Track Owners Association, Inc.

Track Owners Association, Inc.

TOA Newsletter Feature Story
August 1998

MR. MASAYUKI BANNO'S
"RACING PARADISE" IN YOKOSUKA & YOKOHAMA JAPAN

This is the first raceway we've featured from our neighbors across the Pacific.  Mr. Banno, along with his compatriot, Mr. Noriteru Ono, has attended and had a display booth at the past five TOA Conventions and Trade Shows.  We had asked Mr. Banno to supply us with the story after seeing his Racing Paradise web site.   He graciously brought the photos you see here and the story with him to our recent convention in Reno, Nv. Masayuki writes:

"Konnichi-wa" fellow slot fans!

I am Masayuki Banno and am extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to provide a brief article about slot racing in Japan.

I've been a TOA member for five years and have noted several differences between Japanese and American-style slot racing.  Having attended the previous three conventions (Cleveland, Philadelphia and Reno) and reading the TOA magazine, the most notable is the exclusive use of the Plafit chassis in Japan.  We often have visitors from around the world who point out this difference as well.  I suppose it is due to the Japanese preference for true scale bodies and a desire for those bodies to accurately represent the cars of 1:1 scale drivers.  With this in mind, the Plafit chassis is heavier than most, but then again it goes back to our desire for true representation with emphasis on driving skill rather than raw speed and traction.

Another difference I have noted between Japanese and American racing is that we allow our competitors to line up at the starting line for each heat - unlike the stagger method used in other parts of the world.  This allows for a different winner in almost every heat and prolongs racer interest in the hobby.  The winner is naturally decided by total laps at the end of the race.  Lane changes for each heat remain germane.

Throughout Japan there are about thirty-five courses (raceways). I own three of them - two near Tokyo and one in Nagoya.  To accommodate the course requirement for the heavier Plafit chassis we use a mixture of Parma pink traction (glue) for our tires, mixed with lighter fluid.  To apply this mixture to our racing surfaces we utilize a paintbrush rather than a spray gun.  Also our courses are less inclined to have long straights and utilize a minimal degree of grade (banking) in every turn.

For the future I am happy to announce that I, along with Mr. Iwamoto of Automobilia Raceway in Hawaii will be building a track specifically designed for Plafit racing in Honolulu.  We hope to hold a Plafit World Championship race in Hawaii in 1999.  Slots-n-Sun...what could be better?!!!

Over the past couple of years I have received numerous inquiries from abroad about the Japanese style of racing and the Plafit chassis.  I hope this article and accompanying photos has answered some of your questions.  My wholehearted thanks to the TOA for providing me with this opportunity to contribute.

Sincerely,

Masayuki Banno
Paradise Racing/Banno Project
No. 2-6 Shioiri-cho
Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture
Japan
Phone: 011-0468-22-1778
Fax: 011-0468-26-1989

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