Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ultimate boys' toy: A magnificent hand-crafted 145ft Scalextric track... which took three YEARS to build



The need for speed: Designer and car fanatic James-Michael Harlan has spent three years creating the White Lake Formula One track

With Christmas just around the corner, many boys will be being especially good so that Santa delivers the toy of their dreams under their tree on December 25.

And when they see this magnificent Scalextric track, Father Christmas could have a job on his hands pushing it though chimneys.

For here is a 1/32 scale Formula One course, which is 145ft long, lovingly hand-crafted by American big kid James-Michael Harlan... and he spent three YEARS making it.

Attention to detail: The unmarried 39-year-old has spent over £3,700 and 7,000 hours on the track, which is the envy of slot car racers all over the world

Grand plans: Mr Harlan said: 'This isn't the end though, there is so much more I want to do. I've only just begun.'

The course, named the White Lake Formula One Ring, has just been completed and is the envy of all slot car enthusiasts around the world.

With 19 hair-raising turns and a complex track, complete with four lanes, pit stops and a grandstand, this miniature Formula One track is the ultimate boys' toy.

An exhibition designer and car fanatic, Mr Harlan has thought of absolutely everything, including miniature safety cars and podiums to stadium lights, cameras and stunning landscapes.

The elaborate track, which stands at 2.5ft high, has a 20ft bridge, straight and surrounding scenery of skyscrapers, viewing towers and countryside.

But amazingly the unmarried 39-year-old from White Lake, Michigan, who built the track in his basement, has used little more than copper tape, MDF, electrical wire and some paint to create the impressive track.

Having spent $6,000 (£3,740) in total on the track and cars, and about 7,000 hours creating it, he said: 'I guess you could say I've always had a need for speed.

'But I suppose I've taken it pretty far beyond what has already been done.
'I know it's quite an unusual thing for a designer to do and sometimes when I sit back and look at it, I realise I have created something quite extraordinary.

'I hold race nights with about 30 people and I run it all properly with qualifying laps and everything.

'I've even been known to run 24-hour races where the track is lit by day and illuminated with on-track lighting by night for an authentic feel.'

Hand-crafted: Mr Harlan, from White Lake, built the track in his basement, and has used little more than copper tape, MDF, electrical wire and some paint

Checkered flag: There are tiny figures and the attention to detail around the 19-bend track is breath-taking

He added: 'This isn't the end though, there is so much more I want to do. I've only just begun.

'It’s a true passion and one I will enjoy for many many years to come.'

Scalextric, a brand of slot car racing, first became popular in Britain in the 1950s when it was created by Minimodels.

Hornby bought Minimodels out and the toys are still going strong - for small and big kids.

Record-breaker: Top Gear's James May and 350 helpers created the biggest Scalextric track in the world - a life-size copy of Brooklands, which was 2.95 miles in length

In 2009, BBC Top Gear presenter James May recreated the full length Brooklands racing track using Scalextric track and cars with the help of 350 volunteers.

They built the track from an uncounted number of pieces of Scalextric track, navigating ponds and roads, closely following the route of the old Brooklands track.

The event broke the Guinness World Record for the longest ever Scalextric track in the world, measuring 2.95 miles (4.75 km) in length.

source : dailymail


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