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Scalextric RCS – there’s an app for that…

Surely one of the defining toys of its generation, Scalextric has modernised itself for the smartphone age with the new Scalextric RCS set, the first slot car Race Control System that allows you to wirelessly manage races through an app installed on your smartphone or tablet. With remote control over everything from race type, driver names and laps to fuel, tyre wear and in-race damage, it’s the most realistic revision of the hobbyists classic to date, and even allows you to post race stats to Facebook or Twitter to compare results with friends.

The basic units, which consist of hand throttles and a Powerbase, will be fine to use provided you have a dusty old collection of cars and track pieces in an attic somewhere. These come in three guises – the entry-level RCS One, which retails for £40 and features wired controls for up to two cars at a time, the RCS Air, which costs £60 and drops the cables for full wireless action, and the top-of-the-line digital RCS Pro, which allows up to six cars racing at once and lane changing, though will set you back £100 and since it’s digital, will need digital cars or at least digital chips fitted to them. Complete sets are also available at £100 for the RCS One, rising to a whopping £500 for the six-car Pro. There are also varying differences in app functionality between the three models, particularly so with the RCS One, so it would be wise to check the link above before you buy.

Screenshot of the RCS app

Screenshot of the RCS app

A couple of tech sites have gone hands-on with the RCS already, so let’s take a look at how it fares. Pocket Lint has its own video review direct from the London Toy Fair 2014 where it lauds the wide degree of control and fine-tuning available through the app, but does admit that at around £100, it’s an expensive piece of kit that may be restricted to purists. Gizmag is similarly impressed by the race management features, which it admits “makes it feel more like playing a console racing game than a basic slot car offering”. It also praises the user-friendly manner in which smartphone integration adds to the experience, and calls the RCS a “massive step forward for the slot car racing game”.

Check out the video below to see the Scalextric RCS in action, which will have to keep you going until it’s released in Q3 2014, with plenty of new exciting features promised for future updates.