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1:32 Scale - Setting a World Record
 

September 29, 2005 - Before heading down to the Atlanta area for the 2005 American Le Mans Series "Petit Le Mans" race, I had heard about what was claimed to be "The World's Largest Permanent Slot Track". I packed some slot cars and made plans to meet two other Fort Wayne slot racers, who were also headed to the ALMS race, at the huge JD Model Raceway at DISCOVER MILLS MALL, Atlanta, Georgia.


 The Track


 

This JD Model Raceway 6 lane track had an official running length, as of September 29, 2005, of 396 ft or 120 meters. JD Figoli is the proprietor and he used almost 1000 Ninco track sections to build the track. His claim to the "World's Largest" is based on the multiple of 6 lanes and 396 feet or 2376 total running feet:



Above - The longest straight is 68 feet. It certainly does let a car wind out!



Above - The twisty section is particularly tricky, especially if you are driving from the far end of the drivers stand at the other end of the track along the right wall.
 
Above - JD and his wife did an excellent job of putting the cars back on the track as we were learning to stay in the slot.
 
Above - The 360.
 The "Yankee Invader" hits Atlanta Among the cars I took was a Corvette C5-R made by the Fly company in Spain. It is painted, very fittingly, to represent the winning car from Petit Le Mans 2001. The flag scheme, along with the "FDNY" and "NYPD" logos were on the actual car at that event to honor the 9-11 heroes.

The mirrors got knocked off during the running at JD's.
 
   I had already modified it with a Pattos "Little Ripper" 37,000 rpm motor,  a lowered and very strong Professor Motor Neodymium traction magnet (with a 24K Gold finish, no less), PPR silicone tires and a pair of 2.5 gram weights added under the rear axle.
 
 
The major prep for the trip south was to lighten the car:
 
Above - A Stock Fly Corvette C5-R is shown with all the fantastic details that the car had originally (as shown from the top side below).

 
Above - I trimmed a lot of the unseen details and replaced the excllent, but heavy, details in the back with a piece of black construction paper.
  • The diet above reduced the weight of the body from 33 grams stock to the 26 gram modified version. 
  • The overall weight stayed the same as stock at 85 grams due to the lead weights under the rear axle and a couple of mysterious grams of something else. 

 The Payoff
  After running an unmodified Scalextric Corvette L88 and a Monogram Greenwood Corvette and 3 mildly modified cars in order to learn the track, I decided to try the Corvette "Invader". Our Fort Wayne crew generally assumed that we would enjoy the play time but had no expectation of challenging any records on an unfamiliar and complex track.  To get on the record board, you have to do better than the slowest car on the board. There were several classes, the Corvette was in the 'Driveshaft - Front Motor' class. When I started to see times in the low 20 second area, I checked the board and noted that 22.80 sec was the slowest in class. When I beat that time, JD agreed to forego his weekly update and add us to the board with our final times. Then I loaned the Corvette to a Fort Wayne buddy, Gary, and he got on the board within 0.3 second of the class lap record! I finished the day driving my Corvette again and did a 20.60 to beat the 20.72 class record!! I'm braggin' but I couldn't believe I did it!! What a thrill!!
 
The info above is repeated below in a little easier to read format. 
 
Driver Car Motor Time (sec)
1 David Palmeter Corvette C5-R 37K 20.60
2 Cory Allen Panoz Esperante GTR1 35K rpm 20.72
3 Kevin Daily Ford Capri RS Turbo 35K rpm 21.01
3 Luis Garcia Dodge Viper GTR 46K rpm Falcon III 21.01
5 Gary Trump Corvette C5-R 37K 21.02
6 Max Coleman Viper Competition Coupe 35K rpm 21.28
7 Greg Smith BMW M3 48K rpm Falcon IV 21.31
8 Joe Riccio Dodge Viper GTS-R 28K rpm 22.80

And understand, children, I am a Social Security-eligible, retired, senior citizen!! (Sorry, just had to throw that in - just imagine what someone with quick reflexes could do.) Thanks a million to JD and his wife and staff for an EXCELLENT morning. They were kind and helpful to us newbies and did some of the quickest marshalling I have ever seen - and remember, this is a 396-foot track!! JD also immediately emailed me digipix of the record board and track. He normally doesn't update until the weekend but he did it while we were there for us out-of-towners.  A truly Terrific time!
And then it was over....
 ----- Original Message -----  
Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 1:53 PM
Subject: Re: JD Model Raceways
 Hello David,
Yes, just a couple of days ago, Mr. Steven Goodspeed ran a 19.40 sec. lap with a Fly Marcos LM. ; your time is now 2nd fastest ever. Thanks for your great posting at the forum! As far as our track length, we relocated twice within the Mall and each time we made the track longer, so the layout that you actually raced on is 396 ft. or 120.60 meters. Best regards, JD

WOW! When those southern boys git riled up, they're tough! I figured it wouldn't be much more that two weeks for someone to take a shot at us. Looks like it was about 17 days on top of the heap. I'm still proud! Congratulations to Steven - he knocked 1.2 seconds off the best "Yankee Invader" time. With a little more practice time, I believe Gary and I both could have gotten the "Yankee Invader" into the mid-19's but a 19.40 would be tough with that car. Maybe next year - another car, another shot!
The Final Chapter 2006-03-01 Well, the record is now permanently in the books. JD has lengthened the track again, so my second fastest time, at 20.60 seconds on the 396 ft track length, will stand forever:
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 12:14 AM
Subject: Re: JD Model Raceways, pics.
 Hi David, We had great holiday season, it was our first at  Discover Mills. I'm sorry it took so long to reply, we closed down on Jan. 1st., took 27 days off , had a great vacation after working 5 months - open to close every day - with no time off, then re-open with a new permanent lease agreement with the Mall. We extended the track even further in the process: we added a total of 61 ft. to the layout that you raced on, we had some space in the back and now we used it all up. This track is now 457 ft. long. (139.43 meters) - see pix below Your lap time with that awesome Corvette you had was still standing at second place before we erased the whole board and started, of course, a new one with the new track length. I'm sending you a few of the first pictures taken of this new layout. Note that we are going in the opposite direction now, it's very different. We were featured on live FOX 5 TV as a unique concept for family fun just recently and we love to have some of you out-of-towners come back some time and try your cars against the "world's largest permanent  slot-car racetrack..."  Best wishes. JD

From: "David & Judy Palmeter" <david@palmeter.com> To: "J.D. Figoli" <jdfigoli@hotmail.com> Subject: Re: JD Model Raceways, pics. Date: Sun, 8 Jan 2006 17:03:17 -0500
JD,
Hope the holidays went well for you and the store.
How do I stand on the Leader Board for Driveshaft cars? Still second?
Just curious,
David

Above - 2006-02-10 - This is the layout JD mentioned in his latest email above. When we ran the earlier (396 ft) layout, we were coming toward the camera on the far left straight. They run this new layout the opposite direction.
 
 
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