What is Total Control Racing?
Drive, accelerate, pass & slide back in front and just in Front of your Opponent! But Watch out for the jam vehicle! Criss-crosses, 4 lanes wide, tracks with multiple routes, merging traffic, cars going in opposite directions, up-and-over bridges, jumps, obstacles and a myriad of other accessories to go beyond traditional slot car racing.
Truly innovative, "slotless" slot car racing came to the masses in 1977 when the Ideal Corporation introduced TCR (Total Control Racing). This was the first and only (to date) unique deviation from traditional slot cars running on a powered track. Though introduced as HO size, the actual size of the cars were a bit larger than 1/64th scale, more like 1/50th scale (which made them even cooler!). TCR was an AC (Alternating Current) system rather than the traditional DC (Direct Current) that powered other slot cars at the time. It is AC that allows cars to change and select lanes.
During it's hayday (1977-1980), Ideal released many different TCR track sets, cars and accessories. Slotless racing allows for many creative track designs, obstacles and challenges. While retaining many traditional slot car racing elements such as lap times, the jam car added a "traffic" element along with obsicles, jumps and even choosing multiple track paths with the 4 lane wide Crossfire track. Slotless racing allowed the slot car hobbiest to "think outside the box (slot)" with unique track designs.
While TCR remained in the market from 1977 to 1992, less public interest in slot cars in general (with a new focus on video games) ultimately lead to the demise of the companies supporting it and the platform itself. It was a great idea that came out at the bad time.
Fortunately for us today, there is still a large enthusiast following and market of used and NOS TCR cars and tracks. Parts replacing is minimal, besides rear tires and the occasional spring or pickup shoe. This keeps repair and maintenance minimal and very low cost. The original Ideal cars are high quality compared to other slot cars at the time and very robust, built to last with metal parts and strong long-lasting motors. Because of the quality materials, like an old automobile, they can simply be cleaned, polished and lubricated to make them work and look like new again. The early cars are charming and quite fun to take apart, clean and reassemble. Getting the cars to run optimally and racing can be quite satifying. It makes for a fun hobby, today more than ever.
Many improvements can be made to the cars and tracks to allow them to work better than when they were new, as you will see documented on this site. All new potential for innovative ideas and possibilities.