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Question : What are some of the defined "Group" classes of slot cars?

There have been may questions about slot racing "classes".  How about starting with "G" for Group as in Group "12" to Group  "27" : When it says "Today it is a stamped mass production chassis with a Group 12 motor" it doesn't make sense to me.  What is special/unique about a Group 12 motor ?  Stamped chassis ?  As in Parma Womp, International 1/32, Flexi or all of the above ?  Body - wing car or scale ?  Tires ?  What groups still exist ?  What groups have been added ?  Newbies step up and explain what you don't understand !

Following is from the John Ford Slot Car Dictionary (SARN Magazine) :

Gp12 - Originally named for its cost.  A Gp12 had to cost under $12.00 ready to run out of the box.  Today it is a stamped mass production chassis with Group 12 motors.  This class has been around since the early 70's.

Gp15 - Originally named for its cost.  A Gp15 had to cost under $15.00 ready to run out of the box.  The original concept of this box stock class is no longer around in USRA racing.  It has melded into a new class of car that remotely resembles its predecessor.  The only thing that remains the same is the armature which still retains 29 wraps of 29 gauge wire.  More or less.  Remember boys and girls, every car is legal until it is proven illegal.

Gp20 - Originally name for its cost.  A Gp20 had to cost under $20.00 ready to run out of the box.  An almost non-existent class today.  It never was very popular. In its beginning stages, the lack of popularity was because of the rigid rules placed on the chassis.  A car with the speed of a group 20 was held back in its progress by a chassis barely suitable for group 12 racing.  In Texas, Jim Honeycutt is credited with solving the problem by forming a local class using group 20 motors and group 7 chassis. See Gp27.

Gp22 - In the early 70's the Group 20 motor was popular due to its high speed and low cost.  There was quite a movement to take this motor and make it more efficient.  Hand wound versions of the Gp20 armature were made by Thorp and Steube from California.  To tell them apart, they had tags marked 22, merely a number to show it was a hand wound 20.  If you come across any of these 22 tagged arms today, they are quite rare.  Hang on to it.

G27 - The hand wound Group 22 arms were becoming quite popular, and in Texas especially in the local Group 20/7 hybrid class originated by Jim Honeycutt of San Antonio.  The popularity of this hybrid class grew to the point that it actually became a class, and the hand wound group 20 arms began to carry the tag 27.  The rest, as they say is history.  [ Philippe]

Question : What are some of the other defined classes of slot cars?

There are lots of slot categories depending on what you mean.

HO - approx 1/87 - 1/64 scale
1/32 - Scaly, Fly, etc.
Commercial - mostly 1/24 (includes 4 and 4.5 inch wheel base), Lexan bodies

Commercial is generally broken down into "scale" and "wing".  Scale must at least resemble a car (NASCAR, etc).  Wings are wedge shaped doorstops with these things (diaplanes) sticking up from the sides.  Commercial 1/32 (womp, etc.) are more toys except for modifieds.  Lexan modified bodies on womp chassis are fairly close to scale appearance.  For more detailed info about racing divisions within different organizations, check out the USRA, USSCA, and for starters.  There is a site devoted to Le Mans style slot racing with one of the nicest tracks I've ever seen and many beautiful cars.  I'll look up the address.

Then, of course, there are the clubs which have all sorts of different classes not related to the "classes to be found at commercial tracks. For instance at pelican Park Speedway, Eugene, OR, where some of the world's finest 1/24th real scale racing happens, 11 different classes are raced :

Historical Open wheel (1930's -1959 GP, F1, Indy- hence called "Monza" class)
Vintage Trans Am
Super Stocks (1960s Stocks)
Gran Sports (1950's & 60's productiion based sports)
GTO (production based contemporary sports)
Can AM, Grp 6, USRRC (1960's & early '70's purpose base)
Clubmans ('50' &60's smaller production sports. i.e Morgans, MGB, etc)
Jalopy (representing the genesis of NASCAR, immedialte post WWII)
Vintage Stock (1950's USAC & NASCAR)
"Dirt Devil" (representing 1960's, 70's stock based American sedans raced on the ubiquitous 1/4 mile tracks
Real Formula One cars were born after WWII from pre-war formulas where everything was a constant mix of political pull by the French, Germans, Italian and British federations.  The Germans won at the end, but WWII cooled down their ambitions for a while.  In 1946, a formula was established by the newly formed International Federetion based in Paris (it is now in Switzerland).  It was called: Formula One.  It has followed its own path ever since, with virtually no mix with Indy cars.  The Indy cars were born from specific American racing (meaning, dirt track and board track racing), and have (and had) little to do with what happened in Europe.  While a few crossovers happened (a grand total of four times in 100 years), the two worlds of racing stayed completely apart.  As far as modern F1 versus modern CART cars, they could not be more different, and could not offer different type of performances.  The F1's are flat bottom, 3-liter atmospheric cars with unlimited budget and extremely precise specification, with engines leaning further towards all-ceramic construction and the elimination of any camshafts in favor of electro-magnetic valve actuation (they are presently pneumatic and with camshafts) and are with no doubt, the utmost of auto racing, whatever this leads to good racing or not.  The top drivers are also and by far, the world's top drivers, period.  There is little doubt that the lighter, nimbler and now more powerful F1 would absolutely destroy any Indy car, whatever they would be by CART or IRL, in a comparative race.

CART is a "production racer" formula where the full ground effects cars are produced in quantities by various British  manufacturers competing for that lucrative market. At this particular point in time, only one manufacturer currently supplies all the field due to the recent bankruptcy of its main competitor.  All the engines are (until 2003) 2.6-liter turbo units with no ceramic or pneumatic valves allowed.  The drivers are either old glories from F1 who could not quite cut it, specific CART racers with mediocre to decent talent from CART "Indy-Light" (now defunct) promotional series, or future F1 prospects in training.  The level is decidedly inferior, but it is much more spectacular and interesting for the spectator.  This is by far the best series to watch.  The costs are also about 1/5th or less of F1.  IRL is a odd-ball formula established by the rich owner by inheritence of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on which the Indy 500 is being run.  Two spec chassis, a British and an Italian, and two spec engines, a British-built but with an American name and a Japanese one, are being used by generally impecunious teams borrowing money that they never repay from local banks with financial guaranties provided by the Indy establishment.  They attract no spectators in serious quantity except at Indy because it is a tradition and most people go there as one would go to the fair once a year.  The drivers are generally refugees from various other forms of auto racing in which they have failed, with few exceptions.  The cars are semi-flat bottoms with 3.5 liter atmospheric engines supposedly derived from production engines which is a big joke.  Costs are about 1/2 to 2/3 CART's.  The show is getting better but has the same boring aspect after a while as does the NASCAR type of racing.  Watch the start and the last few laps and that's all you need to know.  CART and IRL are fighting each other, but CART committed political suicide in 2001 when they hired a liar executive to run the show after giving the reins to a moron ex-driver by the name of R****, who left the place in a shambles only to run another team into the ground in Europe.  So the state of open-wheel racing in the USA is pretty sorry at this time, and CART just hired one of the biggest thieves in auto racing to run the show.  Very promising indeed.  Does this make it clearer?  [Philippe]

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