After I decided I was going to race Hot Wheels cars, I needed a track. Being limited on time, budget and just not knowing how far things would go, I decided to build a very basic track that is little more than a few boards and hardware from Home Depot.
This guide is intended for those that want to get started with downhill diecast racing. These are the basics and have been improved upon over and over by other racers. For minimal cost and a free weekend, you can have your own Hot Wheels derby track ready to race.
My goals for this track were simple. I didn't have space to keep my track up all the time so I needed a track that was easy to setup and strike, and also easy on storage. I also didn't have enough room for a super track so this guide only covers a 15-foot track...however, this design can be expanded upon without much extra effort or cost.
Tools and materials
- (4) 6'x 5.5" x 1" wood planks
- (3) 3" door hinges
- Various wood screws
- Simple saw for cutting
- Some sandpaper
First, take one of the 6' x 5.5' planks and cut it to be 4' long, leaving 2' left over. The 4' board will be the “leg” of your track that creates the support for the hill. I found 4' to be a good length, however if you want a steeeper drop you can try longer measurements.
Next, lay out your planks end to end, leaving about an inch of space between each one with the 4' board at one end.
Next, lay a hinge across each gap making sure the holes in the hinge have plenty of room on the plank itself. If you screw the hole too close to the end of the board it will split. Make sure you alternate sides when attaching the hinges. The end result should be a track that folds up like an accordion.
While the boards are still flat, take the 2' left over piece you cut in the first step and nail it across the bottom of the 4' leg board. Make sure the edges are flush. This cross board adds stability to the back leg when it’s standing up. Without it the hill will wobble and fall over.
Laying track and expansion
Once you have your boards together, sanded and painted as you want, you're ready to lay some track. This track is intended for use with official Hot Wheels orange track, but other brands may work just as well, you'll have to try it out.
One area to pay attention to is the curve going from the hill into the straight, often called the transition. Depending on the downhill angle and the track you're using, this is where you'll see most problems when you start testing with cars. You want the transition track to be as stiff and solid as possible with little give. The more give there is in the track at the curve, the more energy your cars will lose and thus the slower they'll go.
Expanding this track design is easy too...just buy more boards. After the first straightaway board, you really don't need the hinges if you don't want to bother. Just lay extra boards straight in a line and you're set. You could buy four more planks and have a 30-foot track in no time.
Once you're happy with construction, your track will need a starting line and a finish line. Check out some of these collections for guides and inspiration.
And whatever you do, don't forget to share photos of your track and your build process here at Redline Derby Racing.