A pin or blade extends from the bottom of the car into the slot. Though some slot cars are used to model highway traffic slot cars in pa scenic layouts, the great majority are used in the competitive hobby of slot car racing or slot racing.
Modern commercially made slot cars and track. Slot cars are usually models of actual automobiles, though some have bodies purpose-designed for miniature racing. Drivers generally use a hand-held controller to regulate a low-voltage electric motor hidden within the car.
The challenge in racing slot cars comes in taking curves and other obstacles as fast as possible without causing the car to lose its grip and spin sideways, or to ‘deslot’, leaving the track altogether. Some enthusiasts, much as in model railroading, build elaborate tracks, sculpted to have the appearance of a real-life racecourse, including miniature buildings, trees and people. Hobbyists whose main goal is competition often prefer a track unobstructed by scenery. Model motorcycles, trucks and other vehicles that use the guide-slot system are also generally included under the loose classification of “slot car.
Typical electrical circuit of a 1:24 or 1:32 slot car track. The diagram at right shows the wiring of a typical 1:24 or 1:32 slot car setup.
The voltage is varied by a resistor in the hand controller. This is a basic circuit, and optional features such as braking elements or electronic control devices are not shown. Likewise, the car’s frame or chassis has been omitted for clarity.
HO slot cars work on a similar principle, but the current is carried by thin metal rails that project barely above the track surface and are set farther out from the slot. The car’s electrical contacts, called “pickup shoes”, are generally fixed directly to the chassis, and a round guide pin is often used instead of a swiveling flag.
Today, in all scales, traction magnets are sometimes used to provide downforce to help hold the car to the track at higher speeds, though some enthusiasts believe magnet-free racing provides greater challenge and enjoyment and allows the back of the car to slide or “drift” outward for visual realism. Models of the Ford GT, in 1:24, 1:32 and nominal HO scales. The 1960s-era HO model has been widened to accept the mechanism.