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Scalextric 1:32 Ford GT-R American Le Mans Series

By David Popp, Model Railroader Video Plus producer
Published: June 10, 2011
Scalextric 1:32 Ford GT-R American Le Mans Series Robertson Racing

Product: Endurance racing is one of the more interesting challenges in motor sports. Capturing the modern spirit of the Le Mans-style race is Scalextric’s model of the Ford GT-R, based on the real-life counterpart built by Kevin Dorin in Lebanon, Ohio, for Georgia-based Robertson Racing.


Ford GT-R no. 40 is owned and driven by husband and wife team David and Andrea Robertson, as well as Robertson team driver David Murry. The car made it’s debut at the 56th running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, in Florida in 2008, and you can own and drive a 1:32 scale version yourself thanks to Scalextric. Incidentally, the car is still running strong in 2011, and has been joined by a second Robertson team GT-R, no. 4.


Performance:
The car looks fast, even in the box, and on the track it doesn’t disappoint. The modern Ford GT-R carries much of the traditional low, wide, and shapely styling of the original Ford GT40s from the 1960s. After reviewing dozens of photos and videos of the real car from the Internet, it appears Scalextric has gotten the model spot-on with paint, markings, and details. When it’s standing still, you’ll probably notice that the model also has quite a bit of interior detail, including a dash with gauges, a driver and nicely rendered steering wheel, and a detailed motor compartment.


The car looks fast, even in the box, and on the track it doesn’t disappoint. The modern Ford GT-R carries much of the traditional low, wide, and shapely styling of the original Ford GT40s from the 1960s. After reviewing dozens of photos and videos of the real car from the Internet, it appears Scalextric has gotten the model spot-on with paint, markings, and details. When it’s standing still, you’ll probably notice that the model also has quite a bit of interior detail, including a dash with gauges, a driver and nicely rendered steering wheel, and a detailed motor compartment.


The GT-R has a plastic shell, but it also includes a lot of etched-metal detail parts, such as grilles, vents, and disc brakes. These details look fantastic, but also make the model rather delicate. After my initial warm-up laps, I noticed that one of the disc brakes had come loose from the wheel and had worked itself between the axle and the chassis — and I hadn’t even crashed the car yet. To repair the errant disc, I had to completely disassemble the car to get the part re-seated.


One other delicate feature to point out is the spoiler. Following the prototype, the spoiler is very wide and mounted on two narrow pylons, set close to the center of the car. Wisely, Scalextric has made this a press-fit part, as it will surely be the first thing to go in the event of a wreck. While I tested my model with the spoiler on, in actual race conditions I’ll probably remove it to preserve it.


The car uses Scalextric’s sidewinder motor set up, which I prefer for it’s responsive driving characteristics. It includes one down-force bar magnet, and the chassis has three magnet positions. From the factory, the magnet is seated in the aft pocket, providing decent grip, but you can vary the effect by moving it to the center or forward positions — or you can add an additional magnet (not included) for extra adhesion, or remove it entirely.


I ran the car through its paces using Parma throttles on my four-lane test track made from SCX and Scalextric Classic. I paired the car with a Scalextric GT40 (fitted with silicon tires), which is one of the best handling cars my club races. The new GT-R handled the test well and put up identical times to the GT40. I suspect with the addition of silicon tires, it will even do a little bit better, making it a very competitive model.


Marketing:
The American Le Mans series was created in 1999, so it is a relative newcomer to the world of racing. Still, there’s a lot of good stuff about it on the web, including some YouTube videos of David Murry driving this car at various American Le Mans venues. Chances are some of your die-hard racing customers have watched one or more events on TV or have seen the videos. No matter, the GT-R is a cool car with a lot of detail, and you shouldn’t have difficulty finding buyers for it — particularly once word gets out about how well it handles. As for add-on sales, silicone tires will be a must for the serious racer, but I was able to get great results with just the stock tires straight out of the box. Also, you may want to have extra bar magnets on hand, but I’d be afraid that more than one additional magnet will slow the car noticeably.


The American Le Mans series was created in 1999, so it is a relative newcomer to the world of racing. Still, there’s a lot of good stuff about it on the web, including some YouTube videos of David Murry driving this car at various American Le Mans venues. Chances are some of your die-hard racing customers have watched one or more events on TV or have seen the videos. No matter, the GT-R is a cool car with a lot of detail, and you shouldn’t have difficulty finding buyers for it — particularly once word gets out about how well it handles. As for add-on sales, silicone tires will be a must for the serious racer, but I was able to get great results with just the stock tires straight out of the box. Also, you may want to have extra bar magnets on hand, but I’d be afraid that more than one additional magnet will slow the car noticeably.


All in all, I’m very pleased with the Ford GT-R, and I find Scalextric’s model a worthy counterpart to the firm’s traditional GT40.

VITAL STATS
Product: Ford GT-r American Le Mans Series Robertson Racing
Maker: Scalextric
Scale: 1:32
Stock No.: C3088
MSRP: $49.99
Availability: Hornby America

BOTTOM LINE
Great-running; fully assembled
Accurately detailed
Etched-metal detail parts