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Racer Riley MKXX - The Review


Racer are known worldwide for their high quality, super detailed, hand made resin slot cars. They produce soley in 1/32 scale but make no secret of the fact that dimensions on their main range can vary slightly, so as to maximise visual effect and encompass the chassis and chosen running gear, in their case exclusively Slot.It. Their hand made cars are, understandably, high priced so when last year they announced not one but two new lower priced ranges, aimed at the racing fan rather than the collector, the interest generated was high. The new ranges are 'Sideways' of which the first model in this series is the topic of the review and 'Silverline', a range of light weight, super resilient resin, still hand made and still Slot.It driven. Detailing and pricing are lower on both ranges but scale fidelity is of higher import. More on the 'Silverline' range another time however.

 


So what exactly IS 'Sideways'? It is a range produced by Racer, in plastic and produced in China as opposed to hand made from resin in Italy. Pricing is roughly that of a Slot.It car and in actual fact they are so similar in design, I would not expect any different.
 

The first cars in the range are 'Daytona Prototypes'. They are a type of Sport prototype racing car, developed specifically for the Grand American Road Racing Association's Rolex Sports Car Series as their top class of car, replacing contemporary open cockpit sports cars, specifically Sports Racing Prototypes (SRPs). They are named after the main Rolex Sports Car Series event, the 24 Hours of Daytona. They were born, partly, out of GARRA''s decision, back in 2003 to limit performance of prototype sports cars in an effort to reduce excessive speed danger at the concrete barriered Daytona Raceway, home of their premier series (Rolex Sports Car Series - see link above) and at the same time reduce operating and development costs. A study of the above links will explain the history the series, the influence of Riley in the sport as well as show the distinction between these, more modern Riley MKXX cars and those issued by Fly which are earlier Riley MKXI s.


Riley Technologies LLC is an auto racing constructor and team which specializes in the design and manufacture of complete race cars, as well as prototype development for racing and manufacturing applications. Started in 2001 by father and son Riley (the latter originally being head of Riley & Scott) they are currently one of 6 Companies who purchased the rights to produce chassis for this series for 5 years starting in 2008.


Not only did the guys at Racer gain the license from Riley, but also of the Grand Am series, Rolex and the Daytona Prototypes logos. Quite a coup! if they can get the rest of the  eligible Companies on board there will be quite a field on offer, perfect for a club race series :)

 


To date there are 5 liveries to choose from and a 6th about to be released, these are...

Riley-Mathews Motorsports from 24hrs Daytona 2008.


AIM Autosport from 24hrs Daytona 2008.


Michael Shank Racing, the Milville NJ Motorsports Park 2008 winner. Subject of the review.


Michael Shank Racing, the Utah Miller Motorsports Park 2008 winner.


Then the two latest, Chip Ganassi Racing, overall Grand-Am Champions 2008
& (imminent) Bob Stallings Racing, the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course 2008 winner.

 


So what of the model itself? Read on for a detailed commentary.


As is to be expected the cars are identical except for Team livery. They come in a standard, robust style box and the cars are secured both with a wing nut into the chassis and a protective lexan shroud under the lid. The chassis is supported within the box and is prevented from distortion from the wing nut, by two integral plastic rails that just keep the wheels off the base.  Under the base the the self same Silicon tyres you get with Slot.It cars.


 

Out of the box the cars run fine, but in 1 of the 4 cars I have the front wheels were binding and on another the chassis was slightly twisted. The binding was sorted easily in the initial ( and required IMO) tweaking of wheel spacing, tyre checking and general basic overhaul. The twisted chassis was trickier and I ended up sorting it using the hot water and oven method given on Slot.it's site. There is also a current thread on the forum HERE, that mirrors this and adds other peoples views. A shame that it had to be done in the first place but to be honest Racer are not the only Company to have this problem by far. A consequence of mass production in plastic I guess.


Apart from that, magnets out for 'Mugello' (Scalextric Sport), the aforementioned tweaking, gluing and truing of tyres (if nothing other than to remove the top sheen) and they were onto the tracks.
 

Handling wise they are quick, sure and easy to get to grips with but provide plenty of opportunity for exploration and boundary pushing. Much like Slot.It Nissans in feel actually. The generic tyres supplied are not tampo printed but otherwise seem very similar to those you get with a Slot.It car although they were changed fairly quickly for P6s which gave them a much more even feel across the lanes. These work fine on both our wooden track and the Scalextric Sport track. Changing to your particular tyre of choice is, of course going to get you the best result.
 

It is worth mentioning here, to put build quality in the limelight, the 4 cars you see on their bases above have all seen action on the track in a race series and probably have over 2 hours track time each in total. Ariels, rear spoiler and mirrors are flexible. Main damage sustained is to the rear of the car after shunts, not many bracing wires remain and with mirrors and front light lenses being glued back a few times. The paintwork retains marking after a roll but is easily cleaned off with a gentle rub of a cloth and lighter fuel. I do admit to a general polish of the cars prior to photo taking ;)

 

 


So onto a more specific breakdown of what you are getting for your money, how they are assembled and with what, together with some macro shots of the extreme detailing that is a trademark of Racer, even in the Sideways range.


 

The chassis is very flat, clean and well, Slot.It like! with a couple of distinct differences. The cars are supplied with a Slot.it 1.0mm offset mount, V12/3 21.500 rpm - 170g*cm motor and a gear ratio of 8/26, crown gear is of course offset specific. First difference you will notice is that the adjustment of the front axle is not stepped with spacers but made with Allen screws allowing both top and bottom alignment. The second main difference is visible by the 4 screws on the underside of the chassis, between guide and motor mount  in the left hand picture and by the 'H' shaped piece between guide and motor mount in the right hand picture. It is a removable torsion bar giving strength to the front of the chassis, removable should you prefer more flex. I have not tried any of these cars without as yet but when I get a personal Riley (as opposed to the 4 club cars) I will do more serious testing of this feature. I suspect it is a very personal setting adjustment.


The chassis is 'Oxygen' ready and will accept Scalextric Digital chips with a little fettling.

 






Hubs are Slot.It plastic at the front, aluminium long hub at the rear 17.3x8.2mm. Inserts are two piece Racer specific as you can see above. NOTE: the outer rings are prone to come off easily in a race. I suggest using a flexible glue to secure, if you use Superglue or similar you are going to need replacements if you change the hub at any time.

 

 

Onto the bodywork and the quality is good, uniform colouring throughout on all the cars I have, tampo is clean, crisp, dust free and hits most of the harder areas as you will see in the next burst of pictures. There is, however, no top coat of lacquer which I find a shame. It will eventually lead to loss of the tampo printing in heavy handling areas. Yes I can easily add that myself but there is a lot of reverse assembly to do as you will see.

 





The little struts, reminiscent of those on Slot.It's F40, go missing fast :) Nice to see out of the box but quickly surplus to racing needs.


And, of course regardless of price, it wouldn't be a Racer without all those little photo-etched pieces would it? I count 16 in all

 



 

The complete body overall weights in at a paltry 22grams (part of a total car weight of 80 grams with magnet), amazing when you see what it boasts on top of all those photo-etched parts..


Clean, well fitting interior.


Body integral rear roll bar.


Complex and painted interior tray.


Superb panel array detailing.


Fine tampo and highlighting to the engine bay.


Wonderful decaling to the drivers helmet.

 

Without a doubt, regardless of build materials, you are again getting a lot of car for your money from Racer. All their models are driveable and competitive but these raise the bar for the Italian Company in terms of competition and performance. To end I leave you with some previously published, promo shots of the Riley when it was still in CAD stage and then a quadruple set of posed pictures on our tracks. If you did - thanks for reading this far and I trust you have a better base to decide whether to buy or not now.

 



© Allan Wakefield (Swissracer), SlotForum.com September 2009

 

 

 

 

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