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Wing cars? What makes them so popular?


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#26 tonyp

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 01:37 PM

I blame it all on Bob Emott, LOL. He was the first person I ever saw who made a small wrap-around rear spoiler on this Lola T160 body when everyone was just running the 1/2" flat rear spoiler. The beginning of the end of scale bodies. LOL.

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#27 TSR

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 01:43 PM

Tony, I am with you. It's really too bad because "our" cars did look SO good then...

Can't stop progress, I guess. I am saying that while driving "progress" in northern Italy at this time, a Nissan Micra (my wife and I called it the "crapaud" or "toad" in French). The name should really be "Nissan My-Crap", but one has to admit that the ugly toad gets us where we are going in acceptable comfort (after we put little inflatable pillows in the hard seats) and with reasonable speed. So I guess, modern wing cars may not look too good to many, but they get the job done too...

Philippe de Lespinay


#28 RomanK

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 02:30 PM

By the way Roman, where did I say that I don't like them? I only commented on the number of active players, nothing else. :)

Although I don't think I did ;) , if I've misinterpreted your use of :laugh2: ,while commenting on the number of active players I sincerely apologize. :rolleyes:

Roman Kormeluk


#29 idare2bdul

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 04:39 PM

I started racing USRA at about the time TonyP was getting out. We had air dams but we also had narrow lane spacing, limited glue zones, and marginal track power. Tracks were still mostly '60s vintage in varying states of decay or had been rebuilt with different levels of success. I remember having to time my passes so that my air dams wouldn't get caught in the other car's gears.

We still had some bumps to deal with on most tracks and the average King track had a drop-off a foot or two into the main straight. You could punch 5-6 turns of the bank. All other corners required some throttle control.

While our cars were less scale than they had been, the aero revolution in full scale racing was well underway and some of the resulting cars were less than beautiful. In time most racing organizations created rules to limit aero and established minimum weight rules. We should have learned from them.

Given how good modern scale cars are I fail to see the appeal of wing cars. The nice thing about slot racing is that a variety of options are currently available and some people obviously enjoy racing our current crop of wing cars.
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#30 RomanK

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 05:04 PM

Given how good modern scale cars are I fail to see the appeal of wing cars. The nice thing about slot racing is that a variety of options are currently available and some people obviously enjoy racing our current crop of wing cars.

Mike, in the description of your interests you state "I raced R/C cars for several years with some success but never got the rush I got from a fast slot car."

Define "fast"... for me, it's turning sub-2 second laps with seven other group 27 cars; for you, it's something else.

Like you said, we have a variety of options available and they are all at least good.

Roman Kormeluk


#31 Phil Smith

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 05:16 PM

Phil, I found it, 1984.

Thanks, Tony!

It's a given, us old guys struggle with the speed but a youngster's eyes and reflexes are very able to handle the cars.

Roman,

Obviously some younger racers reflexes are up to the task, but that doesn't mean all of them are, or even the majority. Maybe only a small, select group has the physical skills required to race these modern rockets.

Human ability hasn't changed from the old days, but the speed of the cars have - tremendously! From 3 second open cars to 1.5 second cars. That's a big difference. You can't say that's not a factor.

I raced Intl 15s for quite a while before giving 27s a go. For years, 27s seemed insanely fast to me, and they were nothing compared to today's cars.

I just don't see how you can say this massive jump in speed hasn't effected the participation in wing cars. Maybe wing car racing doesn't need more racers, but I think if the cars were slower, it would be within the reach skill-wise, and appeal to, a lot more people.

I think one example of that is Flexi wing car. I'm guessing, but I think they run 3.5-4.0 range on a fast King. It seems to be a popular class in Texas. Certainly more people race them than any other wing car class. That they are by far the slowest class... tell you anything?

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#32 JEngland

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 06:54 PM

I went to a USRA Division One race just to watch and got talked into racing Box 12. I had fun, but it was way too fast for me to even know where my car was half of the time. We were on a short, fast track and our lap times were in the mid 3s . If it had been a King, I would have handled it okay.

I woke up the next morning with bad muscle spasms in my neck and my upper back from that darn race. What the heck? How can I get muscle spasms from racing those things ?
John England

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#33 RomanK

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 08:43 PM

... tell you anything?

Yes, it does tell me something, they are cheap and use a chassis and probably a motor that most any racer has in their box. I think it was a great idea to add that class and whoever thought of it done good! Especially since the TSRA races Scale and Wing classes together (same weekend). It just made sense to add that class as a crossover class.

Speed is the attraction to wing cars, rarely do I hear a kid come in the raceway and say (after seeing a wing car), "Wow, I want one of those but they are too fast." The whoosh down the chute is what gets them hooked.

I really don't agree that speed is the factor that keeps folks out, keeping in mind that rarely does anyone start out with 27 opens. Gp-12 ands 15A are very reasonable in speed, particularly on the less-than-punchbowl tracks. So what are the factors? In my opinion: cost, amount of time working on cars, glue, these are the factors that I hear over and over as reasons to not partcipate in today's wing car programs.

Did I say glue? Yeah, I hear glue over and over. It was one of the main reasons we eliminated glue from our restricted Gp-12 class. To control cost we eliminated multiple motors and mandate a conservative gear ratio, it seems to be working. Anyway, just one person's opinion.

Roman Kormeluk


#34 idare2bdul

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:15 AM

Speed is the attraction to wing cars, rarely do I hear a kid come in the raceway and say (after seeing a wing car), "Wow, I want one of those but they are too fast." The whoosh down the chute is what gets them hooked.

Speed may get racers hooked, but most people that walk into a raceway and see a 2 second lap usually have one of two reactions. Wow! or they just giggle. I finally asked one of the gigglers why he was laughing and he had a hard time putting it into words. When I asked him if he would like to try it, he couldn't imagine himself doing it. I think that chases people away from slots.

If I owned a track I would have to think twice about hosting Group 7 races. It would probably be academic because I wouldn't buy a King track and I know they are the gold standard for G7. I think I could still drive a G7 car if I had a color distinct from the other cars. Trying to pick out a like colored car from the bunch would be real difficult. I just can't justify the expense. OMO isn't too bad but G7 has become $illy.
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#35 Ron Hershman

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 01:33 AM

I just don't see how you can say this massive jump in speed hasn't effected the participation in wing cars. Maybe wing car racing doesn't need more racers, but I think if the cars were slower, it would be within the reach skill-wise, and appeal to, a lot more people.

It's not so much the speed as it is the cost to race wing cars these days. Tracks are built to hold your car wide open and watch it go around and if you don't have enough horsepower, then you have two options... spend more money to get faster or quit. It's all about economics and with today's tracks, it doesn't take much skill to drive wing cars like in the '80s and early '90s. When you can full punch your wing car on red lane on today's tracks, the driving portion is very little.

Slower wing cars on today's tracks is even worse... just stand there and watch it go around. There are still the skills of gluing, driving traffic, and changing motors.

Back in the '80s, when most all of the tracks were "flat," there were way more people racing wing cars as there was more driving involved and if you could drive well, you didn't have to have the fastest car to win.

Wing car racing is declining due to cost and if racers can't hold it wide open on eight lanes, then they will only go to the tracks that they can and there aren't too many of those tracks out there at this time.

#36 TSR

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 02:11 AM

Ron,

You got a lot more right here than in your political postings! :)

Philippe de Lespinay


#37 Bob Emott

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:45 PM

I blame it all on Bob Emott, LOL. He was the first person I ever saw who made a small wrap-around rear spoiler on this Lola T160 body when everyone was just running the 1/2" flat rear spoiler. The beginning of the end of scale bodies. LOL.

Sorry... But they looked neat and were fun at the time...

Heck, now you say there are 4 second flexi cars on the swoopy King tracks? The fastest I ever went with a state-of-the-art GP7 car was a 4.11 at Nutley Raceway (after the raceway had moved to Bellville...) and that was the King track record at the time... For about 2 minutes... Jerry Brady was the next qualifier and he cut a 4.00 flat lap... THANKS, JERRY... I was a hero for 2 minutes... LOL... I guess that counted as my proverbial 15 minutes of fame...

What are the Retro cars doing on a King now?
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#38 Noose

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:50 PM

At the race at Sonny's, that is a swoopy King, Tony turned a 4.35 with a GT Coupe body. At Keystone last year John turned a 4.62 with a Can-Am.

Got to check to see what the low is out in SoCal. I think it's in the 4.2 or 4.3 range. And remember, these are inlines!

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#39 Hworth08

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 01:06 PM

It might interesting for someone to tape a full set of wings on an otherwise legal Retro Can-Am and see what times the car turn? I'd guess the FK motors are capped in the 3.8 range and maybe the 100 gram cars are too heavy to run punched.

And wing cars... exciting, very exciting! They can provide a thrill that has to be felt, words can not explain the feeling.
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#40 Keith Tanaka

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 02:15 PM

Got to check to see what the low is out in SoCal. I think it's in the 4.2 or 4.3 range. And remember, these are inlines!

The current SoCal D3 Can-Am TQ on the Gerding King track at BP is 4.14 sec by Tore Anderson.

Tore's car is basically a Warmack Kit with some minor mods. The motor is a "handout" TSR D3 $10 motor.

Keith :rolleyes:

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#41 redbackspyder

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 03:41 PM

So if your estimate is even close to being correct, I suspect that would be about three or four times the number of D3 racers in the world :shok:

What's the beef, P, if it's 300 so be it, that's 300 more racers to help support our hobby and at the spending level of most wing racers, a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio probably would not be that far-fetched.

Lighten up, they're all toy cars, to each their own. ;)


Granted, the wing cars attract their own kind of racing group. But the future of the sport of slot racing is not in wing racing. Otherwise, wing racing would have become huge in 1/32 scale. You have to reach the younger generation to further the sport, and get them off the cell phones and video games. Help teach them to build and appreciate what a sport slot racing can be. Not a $300 motor , no driving skill, basic tether racing vehicle it has become at certain levels. Why not just drag race wing cars? Their is no driving skill when watching a guy with his controller full punched staring at a monitor looking for lap times. I am not knocking that this must thrill certain competitors, but to grow slot racing, I do not think it encourages anyone into getting involved. Are the wing car drivers afraid to drive???? :laugh2: :laugh2: :laugh2: The best ones race D3, ( Tore Anderson just to name one ), so there must be some allure to D3. There is a place for everyone in the hobby, but EXPENSE KILLED slot racing once, and it can kill it again. Youger kids are playing with 1/32 scale at a far more staggering ratio than any 1/24 scale, and if you fail to get the youth involved, there will be no hobby left as we now know it. Check out how in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area you can count on one hand how many commercial raceways are still in existence :unsure: . Wing racing is such a minor part, hardly really worth debating.

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#42 RomanK

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 05:24 PM

Hmmm, that's a very interesting conclusion although I truly fail to see how you came to it.

Regardless, did anyone here say anyting about Wing cars being the future of slot car racing? I simply stated that if there are 300 (I dispute that number) wing car racers then that is 300 more racers to help support the hobby; do you disagree? What exactly was the point of your post other than to display your obvious disdain for a form of slot racing you don't care for? If it is "hardly worth debating", why even bother posting? Since you've plopped yourself right in the middle of all this and brought up the future of slot car racing, what is your solution?

Here's my point: every form of slot racing helps support the whole, why does it have to be us against them? Just because you don't care for something or cannot see the logic in something doesn't make it bad. Wing car racers don't get on here and make jokes about ancient-looking cars (and drivers :shok: :) ) that are so slow you can go out and have a smoke before the thing gets around to the dead man, do they? You write the question "are the wing car racers afraid to drive" but then you answer it by mentioning Tore and there are many others that excel at both wings and wingless type racing. A good racer is a good racer, no matter the type of toy being raced. Some have choosen wings, some have not. I ask again, what the problem with that?

For whatever reason you also mention D3 racing in your post, I think D3 racing is very cool and am playing with it some myself but are you suggesting that it is inexpensive or a way forward for the hobby? The only RTR cars I've seen recently are in the $300 range and difficult to find. Why do I mention RTR? Because without RTR, you will have limited entry level racers discovering this form of racing thus limited partcipation from the younger set. What do you suspect the median age is at a typical D3 race? 14?, 20?, 30?... or maybe 50? What do you make of that? What do you see as the attraction to the younger set in this form of racing.

Roman Kormeluk


#43 TSR

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 05:05 AM

Roman,

For your info, Mill was a pro racer of certain stature in the late 1960s and his opinion does not show as much disdain as simply looking at the facts the way they are. While 300 (or maybe 325, who cares?) people in the USA play with wing cars, MILLIONS today play with incredibly precise MODEL CARS.

Once the 300 have had it spending 500 bucks for a 24-magnets, 12 turns of 22 gauge wire motors to power their incredibly-fast door stops in their attempt to lap under 1 second on a now fully-banked "King", what will be left? MILLIONS who could not care less about something they find to say the least, odd.

Mill said nothing else and did not, and neither do I, criticize it. We also do not criticize people who whip themselves for tradition, or run across the path of enraged bulls. It is their choice, more power to them.

Regards,

Philippe

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#44 MG Brown

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 06:51 AM

My feelings are that wing car racing is yet another flavor of slot racing- as stated in the vernacular.... "It's all good". Or as Abraham Lincoln quoted from the Bible: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

I do get a chuckle out of people who have apparently never participated in a modern wing car race analyzing the pros and cons of wing racing and wing racers...
That's thirty minutes away. I'll be there in ten.
 

 


#45 Larry Mattingly

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 09:51 AM

During my short box stock career the two things I learned coming from the scale side, was, that while wing cars are 'easy' to drive, racing them and passing cleanly wasn't quite so easy. :rolleyes:

Also, learning to glue was a black art.

They were fun, and I wouldn't mind racing them again in spray glue.

Don't understand why everyone puts down the 'other guys' passion?

My first love is scale oval track racing.

I'm enjoying retro, because it takes me back to my youth.

ISRA racing looks like a fun time.

I enjoyed racing wing cars.

It's all good... :D

LM

#46 havlicek

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:43 AM

I think wing cars are b-b-b-bad to the bone. I couldn't afford them, but the speeds and handling capabilities of those things is something of a marvel.

Let's face it, there are two sides to all kinds of racing.

First, comply with a set of restrictions and compete in a class/type and work your way up with better driving skills and whatever tweaks you can manage and still comply.

Second... just go as damned fast as you can and watch people's jaws drop. As has been said above... it's all good!
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#47 Prof. Fate

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:58 AM

Hi,

Back to the slots and not bashing ideas. As one of the guys who didn't stop racing and has done it all, a few things are clear.

With vintage lap times on a King, assume you would be about 20% faster with the same car NOW at BP. That ratio is pretty much what is true with my surviving 36Ds, '60s cars, and so on.

Second, when we were doing 4s we were still required to have 1/16" clearance all around. Another increase in speed happened for us all when the clearances dropped to as low as "just don't scrape".

Those of us with more modern experience in, say, Euro and the like have tested the track with a wipe of powder to check where the touching is!

When you drive a wing car, your senses change speed, and a 2 second lap seems like forever, just like it did in the old days when we were doing 6s. It only looks impossibly fast because you aren't doing it. Try a car, you will adjust.

Yup, you can "punch the track", but if you want to win, you still drive the track to optimize the wing.

Oddly, I keep having this same discussion with HO and 1/32 magnet cars. You can build a punched car, but the fast lap involves driving the magnet for optimum placement on the rails.

Fate
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#48 Cheater

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:38 AM

Vay's original question, "What makes them so popular?" is somewhat flawed, in that he lumped 1/24 Wing cars together with 1/32 plastic cars with scale-like wings, which makes the question irrelevant unless the division is made.

And if one buys into my claim that the faster a car goes, the fewer people will race them (which is as applicable to 1:1 cars as to slot cars), then the fact that fewer people race wing cars than scale cars is very understandable.

But, I gotta ask you, Roman, if you can cite any concrete evidence to support your contention regarding the number of folks racing wing cars.

Perhaps you will recall our prior online discussions elsewhere where I related the question I asked Paul Pfieffer at the '99 TOA convention at Indy: how many people were racing wing cars on a regular basis. And we defined regular as once a month. His answer then was 250 worldwide. The number 300 was bandied about earlier in this topic and you opined that it was inaccurate and too low.

My response to your comment regarding the size of retro racing is based on some hard numbers, for example, the initial run of 750 Warmack chassis kits that sold out within something like 30-45 days and which have now (I think) been re-run in a volume that is unknown to me. Todd Radke and JK have indicated that the initial run of F7s sold out far quicker than any other Falcon production run, which would suggest that retro is growing strongly.

I am not looking for evidence such as the number of entries at the Wing Nats, as there are too many variables involved in that number. Information of the quality I'd like to see is how many new wing body designs Outisight is selling or how many current-model aluminum open chassis Koford is moving. These sorts of numbers would give us a better appreciation for the size of the wing car racer community than anything else.

And please try not to exude that faint aura of defensiveness I noticed earlier ( :) ), as I am not making a value judgement as to which is "better" based on sales numbers. I'm just truly curious as to what evidence you can present to support your contention that wing racing is bigger than 300 racers world-wide.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#49 Phil Smith

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:39 AM

I'm certainly not against wing cars. Nobody is forcing me to race them, so why should I be?

But I disagree that their current speed isn't a deterrent for a LOT of people. Plus the high cost, as Ron pointed out, as well as glue, as Roman mentioned.

My point is: I think wing racing could be more popular if they were slower, didn't punch the track in ANY lane, and cost a LOT less. For one, having to have more than one motor to complete a race is a deterrent to a LOT of people, including me. I think I was getting two races out of a single 27 motor when I raced them back in the mid '80s. Barely, but most of the time the motor would last that long. Now it takes multiple motors to race a single BOXSTOCK race! That's simply crazy to most people, as well as adding a huge amount to the workload and cost of running wing cars, which is already considerable.

Like I previously said, maybe there are enough wing racers to support the hobby as-is. Maybe there's no need for growth.

Phil Smith ® ©


#50 Phil Smith

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:49 AM

You have to reach the younger generation to further the sport, and get them off the cell phones and video games. Help teach them to build and appreciate what a sport slot racing can be.

People say that all the time, but I don't agree. Slot cars, just like video games and other leasure time activities, is just a way to waste time and money. Nothing productive comes out of either one - other than having fun.

Having fun is a good thing, but does having fun with slots make you a better person than the guy (or kid) that's having fun with video games? Hell no! That's a total crock. There's no superior way to F off time and money. ;) :laugh2:

PS: I'm not gamer, so that's not my motive for that opinion.

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