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Can-Am proxy: quo vadis?

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  • Can-Am proxy: quo vadis?


    This thread is a follow-on to my comments in the “Rules/registration” thread.

    Guys, you know I am Johnny come lately to this proxy, both in terms of participating (never before) and now managing (also never before). So in order to do either of these two things in any kind of meaningful way, I had to start looking at history. And the more I looked, the more conflicted I became.

    In looking, if I were to create a “philosophical existential” statement for this proxy, I suspect it would have to be along the lines of “To create a racing series showcasing the spirit and the cars of the Can-Am series from 1966 to 1974. The desire is to have as broad as possible representation of cars from this era that look period correct, are good scale representations and allow all entrants a reasonable chance of success.”

    So I started researching:

    1. I initially started looking into past debates on the proxy:
    • An immediate concern was the perceived advantage that the “big cars” of the seventies had. This related particularly to the Carrera models (Porsche 917/30, McLaren M20, Lola T222). In real life, these were way bigger cars than their predecessors and offered immediate slot car advantages. To counter that, the artificial 62mm rule was implemented.
    • There was a fear that the FIA group 4 cars (Ford GT40, Porsche 917 et al) would dominate numbers due to so many good, basic cars being available. These cars were therefore excluded to keep the race a “pure” group 7 race.
    • As races progressed it became clear that the newer Thunderslot cars were i) freely available, ii) relatively inexpensive and iii) blisteringly fast. So one of the topics of conversations became “How do we prevent this becoming a one make race?”
    2. To get a handle on all this, I did a quick review of the 2019 entries. Some pertinent info:
    • 15 of the 24 cars had either Thunderslot or chassis
    • 18 of the 24 cars had either Thunderslot or bodies
    • 17 of the 24 cars had either McLaren M6, McLaren M8 or Lola T70 bodies
    • There were 2 resin and 2 3D printed bodied cars
    Since then, a 3D printed Can-Am proxy has been announced to run in the same timeframe as this proxy

    3. The results were damning:
    • Thunderslot took 7 of the top 10 places
    • took the remaining 3 top 10 places
    • All the top 10 cars were either McLaren M6’s, McLaren M8’s or Lola T70’s
    So as a prospective participant I look at this and go “Well, I will just enter a basically stock Thunderslot M6 and be done with it.”

    But IF I was to be more adventurous, what can I do? Alternate RTR bodies are few and far between:
    • Yes, you can try to get hold of a Monogram McLaren M6. But it might be a hassle to find, likely not cheap and it is so small (and VERY accurate scale-wise!) it will never be competitive. So that’s a no.
    • I can try to get hold of a Monogram Lola T70. But they are also not that easy to find and why on earth would I enter just another T70 that is going to be all but impossible to get competitive with a Thunderslot?
    • I can try to get hold of an HSRR McLaren M8 but the same arguments apply. I think I will pass
    • I can enter one of the big Carreras. They are relatively freely available and quite inexpensive. But the native chassis will NEVER be competitive. So I will have to create, or at least fit, a different chassis. And then the car would still be hobbled by the excessive weight of the body and the limited rear track. No, not an attractive proposition either. And that is reflected in the lone Carrera entry in 2019
    • I can enter a Chaparral 2E. But it is going to be tough to make it really winningly competitive.
    • What else is there in terms of eligible RTR cars?
    That leaves 3D printed or resin bodies. But there is now a 3D printed Can-Am proxy, so why would anyone go to the effort to enter a 3D printed car in this proxy (where it is going to be tough to be competitive) if there is an obvious “home” for 3D printed Can-Am cars?

    That leaves resin cast bodies. But that is not inexpensive, it is a lot of work and also faces an uphill struggle to be competitive


    Guys, in looking at this, I am struggling to find a place in the sun for a proxy constituted on the current basis. We will ALWAYS be limited in the variety of cars available to race. We will ALWAYS be faced with the advantage that Thunderslot has in the range of cars that ARE available. We are almost certainly destined to lose potential 3D entries to the dedicated 3D Can-Am proxy. History has proven that there really is not a huge appetite for people to create resin cast bodied cars. Yes, there are a few diehard, excellent builders. But not enough to base a proxy on.

    Let there be no doubt: I am a child of the sixties and Can-Am is near and dear to my heart.

    But I look at the above and I fear I struggle to see a sound foundation for a proxy.

    The alternative

    I know that, initially, people shied away from a proxy that was similar to the Ford vs. Ferrari proxy, hence the exclusion of FIA cars from this proxy. But sports cars of that era were not limited to Fords and Ferraris. What appeals to me is a hybrid class proxy that covers al the sports-TYPE cars of the era. And yes, that would include Can-Am cars. The field should represent typical racing that you would have seen around the world on many tracks in the (say) 1960 to early1970 period.

    A quick listing of a sample of potentially eligible cars, many of which are readily available, to provide a flavour of the series as I see it:

    Alfa 33
    Alfa TZ2
    Alpine Renault A210/A220
    Chevron B8
    Chevron B16
    Chevron B19/21
    Ferrari 250GTO
    Ferrari 275P
    Ferrari P4
    Ferrari 312
    Ferrari 512
    Ford GT40 Mk I/Mk II
    Ford P68
    Lola T70 Spyder (all marks)
    Lola T70 Mk 3 Coupe
    Lola T160/T162/T163
    Lola T222
    McLaren M6
    McLaren M8
    McLaren M20
    Porsche 906
    Porsche 907
    Porsche 908 (all varieties)
    Porsche 910
    Porsche 917
    Porsche 917/10
    Porsche 917/30

    In this group of cars there are many that can be competitive as RTR cars with a bit of work. So iin a proxy of this nature one can expect a field with a decent variety of similar era, similar real world performance cars that would be capable of winning. For instance: my PoliCar P4 is on par with my Thunderslots. A bunch of NSR models are competitive with Thunderslots.

    And as mentioned at the outset, this is not meant as a coup d’etat. This is meant as a logical review of the vision for this proxy and how current realities affect this vision.

    I would appreciate if I could get some discussion on this topic please. I would like to get a good perspective of opinions “out there” and make sure that, as we move forward with the proxy, we do so on a strong base. Questions that I would like you to comment on:
    • Do we accept that it will likely be a challenge, but we continue to commit to the current format of the proxy because it is meaningful to us all?
    • Do we accept there is an issue and hit pause to refine a viable, vibrant alternative?
    • Do we accept that we are facing a challenge, for this upcoming series we soldier on with the rules as I have just posted for now and use the time to consider the future?
    Looking forward to everybody’s thoughts on the matter.


  • #2
    I'm rushing way past where you want to go with this tread, Alwyn and I'm sorry for doing that - I promise to return to the topics that you have highlighted, but in the meantime, I did want to say:

    I'm in - #6 please!



    • Rleog
      Rleog commented
      Editing a comment
      Ohhhh, let me make a wild guess. The Mark Donahue McLaren M6A.

    • Audi1
      Audi1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Nope - if all things work out it's even "wilder' than that..... same number though................. The M6A #6 will be the back-up car. Is that enough of a hint...........?

  • #3
    “Do we accept there is an issue and hit pause to refine a viable, vibrant alternative?” ......Yes.

    I was one of the two who entered a 3D printed model, the CG SlotCars Chaparral 2E, and knew from the onset that it would likely not be competitive with the top 10. The Can Am captured my imagination in the 60s and early 70s, and I saw the 2E in its debut race at Watkins Glen in 1970. With respect for Jim Hall and a continued fascination for his innovative 2E, I decided to skip the Slot.its and Thunderslots and try to get the CG SlotCars 2E to run well.

    I would do it again, but this time with better tire prep! But it still would likely not be able to keep up with a well prepped ThunderSlot.

    Bob G

    Bob G. ..... Boston, North Shore


    • Gascarnut
      Gascarnut commented
      Editing a comment
      CG Slotcars make a Chaparral 2J, not a 2E.

  • #4
    So not really just a specific traditional CanAm Proxy? More of a wide open Sports Car Proxy? My 2 cents for what it’s worth, is to only allow cars that raced specifically in CanAm from say 1966-1974. We only allow open cockpit CanAm cars. That’s how we run our CanAm series here, regardless of the slot car brand. And also a 21.5k motor spec, that’s huge!!
    Last edited by War Eagle River; December 11, 2020, 06:54 PM.
    Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA


    • noddaz
      noddaz commented
      Editing a comment
      "raced specifically in CanAm from say 1966-1974. We only allow open cockpit CanAm cars."
      This is how I picture Can Am also.
      Other Scott

    • Barc 1
      Barc 1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes on the open top runners. That is about the only stipulation we really needed. It seems strange to rule out the Porsche 908 when it competed for many races and seasons. Porsche learned a lot with the 908 and it was their fundamental test mule when they decided to get serious. What they learned from that car competing in Can Am went directly into the 917.

  • #5
    I waited for the sign-up response before commenting on the options that you've laid out, Alwyn.

    First off, thanks for taking the time to carefully and thoughtfully consider the issues that have arisen in this proxy in the past and for posing some alternative solutions that we can all consider.

    As this post is now sort of after the fact; the level of interest shown in the very rapid sign-up being the clear measure of interest in this CanAm Proxy, I would say that the proof is in the pudding and based on my own experience, it's hard to find a proxy class that attracts more interest than a modeled '66-'74 CanAm series.

    I think that your 15% scale-up to a maximum width of 64mm is a good way to level the dimensional playing field for those who feel that a narrower car is always at a disadvantage, which, by the way based on my experience is not always the case, although I can understand it's psychological importance. With all of the 3DP that's now going on, there will, no doubt be some interesting "Mosler-esque" CanAm cars. In that respect, it is interesting to note that the 1/32 scale width of the Porsche 917/30 is 65.1mm - yes, it was a big, wide car in the 1:1 scale, so your 64mm width rule already legislates against a true 1/32 scale model of that car; perhaps 1/34th or 1/35th scale would work, dimensionally.

    I haven't seen any comments in the sign-up thread about entering more of the Group 5 and Group 6 cars, like the Ford GT40, the Porsche 917K and the others that you took the time to list out for us, so I am assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that there is sufficient interest in the Group 7 CanAm cars to leave it as a dedicated Proxy - for purpose-built CanAm cars which ran in the timeframe that you've set out in the Rules preamble. If correct, then I would support that idea.

    I also think that the speed of registration fill-up indicates that there is no need to pause and further consider how we could more forward with a CanAm Proxy before actually doing so.

    I would suggest, however, that you consider going to a shoot-out style race qualification - with all of those who have expressed an interest, who pay the registration fee and who actually submit a car for the series entered in the shoot-out. It's not, I don't think, really fair to those who are interested in this Proxy to be locked out based on it's having filled up in such a short time - I think a new sign-up record; I'm counting interest from 33 builders at this point.

    Just my thoughts on your questions.

    It looks like it will be fun! Thanks for picking up the reigns on this series.


    Last edited by Audi1; December 12, 2020, 04:00 AM.


    • #6
      I like this idea a lot and in my opinion the GT3 and Can-Am are the premier proxy events as the cars are fast and the rules are open , so I would keep the current rules. ( but I would like to eliminate the 1mm clearance rule)
      The idea of a Hybrid proxy is great and as stated the list of cars is huge , something for everybody , maybe get some old cars off the shelf. I think the best way to keep all these cars competitive is to slow them down maybe an 18k motor or less! Think how close 14 k motors would make this series. If I recall there is a world wide proxy that uses a low rpm motor and the finishes were very close. The next issue is tires , rubber tire prep is a combination of dark magic , and luck. Neither of which I have. It seems urethane is easy to glue and true and consistent among manufactures. I think with those two restrictions this would make all the cars on that list competitive, no matter the chassis or the weight.

      Courtney Smith
      Chattanooga TN


      • #7
        Good point on the tires. I am not sure why rubber has become the material of choice over the last few years.

        The shoot out concept is a good idea.. That way everyone is included in prepping a car and spending time in their hobby. Obviously I don't take winning very seriously. The large majority of my time is spent building . That is where my time and money is spent, and what the fun part of this hobby is for me.. Once the proxy starts my involvement in the process dwindles to nothing more than observing.

        I have zero issues with a shoot out and my car being sent home for not making the cut. It has zero impact on my motivation to stay in the hobby By that stage of the proxy my time involvement is next to nothing, and chances are 95% of my hobby time is being spent building another car for another proxy. If I am a supplier or a sponsor, I would be way more interested in a proxy that encourages everyone to be building and spending money on parts. Everyone who is excluded has less motivation to build and spend time in the hobby.

        Eg. Your race of champions has caused me to spend zero time or money in this hobby, and captures none of my interest. The shoot out concept is one of inclusion where as the race of champions is one of exclusion. I get it that the concept is to make sure all the fast builders can have a spot in a proxy, and you don’t want a BARC car taking up a spot of a more competitive racer. The shoot out process does the same thing and provides everyone an opportunity and IMO is just better for the hobby.

        So if we were voting I would be all for making this CanAm a shoot out, and I am one of the guys who’s car will probably be coming home. As I stated, by that time my personal participation, time and money has already been spent and the fun had.



        Ps. Organizers and track hosts should be guaranteed a spot in the field regardless of their running times. They are the one s who are spending their time making sure the rest of us have a reason to participate.

        Last edited by Barc 1; December 12, 2020, 09:38 AM.

        G.P Alberta


        • #8
          Sir SuperSlab, I like your list of Can Am cars, I’m not sure how it became just a Group x Proxy as I remember entering a Porsche RSR one year and a 917 for multiple years. If YOU choose to open up the eligible car list, I have several Porsche cars to enter although I have a screamer Thunderslot or 2. I’m in regardless but the rules are yours and yours alone to determine the grid of cars. Thank you for taking this on
          Last edited by Brumos RSR; December 12, 2020, 11:51 PM.
          The Jester

          Soxside (Chicago)


          • #9
            To slow down the fast cars make all cars run 8mm wheels and tires.

            No cars with a roof.

            I do like some of the cars on the list.
            Merrimack, NH


            • #10
              My 2 cents on CanAm proxies:

              Cent #1: CanAm proxies should be for cars that were built in full scale primarily for CanAm, or other unlimited Sports racing classes. No closed roof cars, and no cars that ran or could have run in other lower Groups than Group 7 at the time.

              Cent #2: Proxies were conceived to allow builders in various parts of a country or the world compare their talents. To my mind, and this is just a personal view, applying strapping tape to a plastic RTR car defeats the basic objective. I would like to see more variety of builds, be they 3DP, Resin, scratchbuilt, etc. I hope this next CanAm series is not a Thunderslot/strapping tape event like the CanAm U2 proxy turned into with the SRC Porsche 914.

              Bonus cent: If there is to be a Concours judging, then make it worth something in terms of points, not just an afterthought. And in that same spirit, how about extra points for cars carrying high wings?


              Dennis Samson

              Scratchbuilding is life
              Life is scratchbuilt


              • 4424ever
                4424ever commented
                Editing a comment
                Dennis I agree 100% with cent 2 especially with regard to the T/A proxy

              • Barc 1
                Barc 1 commented
                Editing a comment
                Yes, I noticed in the GT3 proxy there were only two cars that were actually scratchbuilt

              • Brumos RSR
                Brumos RSR commented
                Editing a comment
                That was my fault, completely unexpected and will be corrected in two years. If there’s a bright side, we got a 240z in the proxy that would’ve never run and we picked up several new proxy participants going forward because of it.

            • #11
              I really like this list of cars because of the variety and that many are my favorite classic sports racers.

              Perhaps this could be for a new proxy rather than modify the Can Am.



              • #12
                CanAm was so special it would be nice to keep it for only CanAm cars.

                Not a good idea to try and slow cars down by capping the tire width, that will make a joke of trying to have a race and would really defeat the idea of having an unlimited motor.

                If you want real close racing a motor cap could work but this is CanAm, the best class of car ever and they had very few rules back in the day.

                Getting the best from rubber tires is not that hard to do.

                They actually last a heck of a lot longer when treated due to being more pliable to the track surface, a bit like going from cross ply tires to radial tires.

                If it would help I can share my process and thoughts on getting rubber tires to work better, there isn't a lot to it really.

                I will be running a metal chassis assembled in my garage for CanAm.

                Those Thunderslot cars go awesome but there is much more to setting a car up for racing than a chassis and a motor.

                All the best Guys


                • Rleog
                  Rleog commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Your rubber tires prep would be an interesting read, as was your car setup instructions last time.

                • Giddyup
                  Giddyup commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I agree with Rleog, as someone who's never ventured down the rubber tire treatment path, it'd be nice to hear from someone who's been successful...strangely enough, I don't believe I've ever come across a how to on tire treatment...wonder why that is? LOL

              • #13
                Alwyn, first off: your race series, your rules. You are the one taking the time and effort to organize this event, for that we all thank you. And thanks for the opportunity to have some input into how we think the series can be improved. But bottom line: see first point .

                As Alan pointed out, I think the very quick entry response from such a large number is a strong vote of confidence in keeping pretty close to the current rule format.

                The CanAm proxy (in this iteration) was set up as a race series for Group 7 CanAm cars from 1966 to 1974. I would like to see it remain with those limits. A case could be made that the odd group 5 or 6 cars did enter a CanAm race or two, but other than the Porsche 908/2, these were usually one off happenings that occurred when there was a major FIA event like Sebring 12 hours or Daytona 24 somewhere close by. Still, if the majority want to open it up to group 5 and 6 cars that actually ran in CanAm races, I can live with that.

                Speaking to the dominance of Thunderslot at last year's proxy - that was last year's proxy. As numerous current high end proxies have shown us, thinking your going to win with last year's tech likely won't. Yeah the Thunderslots are great, but here's my thinking: Last year I spent several weeks scratch building a McLaren M12 resin body/brass frame car; ran great. Two days before the mail in deadline the Thunderslot M6a I had ordered arrived; three laps later I knew which car I was going to send in. The TS was just that much better. But this year I've now got that benchmark to build past, and even if I can't I know there are others who can. I've already been there with the TS McLaren, I want to move on. Besides, domination by one marque is historically correct for CanAm with McLaren and then Porsche ruling the roost.

                I think (hope) the new 3DP CanAm proxy will augment this one by providing a source for new body shells (and chassis). I know I plan to enter a variation of the car I'm working on in each.

                Motors: please keep the motors unlimited. This is the essence of the spirit of CanAm. Yes having a spec motor may mean tighter races but is that what the aim of this proxy is? I like to think it's more about building the most potent, fire breathing monster you can and then trying to tune the beast to the point that mere mortals can drive it. It's part of the challenge.

                Tires: I vote for urethanes. Hate rubber - way more difficult to true, too much variation between batches of supposedly identical tires, too much black art involved - I made the mistake of doing a few days research into rubber traction compounds - talk about going down a rabbit hole of nefarious rule bending, chicanery and seventeen syllable organic chemical compounds - my ethics and brain are still bruised.


                • #14
                  This will be my first proxy so I will read and learn. Interesting discussion.


                  • #15
                    Originally posted by DRW21

                    Those Thunderslot cars go awesome but there is much more to setting a car up for racing than a chassis and a motor.
                    This is so true; it's the tuning that gets you a really fast car. Starting fast is logical if you want to end fast, but there's more to it than just the purchase of the car; much more.