“My kids couldn’t wait to play with this toy. Neither could my husband!” — Sue Christensen
Ready, set, GO! When TDmonthly Magazine’s Boys Roundtable test-drove Carrera’s Speed Racer slot-car set, participants were quick to rave about the modernized classic.
Carrera Go!!! Speed Racer 1:43 Scale Slot-Car Race Set by CARRERA Age: 8 and Up Gender: Boys and Girls Category: Licensed Products MSRP: $79.99
What It Is: A slot-car racing set with a “Speed-Racer” theme, this set features Racer X versus Mach 5. The track is almost 21’ long and has a double loop, junction and flyover. The lap counter and two turbo speed controllers add to the velocity and fun.
What the Parents Thought: Jenkins “loved the whole idea of this toy!” Richardson appreciated the modern twist on a classic toy that allows “friendly competition in a way which is somewhat interactive and ‘real life’ (as opposed to competition in the virtual world).”
Flamenco and Ledford appreciated the ease of use, and Flamenco felt that the competitive aspect held her boys’ interest. Wilson was glad to see the inclusion of replacement pieces, if needed. Several parents’ favorite aspect of this toy was the fun it generated. “The layout of the track is challenging,” Ledford said.
What the Kids Thought: “AWESOME!” the Christensen boys exclaimed. “The kids were thrilled with Speed Racer, from the moment they saw it in the box, through assembly and racing,” their mom said. “My kids couldn’t wait to play with this toy,” she added. “Neither could my husband!”
Flamenco noted that her boys liked the length of the track and all the loops. “I was surprised that it was so big,” Jonathan (9) said. Steven (8) and Andrew (12) assembled the track together, and Steven (8) enjoyed the lap counters. Joe (8) “especially liked the turbo,” Ledford reported. Terence (13), Timothy (9) and Titus (5) liked the car detail and “pretty much played it nonstop for 48 hours until the cars stopped working,” Jenkins said.
Alexander (8) “now loves to win competitions with whoever will dare to race against him,” Richardson commented. “It is amazing how fast I can go!” he told his mom.
What the Kids Learned from this Toy: Christensen noted that her boys felt they learned nothing, but enjoyed a toy intended “just for fun.” Flamenco’s boys worked on following the directions and found that “sharing the cars was fun,” she reported. Richardson said Alexander (8) learned patience during assembly and, during play, learned that if he wasn’t a good sport, no one would want to race him.
The Wilson boys learned “laws of centrifugal force and perseverance,” mom pointed out. Joe (8) developed an interest in slot-car racing, and “dad showed [him] the mechanics of how slot cars operate, and explained how the electricity runs through the track to operate the cars,” Ledford said. “Joe (8) learned about how motors work, since dad had to disassemble one car when a piece of grit got stuck in the drive gear and prevented it from operating properly.”
How to Improve It: Joshua (10) thought the cars should be more evenly matched, since one had better control and the other greater speed. The brushes on Jenkins’ cars wore off, she reported, and without cars, the set is unplayable. Richardson suggested the controllers have longer wires to allow for greater mobility during play.
Flamenco thought a more appropriate target age would be 12 and up. Richardson suggested additional guidance on the brushes as she found they needed some adjustment, and she would like to see instructions for the use of the turbo button.
Wilson and Ledford would like to see the pieces stamped with an identifying letter to facilitate ease of assembly. Ledford suggested sturdier guard rails to “prevent the cars from hitting walls when they fly off the track.” Andrew (12) would like to be able to reconfigure the track, and told his mom that stalling on the track was more the norm than it should be.
Timothy (15) suggested including four cars for the same price, as the Wilsons found the price prohibitive. Ledford’s son, Griff (2), was extremely interested but far too young, leaving her to desire a version appropriate for a preschooler. Would You Want Another Toy Like This? “This toy was a huge hit in our household,” Christensen raved.
Participants were homeschool parent Sue Christensen with Mac (14), Kent (13), Joshua (10) and Ben (6); substitute teacher Veronica Flamenco with Matthew (11), Jonathan (8), Emilio (7) and Brandon (5); office assistant Charlene Jenkins with Terence (13), Timothy (9) and Titus (5); freelance writer Susan Ledford with Joe (8) and Griff (2); World Bank policy advisor Gail Richardson with Alexander (8); and Teresa Wilson, editor of “HOMES Newsletter,” with Timothy (15), Andrew (12) and Steven (7).