1981 TCR Driving Sets

Total Control Racing (TCR) was a toy brand from Ideal which debuted in the late 1970s, similar to slot car sets, with approximately HO scale cars (and smaller scale semi-trailer trucks) that operated on a slotless track.

The plastic track contained lanes of three metal strips about 2 mm (0.08 inch) wide, which made contact with a configuration of two brass pads on the underside of the cars, providing power. The brass pads could be arranged in one of two possible configurations by the user. Which configuration a car was set to would determine which two of the three power providing metal strips were being drawn from and, hence which of the two controllers was for which car, The plastic track had two such lanes, and cars could change lanes with the flick of a switch on the controller. TCR sets came with “jam cars”, a slow moving drone which both racers had to avoid crashing into. Like Matchbox’s Powertrack, some cars featured lights.

The first sets consisted of up to 4 Formula 5000 cars. The track (which stayed the same throughout successive generations of cars) was wide enough for two cars side by side and had raised edges along both sides to prevent the cars from leaving the track. No more than one or two cars could be controlled and raced. They were controlled by the user by means of a trigger controller which also carried a toggle switch. When switched up, the car would travel in the outermost lane of the track, when switched down, the car would travel in the innermost lane of the track. By this means, the user could genuinely overtake their opponent by switching lanes at the correct moment. The two remaining cars were ‘Jam Cars’ which would run around the track when either or both of the trigger controllers were depressed. The Jam Cars were slower than the racing cars and had front wheels that were fixed to steer permanently left or right. This meant that a Jam Car was relatively easy to pass, or manoeuvred automatically out of the way as you approached (as a lapped vehicle would in a race).

Info gleaned from Wikipedia

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