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Question Hard track or Scalextric for permanent circuit

I am in the early stages of planning a permanent circuit, it is based upon Suzuka and I have it nicely worked out in Scalextric track sections.

My question is weather to build in hard routed track or from Scalextric track sections? I am capable of building the hard track but what are the benefits?

I quite like the magnet racing and the history of Scalextric as I first drove Scalextric in 1970, however I have also done 1/32 scale hard track racing at Netley and Bournemouth.

Any comments are very welcome.

[+] 1 member Likes Bazzer's post

There are obviously advantages to both approaches.

But the biggest advantage of Scalextric, apart from the nostalgia and history, is being able to rearrange your layout, which might not be relevant if you've decided on a permanent track.

The advantages of a routed track are the smoothness (no bumping around over all those track joints and uneven sufaces), the freedom of design (you can have the lane width a little wider, and you can have much wider radius turns), and the continuity of power.

If you wanted to keep the magnets then you can use braid on a routed track, instead of copper tape. It's a little more work as it needs a recess, and it doesn't give you the same magnetic attraction as Scalextric track, but it's a good compromise and I think it's sturdier than copper tape.

It's great to be able to set up a permanent track, and I've always thought Suzuka was a good basis to make a cracking slot track, so I'm sure you'll have fun with whatever you choose.
[+] 3 members Like JasonB's post

Hi Barrie,

I fully agree with all of Jason's points. 

I have two permanent layouts.  Both are 4 lane, and utilise the same DS timing system, with duplicated wiring. One is routed MDF, the other Scalextric Sport Track,  repainted with the same ultra smooth masonry paint as used on my routed track. 

The biggest advantage with any plexi track system,  Scalextric,  Ninco etc, is you can change your layout at any time. 
It is also easier when putting together a permanent layout,  as you can test at all stages of design, and alter things accordingly,  where as a routed layout needs to be completed before you get to test it....

I get more issues with power drop on my Scalextric layout.  I have soldered the worst offending sections,  and also used some of the connectors available from Pendle slot racing.  Its nice to have a plexi track, but I don't run anything with magnets in place. Not my type of racing at all.  We use Urethane rear tyres,  with a bit of ballast weight,  and this works fine. 

The routed layout has copper tape, which does cause some issues. When it breaks we just solder the joints. Same approach if we have to let in new pieces of tape.  I love the way the routed layout drives, so smooth and easy for all levels of competitors.  You do need to get the grip level of the track surface sorted. At first I had not enough grip by a long way, it was like driving in the rain....I repainted the track using grey ultra smooth masonry paint, which improved the grip considerably.  Keeping the surface clean, and cleaning the rear tyres lots makes a huge difference.  As does a drop of  Innox on the braids.

It all depends on your skill level of routing your own track. If your happy with that routed does give more options of radius, lane spacing and narrower spaced lane areas.

Good luck with whichever you choose, and ask anything if you want to,  the amount of knowledgeable and helpful people on this excellent forum is amazing  Checkeredflag
[+] 4 members Like Gpa113's post

Hello Barrie,
If you are starting fom scratch and wanting magnetic rails you should consider Policar track instead of Scalextric.  Policar is slightly wider and has a deeper slot than Scalextric Sport. 
I am in the process of replacing my Ninco track with Policar and about 30% done. Policar is a rigid plastic construction so will not warp.  People have issues with the patterned finish of the Policar track surface and that the section joins are noticeable but the reality is that in use the look is soon forgotten whilst it provides decent grip and has great connectivity. The controllers and powerbase are fairly basic but you would want to upgrade those in any standard set system.  Track is available in the UK from Pendle Slot Racing and Jadlam.
Policar track has been designed and produced by the Slot-t team, info can be found here - Linky


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[+] 2 members Like Scuderia_Turini's post

Barrie - if you are starting from scratch, you do indeed have a lot of options! It will depend on your budget, the space you have and - probably most importantly - your plans...

If you are even vaguely thinking of trying out digital racing, a sectional track system will make that much easier, cheaper - and simple to discard the digital sections if you don't like it. It's certainly not impossible to add digital lane changers and pit lanes to a wood track (to use the oXigen or Scorpius Wireless systems), but they are major surgery to install and a real mess if you want to remove them!
[+] 1 member Likes woodcote's post

All valid points above.

One other thing to take into account if you are starting from scratch - cost. A moderate sized two lane plastic track will require at least 50 pieces of track at an average of £5 per piece plus the cost of a baseboard. Total cost over £250. You can save money by buying second hand but you will have to wade through a lot of warped/rusty track to get enough pieces to use.

Provided you don't need magnatraction a routed version of the same layout would require a couple of pieces of 12mm mdf at less than £20 each plus a couple of rolls of decent quality copper tape at about £8 per roll. A cheap router can be found for less than £50 or you can hire/borrow one. Overall less than half the cost of a plastic track layout. This does rise if you use magnetic braid instead of copper tape though.
[+] 4 members Like CMOTD's post


Many thanks for your answers, I would say that the decision is on a knife edge between the two options.

I have quite a bit of Scalextric Sport track, basically a GT40 set with Layout 3 and a Cadillac LeMans set with Layout 4 plus I have a few extra pieces.

The shed is 16'x10' and I have a nice circuit worked out, just need to find the time to get onto the project.


[+] 4 members Like Bazzer's post

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