|This question comes up from time to time, more so since the recent flow of articles on the Slotracing LeMans website has been 1/32 oriented. the question raised most often by some of my 1/24 palls is:" Why did I go back to playing with toy cars? This "editorial" I actually wrote as a reply to a post made on Slotforum International where a proud member posted some side by side shots of his 1/32 and 1/24 cars. When I finished the post...I though...
...why not post this on my own site ;)
Why size matters
As one that started racing 1/1 cars then scaled down to 1/32nd, and up to 1/24 after 10 years and back to 1/32nd after another decade...I can say size does matter.
But not in the way most people might expect.
I've always had a crush for sports cars, never had a slot car set until my 30's.
I had acquired my driver and race license by then, but from the start it was very obvious that, regardless of my driving talent, my lack of talent as a fundraiser meant that 1/1 sportcars would be a very hard target to reach. No matter how much I tuned my beat up 2.0L Vauxhall Ascona, it would never sound like a V8 or produce the downforce of a Group C car.
About the same time while having a drink in the pub, the question was raised: " What did you always wanted to have from Santa..but never got?"
4 out of 5 friends answered "een racebaan" (a slotrace set) guess who ended up buying one.
At the beginning of the 90's that meant either buying a Carrera Go set (because you can overtake) a Scalex set or an SCX set.
The salesperson rightfully steered me to SCX, walked out the store with a BMW M1 and a Ferrari GTO... it took 3 years before I openend my first club.
Racing 1/32nd cars in the 90 also meant limited choice of cars and buying 3 rear axles with plastic wheels in order to (hopefully) get 1 straight set.
From left to right: Ninco DTM anno 1995 on the 4 lane 1/32nd Fleischmann club track, modified inline chassis and plastic wheels, limited choice of cars, had to scratch build if you wanted to race anything other than a F40
So after a decade we moved to 1/24, metal chassis, metal running gear and a wide(r) choice of (model kit) bodies.
Here's were size mattered, at birthday parties, for now you could spread your hands a little bit wider when people asked you "so you race with toy cars..and how big are they?". 1/24 has the benefit that it allows you to build much more detailed cars, which is great as long as you're building, the downside of 1/24 comes when you start racing. Bigger cars need bigger tracks, for bigger tracks you need bigger clubs, took me 10 years before I opened my second club and soon realized l needed a bigger wallet.
From left to right: FIA GT. 2005 Scratchbuild 1/24 Murcielago on Plafit Chassis, 20 x 1/24 BMW M1 Procar with inline chassis on the new 6 lane Carreraclub track (but only 6 cars could race at the same time), Toyota TS010 @ the Le Mans Legends on the big 50m 1/24 Scale Spa Franchorchamps track ,Still had to scratch build if you wanted to race anything other than a GrC Porsche 962
The group I was racing 1/24 cars with was going through the usual "speed" development cycle meaning bigger tracks (that looked more and more like 50m shuffle boards) and faster cars (and crashes).
As the scene grew with larger grids, more and more time was spend waiting instead of driving.
Then I "re discovered" 1/32 but with running multiple cars on the same track..so I went back to 1/32 digital.
Initially I started running 1/32 cars with the intention to create and race 1/24 cars digital..but I soon discovered that A 1/24 cars are not as sturdy as 1/32 and B on the track size I would need to create a "scaled" circuit... 1/24 cars would be just as small at the far end of the track as a 1/32nd car on much smaller 1/32nd circuit.
From left to right:1/32 Digital Dome s101 @ the Oxygen Le Mans 24hrs, The 60m 1/32nd 50m DiSCA Le Mans track , The 50m 1/24 6 lane Suzuka track of the SRCB (Charleroi, Belgium) To make this track the same scale size as the 1/32 Le Mans track it would have to "grow" 33%
Last but not least, the technology level and choice of cars in 1/32 had taken a giant leap in the last decade.
Which means that for me size matters...
...and 1/32 is just the right size for me
With kind regards
Image credits: Top image © empire monkey @slotforum international. DiSCA Oxygen Le Mans track, © Matthew Thorpe, SRCB track, © Henri v. Gool.