Tag Archives: LeMans

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

Die-cast: Autoart E-Type Jaguar

Beautiful E-Type one of Autoart’s best efforts 

One of my favorite early toys was a Jaguar XKE, a metallic red Matchbox car. I loved it for its shape, that long lean hood and its rounded tail. It was exotic.jag1

I’m not alone in my love for the early 1960’s E-Type, it was a landmark design that stirred the automotive world, and still does. The E-Type was unveiled at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show to rave reviews and the early Series 1 Jags, made from 1961-’68, are noted collector cars, even if their electronics were a bit sketchy.

Now comes Autoart’s long-awaited version in 1:18 scale, and while it will be available in a variety of colors, the review model is a glorious Carmen Red – perfect!

jag5For the record, the rear-drive E-Type featured a 3.8-liter DOHC 6-cylinder engine with aluminum head and twin cams and three SU carbs. While it might not seem like much today, the Jag punched out 265 horses and delivered a top speed of 150 mph – exotic indeed. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart E-Type Jaguar

Die-cast: AutoArt’s McQueen Porsche Speedster

AutoArt nails McQueen’s racy Porsche 356 Speedster

If you’re old enough to remember the chase scene in “Bullitt” you’ll likely appreciate AutoArt’s fastidious recreation of any of Steve McQueen’s cars, including his 356 Porsche Speedster.

Love the taped up headlights!
Love the taped up headlights!

McQueen was a movie star first, then a racer of some note in the sports car world. Two of his movies, “Bullitt” and “LeMans” particularly highlighted his car handling abilities. Autoart already recreated that Bullitt Mustang and McQueen’s rare Jaguars XK-SS. Now it delivers a glossy black Porsche 356 Speedster, with a white No. 71 on the doors and hood, just as McQueen raced it (see photo below, right).
The car’s shape and simplicity are well modeled with perfect proportions and fine detail. For instance the headlights are taped as the car was raced, plus there are chromed screens by the tiny bulbous running lights up front. Autoart also did a superb job with the chrome work on the Porsche, including chrome-ringed taillights and thin dual exhausts, along with chrome trim along the Speedster’s sides, top and bottom. Even the chrome door handles are realistic as are the wipers and a tiny round windshield-mounted mirror. Continue reading Die-cast: AutoArt’s McQueen Porsche Speedster

Die-cast: LeMans-winning Ford GT40s

Ixo’s Ford GT40 models offer good detail, value in 1:43 scale

Ford’s GT40 is the most beautiful enclosed race car ever made, and one of the most successful too. That’s my design bias, but the GT40’s success can’t be argued.

Ixo's version of the 1967, '68, and '69 LeMans-winning Ford GT40s.
Ixo’s version of the 1967, ’68, and ’69 LeMans-winning Ford GT40s.

Funny thing, it was created to settle a score at the highest levels of the automotive world. In the early 1960s Henry Ford II was rebuked in efforts to buy Ferrari and declared war on the Italian sports car maker and race team. The GT40, originally with a Lola chassis and various Ford V8 engines, was his weapon. By 1964 the first GT40 was raced at the Nurburgring 1000km endurance race and then the 24 Hours of LeMans, where three were entered and one led. All failed to finish. Yet ultimately the GT40 would win four straight LeMans 24-hour endurance races from 1966 through 1969, a remarkable run that ended Ferrari’s reign as the LeMans champ. Ferarri has not won LeMans since.With the annual endurance race being run in late June, this is a good time to look at what the diecast world offers regarding the only successful U.S. manufacturer’s race efforts. Continue reading Die-cast: LeMans-winning Ford GT40s

Slot.it Porsche 911 GT1 EVO98

Detail, performance mark new Porsche as a winner

Slot car racers who prefer to run something different and value fine body detail, along with performance will love this crisp white Porsche 911 GT1 EVO98 from Slot.it.slotit1

Slot.it is known for its strong lineup of LeMans and GT racers and this one is from the 1998 Oschersleben 500, the opening round of the FIA GT Championship season, in Germany. This white and red beauty run by the Zakspeed team finished fourth overall with German drivers Alexander Grau and Andreas Scheld at the wheel.

The car was all new in 1998 to take on the likes of the uber successful Mercedes-Benz CLK GTRs on their better Bridgestone tires. Zakspeed was running less competitive Pirelli tires that season. But none of that will matter with the Slot.it version. Continue reading Slot.it Porsche 911 GT1 EVO98