What is a “slot car”?
A slot car is an electrically powered vehicle which is guided by a groove or “slot” in the track. A pin or guide sticks out from the bottom of the car chasis into the slot. “Drivers” use a hand-held controller (joystick) to control a low-voltage electric motor in the car. Each car has its own lane, with the power being sent to the track in the lane. The car senses the increase or reduction of power and speeds up or slows down accordingly. The challenge is to prevent the car from wrecking through the curves or other obstacles at high speeds. The car can leave its slot depending on speed (“to deslot”) if the driver makes the car move at a high speed.
The early cars ran on rails. The term “slot car” was created to separate the the cars running in a slot on a flat track to those cars running on rails.