Track Owners Association, Inc. Featured Raceway
March 1999

Go Slot Car Racing !!

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Andreas Von Hoff's
Quadro Power Race Center
Modellrennbahnen vom Feinsten
Waldblick 5
Mannheim, F.R.G.
Phone: 011-49-172-63-110-52
Fax: 011-49-6226-6252
Jean Andreas gives "thumbs up" to Formula I Champion Michael Schumacher Moms watch TV while youngsters learn about slot cars
A typical business day at Quadro Power Race Center in Mannheim
Quick handed turn marshall reslots a car. Note each track has its own race monitor
Tracks are powered with transformers that supply an ample two amps per lane. That flat 180 seems a long way from the driver!
At the end of the race Andreas Von Hoff awards 1st Place Flat track with zees, esses & squiggles to challenge any driver
Just one small part of Quadro Power's sales area, a wonderland of 1/32 scale racing Thank God for traction magnets! The T-shirt gang

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Andreas sent us the terrific pictures you see here…these are very nice. He also included a cover letter explaining his rather unique system and you’ll enjoy reading how he keeps his racers in line. The image of the movie actor – I think his name was Terry Thomas – comes to mind. Do you remember the comedian with the gap in his front teeth that always played the comedic bad guy? Remember the movie "Those Daring Young Men in Their Flying Machines?" Didn’t he wear the German helmet with the point on top? You’ll see what I mean. Andreas writes,

"The enclosed pictures will give TOA members an idea of how life is at my Race Center in Mannheim. You’ll notice the kids are playing; mothers watch television and the ‘adult’ kids are racing just for fun, but always eager to win.

When I started this Race Center on October 4th in 1997 the first activity (after wiring up the Carrera Track) was to post the "rules." The essence of my rules is simple:

  • Anyone who throws or drops one of my rental cars on the floor –the person is required to immediately pick up the car, then drop to the floor and exercise by doing ten pushups. The second time; 20 pushups, and so on.
  • The use of bad language or cursing (4-letter words) by anyone: 10 pushups.
  • Anyone wanting to drive on my tracks has to sign a waiver agreeing to abide by the rules and give me their full address. (Hey, Gregg!!)

We saw 20,000-plus pushups last year from 1,500 paying drivers. Only two refused. By using this method I have created a good atmosphere with a lot of laughter and fun along the way. Oh yes…I forgot to mention that anyone who argues with me: 20 pushups.

The race center saw 216 race participants between June and December of ’98. By February 14th of this year we have already hosted 104 races and 85 participants – and 45 of them have been beginners.

My philosophy is to give the people the feeling that they are welcome. Provide the best available products – which is easy for us since we concentrate on 1/32nd scale. Keep people busy and make them laugh…that’s why I think we have been so successful. Yesterday I welcomed club member #73 and our club is only 11 months old.

Since October of ’97 we are open seven days a week, with hours Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesday we open at 4 in the afternoon and remain open until midnight. Friday: 6 p.m. to midnight; Saturday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday: 11 in the morning to 9 p.m. in the evening.

Like most commercial raceways around the world, I began with "organized" and "officially announced" regular events. Don’t ask me how or why, but regular announced racing on a weekly or monthly basis virtually died over here. In its place – and working very successfully – are spontaneous events.

Here is what I think is the most important part of the principle:

  • A minimum of five drivers is required and they apply for a "30-minute race" – three minutes on all six lanes with changes – hence the name.
  • The racers themselves put together the event, then come to the counter and each buys 30 minutes of track time. The only thing I have to do with it is to give them a starting time.
  • They make all the arrangements among themselves with no influence or interference from me – which lane to start; what type of cars to drive; what kind of tires, motors, etc. Once they have done this among themselves, they automatically see that everyone is driving a "legal" car in that race.
  • Since they mostly know each other and the cars, newcomers feel quite comfortable with this setup because it allows them to start with organized group racing early on.

I think this is better than a person just driving around a lane for two hours by themselves.

This system has worked perfectly since its inauguration in the middle of last year. Since then we have held more than 250 races and as of February 9th we’ve had 17 events.

Last year we honored the annual points winners and have improved that system for this year. In our monthly competitions, everyone starts at "0" points. By the end of the month the three drivers with the most starting points (one point per event entered) they are awarded a coupon worth 1 deutschmark per point won. But a-ha! Now the bad news…they are assessed a handicap for the next month and begin the next series at minus 10, 9, and 8 starting points.

Each driver is awarded scoring points depending on the rank he or she achieves in each race. The drivers are split into two groups: A = beginners; B = pros.

Points for beginners: descending scale starting at 30 points for first; then 29 points for second and so on down the line. A pro winner gets 25 for first; 24 for second, etc. These points are totaled during the month and the top three drivers with the best starting points plus scoring point ratio are honored with coupons. At the end of the month their scoring point result totals are divided by 25 which means the winners receive a considerable amount in deutschmark coupons. The next month, those winners are handicapped at minus 10% of their scoring rate. If they started the month in the beginner class they are upgraded to the pro league which will mean they can win fewer scoring points in the future.

I know this sounds complicated but it works extremely well. More importantly - the people racing really like it because everyone has a chance to win throughout the year. With the field kept close together due to the handicap system, later starters have a monthly chance. The annual winners come out from the monthly lists quite late.

I hope the system I’ve developed over here is something that could be of value for others who would like to try it. With practice it works very well and is quite simple and efficient and I invite all TOA member track owners to try the system if you’re having trouble keeping your customers involved in regular, organized racing programs or participation has fallen off dramatically. This method definitely will stimulate new interest.

Andreas von Hoff
Quadro Power Race Center
Modellrennbahnen vom Feinsten
Waldblick 5
Mannheim, F.R.G.
Phone: 011-49-172-63-110-52
Fax: 011-49-6226-6252

Our sincere thanks to Mr. von Hoff for sending us the nifty pictures and story for the March issue. Quadro Power is our first cover story from Germany. We understand from the various e-mails we’ve received from Andreas that he doesn’t worry too much about his customers becoming overly enamored with speed. As you can see from the pictures his tracks are flat and powered with transformers which dispense very limited amperage at reduced voltages. That’s how he keeps the racers from tearing up equipment…sneaky! While you won’t find high-banked turns or battery power at this race center, if you’re ever lucky enough to make a trip to Mannheim what you will find are dozens of enthusiastic racers having fun with 32nd scale cars.

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