Total Control Racing, or TCR, is a revolutionary slotless
car system introduced in 1970s in the United States by Ideal
. Differently from standard slotcar
cars can change lanes during the race, proportionating a totally new interactive experience. They are also smaller than standard slotcars: in 1/64th scale
, they have approximately the same size of Matchbox
The hand controllers used in TCR have, besides the analog trigger for controlling the speed, a switch used to invert the direction of the electric engine in the car. An interesting differential-based mechanism drives the car to the left or right lane based on the direction of the engine.
Besides two player-controlled cars, TCRs also have "jam cars", which run in the opposite direction, adding dynamism to the race. Popular jam cars include a huge 18-wheeler and Zigzag cars, which periodically change lanes.
A lot of really cool accessories were also available, from ruined bridges and ramps (TCR cars are free in the track, so they can jump) to the Super Booster, used to make races between slow and very fast cars possible.
After some years, Ideal was bought by Tyco, which released new models of TCR, featuring much faster cars but, unfortunately, a smaller number of accessories.
The last TCR models were sold in early 1990s, in France. They also have been produced during the 1980s in Brazil, England and Spain.