Tag Archives: LeMans

Die-cast: Autoart’s 2014 LeMans, Toyota TS040 Hybrid

Toyota’s LeMans hybrid racer looks good in 1/18 scale …Autoart Toyota TS040 Hybrid

LeMans prototype racers press the envelope of styling and power to compete at the highest levels of the World Endurance Championship that includes the famous 24 Hours of LeMans in France.

Audi has dominated that race for the past decade and Porsche has had its run too. But a few years back Toyota decided to enter the fray and take on the big boys with its TS030. But it took two years to work out the bugs and the hybrid model TS040 won the WEC manufacturer’s championship in 2014.

Autoart has created another masterful reproduction in 1/18 scale, here with the No. 7 Toyota racer that was driven in 2014 by noted endurance drivers, Alexander Wurz, Kazuki Nakajima,  and Stéphane Sarrazin.

The History

Toyota’s foray into prototype racing for the endurance title started in 2012 with the TS030 hybrid. But it was the TS040 that finally moved the Japanese car maker to the top of the LMP1 podium. Autoart Toyota TS040 HybridThe TS040 used a naturally-aspirated V8 that featured a supercapacitor system, or energy-retrieval system, on the rear and front axle to give it 58% more power than its predecessor. This also gave the racer 4-wheel-drive, a major benefit in an endurance car that often has to race in lousy weather.

The car features a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb chassis and its 3.7-liter 90-degree V8 along with the energy-retrieval system generates nearly 1000 horsepower – 986 hp to be exact. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s 2014 LeMans, Toyota TS040 Hybrid

Die-cast: Chevy Corvette C7 Z06

Autoart creates a stellar Corvette C7 Z06 …Autoart Chevrolet Corvette C7 Z06

Vettes are cool even if their current buyers are skewing gray and retired.

Still, you gotta have a little coin to own a new Vette, especially the Z06 model, one of the racier versions. A new one will cost you $79,500, so that’s why Autoart’s 1/18 scale version seems so reasonable at $160. Plus this one won’t run up your insurance payment of deplete your monthly fuel allowance!

Autoart now has several color choices in the newest Chevrolet Corvette, the C7, in Z06 trim. Our test model was a brilliant medium metallic blue. Some might call it electric blue.

The History

We all know the story. Chevy launched Corvette, a two-seat sports car in 1953. It was underpowered and not a big hit initially. But as its power grew, and its refinement with it, the Vette became a go-to car for club racers across North America and then serious racers who put what are now high-horse beasts, through their paces at the 24 Hours of LeMans in France.Autoart Chevrolet Corvette C7 Z06

Now in its seventh generation, the C7 is as refined, yet racy as any street-legal sports car out there, and a darn sight less pricey than many. The C7 debuted as a 2014 model and rumors persist that the next version will be mid-engine powered, but the C7 already abandoned Corvette’s roll-away headlights. Continue reading Die-cast: Chevy Corvette C7 Z06

LeMans Ford GT40: They did more than get it back on the road

Restorations take a lot of time and cash …

By Paul Daniel

.. I’m short of both right now. Getting a forgotten car back on the road is one thing but getting it back on the track it another. Watch this video where the iconic 1966 Le Mans-winning P/1046 GT40 shared by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon returned to the track at Lime Rock Park. It took almost two years to make this happen. Enjoy.

2015 Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD

Beautiful Jaguar XJL delivers power, luxury + AWD

Even in snow this Jag handles like a sports sedan.
Even in snow this Jag handles like a sports sedan.

Sometimes in life we are lucky, and I was all of that as I slipped behind the wheel of Jaguar’s gleaming limo of a sedan, the XJL.

This is a beautiful car aimed at the beautiful people that have the money to spend on luxury and looks.

It’s a long car, hence the L in its name. Yet the XJL looks lean and muscular, like an Olympic sprinter ready to pounce on the competition at the start of a race. This is a spirited road car riding on a 124.3-inch wheelbase. Such length puts it in the league of full-sized SUVs, inside and out. UW’s starting five basketball players could ride comfortably in the XJL. And this was my second ride in such a luxury liner in the past year. Lucky me!

Overall the car is 206.8 inches long. By comparison, the sizeable Lexus LS460 AWD I drove just a few weeks back is 6.8 inches shorter in length, and it was plenty big.

jag6Yet unlike the Lexus with its smooth gentle giant of a 5.0-liter V8, Jaguar tucks a 3.0-liter V6 under its long hood. Ah, but the secret is that Jaguar supercharges its V6 to create 340 horses, 20 shy of the Lexus. But here’s the deal. Jaguar always has an eye on performance and keeps the XJL trim at 4,153 lbs., or about 500 lbs. lighter than the Lexus. Continue reading 2015 Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD

Die-cast: Autoart 1:18 Aston Martin One-77

Autoart nails sexy Aston Martin One-77aston1

Fortunately not many cars cost nearly $2 million, but then the rarity of such cars makes them all the more curious and collectable.

That’s especially true with smooth, slinky, sexy hot rods like Aston Martin’s limited production One-77. Only 77 were made from 2011 through 2012. Now Autoart unveils its version in 1:18 scale as part of its Signature Series, and what a beauty it is.

The History

Talk about a “halo” car, the One-77 is an extremely limited production super car of sorts created by England’s Aston Martin. It was an exercise in art and automotive technology first teased at the Paris Auto Show of 2008 and fully revealed at the Geneva show the next year.

aston2Its highlights include a carbon fiber monocoque chassis with hand-made aluminum body to help it click the scales at just 3,594 lbs. That’s unusual, but Aston Martin, which won the 24 Hours of LeMans back in 1959 with Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori at the wheel, has always been a purveyor of power. So the One-77 drops a gutsy 7.3-liter, 750-horse naturally aspirated V12 under its long clean swept-back hood.

That’s one of the most powerful naturally aspirated engines ever and reportedly will push the One-77 to 220 mph and 0-60 mph in about 3.5 seconds. Quick indeed, but some super cars have bettered that mark already. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart 1:18 Aston Martin One-77

Die-cast: Automodello 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mark I

tiger

Get Smart, you’ll like this Sunbeam Tiger in any color

Baby Boomers who still can’t get the “Get Smart” theme song out of their heads will recall Maxwell Smart racing to a stop in a red Sunbeam Tiger at the start of every show. The song ran on while Max walked down stairs and a long hall of opening and closing sliding doors.

That TV gig was the Tiger’s celebrity hook in 1965, but at its heart, what made this remake of Sunbeam’s Alpine roadster special, was a Ford V8 under its hood. But Tiger’s celebrity, its life, was short. The powerful sports car was made from 1964 to mid-1967 in West Bromwich, England.

Continue reading Die-cast: Automodello 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mark I

Die-cast: Automodello 1966 Fitch Sprint

Automodello creates John Fitch’s souped up Corvairsprint1

John Fitch is NOT a household name. But he was an incredible person.

Fitch not only was a leading American sports car racer in the 1950s, racing at LeMans six times and finishing third once, winning big name events such as the 12 Hours of Sebring and 1955 Mille Miglia in Italy, but he was an inventor. Fitch, who lived to be nearly 100, held patents on a variety of safety devices, much of it to do with racing. He was a car guy, through and through.

In the 1960s he fell in love with Chevrolet’s Corvair as a possible sports car to be raced. He had already been the first manager of Chevy’s Corvette racing team. So Fitch put his design and racing experience into a series of customized Corvairs that became known as Fitch Sprints.

sprintAutomodello, the maker of fine resin models of unusual and rare cars, now rolls out its own 1:43 version of the 1966 Sprint, and it’s as sharp as Fitch was creative. Continue reading Die-cast: Automodello 1966 Fitch Sprint

Die-cast: Norev 1970 Porsche 917K

Norev creates colorful 1:18 Porsche 917K racer

Racing fans, especially those dialed into the LeMans scene of the 1970s know Porsche 917s were king of the hill, or racetrack, as the case may be.

Cool paint scheme!
Cool paint scheme!

These Germanic wonders created massive horsepower and their sleek lines and body work created massive downforce. They were the unchallenged endurance racers of the time.

Norev, a French die-cast model maker, introduces a new 1:18-scale collection of 917s that raced at LeMans in France, along with other noted circuits worldwide. The review car was the blue and green Martini & Rossi Racing Team’s No. 35, driven by Gerard Larrousse and Gijs Van Lennep in the 6-hour endurance race at the famous Watkins Glen circuit in 1970.

The History

The 917K was the highly successful short-tail version of the 917, winning the 24 Hours of LeMans in both 1970 and 1971. The long-tail models originally introduced by Porsche in 1969 were highly unstable. The short tail Kurzheck version, which is where the K comes from, ran away with the sports car championships for both years.

In 1971 a 917K was clocked at a top speed of 243 mph at LeMans and was the presumed victor, even before the race was run. The Martini team was a popular and successful entrant for years and this model is of Martini’s “psychedelic” livery that featured a wild blue and bright green paint scheme that excited fans and journalists, even though it was not, ultimately, a winner. Continue reading Die-cast: Norev 1970 Porsche 917K

Die-cast: Spark 1:43 DeltaWing 12 Hours of Sebring

Spark delivers uniquely shaped DeltaWing racer

Every once in a while a new shape surprises the racing world. In the late 1950s and early ‘60s it was the rear-engined F1 racer that eventually took the Indianapolis 500 by storm. In the 1970s it was the 6-wheeled Tyrrell F1 racer. Today it’s the DeltaWing.delta1

This shiny silver racer features a triangular shape with two wheels close together in its needle-like nose and a wider rear-end complete with a vertical wing, so a delta wing shape. Spark Models now brings the shape to an eye-catching 1:43 diecast model that will stand out in any racecar collection.

The History

DeltaWing, the racer, started on the drawing board of designer Ben Bowlby back in 2009 and originally was a proposed chassis for IndyCar, which was looking to revamp its racecar package. While it didn’t fly among the upper brass there, likely because it wasn’t a fully open-wheeled racer, it did gain support in the racing world.

Ostensibly the DeltaWing’s design is aimed at cutting drag so it is faster in a straight line and also more fuel efficient, plus reducing weight for better fuel economy. Its nose is thin with the front wheels creating just a 2-foot wide track, while the rear tires’ track is about 5 ½-feet wide. You’d think the car would be unsteady, but it’s not and turns crisply into turns.

delta2Major IndyCar team owner Chip Ganassi funded the DeltaWing project and Dan Gurney’s noted All-American Racers built it to be entered as an experimental racer at the 24 Hours of LeMans in 2012. Nissan provided the engine, originally a 1.6-liter turbo I4. At LeMans it qualified 29th out of 50+ cars and was running well before being involved in an accident with another racer. Continue reading Die-cast: Spark 1:43 DeltaWing 12 Hours of Sebring

Die-cast: CMC 1969 Ferrari 312P Spyder

CMC’s new Ferrari a masterful recreation of a racing beauty

ferrari1By 1969 Ferrari had already been embarrassed by Ford and its GT40 for several years at LeMans and at various other endurance racing venues. It also had boycotted the 1968 sports car endurance season after its 4.0-liter 330 P4 was banned, after winning the 1967 championship.

So hopes were high when the proud Italian racing team rolled out the 312P Spyder and put open wheel hot shoes Mario Andretti and Chris Amon in its cockpit. This racer was based on Ferrari’s successful Formula 1 racer, the 312. The P here stands for Prototype and behind the driver was Ferrari’s 3.0-liter naturally aspirated V-12, that’s where the 312 nomenclature comes from.

First time out Andretti put the car on the pole for the 12 Hours of Sebring and he and Amon managed to finish second overall, first in class. This gorgeous 1:18 scale CMC model is of that racer, chassis No. 0868. Two other 312P Spyders were made and raced, one being badly damaged in an accident and never returning to the track. By the time Ferrari got to LeMans, its intended target for the racer, it had decided to reconfigure the car with a covered cockpit, for better aerodynamics. CMC also offers that model, the Spyder Berlineta now.

Everything opens and the detail is fantastic, including the brass door hinges.
Everything opens and the detail is fantastic, including the brass door hinges.

The model

It’s hard to put too many superlatives in front of a description of any CMC model. This Ferrari 312P is both beautiful in its design execution and in the detail that CMC delivers in a model containing more than 1,000 diecast and brass parts.

First, its shape and Ferrari blood red finish are exquisite, plus the racer’s nose pops off to expose the finely detailed chassis, radiators, front suspension, copper lines, cooling intake hoses for the brakes and the steering mechanism. One surprise though, the wheels are fixed, not steerable. However, the wiring, plumbing and monocoque chassis are excellent. Continue reading Die-cast: CMC 1969 Ferrari 312P Spyder