Slot Cars Rule !!!

About 1/43 scale tracks

How about the different types of 1:43 tracks and where do you find them?

You can buy Carrera Go!!! sets and tracks in the US; they are a little tough to find and more expensive than Artin. For details on available Carrera track pieces you can check directly on the
Carrera web site.

Artin has three types of 1:43 tracks and sets:
  • The old style "classic" track/sets. It is not made anymore by Artin but can still be found in many places like E-bay.
  • The new style "snap-on" track/sets.
  • The "PowerPasser" track/sets uses the snap-on track but different cars and power and allows cars to actually pass each other on the track. For more details on the PowerPasser system see further on this page.
  • Here are a few of the available Artin sets and their associated layout

The Artin "snap-on" and "classic" track work just the same as any other slot track system. The track is DC powered and each lane has a controller to drive the car in its dedicated lane. The main difference between the two is how the track pieces attach together.
  • The "classic" track pieces just connect end to end together through the rails contact prongs, not very secure or robust.
  • The "snap-on" track has plastic tab for a quick, easy, and secure fastening of the track pieces together.
  • Of course the two are incompatible, although track piece adapters are available (part number 4913 at Slot Car World).

You can buy Artin sets from many places like Target, Wal-Mart, Toys'R'Us, KB Toys, and of course the more specialized slot on-line shops like Slot Car World and others. In the department stores you might also find Artin tracks under other names:
  • Fastlane at Toys'R'Us is Artin: the track system is compatible with Artin new style "snap-on" but the cars are different.
  • Artin makes sets for Disney that can be found on-line at the Disney store (with a pretty big markup ☹)
  • I think that Artin also might sell under some less known non-descript names.
  • As far as other 1/43 brands that you can find, LifeLike, Golden Bright, and Mattel/Hotwheels have 1/43 products, but the tracks might not be compatible with Artin, be careful there.

Here is a list of
most 1/43 slot car manufacturers (at least to the best of my knowledge, if you know of some not listed in there, let me know)

Carrera vs. Artin: quick comparison?

Details on Carrera Go!!! track pieces, sets, accessories and cars available: Carrera web site.

Details on Artin 1/43 track pieces, sets, accessories and cars available can be found in various areas of this web site

The tracks:
  • Same width at 11.4 cm (4.5 inches), lane spacing is 6 cm in Carrera Go!!! and 5.4 cm in Artin 1/43. Slot depth is 4mm in Artin and 5 mm in Go!!! Both are of excellent quality, Artin is cheaper.
  • More variety of track pieces available in Artin. You can build 4 lane layouts in both Go!!! and Artin 1/43 as both R1 and R2 turns are available, however, you will be limited to 90-degree 4-lane turns with Artin.

The cars: both brands have a large selection, about 20-30 different models for Carrera Go!!! and 30-40 for Artin. Both brands offer very smooth and fast cars.
  • Much better looking cars in Carrera Go!!! with almost too much magnetic down-force.
  • Much cheaper cars in Artin 1/43, $4-$7 per car vs. about $10-$15 for Carrera in the US.
  • Carrera Go!!! cars require 12-15 V while Artin cars require 6-7.5 V DC

PowerPasser anyone?

With the advent of digital slot car racing in 2004 by the likes of Scalextric, SCX, and Carrera, a new era in slot car racing has started. Each car is linked through digital electronics to a controller and up to 6 cars (depending on the manufacturer) can be driven simultaneously on a 2-lane track: passing another car, blocking another car, bump drafting, brutally taking another car out has now become possible. This technology is quite expensive and tracks and cars are mostly incompatible with traditionally powered track systems (except for Scalextric which will provide upgrades for the cars). In the meantime, Artin has introduced the “Power Passer” system for the 1/43 scale.

Artin PowerPasser is based on an old technology developed by Jouef in the 70’s called
Circuit Z. It uses the same track system as the “Classic” tracks but a different power (15V AC instead of 7.5V DC). Two cars (and two cars only) can be run on either of the two lanes simultaneously, allowing passing. The big advantage there is that it is the same price as the classic track system and the cars are also the same price.

Read a review of the PowerPasser system.

Here is my take on the PowerPasser System:

Compatibility between classic and PowerPasser cars and tracks, and other things:
  • On the PowerPasser tracks, PowerPasser cars will run one direction with one controller and the other direction with the other controller. For example a Red pin car will run counter clockwise with a red (A) controller and clockwise with the yellow (B) controller. Unfortunately the lane changers only work one way but I believe they can be easily modified to work both ways (by adding one of the little plastic gizmos in the track piece that lifts the guide before a lane change),more to come on this. Thus changing direction on the track for racing is as simple as turning the cars around on the track (and swapping controllers with your racing buddy).
    • PowerPasser cars with the red pins will run fine (although slow) on a classic track at 7.5 V DC. PowerPasser cars with the yellow pin do not run at all. The latter can be remedied by switching the contacts to the braids inside the car or inverting the DC power to that lane.
    • Classic cars run fine on a PowerPasser track. They will run one direction with one controller and the other direction with the other. Of course only one car can be used per 2 lanes. The PowerPasser lane-change track pieces act simply as a crossover in that case.

  • Carrera go!!! cars don’t run well on PowerPasser tracks. That little DC motor in there is very sensitive, and you can definitely hear and see it stutter on the track due to the AC power supply. However, trying the Carrera cars did let me verify that LED based light kits (I make my own but it applies to the commercial ones) work perfectly well. Carrera cars could probably be made to work fine on the PowerPasser tracks by adding a big capacitor (same as in the Artin PowerPasser cars) at the motor.

  • Bodies and Chassis between Artin PowerPasser cars and classic cars can be interchanged easily, so if you want to run your favorite classic body and livery on a PowerPasser track, just slap it on a PowerPasser chassis and off you go.

  • Parma economy controllers worked quite well, the 15-Ohm was best. I have not tried the Professor Motor controllers but they should work as well. I do not know how to wire for brakes quite yet anyways, if anyone can think of a way????

  • The cars: I tested the following PowerPasser cars:
    • Green and Orange Indy cars from the Indy sets
      ⁃ Taurus and Dodge from the Brickyard set
      ⁃ Black Benz DTM
  • All ran very well and, after lubing and truing the tires, were quite fast on the quad oval. The two NASCAR cars and the Evo in particular (probably due to the thinner tires) were the most fun to drive. The Indy cars will require some more tire work before performing their best (Those tires are Huge!!!).

  • The driving: Overall it takes some getting used to, but is a whole lot of fun when you just want to race with a couple of friends or your kids (provided they are not too young, my 4 year old is struggling a bit with it ☺).

  • The PowerPasser cars tend to deslot a bit easier than the classic cars, probably due to the spring mounted guide pin. That isn’t much of an issue of the layout is not too intricate and complicated.

  • The lane changers also need some practice as I had a very hard time at first but after a while, I could get it about 95% of the time. The only drawback there is that you have to slow down quite drastically to perform a lane change.

  • Make sure to not put the lane changers in a zone where cars accelerate heavily (like right after a turn). Accelerating hard through that track piece will cause deslotting almost every time.

  • Adjusting the braids seems to also have an impact as to how easy the cars deslot as well as how easy it is to perform a lane change. I had to angle them quite a bit away from the chassis to get the best out of the cars (tip of the braid almost level with tip of the guide pin).

Also there are ways of running 4 cars on 2 lanes, while still allowing passing (all of this with a twist ☺):
check it out