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Slot Car Racing by feel or by sound.

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  • Slot Car Racing by feel or by sound.

    I was reading an post on another forum and the author commented that the racers at the club new the track so well they new were there car was on the track by the sound of their car.

    It lead me to an interesting thought. I often feel with some cars you can feel them going around the track. For example I was putting my Thunderslot McLaren through its paces and I swear I could feel it pulling through the corner. I knew that I could actually push it a little harder because it felt like it could.

    Same thing happens when I race Carrera 1/24 cars. I can feel them (but maybe I am hearing it) through the corners and I know when I have done a fast lap. Maybe I am just watching them but it seems like you can feel it driving and you can work out where you can push the car a little more or where I have to ease off a bit (which usually makes the car quicker in that section)

    Anyone else know what I mean or am I just going nuts

    Dangermouse to the rescue.

  • #2
    I find with track familiarity you develop a rhythm and easily adjust the breaking, corner entry, acceleration points and exit. I race no mag on wood but the same can be said racing on a track metal rails and some mag effect.
    Some cars just stick better in the corners, I find the same as you with my Thunderslot cars right out of the box. You can drive them though the corner when they are planted which is much more desirable than a toggle type on/off control.
    Ayton, ON Canada


    • #3
      Yah…I can relate to the “feel technique”.

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      • 4424ever
        4424ever commented
        Editing a comment
        Isn’t it amazing you can check over all cars closely and find minimal damage yet the wall looks like graffiti
        Don’t ask how I know

    • #4
      Yep, exactly
      Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA


      • #5
        I would say the really good drivers drive by sight, feel and sound. Oh, and concentration.
        Butch Dunaway
        Oxford, Ohio


        • #6
          I definitely use sound for feedback, and for my home track, I definitely know the rhythm so well I can drive only by sound.


          • #7
            I know a pretty good 1:1 GT-1 driver who told me he counts in his head as he goes around a course and knows when to brake, turn accelerate by counting. He’s not even sure why it works, but it does. The counting gets faster and slower automatically depending on traffic.
            I’m still a novice here but I understand the feeling it thing.


            • docdoom
              docdoom commented
              Editing a comment
              Well that won't work for me. Need my fingers to run and old the controller..

          • #8
            I find I drive by memory and rhythm, as does most everyone else on my track. They say the average person can memorize a string of 8 objects (sounds, colors, actions, etc.) and repeat them. My objective is to design a track you can't memorize.


            • Pappy
              Pappy commented
              Editing a comment
              At my age that would be any track for me. I've got a good memory but it's not too long.

            • Bal r 14
              Bal r 14 commented
              Editing a comment
              What's not too long?😁

            • Pappy
              Pappy commented
              Editing a comment
              I forget. LOL

          • #9
            One of the best drivers I know claims he does not actually look at his car. Instead he looks at the track ahead of his car. He says he has so much confidence in his cars that he knows how fast it is going and where it is without looking. I can't begin to do that.

            However I have found on one of my oval tracks I can drive by sound alone. I can close my eyes and still drive on the limit. I don't think I could do that on a road course. And I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it in a race -- too many cars to listen to.

            Ed Bianchi
            Ed Bianchi
            York Pennsylvania USA


            • #10
              Great topic. I think the sense of 'feel' you mention is a combination of sight and sound coming from the same location. I've felt it too, especially with some of my cars on the routed oval. Reminds me of watching the epic chase scene from 'Bullitt' in a theater and 'feeling' the jolts and vibrations. I think I remember some people saying they felt nauseous just as though they'd been in the cars going up and down hills and careening around corners.

              When 2 sensations are created at the same place and time our ability to distinguish between them is diminished while the overall perception can be enhanced. This has been studied experimentally and when a flash of light is paired with a quick beep participants can think the light was the source of the sound when it's not. Similarly, when exposed to several flashes and several beeps and told to ignore the flashes and just count the beeps participants can think they heard as many beeps as there were flashes.

              While running laps one night on my paperclip oval I wanted to see if I could know where my car was just from sound to run good lap times. By really focusing on the sound I could judge the location of the car well enough to speed up and slow down accurately with my eyes closed, and it worked for about 10 laps. Limiting your sound perception (headphones & loud music) seems to make driving more difficult. Sound does seem to play a role in good slot car driving, though it's generally merged with vision for a unified perception which can seem like 'feeling'.


              • #11
                When testing and tuning I know if I take my eyes off my car for a split second to look at the lap counter my next lap is never as fast. It takes total concentration to get a good lap. In an endurance race like the Michigan 24 you tend to get complacent. You get in a rhythm and think you are doing really fast laps but you're not. You need to have someone watch your times and tell you to speed it up.
                Butch Dunaway
                Oxford, Ohio


                • #12
                  Ever since I was a young boy
                  I've raced a silver slot car
                  From Soho down to Brighton
                  I must have raced them all

                  But I ain't seen nothing like him
                  In any slot car track
                  That deaf, dumb and blind kid
                  Sure races a mean slot car

                  He stands like a statue
                  Becomes part of the track
                  Feeling all the corners
                  Always stays in the slot

                  runs by intuition
                  The laps keep counting
                  That deaf, dumb and blind kid
                  Sure races a mean slot car

                  He's a slot car wizard
                  There has to be a twist
                  A slot car wizard's
                  Got such a supple wrist

                  How do you think he does it? I don't know
                  What makes him so good?

                  Ain't got no distractions
                  Can't hear no track calls and bells
                  Don't see no lights a flashing
                  races by sense of smell

                  Always gets the tq
                  Never see him loosel
                  That deaf, dumb and blind kid
                  Sure races a mean slot car

                  I thought I was the slot car king king
                  But I just handed my slot car crown to him

                  Even on my favorite track
                  He can beat my best
                  His disciples lead him in
                  And he just does the rest

                  He's got crazy controller fingers
                  Never seen him loose
                  That deaf, dumb and blind kind
                  Sure races a mean slot car
                  Last edited by docdoom; December 24, 2021, 11:13 PM.
                  THE other Vancouver aka Vancouver Washington across the river from keep Portland weird....
                  Member NASTE (Northwest Association of Slot Track Enthusiasts)


                  • #13
                    I also find when I am racing I like to visual the lane - even on tracks I have raced on a lot. I follow the lane around the track visually noting the flow of the track. I find then once I get that car underway it takes a lap or two to get into the rhythm of the lane/car. I can work out pretty quickly where that particular car can be driven better to decrease the lap time... on one of the tracks I race on there is a nice corkscre, I can tell by the feel of the car going around it when I have the pace just right - it is almost like I can feel the G force
                    Dangermouse to the rescue.


                    • #14
                      There aren’t many things better than feeling the slot
                      Peterborough Ont


                      • Broman62
                        Broman62 commented
                        Editing a comment

                    • #15
                      One thing you have to learn to cope with is 'driver chatter'. It is possible to drive well while holding a conversation (even if it is only trash talk). It is a learned skill. We're not playing chess here. Some competitors will try to break your concentration by yapping at you. Learn how to give as good as you get and keep turning fast laps.

                      I find I can improve my lap times by using 'braking points' -- landmarks on the track I can use to show me when to brake. Elementary? Yes. But try to keep it up for a whole race. I find I fall back to relying on my feel for the car and the track. A lifetime of slotting experience is hard to suppress.

                      And there is always the temptation to push a little harder. Sometimes it is rewarded. And sometimes you know you've gone into a corner too hot, but the Slotting Gods give you a pass, and you startle yourself by making it through.

                      Sometimes when that happens I get so surprised I mess up on the next corner!
                      Ed Bianchi
                      York Pennsylvania USA