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1:32 McLaren MP4-12C slot car from Scalextric

By Mark Savage
Published: August 11, 2011
Scalextric McLaren
Product: Supercars seem a dime a dozen sometimes, with Ferraris and Lamborghinis creating new offspring with the frequency of nervous bunnies in spring.

McLaren though takes a little time before launching all new models, so the MP4-12C looks and feels fresh, being in fact released this year after first being shown a couple years ago at auto shows.

So Scalextric is on top of its game releasing a new 1:32 slot car of the carbon fiber chassis supercar that is said to create 592 horsepower. The rear-engined racer (car world folks call this mid-engine as the power plant sits just behind the car’s two seats) boasts a McLaren 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8. Possibly most impressive is its asking price of $229,000.

The real life version is loaded with Formula 1 technology including a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and brake steer. If only slot cars were so technical!

Performance: Thankfully they are not and Scalextric goes with a standard chassis and power source with its familiar sidewinder layout and a Mabuchi 18,000 rpm motor and 190 grams of down force. That’s pretty normal stuff.

Certainly the car has good straight line speed and looks great on the track. The orange paint job is smooth and attractive and there is good detailing. For instance, the interior includes a full driver figure, good dash detail and steering wheel with a McLaren logo on it. The logo also graces the car’s sleek hood.

The black mirrors look good just outside the windows and the engine detail under the long back window also gives the car a realistic look when on track. Air vents and scoops also are well executed. Plus this one features working head and taillights. This encourages night racing.

What a customer may not be as happy with is the car’s long wheelbase, 83mm. While the car’s overall body is not so long, nearly no rear overhang, that long wheelbase makes it more prone to tail wagging coming off of tight corners. My several-year-old Scalextric Dodge Viper (that’s as close as I could come in my collection to the McLaren) is faster and more stable. The Viper’s wheelbase is slightly less, but that is just enough to help its tail end stay put.

Marketing: That problem is not insurmountable and is actually a built-in boon to hobby retailers. While the car’s looks will sell it easily, retailers should recommend silicone tires as an add-on buy, making for a happier customer.

Anyone selling slot cars should stock a solid assortment of silicones as anyone serious about racing their cars will immediately see the benefit.

Another add-on here should be neodymium magnets, which Scalextric offers to hop up their models. These offer over two to four times the magnetic attraction as the standard magnets featured in its Magnatraction system. For many cars, those are fine, but for this one, push the higher grip neodymium magnets.

This model also is digital plug ready, so you can market it to customers with digital sets. It takes a C8515 digital plug, another add-on sale!

Product: McLaren MP4-12C
Maker: Scalextric
Scale: 1:32
Stock No.: C3200
MSRP: $49.99
Availability: Hornby America

Famous make, model
Good body and interior detail
Prone to fish-tail in tight corners
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