Tag Archives: Formula 1

Diecast: Autoart’s McLaren Senna

Beautiful Senna model designed for speed, car lust …

If beauty be only skin deep, so be it, especially if that object of visual lust is a mid-engine McLaren Senna, be it a throbbing full-size version or a silent 1:18 diecast scale model snug in a showcase.

Autoart has an encyclopedic knowledge of beauty and sensuous supercar lines and it’s not afraid to use it to create products of automotive amore. Its current 11 on a scale of 10 is the Trophy Mira (orange for us neophytes) McLaren Senna, which is based on the studly McLaren 720S, not a bad place to start.

The History

Formula 1 fanatics are fully aware of both McLaren and Senna, as in Ayrton Senna, the three-time F1 World Driving Champion, who as luck would have it, won all his titles driving for the McLaren F1 team. The Brazilian was often touted as the best F1 driver ever, but certainly of the late 1980s to 1994 when he was killed in the San Marino Grand Prix, driving not a McLaren, but a Williams F1 car.

McLaren holds exclusive rights to the Senna name for automobiles and that moniker is money in the bank for prestige, even 25+ years after Senna’s death.

Of course any McLaren supercar would live up to the Senna reputation for speed, but this model was designed to be extremely light to set faster times than previous models, so racy on its face. It touts a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes 789 horsepower while using a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Weight is a miniscule 3,029 pounds. Thrust? McLaren claims 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds, a 9.9 second quarter mile. You get the picture.

To keep it light there’s a carbon fiber monocoque chassis and to insure it’s stuck to the ground at 211 mph, its top speed, McLaren melds a double-element rear wing to its tail. In addition to downforce it also acts as an air brake (remember that on the 1967 Indy STP Turbine?) The wing is slightly adjustable even on Autoart’s model.

Up on the roof is a prominent air scoop, plus giant side air intakes to keep the engine and brakes cool at race speeds. Then there are the dihedral doors that fold up to allow the driver and a daring passenger to slip inside, and then windows set within the side windows, again for aero purposes. Folks of a certain age will remember similar windows on the racy 1990s Subaru SVX.

And if you have to ask, yes there are Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, and all for just a smidge over $1 million, asking price. Just 500 Sennas were to be made, the first delivered in 2018 and they don’t make them quickly at McLaren’s plant in Woking, Surrey, England.

The Model

               Autoart on the other hand has created five color variations of the Senna — blue, gray, black, white, and this glorious nearly glow-in-the-dark metallic orange. Seeing as how McLaren’s early racers were all a bright papaya orange, this seems the most appropriate color and with its black cockpit area, rear wing, chin spoiler, ground effects trim and rear diffuser, plus gloss black wheels the overall visual can leave one gobsmacked.

               All that black trim, nose to tail, around the inset thin lights, the nose before the cockpit and panels beneath the wing’s struts are mock carbon fiber patterned to resemble the real deal. A small rectangular McLaren nameplate graces the sleek nose and even the side mirror housings resemble carbon fiber.

               Roof and window trim are all gloss piano black with all the proper seams and outlines of the door hinges, those inserted side windows within windows, and the clear panels above each seat. There also are clear inserts in the doors, again trimmed in black gloss. In theory, one could see the driver and passenger’s legs through those panels.

               Inside the massive side air scoops are black mesh screens and then tiny carbon fiber aero devices like Gurney flaps on the inner edges of the rear fenders to direct air up to that monster two-tier rear wing.

               Through the octagonal rear hatch window one can see the top of the twin-turbo V8, just enough to not feel cheated that the rear bonnet doesn’t open. Go all the way to the tail and there’s a six-sided black opening under the wing with what would be a trio of black titanium exhaust pipes. Imagine their rich exhaust tone on that million dollar baby.

               Below that is more black mesh grillework on the tail, a McLaren nameplate and the black multi-finned diffuser. A joint McLaren/Senna plate also labels the rear, where a license might go if you were using your Senna on the street, not just the track.

               Wheels are gloss black with a McLaren swish logo on the hub and enormous drilled disc brakes behind with blue calipers. Tires are thick treaded rubber properly labeled Pirelli P-Zeros, so you know they were designed for maximum adhesion.

               Senna’s interior is easy to view and easy on the eyes as you flip up the dihedral doors. The door frame reinforces the fact the McLaren has a carbon fiber cockpit with another McLaren nameplate and logo on the bottom of the frame. Seats are a soft black plastic to somewhat mimic the Alcantara leather seats of the street machine.

               Autoart nails the dash detail too with carbon fiber touches, chrome air vents, a flat-bottom three-spoke race steering wheel and a big vertical screen aimed at the driver for ease of use. The model features black cloth seatbelts with metal clasps to further aid realism and yes, there’s a Senna logo on the passenger-side dash.

               Short of working lights and engine this is as close to a perfect recreation of one of the most beautiful cars in the world. Yet even at $260 it’s much more affordable for your collection than plunking down for a 1:1 scale, even if it were slightly used and needed new tires. You know it would.  

Vital Stats: McLaren Senna (Trophy Mira/Orange)

The wing flattened out.

Maker: Autoart
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: 76078
MSRP: $260

The wing slightly angled.

Link: Autoartmodels.com

Die-cast: Brumm Mercedes W196 and Ferrari 500F2

Brumm’s latest among its greatest 1/43 releases  …

Italy’s Brumm excels at making sharp-looking vintage racers in 1/43 scale at an affordable price.

These are fine collectables because they come handsomely packaged, easily stackable, and nicely detailed, often for less than $45. Last issue we told you of the 50th Anniversary release of a slightly weathered Porsche 917K in that price range.

Now Brumm delivers two 1950s Formula 1 racers, a Mercedes and Ferrari driven by world champs Alberto Ascari and Juan Manual Fangio. Unique to these releases is the figure of Ascari at the wheel of his 1953 Ferrari 500F2.   Continue reading Die-cast: Brumm Mercedes W196 and Ferrari 500F2

Die-cast: CMC’s 1954-55 Lancia D50

CMC’s latest F1 car a stunning Lancia D50 … CMC Lancia D50

Lancia was a late-comer to Formula 1 racing after World War II, but it had the genius of engineer  Vitorrio Jano as its secret weapon. He had created the successful Alfa Romeo 8C pre-war.

So in late 1954 Lancia’s beautiful and unusual D50 joined the F1 circuit for the last race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix where 2-time world driving champ Alberto Ascari put it on the pole with the fastest time.

While setting a fast pace with a record lap, it wasn’t reliable and lasted only 9 laps. But what had captured the racing public’s interest and other designers’ attention was its design with two outrigged pannier gas tanks, its off-center engine mount and low seating position to better distribute weight.

Now CMC nails the design in 1/18 scale with another hand-built metal die-cast model consisting of 1,598 parts, and no, I didn’t count them all.

The History

Gianni Lancia wanted to be a part of the F1 racing world so had Vano design the radical D50. Unfortunately it basically bankrupted his car manufacturing company by mid-1955 and he handed over the team to Enzo Ferrari. Continue reading Die-cast: CMC’s 1954-55 Lancia D50

Small scale slot car track with big details

The ultimate experience for F1 fanatics

Slot Mods USA creates what could be considered the holy grail of slot car layouts for racers. I’m in for sure on that. These guys create over the top layouts which are all hand-crafted and museum quality. They create slot car tracks from vintage to modern-day circuits. The layouts guys like me and Mark dream about. Slot Mods crafts each layout utilizing styrofoam and construction-grade lumber, plus materials like marble, leather or exotic hardwoods. The details are amazing and looked after by everyone from fabricators to model artists. Slot Mods seems to keep crafting ones that are better and better each time. Their latest is an F1-commissioned build of the Canadian Grand Prix. Continue reading Small scale slot car track with big details

Slot Car: Ninco Formula 1 (Jordan)

Ninco, now being distributed exclusively by Professor Motor in the U.S., is reintroducing a series of five somewhat generic Formula 1 cars to its lineup, a good product for clubs or groups that enjoy racing identical cars.

These racers resemble the former SCX F1 cars in that the front suspension looks real, with A-arms and wheels that are steerable, being controlled by the slot’s movement. The body resembles a Team Jordan F1 car from the late 1990s to early 2000s and in fact is labeled Jordan on the chassis.

Open wheel racers will welcome the new models.NINCO FORMULA 1

Performance:

This racer is sturdy and likely the body will hold up well in heavy use. The nose wing is thick and well attached to the body shell as is the rear wing, which is molded into the bodywork, so less likely to snap off when the car de-slots. Its mirrors are the most likely body part to be lost over time.

That said, as with the former SCX models with steerable front wheels and a more detailed suspension, I suspect the thin suspension parts will snap after several heavy hits into other cars or during a serious de-slot. The good news is the cars will run even with damaged front suspensions, they just won’t look as realistic while on track.

Ninco uses its normally peppy NC-14 Speeder motor that generates 20,600 rpm. Straight line speed should be good, but on my test track the car was more than a full second slower than a similar Scalextric open-wheel car, with silicone tires. Silicones usually will cut a half-second off a lap time.

The standard tires here are a very hard rubber and grip is minimal. They also are quite stiff, so hard to remove from the wheel, but you’ll want to purchase proper silicones to give the car more grip. That helps in turns, but also in putting power to the track in a straight line.

The magnet Ninco uses is small too and sits in front of the inline motor instead of behind it, as in many other slot car chassis. That placement doesn’t help give it good rear tire grip or balance, so likely with slicks the Ninco will still be a hair slower that competitors. Again, if your buddies are all racing the other Ninco F1 cars, that won’t matter.

For gearheads, literally, the Ninco F1 has a 2.48mm axle and 9-tooth pinion and 24-tooth crown gear. The car weighs 73 grams and feels quite solid.

The test car was red with white and black trim on the wings and car’s sides and engine cowling. This is car No. 3, while the other cars in this series are No. 5 in black with slight yellow trim, No. 2 in blue and white, No. 15 in yellow and black, and an all-white model you can decorate yourself.

Bottom line:

Experienced slot car racers will recognize this as a somewhat simplified F1 car, but a good looking car for a newcomer. But you’ll need silicone tires and likely an additional magnet to keep it firmly planted on the track and able to use its power.

FAST Stats

Product: Formula 1 (red)

Maker: Ninco (now available from Professor Motor and hobby stores)

Scale: 1:32

Stock No.: 150697

MSRP: $64.99 (you can usually find this for sale in the $40-45 range)

 

Die-cast: Autoart F1 Porsche 804

Autoart’s rare F1 Porsche ‘simply’ beautiful

How rare is Autoart’s new silver F1 Porsche 804?porsche1

Well, consider that you probably didn’t know that Porsche ever raced Formula 1, and won. Consider too that only four of these cars were ever made.

Thanks to Autoart, that number is now growing, of course these are 1:18 scale diecast, so not quite as fast, or as dangerous as the originals.

A little background
In the early 1960s, the racing world, led by Formula 1 in Europe, was transitioning from front-engine to rear-engine cars. Porsche joined Ferrari, Lotus and others in developing new chassis and engines to show off their design capabilities.

Porsche was only in it for a short time, with moderate success in 1961 with its 718 and 787 models. But in 1962 Porsche created the slim 804 racer that won Porsche its one and only F1 race, the French Grand Prix at Rouen. American Dan Gurney drove the car, beating Tony Maggs’ Cooper by a lap. Gurney also won the non-points Solitude Grand Prix shortly thereafter.

porsche 4This is Autoart’s version of that racer’s sister car, as driven by Joakin (Jo) Bonnier at Germany’s Nurburgring later that summer. The Gurney car also is available from Autoart, and both models also are available with driver figures. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart F1 Porsche 804