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Track Layout Design

Scalextric digital track design
Scalextric digital track design
The design of the track layout you race on can make a huge difference to the enjoyment of slot racing, and although there are many personal preferences involved, most people quickly outgrow the limits of the set they started out with. Most people end up buying more track, to make more interesting layouts, and some go on to make their own routed wooden track.

Personal Preferences

Four lane Ninco track plan
Four lane Ninco track plan
There is obviously no layout that will suit everybody, and the wide variety of layout designs is part of the fun of the hobby. Some prefer a simple oval, some prefer a technical, twisty rally track, and others prefer a fast, multi lane raceway. The size of the room where the track is situated, and the type of track system are obviously defining factors, but beyond that there are a multitude of choices.

The choice of layout design will probably be influenced by whether the track is to be a temporary or permanent set up. It will certainly be affected by whether the track will have scenery and landscaping, or accessories like grandstands and bridges.It might also be influenced by the type of cars one wishes to race and collect, whether that be F1, Le Mans, Nascar, Rally etc.

The Basics

In spite of all the variables, and in spite of the wide variety of layouts used, there are still some basic ideas or requirements that can make a track design more fun to race on, and which many slot racers use in their track designs.

A Long Straight

The first is simply a long straight section. Just like real race cars, slot cars need a reasonable length of straight to get up to full speed, and just like in real racing, a long straight will test out the top speed of the cars. For home racing, where the room size might be quite small, this will often mean laying out the longest straight that will fit into the space.

A Variety of Corners

The second thing that most of the best layouts include is a wide variety of corners. This tests the handling of the car and the skill of the driver. It also adds variety to the driving experience, which is vital as you might be racing 100 laps in just ten minutes, so it's important that each lap is interesting.

So, a good design might include variation in the radius of corners from tight and sharp to wide and sweeping, it might vary the angle from a slight kink to a full hairpin, it might include compound curves which tighten up or open out through the corner, it might include esses, or combinations of corners, or ideally it might be able to have all of those elements.

Other Considerations

As well as the driving experience, there are also various practical considerations to take into account when thinking about your track layout. The first is maintaining access to rescue deslotted cars. In a home set up, the track might welll be against a wall, which means reaching cars at the back can be difficult, particularly if the track is too wide. Another thing to consider is sight lines, particularly if you're including bridges or scenery. It's important that drivers can clearly see their braking points, so bridges are usually best situated over a straight section.


Track design software
Track design software
There are various programs that will help you to plan your track, most include track libraries, a room planner, and various other tools.

Read more about track design software

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