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Back at this year's UKSF I bumped into a bunch of guys from Larkfield slot car club. They were interested in the Policar conversion chassis that I were displaying on the Slot.it stand.
Evidently they have a F1 class that they run from time to time and this centred around the SCX and Ninco cars that are long since out of production.
After an explanation and a few laps on the dusty and short Ninco track they invited me over for a night of racing to their club in Kent.

About 2 months later I had the opportunity to find myself in the vicinity on a Friday afternoon and so arranged to drop in.

From my side I wanted to see how the cars could perform at club level with people who might be interested in racing these cars and this seemed like a good opportunity.

I prepared half a dozen cars; Lotus 78, Williams FW07, Renault RS10, Ferrari T4, March 761 and of course an RTR Policar Lotus 72.

As demonstrators but not running cars I also had the Brabham BT44 and Mclaren M23 as well as my collection of scratch built cars with me.

I arrived at 6:15 and some of the guys had already set up the track in their club room. They have an amazing facility at Larkfield, big space and great routed mdf track the only difficulty being that they have to build the track for each club night.



A group of 3 or 4 soon started testing the cars and this was great because they began to understand them and get a feel for how they ran on the track, speeds and braking points.

Interestingly cars such as the Renault RS10 went much better on the this large and fast track than I had expected since on my small home track it is the shorter wheelbase cars that run better.

Different drivers began to find the cars they liked best and test the performance of the cars. It was discovered that despite the narrower wheel track and tyres width the out of the box Lotus 72 had very similar performance to the late '70's conversion cars. This was great to know as the original intention was always to create a roughly level playing field for good racing between the various cars.

Once sufficient members had arrived they got down to racing while I marshalled, not being a great driver and not knowing the track I felt it better to step aside and let the guys have fun.



Racing was run as 'car stays on, drivers rotate' on 4 of the 6 lanes avoiding the hair pin bends on the inside and outside lanes. This worked well and the lap times were apparently very competitive given that these cars are all powered only by the little slimline motors.

In all I was very happy with the test and I think the guys enjoyed it a lot too. I took some films on the night but am having technical difficulties so will try to get them added to this thread in due course!

Feedback:
1. I think the guys were very convinced to buy the RTR Lotus 72 given its performance and one or two seemed genuinely interested in buying one or other of the conversion cars.
2. Everyone was surprised at the easy handling of the cars and the race lap times. Normally Larkfield run at 14v but it was decided that 12v was more than sufficient to get great performance and hard racing.
3. On the downside a few breakages did occur to front wings. Interestingly a couple of guys arrived later than the rest, just before the racing and I think it is true to say that some high speed offs resulted from those guys, who are probably some of the faster guys in the club, not having had time to properly dial into the specific performance of these cars which with the Policar gearbox and slimline motor is not the same as a production saloon car. It was a pity but I believe that if everyone had had time to acclimatise prior to the racing these breakages could have been avoided.
4. The cost of building the conversion cars was also a concern, given one has to buy the donor car in the first place. A build is going to cost about the same as a fully race ready Slot.it or NSR car unless of course, as I believe, many people have the odd donor car somewhere in their spares box already, having bought it and found it undriveable, at club level, in its original configuration. At that point a donor Lotus 72 and a conversion chassis is all that is needed to make some beautiful and great driving cars.
5. I did lose one Policar gear on the night, whilst building up the cars I ran out of shims and this was the obvious result. So remember ALWAYS ensure you add in the 0.4mm of shim recommended in the build instructions of these gearboxes.

So thanks guys for the welcome and evening's entertainment and we'll have to see if I can get back sometime.....

Useful Addresses:

Larkfield club:
https://www.facebook.com/LarkfieldSCC/

Policar with pages of detailed assembly instructions and parts numbers:
www.policar.it

Conversion chassis:
www.shapeways.com/shops/arco_chassis

Detailed conversion how-to's are posted on many leading fora, this is just one:
http://www.slotforum.com/forums/index.php?showforum=254

A few of the cars:











If any other clubs want to do something similar they should contact me.

Cheers
Andi
 

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Great write up Andi, From a racers perspective the cars were fantastic to drive and a match for anything we've been running up till now.

Since you came a few of the Lotus 72s have started to appear on club nights and although no one has managed to win the night yet they are right in the mix, it's only a matter of time!

Once again many thanks for coming along and look forward to you dropping by again.

Cheers
Nick
 

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Larkfield update, As predicted a Lotus finally won a race night, infact they filled the top 3 places!

We now have a 50/50 mix between Policars and Ninco/Scx, with a few pre ordering the March the balance will tip in favour of Policars over the coming months.

Looking forward to news on future releases.

Nick
 
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