Interview with Marc Stouten
"The current track exists now more than one year. I have decided to build a new track. I have so many ideas."
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Marc Stouten, 46 years old and process chain manager by profession, married and father of a daughter of 16.
Are you a car enthusiast? Do you like real racing?
I am not a car enthusiast and not a follower of motor racing. It may sound paradoxical for a slot racing but that’s the way it is.
How did you become a slot racer?
Through a colleague I came in contact with slot car racing. He took me along to the racetrack of the Almere Slot Racing Club. My friend was a member of this club.
I was involved in model trains at that time. I like to build scenery. The model train hobby is a bit static. I saw that it was possible to combine modeling and the action of slot car racing: a new passion was born.
After discovering the website of www.oldslotracer.com I decided to stop with the model train and build a wooden slot car track. I created three tracks in four years at the attic. A few years ago I was able to make a big basement. I moved the track to this place and called my track Souterrain, which means basement.
You are now racing on wood. Did you have previously a plastic track?
No, I recognized the advantages and challenges of wood versus plastic and therefore I made the right choice for wood. I am quite handy. Through your site I weighed the pros and cons and to build in that time my first Track. Another Dutch slot car racer, HenkG, began also to make a track of wood. He is a blogger to so I could follow the progress of his track. You learn to build a track by trying all kinds of techniques.
How did you start to the theme of your track?
Through Oldslotracer.com I got the idea for the Targa Florio theme. Also through your site I think! Nostalgia of the 70s attracted me enormously. For example, I never watch Formula 1 on TV. No time and it don’t excite me. The race models of the time I find cool and street racing appealed to me. It is also an additional challenge to build scenery for this kind of track.
You said this is your third version of the Targa Florio track? What made you decide to break the previous two?
I think I'm a perfectionist and I like to stay creative. I incorporate new design in the designs. For example, I created a village and let the cars race by the fountain. The lanes also crawl towards each other.
The current track exists now more than one year. I have decided to build a new track. I have so many ideas.
Every year you organize a race with other known Dutch slot car racers. How did this come about?
Through my blog I met Marc Brevoord, as Paul HenkG, PorsheHarry and Steffer, They all came separately for some racing. Marc and I then came up with the idea to organize Souterrain (basement) Cup. There were to reasons: to encourage use of the track and because it is great fun. Porsche Harry called on his blog the competition ‘The Cup of bloggers’. A nice invented name as the representation of at that time active bloggers with a home tack. The racers came from all over Holland.
What are your favorite slot car brands? What is the last slot car you bought?
NSR and Slot.it are my favorite brands and my favorite car is the Porsche 917. The Ford GT40 NSR is my last purchase.
What equipment you use for your track?
I use the Slot-it controls. I use adjustable laptop power supplies. Lap timing is done with the computer program Lap timer.
In one of the houses is the projector is located. The results and lap times are projected at the wall.
Do you have a case for your cars and tools?
Yes, I have a classic toolbox. It contains parts, cars, pictures and my main controller. p>
A strong point of your race is the beautiful mural. How did this come about?
Ron Harries is a good friend of mine. I know him from a passion we share: speed cycling. Art Painting is his hobby and sometimes does odd jobs. He knew about my track in the attic and I informed him about the plan to make a track in the basement. At a birthday party Ron offered me to make the painting.
Together we searched for photos through Picasa. We created a panorama of familiar places and typical landscapes of Sicily. He spent several months in my basement during the weekends. He was painting and I started to build the track.
Where readers can follow you?
About six years I started my own blog and came in contact with slot car racers around the world. I regularly write about slot car racing on my blogspot.
Who would you like to see on SlotcarAcademy.com?
I suggest interviewing Marc Brevoord. This is the guy who is co-hosting the yearly competition at my track. He is making his own tires. These tires I use at my track too.
SlotcarAcademy was honored to visit Marc Stouten.
You feel like Italian atmosphere when you enter The Basement
The impressive racetrack and mural take you to Sicily; the scenes of the Targa Florio. The Targa Florio was a famous race held annually since 1906 on a street circuit in Sicily. The race went over mountain passes and through villages. And not without risk! The last official race was in 1977, because there were too many fatalities. Then the race was turned into the Targa Florio Rally.
The track lanes come closer together at the village square and before the mountain climb. The one with the most guts or the one who forgets to brake, win at these point on the track. It may also happen that a slot car is pushed unintentionally from the track, but that's no problem. You say sorry, wait for the car to be back in the slot and go racing again. In The Basement the racers go sporty with each other; no Sicilian mafia procedures in this enclave in the South Holland.
Landscaping is an art
Marc has an incredibly good eye for nice scenes such as a village square with people. Around the track you can spot beautiful handmade trees, an ice-cream man, road, kilometer posts, boats, flowers with old ladies, an Abarth with bad luck, a church and a farm. The charming Italian-looking houses have beautiful red roofs. "Ah, just cardboard with a lick of paint," said Marc himself about.
This version of the Targa Florio racetrack has been aborted. Marc decided it was time for a new layout. The new racetrack was built in June 2015. Obviously SlotcarAcademy will report back.
Published: 25 June 2015
By Jan Willem van Capelleveen / @jwvcapelleveen