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Ok my turn. 6 tracks in three years, That are functional / operational. 5 tracks that were structurally built, but did not get the chance to be finished and met there untimely demise. I have had some time to learn about what it takes to get a car down the mountain. 1 track almost died. I rebirthed it to become a 4x4 path. 2 tracks are winter indoor tracks, and the other 4 are out doors. One of them is in three pieces again as I have to re invent it again.
Ok. So that is that.
Phylosphy, you ask? Ummm Nope! Not that I understand. I am too much fly by the seat of my pants 3 dementional artist at work. I have a general Idea of what the track will entail. I know that not all cars are made equal, so I don't even try. I know that every track will have is own personality, and that is what makes it fun. Also, each new track or track style will accommodate a different style car. Chaose is just apart of racing. Each track has different a thresholds or DNF minimum. I don't have many custom built cars yet. In fact all the ones my brother and I have built are racing with the only 3 custom cars ever mailed in. ((Thank you Crazy Canuck.))
SO, because I know my video production sucks @$$, (and my tracks are all in a constant state of evolution yet functional) my brother and I are constantly weeding outslow cars and tweeking the tracks. For example, the Cage Match is the first indoor plastic track. Old 60's two lane Sizzler joined to 70's black Sizzler Fat "O" track. Joined to a custom built drop off into a valley to flat high banked corner with a semi long finishing strip. The track got it name because it often looks like cars are having a Wrestling Match. We have raced 8 Rounds of 32 cars broken into 4 Brackets each. 1 car from each bracket has gone on to wait for next winter when we will have 32 cars we know stand a good chance at making it all the way down. With this track we also learned that counting points based on check points was better than win or loose. As fast as the track is, not ever car always gets to the bottom. Super fast cars stand a good chance at getting some Air coming out of ever corner drop. We also learned that the phrase, "Speed is nothing with out control and consistency!" It is not unheard of for a car following car to "Steal" a win from the lead car who crashes out. a we only run two cars at a time cause they are too fast to catch all the action.
Ok. Not to get carried away here. Just a quick note about the other tracks.
DINO RUN. Is a 369, 369 years old ancient artifacts and is the world's most realistic road surface for Diecast car racing. It is probably 14 or more feet tall and nearly 50 plus ft longustom It is also the back bone to the newly formed SNOW LEOPARD MOUNTAIN RANGE.
PHEONIX HILLS / DEATH DROP & HILL CLIMB. Is a custom mad from industrial fiber glass. It was first conceived to race Premium Real Riders cause they are lots of fun, but many can't jump the Ravine at the bottom. I use pump action to get the cars fast on the "Hills" portion. The Death Drop is just that. Death defying drop with fangs that will bite you and can cause damage. Lol. This tests a cars ability to stay straight and not have to terminal velocity of the wheels activate the ABS and slam youinto the side wall.
CENTER VALLEY DRAG. DECLARATION!!! HOW HIGH CAN YOU JUMP!! Is probably diecast racing's fastest gravity dragstrip. Maybe even the longest divided Hotwheels track. I don't have timers, so we made a big upslope ramp.we call the High jump. Can your build stay straight coming off the plastic track on to the fiberglass first open section then still stay straight to climb the high jump ramp and post a hight. That's where you win.
ANACONDA MOUNTAIN 4x4 path has had a difficult life. Not going to get into the history here. However, it is the oldest track and closest to the heart. It is currently in three pieces waiting for me to finish the "Relocation Project" The bottom half is going to be an 1/8 mile drag for 4x4's and Rally cars.
The top half will be it own track focusing on getting down ruff a hill terrain. The middle will be a highly technical 1/16 mile lenght strip. All will be joined together with turns separating the three sections.
The newest track is, Canada Hwy 0, Santa's Sleighway. "Highway of lost toys" this is the most exciting track. Tacking everything I have learned. This track is actually two single lanes over laping each other all the way down. Calibration took a long time. Testing testing testing. Finding two equally matched cars and tweeking to make sure they both make it down at the bottom at about the same time. Santa is flying at the speed of light, so this track is deadly fast. We have developed a collection of stock cars we deem "Too fast for their own good" these are the cars that need weight to stay planted to the track. 50 to 60 gram cars can fly off on a troubled corner. Once again built from old Hotwheels corners. 80 grams and over stay on the track, but I am going to lengthen and fix the approach to these tough tight corners. I am utalizing hills and pumps to slow down and speed up cars at different sections.
Testing at beginning stages of all tracks is done with a collection of Metal Machines, cause I have found that they are very consistent at achieving the same results time after time. I also use a collection of Majorette cars, because of the slightly wider stance catching anomalies in the side wall. They are generally a little slower, so if I can get most of them to the bottom, I'm fast enough. The suspension does over react sometimes and show me bumps I need to fix.
I hope this helps. I hope I don't sound like I am just talking / promoting my tracks in your post / Questions thread. This is just me and my ADHD trying to answer your questions as best I can buy giving examples of what I am doing to get my tracks consistent and reliable as well as fun and entertaining. No, I don't want very many cars to fly off, 10% or less. Slow cars not finishing? I don't expect that any custom built cars will have a problem with finishing the track. Driving in a crowded and fighting for you spot is on you. If the car you race is an asshole and prevents you from getting to the bottom, is on him for being an asshole. Being a good enough builder to race your own race and make it through Qualifying rounds on your way to the ELITE CLASS CARS. "Priceless!"
QUESTION #1: What chaos to control balance do you shoot for in designing and testing your tracks?
Russ Lasson at Spool Heads gave some great advice when we were making the Short Circuit together. He said that Danger is fun. He encouraged me to lean into that storytelling. It allowed for a more chaotic laned racing. When it's laned racing, the chance for chaos offers a much needed boost in spontenaity. That took a lot of stress off tuning a track to ride smooth the whole time for everyone.
When it comes to open lane, naturally, I'd like consistency and stability to reign supreme on the track so that the cars can tell the story with their "driving." And Thunder Run is a proper rally track, so challenging builders to design for speed and stability and suspension deepens the whole competition. I like that the track itself can be a character. A course that requires every skill of a "driver" really raises the stakes.
QUESTION #2: When designing a track, what do you do to make sure there are not too many or too few DNFs for your preferred style?
The scariest moment of building a track is the moment just before it's finished. It's mostly tuned, but then all of a sudden theres a section causing DNFs every time. It is usually a subtle adjustment. Lifting the entrance of a turn, or lowering the exit, or leveling the turn compeletly.
On Thunder Run, the jump launch can twist by a few milimeters and the cars will hit the guard rail every time. Also the landing of the jump can sag at the joint-point of the structure. Before every race, I lessen the severity of the sag making for a smoother more level landing. A few milimeters can completely shift the track experience. So I try to get very suble and micro with my tuning in the final days and throughout filming.
That being said, the straight lane swap right out of the start gate is a true crucible. Some cars can handle the whipping motion, and some lose their footing and fly from the track. I wish they didnt fly from the track, but the pitch of the straight swap is necessary for a successful run through the twist.
So now I have to lean into the "personality" of the track. A challenge for all. "Some of you will make it... some of you won't" is a fun spin.
QUESTION #3: Do you build your tracks for best performance for very fast cars, average cars, or to make sure all cars can have a good chance to finish?
I've started tuning tracks exclusiviely with Hot Wheels Premiums with FTE wheel swaps, and I make sure that every car can finish. Then I'll work in a few Modifieds which usually run faster, but somehow more stable. I don't work with mainlines, only because the weight difference of 10-20g or so. is enough to shift the entire tuning. The next track will be more supportive of lighter castings for a few specialty tournaments.
But any time I invite Modifieds to the track, I have to re-tune it. Going forward, I'll be having a much stricter weight range to maximize consistency in performance across the whole group.
Just to deepen the discussion, here a few more track philosophies I follow in the name of creating racing entertainment for Youtube.
- Every turn should turn towards the camera. Losing cars behind a banked wall as they drive away from you cuts the viewer off from the momentum and the race.
- Forced cuts happen, but too many can disconect the viewer from the flow. "Don't build it if you can't shoot it."
- Cars maintaining exciting speeds across the finish.
- Cars crossing the finish line, racing towards camera.
- Cars going over jumps should be jumping towards camera, not away from it.
MileHighRaceway is my 3rd track build. In working with seamless track, it's a little wider than the standard orange so it is sometimes cruel to narrower castings. I like str8 up DragRacing....0 chaos if at all possible. I have worked diligently to get the lanes as evenly matched as possible. The major thing is to keep the track free of debris. Clean tracks keep fast times. Other than that, If it isn't fast, at least it'll look good on the shelf!
Great questions! I've been working on 1 track for the past year and just finished it about a week ago. The main vision for it was/is realism. If 4 cars are racing each other 4 times, 2-3 DNFs during the 4 races seemed fair. If cars are going too fast, there are a couple of spots where they can run off track. They may become stuck if they move too slowly... So, it's more about finesse and being consistent rather than just loads of pace.
But, for me, I want to be able to showcase a hyper-realistic racing experience at 1/64 scale. All the details. The racing. The corners. Everything. So, keeping the cars going forward, all the way down the track while keeping it very competitive throughout. Keeping the racing as close as possible, allowing for overtaking, but giving the pole position a bit more advantage at the start, etc. I tried to stay clear of allowing too much chaos and instead, just let the cars and track do the talking!
This is my first track, and I'm learning as I go. I'm trying to read everything those who came before me, such as Bay Cities, Chaos Canyon and others, and absorb their experience. So - with that in mind, heres my answers. QUESTION #1: What chaos to control balance do you shoot for in designing and testing your tracks?The WMD - and Piston Junction the piston junction track - they are not themes in which everyone finishes and has a nice cup of tea. I'm shooting for a mix of good racing and chances for chaos. While no one LIKES a DNF, its my hope to use storytelling and spotlight to take the sting out of it, but the chaos, the rubbing and the bumping - the flips and crashes, those are absolutely desired.
QUESTION #2: When designing a track, what do you do to make sure there are not too many or too few DNFs for your preferred style? Like Chaos Canyon, I am doing my track in a way that a single car will finish 95 percent of the time, but when you have multiple cars, it can get squirley. With banked curves, rally jumps and eventually, obstacles and 'traps', I want some DNF's.
QUESTION #3: Do you build your tracks for best performance for very fast cars, average cars, or to make sure all cars can have a good chance to finish?I am building my track for average cars, because thats all I can make. :) I'm great at making NEAT looking cars, but I'm not so good at making fast cars yet. That said, Piston Junction isn't a drag strip. It's an endurance test.