Blutrack: open-ended die-cast racing track

My daughter recently took an interest in die-cast toy cars. So in advance of Christmas I set out looking for a Hotwheels race track I remembered from my youth, but instead of using eBay, I found a better product…

Blutrack [caution: auto-playing audio] is a free-form racing track sold in 18, 24, 50 and 100 foot lengths — one continuous piece, not segments. Unlike race track kits that tell you what to make using a hefty set of instructions, with Blutrack you just get a big coil of track in a cardboard box. It’s up to you and your kids to decide what, where and how to design your track.

More importantly, you don’t need a spring-loaded car. Your vehicles travel as fast as gravity and your track design allow. There’s a greater chance for screw-ups — cars not completing a loop or flying off the track — and thus greater opportunity for learning as your design is adjusted in small ways.

Here’s how it works:

1) Hang one end of the track on a wall using an included suction hook (or your own nail or picture frame hanger).

2) Roll the track out over couches and your floor, using books and other household objects at hills.

3) Optionally create loops using Blutrack ramp holders.

4) Attach stiffener bars in places you need to stabilize the track on the floor. It seems that if your cars are going really fast, the track moves slightly, and because track movement slows the cars, a purist will want to eliminate all movement. Options are included for both carpet and hardwood floors.

5) Race!

Is the hill in that video a pile of shoes?

You can buy 6-foot track extensions which attach to your existing track using adhesive pads.

On the flipside, the Redline Derby Racing Blog contains a significant criticism of Blutrack (in an otherwise positive review).

Namely, it seems the plastic is less flexible in colder weather. Its ideal temperature is 70 degrees. By less flexible I mean the track doesn’t always lie perfectly flat on a flat surface. The recommended fix is to place the coiled track into a bucket of hot water for a few minutes and any odd bends should mostly smooth themselves out. I’ll be buying a 24-foot Blutrack Challenge Pack, so I’ll let ya know what I think after Christmas.

The Cars

I bought three Matchbox car 5-packs: emergency vehicles, service vehicles, and passenger vehicles at K-Mart. I avoided race cars because I don’t envision my daughter’s pretend play including driving her Lamborghini to the grocery store or to drop her kids off at school.

You won’t want to mix Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars because Hot Wheels are faster by at least a full car’s length in speed tests conducted by Redline Derby Racing. I opted for Matchbox because they’re less expensive and more readily available in non-grand prix styles. The cars are rated for 3-years-and-up.

That’s a 24-foot track in the video above.

Darda Track

My new-found German toy spy alerted me to the Darda Create-a-Course Building System. If I had a small living space, I might go for it… but at its heart, it’s still a track kit with lots of pieces that take a lot of time to assemble. I expect a lot of the fun of Blutrack is found in making quick minor adjustments as a track is fine-tuned. But in the interest of equal time, here’s a video of one of many Darda systems that exist:

Comments

6 Responses to “Blutrack: open-ended die-cast racing track”

  1. Pam says:

    I’ll be very interested in your thoughts, but I’m not sure I can wait that long. this seems like a great gift for my 2 1/2 year old and her daddy so I may be chiming in as well after Christmas.

    November 25th, 2009 at 9:12 am

  2. Kendra aka The Meanest Momma says:

    We got Blutrack for my son’s 4th birthday this summer. It was the focal point of his race-car themed party and was a hit with all the boys (and their dads).

    This is my write-up on our party, which includes pics & description on the Blutrack:

    http://themeanestmomma.com/2009/06/29/assembling-the-race-car-party/

    This is the birthday day when we first got it and unveiled it:

    http://themeanestmomma.com/2009/06/22/happy-birthday-dude/

    November 25th, 2009 at 11:17 am

  3. Elizabeth says:

    The only thing that turns me off about the Blutrack is that it is huge and doesn’t look like a little kid could set it up themselves. I am a big fan of independent use toys – stuff kids can take out themselves, use themselves, and put away themselves.

    November 25th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

  4. Nicole says:

    I’m eager to hear what you think!! This sounds wonderful… I have two boys: 5 and newly 3 (Thanksgiving!) For years I’ve been eyeing the Darda options at my favorite toy store (Top 10 Toys in Seattle!) but have never been able to make the commitment… the kit thing, like you said. I think this is something I will get my guys next year. I could see the 2 of them spending so much time with this one now, but I’d like to wait a year so the littlest can be a bigger participant.

    November 28th, 2009 at 7:23 pm

  5. Phil says:

    I’m getting one for myself for Christmas! I’ll put my 4-year old’s name on it, but let’s be honest.

    Fantastic idea!

    November 30th, 2009 at 10:10 am

  6. BFG says:

    Looks great! I’m gonna have to be patient though – my little chap is only 1 year old. Don’t think I can justify a blutrack for this Christmas. But maybe for next year?

    December 1st, 2009 at 10:56 am

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