Unfortunately, I didn’t discover BluTrack until after I had already spent time, effort, and money collecting classic Hot Wheels orange track. Had I come across BluTrack prior, it might have changed some things…and I would of had a few more projects to work on too. Fortunately, the gracious people over at BluTrack sent me a starter kit to try out and see how it stacks up for diecast derby racing.
Out of the box
The kit I received was the starter kit, which consists of an 18-foot piece of BluTrack, a straightener bar, a suction cup, and some foam and velcro. The bar, suction cup, and other parts are really only needed when you’re using the track in your house and/or bending the track for loops, jumps, and so on. Since I had a derby track base already made, I just laid the track on that and tried it out. Naturally, the key thing about BluTrack is that it is made as a single piece. Unlike orange track, there are no pieces to connect and thus no joint gaps and no little plastic connectors to manage (and lose).
BluTrack is extremely flexible, which is an asset as much as it is a disadvantage. Since the track is all one giant piece of plastic, the BluTrack lives and dies by the temperature in which you’re racing. The BluTrack comes coiled up, which is great for easy storage, but that also means you have to give the whole thing a hot water bath in a bucket before you can start racing. The heat helps the plastic straighten out. The directions say to let it sit in the hot water for two minutes, which I did, but then had to put it back in for another five minutes before it would even come close to laying flat on the track.
Even then when the track was finally laying somewhat flat, there were spots in the track that were still some bumps from being coiled up. They were minor but in the downhill style racing like we’re doing, you need the track to be flat. I dropped a few cars down the track with the bumps and they jumped off the track spectacularly. I decided to let the track sit overnight and see if gravity could help out a little…which it did.
The next day the BluTrack was pretty much as flat, shy of one little curl at the end. The best spot with BluTrack is the hill-to-flat transition. Orange track is not known for bending well, but the BluTrack turns this little hazard into smooth sailing. With the track finally flat I was able to start some test races and then I realized something unfortunate…BluTrack is not Hot Wheels compatible.
And I’m not talking about the cars. You can’t connect Hot Wheels brand track or parts to BluTrack. For me this was unfortunate because the finish line I use is one from a Hot Wheels playset. Without a tab connector I couldn’t even try to attach the playset to the BluTrack. BluTrack is also wider than classic orange track, so even if there was a connecting option, the tracks wouldn’t line up well together. The same would go if you have a Hot Wheels brand starting gate or other add-on. My starting gate is homemade so it was custom built for my orange track.
I don’t have a lane timer for fancy finish line, but it seems like BluTrack is faster. This makes some sense since there are no joints and a smoother transition, so the cars aren’t losing any energy that way. However, because the BluTrack is wider than the orange track – by a good 1/4 inch – it means the cars do bounce from side to side more, which adds more friction and more distance traveled compared to the orange track. I can’t say for sure, but I’m inclined to say that the advantage of no joints and ease of transition is offset by the width of the track. Of course, this extra width makes it great if you want to race larger scale cars.
What I liked
- Smooth with no joints. Easily BluTrack’s greatest advantage is its single-piece construction. There are no track joints to worry about which translates into more speed, not to mention it makes the downhill transition a non-issue. It also means there aren’t any track pieces to lose and there’s no need for track connectors.
- Easy storage. The BluTrack coils up wonderfully so you can just throw it back in the box when you’re done playing.
- It’s wonderfully flexible. You can twist, bend, and loop BluTrack with ease. If you like running race track down your stairs, through your chairs, and under the dog, you’re not going to find a better track.
- Wider lanes. Wider lanes means you can run larger scale cars without any problems.
What I didn't like
- It’s hard to get flat. Unless you’re willing to nail the BluTrack down to a board, getting it to lay flat all the time is a concern. Since it stores coiled up and is quite susceptible to temperature, it’s hard to get it as flat as you want easily. The only solution I found was time…just let it sit for a while, maybe overnight, and it’ll probably run fine – you just have to account for that.
- Not Hot Wheels compatible. BluTrack does not play well with others, namely Hot Wheels brand parts. If you’re looking to add BluTrack to extend your orange track and playset parts, you’re out of luck.
- Wider lanes. If you’re not racing larger scale cars then the wider lanes can be a problem. The 1:64 Hot Wheels scale cars bump from side to side a bit too much.
The final verdict
Here’s the deal…if you’re looking for a track to casually play with at home making loops, jumps, twists and turns, then BluTrack can’t be beat. It’s a hell of a lot of fun to play with around the house. But if you’re wanting a track to make your derby racing better then BluTrack will require a lot of extra investment. Working with the BluTrack becomes secondary when you realize you’ll have to buy (or build) a custom starting gate and finish line to get a complete racing setup. If you don’t mind that, then BluTrack is probably the best option for racing. So unless I get a BluTrack compatible finish line, I’ll continue to use my orange track for derby races and keep the BluTrack for other fun and games.
I want to thank the guys at BluTrack for sending me the kit and letting me race with it. The BluTrack has given me some new goals and new projects to work on when it comes to derby racing. It’s a top quality product, there’s no question there. BluTrack will last and provide many hours (and years) of race track fun.
You can buy your own BluTrack starter kit for $40 at BluTrack.com along with other accessories and more fun race track ideas.