Student Magazine For Next Generation

How Do I Get Started in Model Slot Car Racing?


Do you crave speed but don’t want to deal with the dangers and risks of driving a real car at high speeds? Not to mention the cost of repairing a real racing car after a crash. If this describes you, you should try slot car racing. You see, model slot car racing has been around since 1929 and has grown in popularity nationally and internationally.

Today, model slot car racing is part of a larger category that includes radio-controlled, RC racing, and other types of model car racing.


Model slot cars are powered electronically by either batteries or electricity supplied by a metal strip on each side of the slot.

The tracks on which slot cars run are made up of groves or slots (hence the term “slot car”) into which the vehicles are guided using a pin or a blade-like apparatus on the vehicle’s undercarriage. One slot car may occupy only one slot. So, for example, if you have an eight-lane track, you can circulate up to eight vehicles.

Each slot is connected to a power source, such as an electric power pack or batteries, which ensures that the power supply remains stable for the duration of the slot cars’ time on the track. Some slot cars’ undercarriage have magnets that keep these electric model cars in constant contact with metal strips even at high speeds, preventing them from jumping out of the slot. In addition, some model car blades are magnetized to mimic the effect of undercarriage magnets. The rate of the cars is controlled by squeezing the trigger on a pistol-grip joystick held in the hand of the person driving the slot car. Squeezing the catalyst increases the speed of the slot car while releasing the trigger slows or stops it completely.

Slot car racing is genuinely global. Annual international competitions are held in the United States and around the world. The United Federation of HO Racers Association (UFHORA) and the HO Professional Racing Association are the two HO scale car organizations in the United States (HOPRA). Both organizations host national and international events across the country each year. These events are held to race slot cars and raise general awareness of slot car racing.


So you want to race, don’t you? If you are new to slot car racing, I recommend you first join a slot car organization, either a local one in your area or one recognized nationally. These locations provide a wealth of information. Next, check out the national organization HOPRA for HO enthusiasts.

Then, go to a hobby store and buy a model slot car racing set in the scale you want to race in. It does not need to be a large set. Go home, set it up, and have a good time!! Examine the construction of the track and the cars. Note how the car can propel itself down the path, stay in the slot, and stop. Don’t be afraid to look inside the vehicles to see how the gears, chassis, and body are mounted.

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