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How slot car racing has evolved over the years

The evolution of slot car racing

Slot car racing has experienced an incredible transformation, beginning with the early prototypes that ran on model rail tracks and culminating in today’s dynamic racing machines that flawlessly navigate 360-degree loops.

Here’s a look back at how it all began, and the influential developments that has made slot car racing what it is today.

1911

US company Lionel pioneered the first true racing set, featuring miniature drivers and a heavy tinplate design. The cars were powered by AC electric motors and users could control their speed on a modified model train track.

Artwork of a boy playing with 1911 Lionel slot cars. | Image Credit: D. Helber via wikipedia.

Artwork of a boy playing with 1911 Lionel slot cars. | Image Credit: D. Helber via wikipedia.

1912

Slot car sales went gangbusters. Lionel discontinued their car sets after World War I, but during the following 40 years, American and European companies manufactured cars that ran on diesel, rubber bands and wind-up clockwork mechanisms.

1936

German toy company Marklin issued a racing set with two heavy tinplate cars. Until then, slot cars had run on a raised rail, not a slot.

1957

Slot car racing began to take off in Britain and the US. Scalextric made tinplate cars with a spring motor. Bertram ‘Fred’ Francis designed a car with a rotary guide on the front, which ran into a slot track made of molded rubber.

Very early Scalextric slot car models in 1:30 scale, circa 1957. These metal-bodied racers were electrified versions of Scalex clockwork cars, and are among the first commercially offered slot cars of the modern era. They represent the Maserati 250F (left) and the Ferrari 375 Grand Prix cars. | Image Credit: D. Helber via Wikipedia.

Very early Scalextric slot car models in 1:30 scale, circa 1957. These metal-bodied racers were electrified versions of Scalex clockwork cars, and are among the first commercially offered slot cars of the modern era. They represent the Maserati 250F (left) and the Ferrari 375 Grand Prix cars. | Image Credit: D. Helber via Wikipedia.

1961

The first commercial slot car raceway opened in the US.  

1963

The Wall Street Journal estimated the value of the model car racing market was $100 million dollars. There were about 3,000 raceways across America and 200 in Europe.

1966

The first pro-racing series was held in the US. Racers began to come up with aerodynamic designs for the car bodies with little resemblance to actual race cars; hence they were nicknamed ‘thingies’.

1968

Sales began to decline sharply. Some blamed a blizzard that hindered people from attending the annual industry trade show in Chicago, while others believed fans were discouraged by the lack of competition regulation.

1973

Most commercial raceways had closed.

1980's

Lionel reproduced its original car sets and people increasingly began to collect vintage slot cars.

Today

Slot car racing continues today among a smaller group of dedicated enthusiasts. Retro racing using cars from the 1960s and early 70s with modern Chinese-made motors is particularly popular. The much-loved hobby has also attracted a new generation of drivers, with young children and teenagers embracing slot car racing. 

Cars are ready to take off at our Albert Park inspired slot car track.

Cars are ready to take off at our Albert Park inspired slot car track.

Experience Slot Car Racing at race party

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DO YOU REMEMBER SLOT CAR RACING FROM THE 80’S AND 90’S? 

Well it’s time to revisit all that again slot-car racing again at Race party!

You will race your friends, family or colleagues on custom designed, state of the art race tracks, using model slot cars and remote controls.
When not racing you can be a spectator or a Marshall getting your friend’s racing cars back on the track too!
Try the Albert Park track for it’s challenging corners and loops or the Monaco track for it’s own loops, angles and super fast runs.
Test yourself, by controlling your car  while outracing your opponents.
Enjoy the thrill and diversion of Race Party. Ideal to get the creative juices flowing, de stressing after a busy day or just celebrating fun times and special events.
Race party has something for absolutely everyone!

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