Most of you know me as one of the DiSCA guys, you know, large international digital events, a down and out scratch builder, racing with fully bespoke cars, every little detail modified to the hilt. So it may come as a surprise that I am now sharing with you...info on an "new" initiative of mine... an analoge, local, endurance series...with hand out cars.
Well there's a very simple reason for this initiative...and that's Covid 19,...how it has had its effects on our hobby and the mini cosmos I have practiced my hobby in for the past decade.
Back to Basics
So there I was late March, "the event of the year" (at least for me) cancelled, clubs going into lockdown one by one. Left all projects on the workbench as, hey no race to build stuff for in the foreseeable future, so motivation died faster than you could spell Corona.
I did keep in touch with my (inter)national friends, most of them key members at their local clubs. Besides their personal conditions, the dwindling health condition of their clubs usually a serious concern, everybody hoping for better times, yours trulyincluded
Nothing to build, race or otherwise keep my hands occupied...my brain kept spinning...contemplating ideas on how to restart the competition events I was missing, but with international travel restrictions still in place..more locally based.
One of the things I always do while evaluating ideas for a new event, is to take stock of how many cars/ racers there are available in the region I would consider the potential participants would come from. At the time I was still looking at the universe from my little niche planet, so DiSCA GT3 looked like the most likely candidate...only to discover that locally (in the Benelux area) there were but half a dozen.
Not enough to form a healthy grid, and although GT3 are the cars with the lowest threshold. (based on relatively stock cars) the gap between those with experience and those who would maybe be interested in joining..was too big.
So time for a re think...time to leave my niche heaven and start over...by going back to basics.
RevoSlot range, from an ugly duckling to a flock of Swans
3 years ago when RevoSlot entered the 1/32 Slotcar market with their Porsche GT2, I have to admit that I wasn't that impressed with their first creation.
It looked like repop, reworked version of the old Fly/Proslot GT2 but with a heavier body, metal chassis and 3mm (1/24) technology.
It felt like an odd combination, specially when compared to the cars I was running in DiSCA.
I considered it to be sort of an ugly duckling, but at least one with nice bling bling wheels.
Fast forward to spring/summer 2020, as the first clubs in Holland come out of lock down, I had my first run with a RevoSlot on the wooden track @ SlotShop Zwanenburg.
By steadily releasing a new car every 6 months, RevoSlot had expanded their range with some of the most iconic GT/LMP's from 1995 -2000...I was impressed.
I was even more impressed when (to my pleasant surprise) they all ran pretty good straight out of the box, and I mean literally...straight out of the box.
Spend most of the evening opening box by box running some of my favorite cars from the late 90's... (courtesy of the Benelux distributer Tom Peters/Slotshop)
The proof of the pudding
It won't come as a surprise to read that I went home (late) that night with a brand new F333sp, a Viper white Kit and several RevoSlot cars on loan from Tom's personal collection. Cause a clear "what if" idea had started to form in my mind, one that required some "eating".
So this summer I toured the country, visiting different clubs, running the RevoSlot cars on their tracks. What I wanted to "proof" was how many or better how few set-up changes would be required to run the RevoSlot cars properly on the very different track types and surfaces.
Some of the clubs I visited were running a Revoslot class in their local club competition, some of them had near Box stock rules, some had "improved" rules which allowed all the little set-up tricks & tweaks common in their "other" club classes.
All the clubs (except my own) run purely analoge, meaning I had not visited them in years. So come race night, I was the new "slow" guy, needing to (re) learn all the lanes on the track...
...and learn how to handle/race their "prepped" cars in a short period of time. For what I had in mind..I turned out to be the ideal "guinea pig".
To have my cake ...and eat it
During my club visits I also ran the Revo cars I got from the distributer, I kept them unchanged to have a base line reference. So the first thing I noticed was, that no matter what track surface I ran them on, Carrera, Ninco, textured routed with braids or smooth copper taped wood... they all ran well with the same basic set-up.
Running on all four wheels, the sprung guide took care of any difference in track rails/braid height. The relatively low C.G provided a very docile and and steady handling through the corners. Stock motor and gearing provided more than enough torque and brakes to accelerate and decelerate the +20% heavier cars (compared to regular 1/32nd slotcars). Sure enough the run in cars ran (a bit) better that those straight out of the box, rounder tyres and better seated /aligned ball bearings did make a difference.
And sure enough, the cars fine tuned by the individual club members ran much "better", wel... at least when they ran them. I noticed that the more fine tuned a car was for a specific track/surface, the longer I needed to get to grips with it.
During my tour I also noticed some Day-glo colored white kits, turned down underscaled front and rear wheels...and A-finals with 5 identical cars. As those who know me..know....not my cup of tea.
After finishing my tour I made an appointment with the Benelux distributer of Revoslot...for the plan I had in mind... I intended "to have my cake and eat it."
The RevoSlot "Back to the 90's" Endurance Series
To cut a long story short, as a result of my initiative, for the 2020-2021 season, RevoSlot Benelux will organise the RevoSlot Back to the 90s Endurance series in collaboration with various slot racing clubs in the Netherlands and Belgium.
These will be one day events on which a short Team Endurance race is held with a unique format:
For each round, Teams will race various RevoSlot Sportscars from the RevoSlot range. Each prepared Box Stock by RevoSlot and fine-tuned by the host club. (Braids, ballast, shimms, tyres)
During the Endurance, the cars are fixed per lane, only the teams change lanes, so they will race a different Sportscar from the RevoSlot range on each lane.
Well ok, maybe not that unique, to be honest I've just taken the "Old club race with club cars" principle and made it bit bigger so it would work for a series of events.
At the moment the I'm still working on some of the details of this format, but the intention is to introduce elements during the races that we know from the big Endurance race such as the Le Mans 24hrs but on a 1/32 scale.
You can think of pit stops, driver and tire changes and darkened periods for which the RevoSlot's will be fitted and run with (Z-machine) lights.
Cause for me there should be more to an event that just running cars in a slot
What's in it for me?
For me, well obviously via this initiative I get "to have my cake and eat it". Kickstarting my style of competition in a more local format, with a grid of more than a dozen well detailed, original liveried, "blueprinted" slot cars, with lights and tyre decals. As a side effect I hope to boost the numbers of slotracers interested in Endurance events..with a possible overflow to Digital Endurance events.
For the distributer a wonderful unique opportunity to promote the entire RevoSlot range in a low-threshold way under competition conditions.
For the participating clubs co- hosting the events, a chance to boost their club finances by feeding a lot of hungry, thirsty slotracers...and...
... a great opportunity to draw in some new potential members.
For the participating teams & slotracers, a great opportunity to compete on different tracks with different cars in an extremely level playing field.
For you the reader, well you are the reason I'm sharing this information. If you've read the whole post so far, I'm sure you've found some of it interesting, maybe it made you think...what if?
In that case feel free to use copy/duplicate all of the above. Because if I can make this work here in The Netherlands ...so could you in your local region.
There's a lot more I could share on the reasoning behind and the work that has been done setting up and promoting this series.
Like setting up the facebook page "RevoSlot Endurance Series" ( its in Dutch but FB do a pretty good job auto translating), the sign in forms, the homologation sheets that are used to blue print the cars, etc. etc.
To make this work there's more to it than just designing a pretty logo and calling up some friends. But if you're really interested, post here or write me a pm.
Back to the beginning...Covid 19
Last but not least, I started this post by mentioning that the current Covid 19 situation was one of the reasons why I started this Series.
The chosen format with hand out cars has the advantage of being very easy to run the events while respecting Covid 19 restrictions.
No need for a paddock with individual/team workplaces, compact events that require no additional practice sessions other than on the day itself.
Within this format the Tracks and clubs selected for the Series have plenty of room to respect social distancing.
They need to as (at least in The Netherlands) they are accountable for respecting Covid 19 restrictions and guidelines and can be fined if they don't.
I'm convinced that within this format we can enjoy our hobby once again, in a fun, challenging and most of all safe and healthy way.
With kind regards
on behalf of the RevoSlot "Back to the 90's" Endurance Series