Product News

E-mail Article to a FriendPrint ArticleBookmark and Share

1:32 McLaren F1 GTR from Slot.it

By Mark Savage
Published: November 14, 2011
Slot.it-McLaren-F1-GTR
Product: The McLaren F1 GTR was born an exotic street car and grew into a Le Mans 24-Hour Endurance Race winner. Designer Gordon Murray penned the F1 design, using carbon fiber and other racing materials to make the McLaren a supercar for the streets in 1992 with a top speed of 240 mph powered by a BMW V12.

But by 1995 the GTR was being produced to race in Europe’s GT Series and it came out swinging, winning its first race at Jerez (Spain) and taking the top three qualifying spots. It also won the season championship. Yet more impressive, it won the biggest sports car race of 1995, Le Mans, setting the fastest top speed at 236 mph on the Mulsanne Straight and beating all prototype racers that year. Plus McLarens finished third, fourth and fifth, an amazing feat the first time out. Variations of the F1 GTR raced until 2005.

This Slot.it racer is of the 1998 F1 GTR raced at Le Mans by the EMKA Racing team of Bill Auberlen, Steve O’Rourke and Tim Sugden. It finished 4th. The team also used this McLaren in the 1998 British GT Championship, scoring two wins and grabbing the GT1 drivers title.

Performance: Slot.it knows how to create an attractive racer, and this is a great-looking 1:32 slot car with good body detail and a gorgeous red, white and yellow livery.

Detail includes front lights sporting Team EKMA decals and nicely rendered rear lights and exhausts. There’s a big air scoop on the roof that runs down into the interior back to the engine bay, and a detailed driver figure inside. Small details like a big windshield wiper, antenna on top and the yellow mirrors are finely executed too, but likely will break off with much racing.

Slot.it also goes so far as to print "Pirelli Pzero" on the tires, which adds an authentic look. And this model is spiffed up with yellow wheels with visible disc brakes.

I also like the Le Mans participation decal and sponsorship marks including Powered by BMW, EMI and the Harmon/Kardon audio systems logo on the nose. Across the windshield is a Tokyo Ueno Clinic marking and on the white rear wing a mysterious TNA, which stands for The Next Adventure.

Looks will help sell the car. However, Slot.it racers are expected to be fast, and this one delivers. Its 21,500rpm motor runs smoothly and gives it some pop off corners, and more importantly to many racers, its traction magnets are strong enough to make it competitive right out of the box. Plus, the car seems well balanced and not prone to major tail wagging.

I could turn laps on my track in the 5.58 range compared with 5.28 for a similar Scalextric Le Mans-style car, also new. So with some add-on sales of thin magnets you can get your customer’s car running as well, or better than their competition.

This model doesn’t come with silicone tires, but offers a soft compound that seems to deliver good grip. Plus the McLaren’s slot mechanism snaps back and centers quickly, so I found myself catching the car before it could spin off the track and out of the groove. The engine pod also is adjustable here, so you can tell customers they can loosen it to possibly increase speed, or even swap out the motor with a sidewinder, another possible add-on sale.

Marketing: As with other slot cars, uniqueness sells. Slot.it has it nailed with this car. Couple that with its fine looks and finish, solid motor and good traction, and customers will be happy with the results.

Market this with a display of other Le Mans models — Aston Martins to Ford GT40s from the major slot car makers. Be sure to stock magnets and extra motors for folks who want to work on their cars. Plus a good offering of lubricants for slot cars is always a good and easy add-on sale.

VITAL STATS
Product: McLaren F1 GTR
Maker: Slot.it
Scale: 1:32
Stock No.: 62146
MSRP: $69.99
Availability: Hornby USA

BOTTOM LINE
Gorgeous finish, detail
Strong motor
Chassis adaptable to new motor