Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Hot Wheels Race Track

 When it comes to Hot Wheels race tracks there are two main things to consider.  Do you want create your own Hot Wheels race track or are you looking for something pre-made by Mattel?  First let's talk about Hot Wheels race tracks that you can buy.  These are ready to go so you can get racing right away.  

Hot Wheels Super 6-Lane Raceway

8 Foot Hot Wheels Track - 6 Lane Raceway

Probably the best race track that you can buy is the Hot Wheels Super 6-Lane Raceway. It is an 8 foot track and as the name implies, has 6 lanes. 

Hot Wheels Track - 6 Lane Raceway

The best thing about this track is the finish gate.  It is electronic with paddles hanging down. The first car across the finish line will be announced by the finish gate as well as a light above the lane will light up. It will only tell you who won, not the finish places of each of the 6 cars, but still, this is a super cool finish gate.  

Hot Wheels Track Finish Gate - 6 Lane Race Way

The track itself is a little different than racing on regular orange track.  It is hard plastic and has high sidewalls throughout the length of the track.  Three fourths of the track is downhill, with about the last 4th of the track flat.  However, you can easily extend the track to make the flat longer.  You can attach regular Hot Wheels orange track to the end of the track and the finish gate can be popped off and then put at the end of the Hot Wheels orange track.  You will have to get a bit creative securing it at the end, but can easily be done. 

Hot Wheels Track - 6 Lane Raceway Finish Gate

There are also a few places where you can buy some "feet" for the finish line that you can use to extend it. Here is a link to one.  Another great thing about this track is that it comes apart and packs up really nicely.  

Hot Wheels Race Track Folded Up

Find a Hot Wheels 6 Lane Raceway on eBay

Hot Wheels 4 Lane Raceway

Hot Wheels Race Track - 4 Lane Raceway

Another great race track is the Hot Wheels 4 Lane Raceway.  It is about 6 feet long with about three fourths of the track being down downhill with the last fourth flat to the end.  

6 Foot Long Hot Wheels Race Track - 4 Lane Raceway

It has a ingenious mechanical finish gate that will actually tell you the finishing order of all four cars.  It has little paddles that flip up as they are hit and then you can look through them in the order that they flipped up to tell which position each car finished in. 

4 Lane Hot Wheels Race Track - Finish Gate

Similar to the 6 lane raceway, the cars will race a bit different on this versus Hot Wheels orange track, being hard plastic with vertical sidewalls. You can extend this raceway with Hot Wheels orange track but the finish gate can't be easily put somewhere else.  If you were going to extend the track with the finish gate you would need to build something custom to hook the finish gate to. 

Custom 4 Lane Raceway Finish Gate

It does come apart and packs up really nicely for storage.  

4 Lane Raceway Folded Up

This track is a little bit harder to get as it has been discontinued.  But you can still find it on eBay.  

Find a Hot Wheels 4 Lane Raceway on eBay

Hot Wheels 4 Lane Elimination Raceway

Hot Wheels Track - Elimination Raceway

This is more of a fun rather than a serious race track.  The track comes in at about four and a half feet long.  It starts out with 4 lanes, but as the cars race down the track, two cars get eliminated and then the two remaining cars race for a bit before one of them is eliminated to just leave the winner to go through the finish line.  The way the cars get eliminated is pretty ingenious.  Basically for the first part of the race lanes 1 and 2 race each other and lanes 3 and 4 race each other.  About a foot and a half into the race the cars trip a lever that flips a flap up on the lane next to it.  If the car is on the flap when it get's
tripped the car goes flying off the track.  If it is not to the flap yet it will just bump into it and stop.  The car that trips the lever first continues on safely while the car in the adjacent lane is eliminated from the rest of the race. 

Hot Wheels cars get eliminated

One car from lane 1 and 2 will continue on and one car from lane 3 and 4 will continue on until another lever is encountered where the same elimination process will happen.  This is definitely a fun track and kids love seeing the cars fly off, but if you're into more serious racing and your trying to keep your cars nice, having them fly off the track all the time might not by your cup of tea. 

The track itself is hard plastic with vertical sidewalls.  You can connect regular orange track to the end, but by then there is just one car left so you can really do any longer racing.  There is no real finish gate, the cars just keep getting eliminated until there is just 1 car left and that's how you know who one.  Again this track can be super fun, especially with kids, but it is not really possible to turn it into a longer race track.

Find a Hot Wheels 4 Lane Elimination Raceway on eBay

Hot Wheels Race Crate

Hot Wheels Track - Race Crate

The Hot Wheels Race Crate is a 4 lane track that has a couple of configurations.  It is made of hard plastic and the lanes have vertical walls.  One of the most notable things about the Race Crate track is it has a loop, which can be kind of cool, but if you're into straight downhill gravity racing may not be a selling point.  One thing that is great about this track is the finish gate.  It is the same basic design as the Hot Wheels 4 Lane Raceway discussed earlier.  It is a mechanical finish line where levers flip up in the order that the cars finish so you can place all 4 cars.

There are 3 configurations of the track that Mattel suggests. There are two slam launchers that are part of two configurations, Each of the slam launchers holds two cars.  There is the Drag Race configuration including the loop and the "Mega" Jump race not including the loop. 

Hot Wheels Track - Drag Track

Hot Wheels Track - Mega Jump

Both these configurations being started with the slam launchers. There seems to be quite a bit of crashing in these two configurations.  The inconsistency of the launcher is to blame for part of that, but also there are gaps in the sidewalls where the track folds up. Sometimes the cars get turned a bit as they go through those gap sections and hit the sidewall as they enter the next track section. 

The third configuration is a gravity race utilizing all four lanes and the loop. In this configuration the cars run much smoother and more successfully.  There are some little tabs that hold the cars back at the starting line and when a small lever on the side of the track is pushed it will release the cars.  

Hot Wheels  Track - Gravity Drop

One really nice thing about this track is that you can extend it with Hot Wheels orange track very easily.  You can pop the finish gate off, hook on orange track and extend the length and then hook the finish gate to the extended orange track. 

As the name implies the track also packs up into a nice "crate" for storage and travel. Because of the ease in which you can connect the finish gate to Hot Wheels orange track this can be a very versatile track that can be easily modified for some great downhill racing. 

Find a Hot Wheels Race Crate on eBay

Hot Wheels Mario Kart Rainbow Road Raceway

The Hot Wheels Mario Kart Rainbow Road Raceway is a pretty cool multi-configuration track with 5 lanes and a good finish gate.  The track can be configured in an "S" shape with two 90 degree turns. 

Mario Kart Hot Wheels Track - Rainbow Road

 You can also leave out the curve pieces and do a straight gravity race with just the rainbow pieces.  As a straight track it is about 8 feet long including the item section.  

Mario Kart Hot Wheels - Straight Gravity Race

The item section is a section of the track with some little levers.  When the car trips the lever, random gates come up in the track and stop whatever car is in that lane.  

Hot Wheels Mario Kart Rainbow Road Item Section

The item section can be switched "off" so that nothing pops up. You can also just take the item section out.  The track will be a little shorter, but then you don't have to worry about cars hitting the levers and being slowed down if you are just wanting more of a straight drag race for speed. One of the rainbow pieces is not flat but wavy in a vertical direction which definitely adds some interest.  The track can be extended in a similar way to the 6 lane raceway, but it is after the finish gate where the connectors are, so like with the 6 lane raceway, you would need to find a way to secure the finish gate on it's own.  Also like the 6 lane raceway, the finish gate is electronic and will tell you which lane the first place car is in.

Mario Kart Hot Wheels - Rainbow Road Finish Gate

 The start gate is pretty cool including a light apparatus that flashes three red lights and then a green light to give the track a real drag racing feel.  Once the light turns green, press the button and the cars are off.  The button is handy versus the lever pull starts on many of Mattel's other tracks as sometimes the lever gets in the way of cars and younger kids have a hard time pulling it straight back and tend to hit cars in the middle lanes.  

Mario Kart Hot Wheels Rainbow Road Starting Gate

Overall the Rainbow Road track is more of a fun track than a serious race track, but with such a great finish gate, you could easily modify it into a more serious track.

Find a Hot Wheels Mario Kart Rainbow Road Raceway on eBay

These are some of the better race tracks out there to buy, and except for the 4 lane elimination raceway, they are the best really because of their finish gates.  Those gates can be used in conjunction with a track you modify or build to make a really great downhill gravity track.  Being able to determine the winner fairly and consistently is a vital part of a great Hot Wheels race track.  If you would like to learn how to build your own Hot Wheels race track be sure to check out "The Ultimate Guide to Building a Hot Wheels Race Track".

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