The US Formula 1 Grand Prix is held annually in Austin, Texas, and along with it are many events hosted by teams and sponsors from around the globe. This year was no different, and our slot car racing and simulators were in high demand. One of our more interesting and challenging events this year was to set up a huge slot car track for ExxonMobil at their corporate campus near Houston, Texas. The idea was to have Exxon employees race each other, and the winner would get to race Red Bull driver Max Verstappen. The track was a 6-lane analog “hill climb” that was approximately 24 feet long by 12 feet wide, and featured some tight turns as well as a high sweeping banked turn that led into the front straightaway. Of course, everything needed to be branded for Exxon, and we wrapped the entire track in printed vinyl with all their various logos, as well as painting a dozen Scalextric Formula 1 cars and labeling them with the ExxonMobil brand. The large wooden track took 8 man-hours to assemble, with a crew working on it at 5:30 in the morning to get it up and running in time for the Exxon employees to come and race.
For this analog track, we used Slot.It SCP-2 controllers. These sturdy and versatile controllers can be used for digital or analog racing on almost any type of slot car track with the correct module installed. For this race, since we were running 1/32 scale Formula 1 cars that did not require much current, we used the SCP201b analog module. These controllers have a wide range of adjustments, including throttle sensitivity, braking feedback, and minimum and maximum voltage to tailor the driving experience to each racer’s preference and ability. When I asked Max Verstappen how he would like his controller set up, he replies “As aggressive as possible”, with maximum sensitivity and throttle and fast braking.
As it turns out, Max is every bit as skilled at slot car racing as he is behind the wheel of a real F1 car. With never having seen the track, he took his first three practice laps without an incident, and set a track record time while doing it. When it came to the race however, while Max was off to a great start and was leading the race until there was only one lap remaining, one of the other drivers crashed into him hard and took them both out, so a very lucky Exxon employee won the race. Just like Austin, Max should have had the podium, only to have it taken away from him at the last moment. However, he was a great sport about it, and it was our pleasure to meet him. A big THANK YOU! to Natalie for all her help, the Races2U team- Rich, Sharmyn, Donald, and Skylar, and to all the great ExxonMobil staff who raced with us and who helped us navigate the beautiful campus. We look forward to racing with you all again soon!
In keeping with the “Fast and Furious” style of making movies out of order, Part III of our series on this custom built track is actually the first. You will be able to see Parts I and II next week. Here are the final results of the track we built for Infor that made its debut at the Javits Center in New York City earlier this week. Thank you to all the great people at Infor, Hook and Loop, Birst, GT Nexus, and Koch Industries for making this track a reality. We really enjoyed working with you all. It was easy to see why Infor and the rest of the team are the industry leader in their sector. The camaraderie, teamwork, and knowledge was evident at the show and they were all outstanding professionals. If you were there and see yourself in any of the pictures, you can also find them on our social media and feel free to “tag” yourself. A HUGE “Thank You” to well known fashion model and actress Ms. Laura Petersen for keeping the races running smoothly. It takes fast reflexes and a lot of patience to be a member of the Races2U pit crew, and she did an outstanding job.
Races2U was asked by Infor to build a custom slot car track that would let them showcase their IoT (Internet of Things) capabilities at their Inforum convention in New York this July. This project was begun in February, and started with a simple idea. Races2U would build a track that would allow Infor to demonstrate the capabilities of their IOT platform. The track had to look impressive, yet be sturdy enough to be easily transported without damaging the track or scenery. It also needed the ability to have live video captured of the racing as well as capturing data from the cars.
Although Infor was our client, they are also an internet technology company and have a lot of technical experience integrating devices with the internet. The first thing they did was set up a small temporary track with two cars to see if they could integrate their technology with our slot cars. The prototype worked well, and as such we moved into production of the full model. (insert photo here)
The next step was to design the layout for the big track.
Races2U has built many tracks on various bases, using things as diverse as wood cabinetry, rolling metal tool chests, or simple frames built with 2×4 lumber and surrounded with a cloth skirt. For this project, since the track was going to be a major showpiece in the middle of a large convention, and we needed durability, we built the frame with welded and powder-coated steel tubing. It was built in three 4’x7′ sections for easy transport that bolted together underneath to create a 12’x7′ table.
The long front side and one short side were finished off with solid faces of MDF that would look attractive plain or allow for branding to be applied.
The other short side had drawers built in that would hold the slot cars, controls, and tools as well as a laptop computer and video recorder. On the back side of the track we installed two large cabinets that could be used to store prizes, give-away materials, more computer hardware, and personal items. (insert photo here)
The track was surrounded by Plexiglas to keep speeding cars from flying off the table on to the floor. TV’s were mounted to the track to display race statistics from the computer and video from the various cameras around the track. All the wiring was under the table and set up with quick connects between each section. All electrical devices could plug in to one large power strip on the back of the main section for easy power on/off.
The Lamborghini Hurracán LP 610-4 is in an elite group of sports cars. 601.65 hp and acceleration of 0 – 100 km/h / 62.13 mph in 3.2 seconds justify this status within the uppermost eschelon. With this special edition Lamborghini celebrates itself and Italian aviation. The car is decorated with subtle details from the world of aviation. Feel the wind, feel the speed, up – up and away! The Carrera DIGITAL 132 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 slotcar is an impressive, faithfully detailed reproduction with head, tail and brake lights. This Carrera car can be individually coded, is digitally controllable and guarantees authentic racing thrills.
Two things that go well together- slot car racing and ice cream! The Scooper Bowl Ice Cream Festival in Boston is the largest Ice Cream Festival in the US, and raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the Jimmy Fund to search for a cure for children’s cancer. Thank you to our wonderful sponsor, Henley Enterprises Valvoline Instant Oil Change for the opportunity to participate in this fun and worthwhile event. While this year’s event got off to a cold and wet start on the first day, the beautiful weather and huge crowds over the next couple of days more than compensated for the slow beginning. Tens of thousands of people came out to enjoy samples of ice cream from companies like Baskin and Robins, Ben and Jerry’s, Breyers, Edys, Hood, and many more. One of our personal favorites was the frozen Greek Yogurt Bars from Yasso. Thousands of people raced on the two NASCAR tracks we set up, and Warren and Sky and the rest of the Valvoline team were helping kids of all ages race from noon to sundown for the three days of this event. Enjoy the pictures, and look for more on our Facebook page and video on Youtube (coming soon!).
“You learn something new everyday if you pay attention.” Ray LeBlond
One of the great things about what we do is going to so many different trade shows for so many different industries. The TCEQ show was all about environmental programs, compliance, regulation, and just about anything that had anything to do with the environment, from cleanup and transportation of waste to various ways to reduce pollution to code enforcement and more. An international crowd of vendors, students, representatives from various municipalities, and even members of the general public attended this 2 day show at the Austin Convention Center May 16th and 17th. Our sponsor was EDR, the leading provider of environmental data to engineers, consultants, banks, and end users for due diligence information. They were a lot of fun to work with, and we learned a lot about their company and their industry. We set up our 6’x10′ NASCAR track in their 10×20 booth, and it was one of the most popular and visited booths of the show. Several hundred people raced with us over the course of the event, and they all left with smiles, whether they won or lost. Overall another great show, and we learned a lot!
While we love spreading the joy of slot car racing to people that have never done it before, we really love repeat racers. This year we were invited back by O’Reilley Media to OSCON, which was again held in our hometown of Austin, Texas. This international gathering of programming professionals was 4 days of learning about open source software, networking, and fun. The fun part is what we do best, and many of the participants in this conference took time from their hectic schedules to leave it all on the track! #OReilley #OSCON #Races2U