Racing Hot Wheels Cars in the Digital Age
The cure to self quarantine: Well produced Auto Racing (kinda) on Youtube! Hours of it!
While Daryl is cruising the tourist attractions of Orlando… I’m stuck home “cyber-cruising” YouTube. When I am not watching Donut Media or Expedition Overland, I am browsing for new channels and talent. Usually, my night ends up on a Russian Traffic-fail channel. (Dont even judge me, I know you watch them too!) Good news though, I have found a new channel to love on, my current obsession is a YouTube page called 3DBotMaker Die Cast Racing.
Find me a kid who had hot-wheels tracks in the 70’s or 80’s that didn’t run countless races on their prized collection of Matchbox or Hot-Wheels cars. It was a universal truth that all kids wanted to know which one of their cars was fastest. Now, if the kid documented the process, its a safe bet they grew up to work in accounting or with actuarial tables! With even the most basic track setup and an adolescents IQ, a system of single elimination races would be run. Countless races would go on all day and night to finally figure out that your General Lee from Hardee’s was no faster than a Matchbox Winnebago camper.
So, when I ran across the 3D Bot Maker YouTube channel a few weeks ago, I was a bit intrigued. He’s racing Hot Wheels, Matchbox and a few off brands of 1/64th Die Cast vehicles. Unlike my efforts at home 30 years ago, he’s also doing it in professional grade video, audio and titles.
First off, lets understand the name and who these folks are. 3DBotMaker is the name of the business that started making accessories for the old style Mattel Hot Wheels tracks. Remember those things that looked like tongues that connected the tracks? He makes replacements and improved parts that hold two single tracks side by side. With some serious tech and a 3D printer, this guy is making electronic start gates and digital timing systems. He was into the hobby before the video aspect as far as I can tell.
I found this channel searching for a Toyota 2000GT and stumbled into the middle of the Japanese Car tournament. I was impressed decided to go to the first race of the series and watch it all the way though. Toyota is severely lacking in die-cast (Another Post?) and I instantly started rooting for a black 2000GT. The road to the Japanese Car championship was surprisingly long and thorough. I was fully invested in these cars, teams and drivers up to the final races. (each race video is 10 to 15 minutes, and can take several episodes to get to the championship races) The car I had been rooting for made it to the finals, the Toyota 2000GT with a driver named “Lil Bread”. Hope for a Toyota victory were dashed in one of the last races though… Lil Bread had a terrible accident that ended the tournament in a DNF.
In that last race, the real life million dollar ride was cast off the track and made a dramatic fall into the “fan parking” area beneath the track. 3D announced the event with faux concern that rivaled most anything on a real race broadcast. In the end, we assume Lil Bread passed away in the grizzly accident.
Wait a second… Lil Bread is not real. Nor is this a real Toyota 2000GT. This is where it all goes sideways in the rational mind. This die-cast race of 1/64th scale cars is made up and contrived… Right? What is real racing? If you watch a series of elimination rounds of 3D Bot Maker… You will question everything you believe about racing; that the Driver is an integral part of the race. There are no drivers in these cars. There is nothing but gravity pulling the cars down a series of turns and declines. Somehow, with the help of the capable announcer(s), this is enough to make for compelling viewing! Who would have believed it?
I had to shop this idea around to make sure I am not crazy. First, I confirmed my hypothesis with some guys at work… And I now have my wife watching the Saturday releases of the
Ferrari championship series. She even knows the names of the drivers and cars after watching a few races. Folks, its confirmed, this is racing! Childish, driver-less racing that will draw you in and consume you until you watch your favorite themed series. (or watch everything they make!)
It may seem like I am jumping on the bandwagon with this post… Jalopnik and some others have started throwing out some articles about 3DBotMaker, but I can assure you I have been a fan for a few months now! Far predating these Johnny-come-lately’s!
Check out the 3DBotMaker page, you wont regret it. Watch a series and I’ll wager you find yourself cruising the toy section at WalMart or Target on your next shopping trip looking for a cool .99 ride. (For a nephew of course!)
I do have a concern, and it may seem hysterical that I am critical of anything they are doing. I am afraid they might be having their “Jump the Shark” moment with the Ferrari series. A little levity is great and I am not taking it too seriously. Without giving anything away… I’ll only say this, lets not think that people are here for the comedy… Its the racing that brought me in and continues to keep me hooked!
don’t fear the fiero my friend – crazy jimmy
That Fiero gained more respect from me than any other real-life Fiero ever did!!! What a performance!