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Scalextric buying guide

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Introduction to Scalextric

Scalextric racing games are classic toys made by Hornby, the same company that makes traditional train sets. These electrically powered model racing cars fit onto a track made up of straight and curved sections and are controlled by hand held units. Sets take about 10 minutes to assemble.

Scalextric games are suitable for single or group play, entertaining children, their friends, babysitters and parents for hours. The games improve motor skills, reaction times and eye to hand coordination. After bed times, older members of the family can often be found racing each other around the tracks of a scalextric bash crash set.

Sets suit ages 3 to 5 years, children under those ages may not posses the fully developed coordination skills to make play really enjoyable, unless aided by a parent or older sibling.

The scalextric digital kits are their top of the range games, offering children 10 and over a very sophisticated car racing system, while my first scalextric sets introduce children as young as 3 to the excitement of car racing games

The wide range of Scalextric racing games are the most popular UK toys around, but choosing one set to buy, rather than another, can be a daunting task for the uninitiated.

This guide will give you some basic information about the sets available, explain any unfamiliar terms, (See our Jargon Buster Section) and recommend the best value sets on the market for each age group and level of skill and where to buy them.

Tips to consider before buying Scalextric

Some carefully researched tips to give you all the information you need to know to buy the right scalextric set for a child of any age or skill level and one that perfectly fits your available space.

  • Match the set to skill level as well as age. Many very young children can play hand phone games and video games at levels beyond that which would be expected for their years can easily manage a scalextric supreme set.
  • The ages given for each set are only a guide. If you know the child in question to be a whiz at online games, try a set from a higher age group to ensure a challenging as well as fun racing experience.
  • The cars frequently fly off the tracks while play is in progress, by design, to increase the excitement and keep the game challenging. This occurs less often as proficiency and experience is gained.
  • A child who plays a few races on a friend’s Scalextric set will improve quickly in skill with a set at home.
  • The more advanced Scalextric sets are a good investment for parents with children spending too much time in video games arcades who wish to encourage more play at home.
  • A scalextric set is designed to be run over carpeted areas. They also take up less room than you might think. If available space is an issue, just remove enough lengths of track until the set fits comfortably into the room.
  • When looking for a scalextric set to fit the available space, consider these measurements. A basic X3 set will take up any available space in a standard family room, the X4 will need a few modifications, such as pushing couches and chairs all the way back against the walls.
  • To avoid disappointment with any purchases, check the scale sizes carefully. (See our Jargon Buster)
  • The definitive guide to track racing cars is the book, “Scalextric: A Review of Scalextric: Cars and Equipment Past and Present,” by Roger Gillham


 Popular Scalextric Sets for All Ages

The perfect car racing set for children from age 3 onwards who love car racing is my first scalextric set  It is one of the cheapest racing sets from Scalextric and very easy to play. The controls feature buttons specially designed for smaller hands. The set includes a pair of matching scalextric mini, track, track chevrons, twin control units and requires an area 108cm by 61cm by 262cm to set up.

To get started with Scalextric for children age 5 and older a basic Scalextric Start Set offers the best value. This includes track, dual hand controller units and two cars. Additional cars, more tracks, and other accessories, such as a scalextric lap counter can be added in the same way that Lego sets can be expanded, a little at a time. This is an ideal set for the smallest spaces, measuring 60sm by 10007cm and 273 cm in length. Two Super Resistant Audi TT cars are good sturdy choices for beginners, and are combined with the Magnatraction system. This patented design helps cars adhere to the track, giving new scalextric sport players added confidence.

The Digital Triple Cup Scalextric set for children age 8 and older is an easy way to start racing with digital cars. The set has sufficient track to build a realistic Formula One type circuit. It also includes the newest types of cars are known as SSD or Scalextric Sport Digital cars, introduced in 2004. These cars already have a large fan base with their own online forums. SSD cars are capable of changing lanes, accepting modifications and are the fastest of all car racing models. The space needed to set up is 200cm by 120cm by 435cm.

The Best Deals

Micro Scalextric systems such as the Simpson’s Skateboard Chase set offer younger children a way to join in the racing fun. This smaller and cheaper version of Scalextric racing car games fit well in small spaces. Although not specifically tailored to younger children, the familiar theme of Homer racing Bart on skateboards along the track, through a chicane, over an elevated tunnel and a hairpin bend appeals to them. The whole family can join in this game which has a lot to offer for a very reasonably priced set. It is a great way to be introduced to racing games, and may extend the life of an older sibling’s precious scalextric v12 supercars.

The special issue Need for Speed set is based on a top video game and features the Lamborghini Gallardo and Nissan 350Z cars. These both feature realistic sounds and lights and come with more than 5 meters of track, including a flying jump section. The amount of track alone makes it a good value for money set, since buying it separately costs more than half the price of this set. Recommended for ages 5 and up, the set takes approximately 10 minutes to set up.

Bundles are special deals combining two or more sets, a great way to get a lot of Scalextric gear at a low price. A bundle of the two Scalextric sets, Inner City Speed and Digital Driver, this set saves up to 30% off the price of buying them individually. The large amount of track combined with features such as a digital change over area, lane switching and classic Mini racing cars will keep the whole family entertained for hours, trying different track set ups.

Jargon Explained

These are explanations of all the terms used by Scalextric players and hobbyists

SSDThe hobbyist’s familiar name for Scalextric Sport Digital, the newest and most advanced type of cars sold by Scalextric.
Digital CarsDigital cars are SSD cars.
Analogue CarsAnalogue cars have no “Chip” inside; they are the older versions of slot cars.
Scalextric Compatible Scalextric Sets are often compatible with cars and other parts from rival car racing systems such as, Ninco, Fly, Carrera, MRRC, SCX, and Go racing sets.
Adaptors Compatibility issues can be solved by the new sets, by special adaptors sold by Scalextric enabling cars from inherited sets which use older systems to run on newer tracks.
Special Theme SetsScalextric have purchased licenses to manufacture sets with themes from popular video games, films and TV shows. Examples are the scalextric mclaren, scalextric, the movie and scalextric james bond cars.
1:32 ScaleThis is the most common size of Scalextric model cars. Micro sets and other models may be manufactured to a different scale. Always double check new additions are the same measurements.
Championship Racing Regional clubs formed around the scalextric brand offer players a chance to compete against each other up to scalextric world championship level
DSS Online Forums These are places for new players, hobbyists and collectors of older cars and sets can find expert advice, meet other people who share their interests and make useful new connections
Slot CarsThese are ones that “slot” on to the tracks by pins on their undersides and are guided by remote control units.
TrackA track is made up of sections which snap together to make a racing circuit for the cars
Verification Scalextric is an old and respected toy company that has become a household term for all makes of cars that race on similar tracks. If you have any doubts the set you wish to buy is the real item, do a quick online search and compare images and specifications. 
Slot-lane Change TracksThese special sections of track that enable one car to move over to another lane.
ChicaneThe chicane is a special section of track, an S-shaped bend introduced into a racing tack to slow drivers.
Controllers, Hand Controllers Hand held units which regulate the speed of cars.
Scalextric Sets A Scalextric set such as scalextric rally includes two cars, sections of track and two hand controller units.
Magnatraction A registered trademark of a system to prevent cars leaving the track during play.

Buying Guide to Scalextric
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