The Scalextric 2017 Range Launch & New Toolings
Welcome to the first Test Track of 2017 - we hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year. We signed off our last edition, right at the end of 2016, noting that we wanted to pick up exactly where we left off in the New Year and get you the news straight from the Scalextric Development team. However, we also want to keep you updated on all the goings on here at Scalextric HQ too (well as best as we can, there’s an awful lot going on!).
A few days after our last blog, the 2017 Scalextric Range was launched on the website and you got to see what models would be coming your way for the next twelve months. There were a number of new tooling subjects, including those we had looked at here in Test Track. The Jaguar E-Type, Mercedes AMG GT3 and Ford GT40 Mk IV were all present and took their place amongst all the other announcements.
However, you’ll have noticed that the 2017 range also contained two other new tooling projects that may have come as a bit of a surprise. So this week we'll take a look behind-the-scenes at these models and give you the scoop on what we hope are popular parts of this year’s range. Alongside these two you’ll also have seen the Ford Daytona Prototype, which we’re hoping has been worth the wait. Whilst we don’t want to get trapped in semantics, we’ll consider this a new tooling project too and have a few bits to show you with this model.
But that’s not all for Scalextric Development news - for each 2017 announcement we made towards the end of last year, there's further updates to come on these new toolings. Plus we’ll run you through what was revealed in the 2017 Range Launch although it may not be the full story…
While covering as much as we can with these three new tools, new liveries and more, we also have the low down from a show a couple of Scalextric representatives attended in Birmingham two weeks ago. Luke from the Development team was there, putting in more hard graft for the cause - it was a great event and we’ve got the story and some photographs from the event for you.
Well then, let’s get to it.
Let’s begin by looking at the Ford Daytona Prototype. Initially announced as part of the 2016 range, it was moved into 2017 as part of the range changes we had to make fairly early on last year. However, it is a model we’re incredibly happy to bring you and we didn’t want this amazing tooling not to get the attention it deserves. You may even remember these photographs back from September’s Test Track when we received a sample into the office.
In an effort to improve safety (and make the whole endeavour cheaper) the Grand American Road Racing Association (GARRA) stopped supporting their two premier open cockpit classes in 2003, which were both heavily intertwined with Le Mans Prototypes. The resulting Daytona Prototypes were limited and controlled due to the rules laid down by GARRA, allowing only approved chassis and engines to be used.
Unlike the chassis, the engines were provided by major car manufacturers, with the block from an engine used on a production car. With 11 engines (currently) approved by GARRA, Ford supply two (the 5.0 L V8 and 3.5 L Twin Turbo V6) which teams are able to use.
The Ford engine with Riley XXVI chassis proved to be a winning combination in both the 2012 and 2015 24 Hours of Daytona (although it was a win each for the two engines Ford supplied to the series). In 2012 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian won, completing an impressive 2,709.16 miles and in 2015 Chip Ganassi Racing won managing 2,634.4 miles.
With two wins in the much-loved and first major race in the US motorsport calendar, these two teams’ victories were obvious choices for the new tooling.
The Scalextric model first came to mind during 2015 when we noticed that no other slot car manufacturer was producing a model of the latest Daytona Prototype. This popular and successful prototype was a favourite with motorsport fans around the world, particularly in the United States (of course).
Unfortunately, with the US-centric nature of these cars, we weren’t able to get out and visit one of the cars themselves. However we were able to get CAD data directly from Riley Technologies, which was used extensively in the design process. Starting in April 2015, the majority of the work was completed in June with the artwork guys then able to complete their part of the process.
We hope both the C3769 and C3841 (both available for pre-order now, with the website or your local stockist) are welcome additions to the range and for those of you who have been waiting for this car, we truly hope it is worth it!
Staying on the Ford theme, the Ford GT GTE has joined the Scalextric range for 2017. The latest addition to Ford’s hugely popular GT cars, the GTE has certainly announced itself on the world stage, giving incredibly impressive performances in 2016’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bagging first, third and fourth in the GTE Pro Class, the Ford GT GTE proclaimed that Ford was back at Le Mans.
The GTE and its victory at Le Mans marks 50 years since Ford won the 1966 24 Hours at Le Mans, with the Ford Mk II (where this legendary car finished in a Ford 1-2-3).
The Ford GTE has continued to perform with first and second places at both the 6 Hours of Fuji and 6 Hours of Shanghai respectively.
The Ford GT GTE instantly became something of interest to Scalextric as soon as it was announced. Ford’s return to Le Mans offered the perfect opportunity to carry on our connection with both of these legendary and world-renowned brands. The fact that the Ford GTE has performed so well is truly icing on the cake of what would have been undoubtedly sought-after models regardless.
Once again our Development team worked with CAD data supplied by Ford, which was extensive and perfect for us to use. While we always seek additional photography, the CAD data is the backbone of the project. Work began towards the end of the year, last year, and took just over a month.
Design actually proved pretty tricky as it became clear that producing the car as we normally do wouldn’t work for the Ford GT GTE. Instead our Development team have planned for the car to be produced in two halves, allowing the moulding to accurately represent the car. You can see on the video above that the buttresses coming down just after the doors would be almost impossible to model unless a separate mould was used. With our commitment to accuracy and detail, we wanted to do this car justice. We might even re-visit the development journey of the Ford GT GTE at a later date as it poses something quite unique for Scalextric.
The Ford GT GTE features in three places for 2017, with two solo cars as numbers 66 (C3857) and 69 (C3858), the American and British Ford Chip Ganassi Teams who finished third and fourth in Class respectively. Then in the Legends Twinpack (C3893A), the GTE number 68 GTE Pro Class winner joins the winning GT40 Mk II from 1966.
That leaves us with the last, but by no means least, new tooling for 2017, the Lancia Stratos. The Lancia Stratos HF (‘HF’ standing for High Fidelity) was a hugely successful rally car in the mid-to-late 1970s. Conceived through the concept car, the Stratos Zero, designed by Bertone, the Lancia Stratos prototype was revealed at the 1971 Turin Motor Show, a year after Bertone himself had driven their concept car underneath the barrier at Lancia (a great story we recommend you look up by the way!).
Using the Dino V6 engine, made by Ferrari, Lancia carried out some extensive testing with the Stratos, racing the car in several events in 1972 and 73. With the engine phased out in 1974, production of the car ended in 1975 when approximately 492 had been made.
The Lancia Stratos won the World Rally Championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976. While we’ll never know for sure, the Stratos may have gone on to win even more had problems within the Fiat group not shifted the focus away from the Stratos. Lacking support from Fiat, the Lancia Stratos still had success, with its last victory coming in 1981.
The Lancia Stratos was a car the Development team had been keen on for some time. Such a legendary rally car has admirers all over the world, including within the team here at Scalextric. Development of the Lancia Stratos began with a memorable trip to see one “in the flesh” here in the UK.
While most of these cars are now located in Europe, there is one here in the UK that Scalextric were able to visit, courtesy of Steve Perez. Mr. Perez is the founder of Global Brands and races in the Kick Energy Rally Team. He was incredibly accommodating to the Scalextric team and a date was soon fixed for their visit. After a long journey up north, and a mix up with a hotel room leading to no small amount of panic the night before, our intrepid twosome arrived at Steve’s garage. There they met Steve’s mechanic who took them to see the original 1974 Lancia Stratos. However, what they hadn’t realised was that Steve also had a number of other rally cars in his collection (and a helicopter!). By this point you can guess who was there and soon got distracted! In amongst Steve’s collection they saw a 1975 Datsun 240Z, a few Porsche 911s, a 1984 Audi quattro and Ford Mk II Escort, amongst others.
If that wasn’t enough, Steve was kind enough to not only arrive to say hello to the team, but he also took them to another garage where he showed them the Ford Focus WRC, originally driven by Marcus Gronholm. It was an amazingly unexpected but fantastic gesture and continues to reinforce that Luke gets all the fun!
The team thoroughly enjoyed meeting Steve and would like to thank him for letting us visit and photograph his special Lancia Stratos (amongst other things!). We hope the finished model will join his collection and that he enjoys it even a fraction as much as he does the real thing.
With research material in hand (or rather, saved to memory cards) design of the Lancia Stratos commenced in December 2015 and was completed in February 2016.
The Lancia Stratos will be available in a Legends Twinpack (C3894A), featuring the winning cars from Monte-Carlo and Sanremo rallies, as driven by Sandro Munari and Bjorn Waldegard respectively. The Twinpack is available to pre-order on the Scalextric website now, or with your local stockist.
We’ll be sure to look at each of these projects in more detail as the year progresses. Each new stage or sample received will give us ample opportunity to take a really deep dive into how these models have been produced and alongside the other three new tooling projects Test Track announced last year, we won’t be struggling to keep information coming in straight from the Development team each month.
These cars weren’t the only surprises in the 2017 Range Launch though. Some of the new tooling projects we announced in Test Track have had other liveries revealed and we’d be remiss if we didn’t shine a light on them (albeit briefly). However, this certainly isn’t the full story and we definitely recommend you keep an eye on Test Track over the coming instalments for more information.
Up first we have the Mercedes AMG GT3 in an Anime livery (C3852). This car is used by the Goodsmile Hatsune Miku AMG race in Japan, and you may recognise the livery as similar to what was released on a BMW Z4 (C3625) last year. We’re hoping this Mercedes AMG GT3 model is as successful as the BMW as it sold out incredibly fast! To avoid potential disappointment, the C3852 Mercedes AMG GT3 (Anime) is available for pre-order now.
The Mercedes AMG GT3 also finds itself in a set in 2017, with ARC ONE. The C1356 Ultimate Rivals Set pits a Mercedes AMG GT3 against the insanely popular BMW Z4. The liveries on these cars should be hugely popular and we have a feeling a few collectors might be picking this set up just for the cars (and extra track never hurts).
That leaves us to close out this edition of Test Track with news from the Autosport show that recently took place at the NEC Birmingham. We sat with the team that attended the show and got all the juicy details we could (plus these great photos!).
Their day started bright and early as they made their way to the NEC and had a wander round all the stands to kick off the day. Too often at these events the day disappears once you get chatting to people so the Scalextric guys wanted to make sure they took in as much of the event as possible. After spending some time travelling round the exhibits, the Pirelli stand caught their eye, displaying the tyre compounds used for Formula One. As thrilling as tyre compounds are, the team were also struck by the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 also on the Pirelli stand. We’re sure some of you will recognise this car as it’s one we’ve made a model of (C3844). Fortunately, the guys on the stand loved the Scalextric model and we got a fantastic photo opportunity with the two cars together.
Up next, our guys paid a visit to the Team BMR stand, where they also met Nico Ferrari, Team Principle at Team BKR. The C3737 and C3864 VW Passats went down an absolute treat with everyone on the stand, especially Aron Taylor-Smith, who was actually pretty keen on getting (and keeping!) the sample the team had taken with them. Fortunately, the Scalextric team avoided losing the (pretty precious and important) sample, but were able to grab a chat with Aron.
The Scalextric team also ran into Dave Bartrum, team boss of Motorbase (formerly of Oman Racing) who was incredibly happy to see Scalextric and one of his cars in 1:32 scale. This time it was the C3843 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and, once again, our team had to politely (but quite forcefully) ensure their sample stayed in Scalextric hands.
From Team BMR (and BKR) the Scalextric reps headed over to see our good friends over at Team Dynamics. There they got to show off more samples, including the updated and improved Honda Civic Type R. The fantastic reception to the samples continued and the whole team on the stand were happy with what they saw (much to our relief). Team Dyanmics also seemed interested in a Scalextric layout of their own and we hope to hear from them again soon so we can help get them up and running.
The Scalextric guys also paid visits to other stands including car manufacturers Ginetta and Ligier, but still made it back in time for a BTCC unveiling. There they saw the Motorbase car reveal, showing off their Shredded Wheat livery. Soon after the announcements were made, the Scalextric team were able to chat to Dick Bennetts and Andrew Jordan himself from West Surrey Racing (WSR). Kind words were exchanged and we found out that Dick’s nieces and nephews enjoy their Scalextric set immensely, which is always great to hear.
After saying their goodbyes to WSR, the guys continued on and enjoyed a bit of “car spotting”. They saw the historic Sierras, amongst others, and over on Liberty Walk they saw a Ferrari 458 and Lamborghini Aventador. Whilst checking out these cars they also bumped into Colin Turkington, which capped off what had been an exceptional and thoroughly enjoyable day.
The Scalextric team would like to thank everybody they spoke to at Autosport at the NEC Birmingham. It was an incredible day and the feedback and messages of good will were extremely appreciated. The opportunity to chat to everyone, and to look at loads of cars, was a great experience. We hope that through events like this, and greater relationships with the manufacturers and teams, we can keep Scalextric at the forefront of motorsport fan’s minds and, most importantly, producing and delivering models that collectors want.
That just about does it for the first Test Track blog in 2017. There was an awful lot of ground to cover and we’ll definitely revisit a number of subjects mentioned today as there’s so much more to tell you. We want to keep a steady flow of information on these exciting and new projects throughout the year, while still getting you the most up-to-date news possible with Scalextric, and all the work that goes on here.
We hope to see you again soon, and if you haven’t already, please tell your friends about Test Track if you think they would be interested, or perhaps share it with any group or club you know. We’d love to make 2017 the biggest year yet for Test Track, hopefully a fitting celebration of 60 years of Scalextric. We’ve got some great things planned for the year and it would be a shame if people were to miss out on what will be an incredible year for Scalextric and this blog.
Speaking of the 60th anniversary celebrations, I’m sure many of you will have noticed that the whole 60th Anniversary Collection hasn’t been revealed just yet (this ‘keeping you guessing with announcements’ thing is becoming a bit of a theme). Well if you’re keen to know what’s coming up next in the 60th collection you’ll definitely want to come back and check out Test Track at the end of next month.
Remember that you can chat, share the news and give us your feedback through either Facebook, Twitter or our Forum. We really do want to hear from you, whether its positive, negative or even a bit of both. So many conversations and discussion can be started from even the smallest comment so do share your thoughts, no matter what they are. We look forward to hearing from you.
See you at the end of February, and as we always say,
The Test Track Team
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