Champ Car Slot-Car Racing Sets UPDATE #3 Another reader writes, First of all, as always great work with the site and keeping us informed on ALL forms motorsports instead of the typical 'all NASCAR all day' most sites have evolved to now.
Just a short comment on the recent article concerning the Champ Car licensing slot car sets. With all due respect to Mr. Corley and his experience with HO and 1/32nd scale slot car sets, I have to disagree with the assertion that Champ Car licensing with Racemasters and Tomy "misses the mark".
As background, I am a nationally known and well-respected builder and racer of HO-scale slot cars. And while I understand the issue Mr. Corley is raising regarding the increasing popularity of 1/32nd scale slot cars in the country (I have and have raced several myself), the fact remains that the biggest advantage HO scale cars have is their compact size. It is much easier to set up and maintain a decent sized 4-lane HO scale layout in the average home than 1/32nd scale. This is why most scale sized 1/32nd racetracks are in commercial facilities; the size which gives you the incredible detail in the cars works against you in setting up anything in scale that approximates the length of their real-life counterparts.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy racing 1/32nd scale cars too, but it's damn hard to have a scale 2.5 mile four lane track in your basement at 1/32nd scale. Recreating a 2.5 mile track in 1/32nd scale requires 412.5 feet of track, as compared to 206.25 feet at the HO scale of 1/64th used by the TOMY sets. So Champ Car teaming with Tomy and Racemasters isn't such a bad move as it puts their brand in the hands of many more people. On top of this, the typical cost of getting started with HO scale sets is lower than 1/32nd scale. All this really equates to is more potential for exposure to a broader market, and if the buyer gets hooked on the hobby you’re also giving them the capability of building a decent size layout that can be conveniently located in their own home in a scale that allows you to expand the set to better replicate the scale of the tracks Champ Car races on. Personally, I would say that Champ Car has accomplished exactly what it needs to IMHO.
Thanks again for the wonderful site, Mika Malehorn02/20/07 We now hear there is also work being done on the 1/32nd scale slot car license as well, so it appears Champ Car has all their bases covered and the letter below was written without any background knowledge.
02/19/07 A reader writes, Speaking as a supporter of Champ Car and one who makes a living selling slot cars, getting aligned with a slot car manufacturer is a great idea. Unfortunately, the Champ Car marketing department once again misses the mark a bit. 1/32 scale is the biggest and fastest growing aspect of the slot car hobby. I started this business 3 years ago with $5000 of inventory. Our business (selling strictly 1/32 slot cars, track and accessories) has increased over 50 fold since then. The detail and realism of the 1/32 cars rivals die-cast models, and the upgrades to the cars and accessories for the track are limitless. You can even go digital slot car racing and race multiple cars on a 2 lane track. It is truly a hobby that will keep your interest throughout a lifetime. It is an addicting hobby and it can and does make fans of real racing. By comparison, HO is just a toy that most will forget about in short order. I looked at our 2007 catalogs hoping to see Champ Car in 1/32 scale, but they are absent. By comparison, LeMans style cars (both old and new) will be represented, and we will be stocking IRL and NASCAR ad nauseum. As in real life, oval racing in 1/32 scale gets boring real fast, even die-hard NASCAR fans soon find that out. Being a road racing series, Champ Car really needs to have a strong presence 1/32 scale, and I for one am disappointed that they won't. Jim Corley, owner
02/19/07 INDIANAPOLIS – Millions of fans around the world have grown up watching the Champ Car World Series, and now through a new partnership with AFX, those fans can bring the excitement of Champ Car racing into their own homes with a new HO Scale Champ Car slot-car set.
Champ Car has entered a multi-year licensing agreement with AFX, the leading brand of HO Scale slot cars in the hobby market, to produce race sets for the public beginning in 2007. AFX, which is distributed by Racemasters, Inc. and produced by worldwide toy manufacturer Tomy, will produce four new cars and a full-size track set this year with the promise of more cars and sets to come in future years.
“I think everyone I knew, including myself, had AFX slot-car sets when I was growing up and I look forward to seeing what they can do with the Champ Cars of the present day,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “Even better will be watching our young fans play with the sets as they imagine driving like Sebastien Bourdais or Paul Tracy.”
This marks the first time the current-era Champ Cars have been replicated in the HO scale. The cars, which measure about three inches in length, are powered by electric motors and race around a track that has small slots for each lane. A guide pin on the car follows the slot and they are kept on the track by the skill of the “driver”, who changes speed with a hand held controller.
“We are all motorsports enthusiasts here at AFX and the Champ Car series is one of the most exciting in the world”, said Steve Russell, Vice President of Marketing for Racemasters, “We are proud that Champ Car chose to let us bring them to HO scale.”
The AFX brand was introduced in 1971 by Aurora Plastics and quickly became the market leader in HO scale slot racing. Over the years AFX continued to drive the industry with innovations like Magna-Traction and Trigger-Finger controllers. Today AFX is distributed by Racemasters, Inc. and produced by Tomy Corporation, and the commitment to quality and innovation remains paramount.
“The Tomy Group is very impressed with the new, global expansion plans for the CHAMP CAR World Series,” said Alan Nowers, Business Analyst at Tomy Corporation, “and we share Racemasters’ pride and excitement in partnering up with a brand that is fast-becoming a prominent global motorsports player.”
The new AFX cars and set will be available in better hobby shops around the country and on the internet at www.champcarstuff.com as well as via Speedgear (www.speedgear.com) websites starting in July 2007. Speedgear is Champ Car’s exclusive merchandising and licensing partner. They are the North American leaders in the marketing of open-wheel merchandise and have been in business since 1989.