Took advantage of a business trip to Paris to meet...not the usual nice girls in Pigalle but David (as in DA-VIC) Laurent - wanted to ask him how he saw the future, what with SCX Digital, Carrera Pro-X etc.
Turns out he's a very nice person, but your typical inventor - he's not fazed by the new arrivals and keeps sold(i)ering on at night, turning out a system every 2 months (about 1,000 Euros to convert a 6 laner to 15 cars) - his backlog is presently until next October
Meanwhile (from his words and other info) DS is evidently going nowhere in industrializing it
So, in the coming year one can expect a handful of tracks using it for long distance races, but not for the "big" events (Alcorcon, Igualada, Verbano) - a pity...
Going now to commercial systems for 2 lanes :
- some people here swear on Scalextric introducing their fully compatible system - as we'll see below, this is certainly possible - let's wait and see
- Carrera Pro-X - judging from the latest pictures in slotcenter... I think not, it's limited to 4 cars, the track is compatible but cars aren't, they keep that absurd 5 cm long guide for lap counting
That leaves the much reviled (for total incompatibility) SCX system :
- for one thing, it's already on sale in Spain - 305 Euros for the starter circuit with 3 cars/controllers, electronic lap counter - let's say 400 Euros for a barely adequate track
- it'll be intersting to see how it's received by the "toy" market - egoistically, I wish it well
- this because in fact, it's very easy to convert the electronics package to work with any track and car - and likewise, building a lane change section from standard track parts
Ergo, with either Scalextric or modified SCX next year it'll be certainly possible to convert a 2 lane track to 6 cars/pit lane, at a cost of about 350 Euros
No more stints on the various lanes, races will be very much more exciting, the (interchangeable) decoder chip at about 20 Euros, the hand controller becomes a joystick and will not be that important any more (SCX : 25 Euros), I have a feeling motors will be limited say to 23k for non-magnetic
So, everything's rosy ? Not quite - the brick wall of collisions is still there :
- there will be more offs due to more direct racing, but I suppose one could live with it
- collisions on lane change are very easy to prevent with electric interlocks
- but front-to-rear collisions are unavoidable
David confirmed that, apart from long distance races, they are now trying shorter events - but you need experienced gentlemen drivers, and a (muscular) race director.
Honestly (as Michael says when he's eaten the canary) I don't know how big an obstacle this is
BTW (you knew this was coming) : this is precisely the reason I'm developing my special track, where offs and collisions are a thing of the past