argue most clubs are analog or analog plus digital. Very few are digital only (based on the lists of Clubs at SlotForum which is of course not exhaustive)

Digital racing is very different from analog and in many cases few people do both (I do both, but all very, very, poorly: My motto "Someone has to be last!") when you add in simulations and pitting I think having only XLCs is sufficient.

As you say yourself: If you want something more challenging there is a community to support you.

gorp

608 posts

nothing is perfect

after having tried carrera digital

bought scaly a long time ago

and still generally happy with it

pelle71

2 posts

 I just like to have radius R5 and R6, and a longer straight laneshifting track, like 2 or 2 1/2 regular straights long, then the old F1 cars dont get so nervouse when shifting lanes. Driving with non magnets 70 and 80 F1 cars ;)

Andy P.

1635 posts


Community Moderator

R4 curves are practically straight already. R5 I can kind of understand but R6 would have ardly any curve at all..

I understand the lane crossing track but the the reasoning behuind the lane-changing curve is that you have to slow down for a curve anyway so it is better having it there.

It also gives a more "racing line" look to the curves.

Have a cross (or tight chicane) in a straight is almost always going to result in a crash, even if you have good braking...

pelle71

2 posts

 But R5 or R6 is for highspeed, if you driving old F1 cars like Lotus, C050 and March 721, C026 a radius R5 or R6 is going to be tight anyway  :D  I have a big track with 30 straights on the finnishline, have most R3 and R4 curves, the cars is sliding beutiful in the corners :D  I like to build realistic tracks with long straights and smoth long curves, not a wormhole with 100+ R2's on a 3x3meter square. (Sorry my typing..) Regards from Sweden.

Andy P.

1635 posts


Community Moderator

Sliding (drfting) costs time and speed... but to each his own I guess... :-D

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