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May 15, 2012

Slot cars: Scalextric Ford GT40

by Mark Savage

ford gt40, daytona, ford race carsFord’s GT40 is a legend that won the 24 Hours of LeMans four straight years, from 1966 through 1969. But there wasn’t just one GT40 design in that stretch.

The pre-1966 Mk I was probably the most beautiful, but the Mk II was the model that got Ford into the fabled LeMans’ victory lane, with Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon handling the driving.

Scalextric, which earlier created beautiful versions of the Mk I also offers the 1966 version of the Mk II, which features larger air scoops just behind the doors, plus two long scoops just behind the rear window edges on the rear deck, and one mid-deck.

In back the Mk II also differs from the original Mk I, with dual taillights and two photo-etched screens (on the model) covering the openings near the rear engine. It’s less sleek than the Mk I, but still looks fast.

As in real life, it IS a tad quicker than the original too. The tested car was the attractive gold No. 4, with bright green nose trim, modeled after the car driven by Mark Donohue and Paul Hawkins in the 1966 LeMans race, one of 13 GT40s in that race. Unfortunately, while GT40s swept the top 3 spots that year, No. 4 failed to finish. A differential failure put it out after 5 ½-hours.

The Slot Car:

Scalextric Ford GT40, Slot cars, ScalextricFinishing won’t be a problem for slot racers using this smooth-running GT40 though. This one has good top-end power thanks to the 18,000 rpm side-winder motor in its chassis. Although it displays more motor noise than my earlier Mk I, which still runs incredibly quiet.

Basic layout is the same as the earlier model, and the Mk II is the same body from the doors forward. However, the newer model includes a bulge in the driver’s side roof panel, affectionately known as the Gurney Hump, necessitated by the height of one of Ford’s top drivers, Dan Gurney. He and A.J. Foyt won the 1967 LeMans race in a GT40.

But functionally there’s a small change here, slightly larger magnet openings in the bottom of the car’s chassis, which seems to give it a bit more grip than the earlier model.

Running on my road course track I managed laps in the 5.78 second range compared to 6.0 for the older model. Top-end speed seems a bit better on the older model, but the Mk II is more stable in the corners. Put some racing slicks on this and it’ll dip to the 5.4 second range. By comparison, a Scalextric Porsche Boxster with slicks will do 5.35 seconds on my track. These are excellent times.

For racers who enjoy “night” racing on their tracks, the GT40 comes with extremely bright headlights and functional taillights too.

In slots, as in any type of racing, quicker is better, even if it’s just a 0.22 of a second! – Reviewed by Mark Savage

FAST Stats

Product: Ford GT40 Mk II, No. 4

Maker: Scalextric

Scale: 1:32

Stock No.: C3026

MSRP: $49.95

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

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