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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just discovered a fact that has eluded me during my 52 years of racing slot cars; tunnels are very difficult things to deal with.

I made myself a Monaco tunnel some years ago, which I use when I build that circuit for my 1950s and early 1960s race series. As it is the old tunnel, it is very short and though it is on a curve, it presents no difficulties because the cars are through it in a flash. Monaco 1951

In comparison, the tunnel on the modern Monaco circuit is around 350 metres long.

However, in my series of races for the early post WW2 cars, I have reached the race at the St. Cloud circuit in Paris. This circuit had a tunnel that was around 850 metres long. (It's still there today, being used by Parisien traffic). My version of this circuit is pretty long - crossover circuits usually are - and I decided to create the tunnel. My tunnel is almost 2.5 metres long and upon initial running of cars around the circuit, I am finding it virtually impossible to judge the left hand corner which comes soon after the tunnel exit because once the cars enter the tunnel I can hardly hear them and I'm coming flying out at the end having lifted off the trigger way too late or creeping out having lifted off too early.

I suppose I'll get used to it but I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this strange phenomena?
 

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May not work, but what about a strategically placed mirror looking down the tunnel from the exit, with some sort of visual cue inside the tunnel? A higher tech version might be a small web cam inside the tunnel with again a visual cue to reference the breaking point.
 

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You've put your finger on a point that doesn't often get aired - we are not actually in those little cars that we 'drive'! I don't mean to be annoying - it's an interesting point and resembles in many ways the situation I'm sure we're familiar with when the guy next to us during a race leans over to put his car back on and we suddenly can't see our own car. We've got a corner just after a ~0.5m flyover and you've got to be more careful than usual even for that.

I think the bottom line is that you'd need to practice a lot to get a long tunnel right and even then play safe.

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Mirror.... I certainly hadn't thought of that. Might be woeth a try - but it might be hard to judge even then.

Certainly lots and lots of practice laps are called for. My race has 15 cars but is only 30 laps long so it's all a lot of fuss over not very much.
 

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Circuit Owner
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How about you drive the track without the tunnel to find your braking spot. Then place a torch alongside the track at the braking point. Cut a small hole in the tunnel and put some thin paper across the hole so the torch illuminates it. If you get it right - when the car passes through the beam you will see the light flicker and will know to brake.

I know it's not how it is in 1:1 but you don't drive 1:1 F1 cars from a helicopter either!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What an interesting idea!

It falls down in one crucial area; if I were to begin to slow down with an Alfa Romeo at the same point that I would need to slow down with say, a Delage, the Alfa would be somersaulting into the adjacent bookcase before I could say Nino Farina.

Every car is different so I've just got to learn to do it safely. In fact, since that first post, things are improving. Early laps were over 12 seconds but I'm getting down to low 11s now.
 

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Well as I said, use the mirror and a visual cue, maybe a form of the light cue stated above. Play and learn mate. Lower times looking good.
 

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A 1/32 scale model of a full size GP track needs something the size of a large barn.
Those wanting a GP circuit replica usually use some "artistic licence" to shorten the scale lengths.
The scale distance from the tunnel to the corner will be quite large in slot car circuit terms.
So if you make the length after the tunnel a bit nearer scale length, and shorten the tunnel to even more under scale length you've got a better slot car track while not being that much less a replica of the full size circuit. Doesn't that sound better than just saying make the tunnel shorter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think I see what you mean but I'm sorry, I am absolutely determined that my circuits are as accurate as I can possibly make them although obviously I realise that they are not 32nd scale.

This is the St. Cloud circuit with the tunnel section enclosed by the red rectangle. The north-south section actually passes over the tunnel:

 

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Greg Gaub
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I understand and respect your desire for circuit accuracy.
Please consider the fact, though, that the real race car drivers are not blinded by the tunnel, yet you are.
If you are merely re-enacting races as they happen, then it doesn't matter, and you can just trundle around and watch the cars go according to their appropriate winning order.
If you actually want to RACE the cars and get the best possible lap times for the car on that track, then you need to give yourself, as the "driver" of the car, the same benefit that the 1:1 drivers have, and that's a clear view of the road and turns ahead and how far away they are from your car. For that, you need to remove the tunnel, or at the very least, put lots of holes in the side so that you can watch the progress of the car and know when to brake.
 

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Mark Wain
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I think it's the old problem again, to make an actual model of a race track is brilliant.

But it will not mean its practical or fun as a slot race track.

I think I'd go for windows in the tunnel personally, not ideal for a scale model of a track but practical I guess
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's funny how often people think I reproduce actual race results. How boring!

When I run a race, EVERY car is driven as quickly and safely as it will go and when the race starts I have no idea what the outcome will be.

I may try to windows idea during official practice tomorrow.
 

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A lot of long 1:1 tunnels have some light ducts at the beginning/end to let the traffic get used to the darkness/daylight. Maybe that's a solution. I hope you race in birdview...


The real tunnel starts with an open section.
St Cloud tunnel entrance
The discussion on the forum I linked is in French and talks in my opnion about an deadly accident. Sorry, couldn't find something cheerfull.
 

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Good one Dagobert.

One thing i thought of, when a real closed tunnel is needed without compromises: place a small camera (say webcam) in the tunnel, trough a premade hole in the ceiling or cavity in the tunnel wall. Connect the cam to a nearby laptop. When entering the tunnel, switch from viewing the moving car to viewing the laptop screen.
You can experiment with views and angles, including the one where the cam simply works as the beforementioned mirror/light/paper trick: when the car zooms through your camview, hit the brakes.
I'd say tinker a bit, and for instance, try to place the camview in the driving direction, towards the light of the end of the tunnel, giving the longest possible shot of the car driving by.

Succes!

Merc
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This is all very fascinating but I feel I should point out that I am in no position to attempt any of these camera/laptop ideas due to both technical and chronological reasons.

Once I have run my Coupe Rene le Begue race, probably by Saturday, this circuit will be broken up and replaced this time next week by Monsanto Park and the 1959 Portuguese Grand Prix.

I was really just asking if anyone else had ever driven a slot car through a long tunnel.

BUT, many thanks for all the interest and suggestions.
 

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Just a suggestion but seeing the car enter the tunnel and knowing where the braking point should be based on testing on the "other" straight" maybe mark the tunnel length on the other straight with a couple of bits of tape. It would fairly easy to follow with your eyes the virtual position of the car inside the tunnel and brake at the correct point. Most driving is done by time not by location so any location tool means it is too late. You may not get the ultimate laps time but "in order the finish first, first you have to finish".

OR simply brake to the speed of the coming corner before you enter the tunnel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Run the other way? Oh no, quite impossible! That would simply not sit right with other aspects of my hobby. Also, I can't crawl through there at cornering speed, that would be pathetic.

The only thing I will do is relax my 'out of the slot = out of the race' rule at that corner. The time the cars would lose starting from rest would be sufficient penalty.

I will take some pictures.
 

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QUOTE (Barry Boor @ 22 May 2012, 19:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I was really just asking if anyone else had ever driven a slot car through a long tunnel.
Yes I have.

Long tunnels are tolerable in the middle of a long straight where all the driver needs to do is keep on full power and cars hardly ever deslot.
Tunnels are inevitably a problem if it is too close to a corner.
Many design choices are a question of compromise, you give more attention to the things you think are important and inevitably have to tolerate less important aspects being compromised.
Where the designer really wants a tunnels close to a corner, that inevitably makes it a worse track for slot racing.
 
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