The Ring

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

The Ring – Mississauga

This third version of the Ring is a custom routed 1:32 scale three lane analog wood slot car race track that I built for myself. It is also the longest serving track that I’ve owned since joining this hobby. The Ring currently hosts invitational R32 races and Scratch32 events such as the Coppa D’oro, Targa Florio, American Thunder, et al. Over more than a decade I’ve routed custom tracks for others and learned from each of those experiences. I’ve also made great friends along the way. My routed tracks share many features which I hope make them interesting to the spectator, pleasing to the camera and offer smooth, predictable, close, trouble free racing for every pilot.

Track Sections Glued Together Forming A Single Piece Floating Track Surface

Briefly, the Ring is a private three lane custom routed scale model slot car race track occupying a footprint of approximately 22′ x 7′. The track surface is constructed from 3/8″ mdf routed using a 1/8″ flat bit sunk approximately 1/4″ deep. The track sections are glued together for a seamless surface which ‘floats’ on open grid benchwork and is scenerized using a cloth soaked hydrocal hard shell base over cardboard strips. Around the perimeter of the track are 1/8″ thick hardboard ‘walls’ approximately 1 1/4″ high above the track surface. The lanes are spaced 3 1/2″ apart but for the single squeeze where spacing drops to just 1″. Lane lengths are very close: green=72′ 2 3/4″, yellow=72′ 3″, red=72′ 2 7/8″) and the number of left and right turns are identical. Outside gutters are at least 6″. Three overpasses provide a minimum clearance of 3 3/4″, enough for the tall Fly Euro Trucks. Total track surface elevation change is just 7″ but appears greater. Average race surface height from the floor is 33″.

Painted, Patched, Lined & Taped

The track was painted using a standard roller and mid range flat latex paint. Now I recommend a foam roller for a slightly smoother finish. Dollar store acrylic paints were used to paint the patches, concrete pit lane, racing line, skid marks, white and grid lines and race driver tributes. Surface cracks and general track weathering by airbrush are yet to be done. 

Trackmate Driver Station for the Red Lane

Wired positive, this track was ‘taped’ using Venture Tape MasterFoil Plus (Now 3M) 7/32″ width and .038mm thick (red core) part no. 1750. Four soldered ‘power taps’ ensure continuous and uninterrupted power through the length of each lane. Lanes are individually powered by one of three identical variable 10A power supplies (formerly a single linear Pyramid 30A adjustable power supply which are very hard to find now). Trackmate hardware and SlotTrak software provide the timing while Trackmate driver stations ensure easy controller hookup via alligator clips or banana plugs. 

Hydrocal from Rock Molds Added

As racing is a priority at this track racer’s sightlines and ease of marshaling were kept in mind during the construction of this circuit.

My model railroading background inspired the scenery. But for a handful of recognizable items (grid rats and pit accessories, half tires, guardrails, signage posts and 7 Kleinbahn HO light posts everything is scratchbuilt from wood or styrene or cast from either plastic/resin or urethane. All but 5 trees are hand made, including various birches, aspens & hemlocks. Never overlook what raw scenic materials you can find in your local green belt or at the bottom of a Muskoka lake… Pictures and a blurb on how some of these scenic items were created may make it here. As always, time will tell…

The Paddock

Although nearly all local slot car retailers and commercial tracks have closed shop the hobby continues to flourish with home based racing for those lucky enough to know someone who has a track. But there is no shortage of ready to run cars and products (in every scale) offered online. For the novice this wide range of choice can be overwhelming so make sure that before spending your hard earned money on any specific scale or product manufacturer you explore what others in the hobby are doing.