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Hello all,

I'm contemplating a 150-170 foot digital wood track for at least 6 and possibly 7 or 8 cars. I would prefer to keep it to two lanes for scenic purposes but am open to expanding it to a 3rd lane, at least in some sections.

It is kind of tough to make this call and get the track design figured out without having raced on a big digital track. So I was wondering if I could get some input from the forum.

Are there any generally accepted rules or thumb or strong opinions out there concerning number or drivers/track size/number of lanes that might be helpful?

Thanks,

Pete
 

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Greg Gaub
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For that length of track, after the first lap or two, the cars will be REALLY spread out. Putting in more than a third lane that appears and disappears would just make it worse. IMHO, the point of digital is close racing. If you add lanes, you just reduce that. I'd only add a full third lane with more than 8 cars, and a fourth lane would need 12 or more, especially for such a long track.

That said, for some systems, it's hard to have more than two lanes. Some require some tweaking, some have the hardware needed off the shelf, and some are designed for as many lanes as you want. If you want to break the 6 car limit, your options are: Ninco (mm... wouldn't recommend it); Scorpius; or oXigen. DaVic is also an option, but is easily the most expensive of the bunch.
 

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I wou;d go with 2 lanes. Its the in-fighting, timeing of re-fueling and strategic decisions that make digital diffrent. Big track and there is nobody to interact with after a lap or two. Personally on something that size you could get to 8 cars before it felt too busy I recon. Remember 6 cars is the SSD limit. Having read a bit I recon its either SSD or the expensive stuff Scorpious or Oxygen. The latter two may be better as although I love SSD on a large track you may need powerful cars. SSD has a chip limit of about 18k motors without changeing the chip. Unless you do it yourself the chips are not that cheap and so systems with larger capacities might be better. If its a 150 foot of hell (YES!) with no long boring straights then SSD might be an option.
 

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I would agree, 2 lanes should be fine. I would suggest thinking about a few "re-slotting" lanes at the obvious corners (hairpin at end of long straight, etc) where crashes are likely to happen. These give an easy, no-thought place to return a crashed car, without worry of oncoming traffic. The crashed driver is then responsible for the merge back into the racing lane without further incident. They won't take up much space in your layout, and can really ease marshaling. Now that I'm digital we rarely have any dedicated turn marshals.
 

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Bruce Yingling
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My current (plastic) digital track is about that length, and if anything, two lanes are too many. As pointed out above, the cars get really spread out, and it often takes a looong time to come up on traffic. My next (two lane) track is going to be considerably shorter.

There's nothing wrong with a track that size, and I really enjoy it for just running laps or chasing down ghost cars. But if you want exciting digital racing with multiple human driven cars- it's a little too long.

If you really want a third lane, I'd recommend you make it for only a section of track. I'd also have lane 3 split from lane 2, and then have lane 1 merge with lane 2 at the end- if that makes any sense. On the right section of track, it could make all 3 lanes a viable option...
 

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Targa Freak
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...I would go for two lanes, maybe add some additional lanechangers in some strategic positions. Your track is that big, there wont be a need for more. Good luck for your build - btw: Thib, we all suffer for an update
, Regards Jens
 

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2 lanes and i would probably shorten the track (don't know if thats an option or invite more friends
. Else the gap will be too far between the cars taking some adrenalin out of the veins. And go oxigen from the start if you have nothing to build on. With that big a track you dont want all the wires.
 

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Thanks a lot all. I am really glad I posted here as that was good feedback that I needed to hear.

I am more than happy to keep the track to two lanes so I was happy to read that. I also liked the idea of the re-entry areas. I think I will follow the suggestions to shorten the track as much as i can. My challengte there is that I have a large space to fill and a lot of scenic features that I want to include. So, I may not be able to get a lot shorter but we'll see.

BTW, I will be going with Oxigen. At least I am assuming I will. I have a "starter kit" in hand. I just need to hook it all up to give it a try.

One other question - do any of you have any opinions on lane spacing? Do you prefer a tighter fit like Scalextric or something wider like Carrera?

If you have any other digital specific track design thoughts you'd care to chime in with - please do. I am all ears!

Thanks,

Pete
 

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One petunia in a field of onions
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I'm not exactly digital savvy, having only had the opportunity to try SSD once, but I love the strategy side that it opens up. But even more, perhaps because I'm a cruel bitch at heart, I like the idea of setting traps for the unwary or the non-adventurous. Just some diversions here and there that could cost time if one doesn't change lane or a shorter route that might be a more difficult drive, that sort of thing. There are opportunities that digital presents that can really only be utilized on a large and adventurous track. But I suppose these things are more about a driving experience than a racing experience.

Am I correct in the assumption that you're looking to 'convert' your existing track to digital Thib?

Cheers
Embs
 

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Interesting. Maybe some of those "side roads" could help me to fill out the layout without lengthening laps.

In terms of the existing track Ember, yes, it is the same layout yes but I am not positive on how much will stay or go yet. There are a couple of areas (probably a 3rd of the layout) where I have spent a lot of time on scenery (and am generally happy with it) that will definitely stay. Past that, I have to figure it out. I am busy drawing pictures!

Pete
 

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One petunia in a field of onions
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Zook had a couple of interesting little diversions on his Shasta Highlands track. They were only small, but it's an idea that could really be pushed. And on the racing side of things its just another little something to play with the driver's mind. Imagine the car in front of you peals off to take an optional course. Do you follow him? Do you stay on the course your on? Do you tempt to push that little bit harder or ease up a little, because you can no longer be certain that your pace is matching his.

Like I said, I find the possibility intriguing, but then I do rather enjoy messing with people's minds.
 

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Greg Gaub
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It's generally true of any kind of racing where the car and/or drivers are not very closely matched.
I race with an analog home track club with guys who have been racing competitively for many years, and 4-wide is pretty rare. Once or twice a meet for a few laps, tops. Trying to film a lot of 4 wide racing, I've been surprised how rare it really is. Even if all the guys are on the same lap, it doesn't mean they're side by side. ;-)
I guess your guys are all very closely matched drivers and equally well tuned cars. That, or someone's holding back to stay in a pack. ;-)
I find that digital racing tends to have more close driving, if only because most cars tend toward the best line around the track, and many tracks are hard to make a clean pass on an equal driver having to get on the non-preferred lane. Then they eventually make it around to lap the back markers, and often have to run a few laps before a clean pass.
In either case, as soon as a car comes off, the field is spread out again, or if someone just overcooks a corner and then pulls back a bit in order to stay on better.
 

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Fair enough
Inevitably close racing depends on how closely matched the cars and drivers are.
Yes a lot of the guys I race with are quite evenly matched, that's fairly normal in all the years I've been racing. I hadn't realised that cars and drivers were less well matched elsewhere. Maybe I've just been lucky!

So back to the original question, with drivers not that evenly matched, 2 lanes sounds enough.

P.S. Holding back to stay in a pack?? Don't know any racers who'd even think about that. Of course its normal race craft to stay behind a car till reaching a good passing place, so you don't risk getting nerfed out.
 

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Bruce Yingling
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QUOTE (Michael363672 @ 16 Aug 2012, 12:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Our track is 2/3 wide and after 6 x 8 min heats three drivers were less than a third of a lap apart on 307 laps


Most of us aren't that good at being that equal.

In my analog club, there are often a pair of cars/drivers in each heat (most of our tracks are 4-lane wood) that run fairly close together. Rarely are all four evenly matched.

When we race digital, it is often with a set of similar cars prepped by the same guy- so the racing has the chance to be closer. But that also means one off and your a loooong time catching back up to the pack.
 

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Greg Gaub
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I haven't raced all over the world, but I think 300SLR is lucky to have such regular close racing.
That, or our definitions of close racing are different.
If a car in the other lane(s) is more than a couple feet away, I don't call that close. If they're not even on the same turn, then forget about it.
Close is when someone is having to drive clean to avoid nerfing the guys next door, or hang back to avoid being nerfed, or in digital, to slow up and avoid rear ending.
If that's the kind of close he gets, on a regular basis, then I call that lucky. And I'm in an area with a plethora of slot racing going on all the time.
 

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QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 16 Aug 2012, 19:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Close is when someone is having to drive clean to avoid nerfing the guys next door, or hang back to avoid being nerfed,.
There's plenty of that in most club races and main events at bigger meetings.

Close racing needs two or more closely matched competitors.
In meetings with larger entries its normal to have shorter qualifying races to seed the drivers for the main event.
This leads to closely matched main events even when there is quite a spread of speed among the entrants.
 

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Greg Gaub
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Ah, that explains it.
Around here we race lane rotation and heats such that everyone runs every lane equally. There's no qualifying, and the rotation is randomized so you're not always racing along side the same people.
If we split people up according to skill (qualifying) like that, we'd have more close racing, too.
 
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