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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings slot car enthusiests! We at MICE Phoenix have been challenged by a client to build a slot car track depicting the "feel" of the 1955-1960's era Le Mans race. Not being slot car collectors and/or racers ourselves we have little idea of what is available commercially, if anything, that could be integrated into the model. We don't need the cars, those are up to the client. We do need correct era people, structures, and other items associated with the Le Mans races of that time. The model will be built to either 1/24 or 1/32 scale, depending on what items may or may not be available in those scales. We are also interested in finding lots of good photos and information on the race itself so please feel free to recommend any books, videos, or web sites that may have pertinent information on Le Mans. Any and all suggestions and advice are much appreciated and thanks in advance for your time.

Chad Veich
MICE Phoenix
[email protected]
 

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There are a couple of good video's out there of both the 55 & 56 lemans,; I got mine on E-pay. Additionally it is important to note that I believe it was 55' when the Mercedes crashed & took out 80+ spectators. Susequently the grand stands where moved back 20+ feet prior to the 56' race, so it would be important to decide whether you are modeling pre 55' or post 55'.
Additionally, I believe the pit lane was basically unaltered in 56, but at some point the pit lane had a wall added between it & the track.
I am no expert though, so maybe other people could chime in!


Hopefully you can keep us updated with you project & give us the blow by blow of how it comes together!
 

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Gregory Petrolati
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I don't know how long you've been connected to the hobby so if I go over stuff you already know just ignore it.

Little people are not going to be a huge problem... 1/32nd scale Scalextric figures are pretty much bang-on for the time period. Monogram/Revell figures come from the mid to late sixies which isn't a big stretch.

As was mentioned the pit lane at lemans was a fairly narrow lane alonside of a two lane main straight. The reference I saw was actual Kodachrome slides from Phil Hill's personal collection. The shots were taken the year after the tragedy. The pit buildings appeared to be cinderblock and wood frame if memory serves.

As for cars, you might have to dig a bit. For sure Ninco Classics have many of the cars that are close to that period. You will have to spend bigger bucks for cars like the XK120C or D, these are resin castings which come prepainted and decaled from smaller companies like Top slot, LeMans Miniatures, MMK, Proto, Slot Classic and TPK. Some of the aformentioned companies offer their cars as unpainted kits. Often these small companies issue their different models in limited editions, which makes getting out production cars a bit of a challege. You may have to provide your own motors. Finally there are companies that sell resin bodies alone. These castings can be pretty rough `though there have been improvemnts over time For these, you will have build up the car itself provide chassis, running gear, driver, tires, paint and decals.

Greenman62
 

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Greg Cooper
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QUOTE (masmojo @ 12 Jun 2007, 14:04) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>There are a couple of good video's out there of both the 55 & 56 lemans,; I got mine on E-pay. Additionally it is important to note that I believe it was 55' when the Mercedes crashed & took out 80+ spectators. Susequently the grand stands where moved back 20+ feet prior to the 56' race, so it would be important to decide whether you are modeling pre 55' or post 55'.
Additionally, I believe the pit lane was basically unaltered in 56, but at some point the pit lane had a wall added between it & the track.
I am no expert though, so maybe other people could chime in!


Hopefully you can keep us updated with you project & give us the blow by blow of how it comes together!

The wall along the pit lane was not added as of 1970. This is shown in the film LeMans. Much of what you see on the track is as it was in the 50's as you see it in the film. I would watch the movie to get a look at some of the key areas and how cars travel through those areas. The Dunlop Esses are a must as well as a looooooonnng Straight
 

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Gary Skipp
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Wow, sounds like an awesome project! Adding to Nikko's comments,

I'd be sure to include arnage/indianapolis as well as maison blacnhe. that would make a really nice bit of scenery if you get the cottage in there. However, the Dunlop Esses wern't part of the track until the end of the Group C period so Turn 1 is a fast sweeper, leading down to Tetre Rouge.

I have some footage of a GT40 going round the track in the 60's, if you want it PM me your email address and i'll send it over.
 

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I have seen footage taken from a car driven by Mike Hawthorne I believe-I think in 1956 or so. He does an entire lap, and that would certainly answer most questions concerning what LeMans looked like during this vintage. Send me a PM with an email address and I'll see if I can provide the link.
 

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As mentioned above the pits where moved back and totally rebuilt after the 55' tragedy. These pits where used right up until 90 or 91 with various pit walls and pit lane configurations. Here's a couple of pics of the Le mans style pits in the 70's layout, this was built as scenery and to house my slot car collection hence the sliding draws but it got to big for it!...







looks a lot better with spectators and pit crew in it.
 

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Having just tried to send along the link of the Mike Hawthorne lap to a forum member-I can see that this might not work as easily as hoped. So let me just say that a Google search on 'Mike Hawthorne 1956 LeMans Video' turned up a bunch of stuff, several on 'You-Tube'. I'd direct forum members with an interest to this collection. Sure can't rely on me to provide much as it turns out. Anyway, the image of Mike dodging bicyclists while taking a lap is really worth the price of admission.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the replies, keep them coming. We do have a video called "Best of Le Mans 1955, 60, and 61" which includes in car footage of most, if not all, of a lap around the track. This will not be an exact replica of the Le Mans track by any means. The client just wants the feel of the mid-to-late '50s era Le Mans races. At this point we are just beginning to identify what items are absolutely essential to meet that goal. Obviously the grandstands and pit area are key, the big Dunlop arch, lots and lots of spectators, the plethora of signage, etc. The model will be housed in a dedicated room which will allow us to control the environment and simulate a 24 hour period in approx. 20 minutes so we will be adding lighting to both the room and the model. I'm sure I will have lots more questions as the design is completed and construction begins. At this point the only thing we have for certain is the track layout which is being completed by another vendor. I will try and get a plan of the track layout uploaded later today so you can all see what we are starting with. Thanks again guys and keep the input coming.
 

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Greg Cooper
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QUOTE (MICE PHOENIX @ 13 Jun 2007, 11:59) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks for all the replies, keep them coming. We do have a video called "Best of Le Mans 1955, 60, and 61" which includes in car footage of most, if not all, of a lap around the track. This will not be an exact replica of the Le Mans track by any means. The client just wants the feel of the mid-to-late '50s era Le Mans races. At this point we are just beginning to identify what items are absolutely essential to meet that goal. Obviously the grandstands and pit area are key, the big Dunlop arch, lots and lots of spectators, the plethora of signage, etc. The model will be housed in a dedicated room which will allow us to control the environment and simulate a 24 hour period in approx. 20 minutes so we will be adding lighting to both the room and the model. I'm sure I will have lots more questions as the design is completed and construction begins. At this point the only thing we have for certain is the track layout which is being completed by another vendor. I will try and get a plan of the track layout uploaded later today so you can all see what we are starting with. Thanks again guys and keep the input coming.

It will be interesting to see the size of the track.
 

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Tony Condon
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Hi
The Mike hawthorne video was one of the "Motor Sport Freebies" probably from around 2000 when jag came into F1
The film has shots taken from inside the car over a complete lap so that would tell you all you needed to know about the track and scenery
Whether the film was before or after 55 i can,t remember
I do remember the huge microphone Hawthorn had round his neck ,and nearly knocking some old frog with onions round his neck off his bike so I suspect the road wasn,t closed when the film was taken
Those old Motorsport freebies often turn up on e bay

Cheers tony
 

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Alan Tadd
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Looks a very good layout, however, has the owner considered the practicalities of running a layout that size without the means of gaining access to the rear to retrive de-slotted cars?.............If the only means of getting there is by crawling under the table, then the owner will very soon become disillusioned with the whole set up.

If it is not too late I would recommend you consider reducing the layout length by 2 feet (easily done by reducing the straights) which would allow walking access to the rear section.

Regards

Alan
 

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I totally agree with BJ on the length of the table.

The other thing that may make things better for you would be to angle the front "Main" straight slightly so that the left hand 180 degree corner is pushed up further into the space in the top left. That would make up for some of the length lost. although the main reason is that with the slots in a circuit a pair of long parallel straights like that dominate too much visually with all the parralel lines created.

With grabbits you can ewasily reach about 4 feet so the cut out at the front may also be able to be lessened (depending on the scenery) to allow the bottom right to become more interesting.
 

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QUOTE (BEEJAY7 @ 13 Jun 2007, 23:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Looks a very good layout, however, has the owner considered the practicalities of running a layout that size without the means of gaining access to the rear to retrive de-slotted cars?.............If the only means of getting there is by crawling under the table, then the owner will very soon become disillusioned with the whole set up.

If it is not too late I would recommend you consider reducing the layout length by 2 feet (easily done by reducing the straights) which would allow walking access to the rear section.

Regards

Alan

I forgot to put in the two table cut-outs which allow for access to the back of the model as seen in the updated layout below. I would much prefer to eliminate these and reduce the width of the table to gain access and I may suggest it. Having the cut-outs really eats into otherwise prime real estate. We'll work around it if we have to but it would be nice not to.

I also like the idea of angling the front straight in order to get more length and make the layout more visually interesting. This is still a work in progress and very little is set in stone so keep the ideas coming.

Thanks again for all the input. We are an architectural/topographical modeling firm so the actual construction of model is not a problem. However, we are completely ignorant of the finer points and technical aspects of a slot car layout. I suppose we won't be when it's all said and done!

 

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Looking at the layout prompts me to ask some questions. I don't recall you saying, but is the track itself sectional (Scalextric, Ninco or Carrera) Or Routed? Secondly, a comment regarding the circuit as it pretains to access. The table backing flush to the wall is a problem, it could be made less critical by simplifying the layout in those areas to decrease the chances of an off in those area's or a subtle redesign of the circuit on the forward area could allow a dogleg shaped access to the interior of the track. Those switchbacks on the far left hand corner are going to cause many offs & a whole lot of marshalling nightmares!! It looks as tough the track plan was done with sectional track planner, so if you were actually going to route it you could utilize a more flowing design & a slight banking in those far corners might decrease the tendency for the cars to come off!?! I know you said you were not doing the track itself, so I hope that it's not too late for who-ever is doing that part to make changes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
G'day gents, after several months of lagging this project has reached the top of the list and will be moving forward again. The track design is still under consideration and I would love to hear some expert opinion on the pros and cons of routed vs plastic track. We have the facilities (CNC router) to make a routed track fairly easily and it would certainly solve some other issues for us. (such as breaking the model down for transport) What are the pitfalls to a routed track that we should try to avoid if we go that route? If the client insists on pre-made track it appears as though it will be the Carrera brand. Any opinions there? I've uploaded the track layout again so it should appear below. We are still looking for any and all resources concerning items that would be suitable for a late '50s era Le Mans layout including static vehicles and structures as well as lots and lots of people. More than anything I would love to find some good pictures of the Le Mans raceway from that era. We have the equipment and ability to scratch build just about anything but I need good pics to know what I'm scratch building. Normally we would work from client provided CAD drawings or blueprints but no such luck in this instance! Above and beyond all we want to produce a layout for the client that works flawlessly and provides as much enjoyment with as little headache as possible. Thanks in advance.

Chad Veich
3D Architectural Lead
MICE Phoenix

 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's been a long time coming but I though I would share some pics of the finished product and thank every one once again for all your help. The track has actually been installed and running now for 3-4 months with no problems so far. We enjoyed this project immensely and hope to do more in the future. We have some ideas that I think could really result in a truly fantastic slot car track.






 
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