Finishing the BTCC season in style!
Test Track is back and, just like the last edition, we’re running one week later than normal. As before, this is no accident as we wanted to witness the finale of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) 2017 season. It certainly didn’t disappoint and many congratulations to Ashley Sutton on his maiden championship win!
With the thrilling conclusion of the BTCC season last week, we’re delighted to be able to reveal the 2018 releases for BTCC from Scalextric. We know both Scalextric and BTCC fans alike are keen to see exactly which cars we’re producing next year so look no further for the first BTCC-related news of next year! We’ll come clean right away, though, and say that there might be one more surprise in store for next year, but that’ll have to wait for later – right here, right now in this edition we can show you four BTCC cars that will be produced for 2018.
That’s not all though! Keeping on the BTCC theme, we spoke with the legendary Steve Soper last month and can share with you our chat with him and the opportunity to win two Scalextric models of cars he raced, both signed by Steve himself! Take a look further down the blog for all the details on entering this fantastic competition.
We’re also checking back in with the Ford GTE, which we discussed last time out. Plus, there’s an exciting look at the latest Ford XB Falcon (C3983), with its “post-apocalyptic” livery turning a number of heads in the office. Already proving to be incredibly popular, we’re sure the latest sample will get many of you even more excited for its release.
Lastly, we can share the latest from the Special Edition Packaging Series. This hugely popular range of cars continued from the 60th Anniversary Collection and has further celebrated Scalextric’s 60th birthday. We recently added more cars to the series and we’ll be running through those at the end of the blog.
It’s a bumper edition of Test Track, so we best get stuck in!
Scalextric 2018 British Touring Car Championship Models
The conclusion of the 2017 BTCC season last weekend gave us a unique opportunity to reveal the upcoming 2018 cars from Scalextric. As many of you know, Scalextric cars are always “a year behind” due to the nature of designing and producing models - if we could, we’d be making the cars as they were still racing but it’s just not possible given the amount of work that goes into making and manufacturing a Scalextric car. So we attended the last race weekend of the BTCC season, courtesy of our friends at the BTCC, and showed our BTCC cars from the 2018 range to the drivers and teams that raced them – even grabbing unique side-by-side comparisons.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, only one sample was received before the time came to head off to Brands Hatch, so we made the most of it and took the artwork for each car instead (which you can see below). We were able to grab time with a variety of BTCC drivers and it was fantastic not only to start the ball rolling for next year, but also to “book end” the piece we compiled back in March (when we attended the Media Day). To be there, just ahead of the conclusion of the season, was a real treat and it was hugely exciting to see the cars racing as we’re putting the finishing touches to the models ahead of their production.
C3920 BMW 125 Series 1, as driven by Colin Turkington
C3919 Honda Civic, as driven by Gordon Shedden
C3914 BMW 125 Series 1, as driven by Andrew Jordan
C3915 Honda Civic, as driven by Matt Simpson
The Scalextric team headed out from Scalextric HQ in the morning for the relatively short drive over to Brands Hatch for the finale of the BTCC season. As they arrived, tension and anticipation was in the air, with teams arriving, unpacking and preparing for the season defining weekend ahead. It wasn’t long before we met up with Andy Priaulx and his family for a chat.
Scalextric produced Andy's BTCC car when he competed in 2015
We were invited to the Priaulx Family’s ‘home on wheels’, which they use when travelling between venues, and were soon joined by Andy’s son Seb to discuss Scalextric and all things racing. We were able to film much of our time with Andy and Seb, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page in the coming days to see the interview.
Having said a big thank you to Andy and his family, we then made our way around the pits, chatting to all the drivers - considering everything that was going on it was incredibly nice of everyone to give us even a couple of minutes of their time. We were able to grab a word with Colin Turkington, Jake Hill, Aron Taylor-Smith and Matt Simpson. Everyone we spoke to was hugely complimentary about Scalextric and just like our chat with Andy Priaulx, keep a look out for clips from our time at Brands on our social media pages.
The weekend’s racing certainly didn’t disappoint and we can’t wait for next season! As always, we’d like to thank the BTCC, as well as all the drivers and teams for the access they’ve given us over the season and, we must say, there aren’t many racing series that offer this level of access to the fans (in which we certainly include ourselves). Thanks guys!
A cup of tea with another BTCC legend!
A little while ago, Simon from the Scalextric team grabbed some time for a cuppa with two BTCC legends, Andy Rouse and Tim Harvey. Continuing the theme, Simon recently met up with Steve Soper ahead of the final BTCC weekend. Steve is no stranger to us here at Scalextric, currently having two cars in the range (more on that in a minute!), and Simon got to chat with him about motor sport, the BTCC, Scalextric and a few other bits. Over to you Simon…
Avid Test Track readers will remember that earlier this year I did a couple of interviews with ex-BTCC drivers Andy Rouse and Tim Harvey. It was great to chat to both of them, but as far as I was concerned a glaring omission was now obvious – a third interview, with another famous exponent of the RS500 Sierra, as well as the BMW M3, Steve Soper. This was something that had to be rectified and so I did all that I could to get in touch with Steve (courtesy of Team Dynamics – many thanks!). Having reached Steve, a date was soon scheduled so we could have a chat regarding his racing exploits, love of Scalextric and for him to see our models of his cars (and maybe sign a couple!).
So, Steve, what do you think of your cars, immortalised here by Scalextric?
Yeah great, I mean the actual attention to detail on the models is fantastic, spot on. Really impressed.
As soon as we had the RS500 designed we knew we wanted one of the Eggenberger cars, and being based close to Brands Hatch, we thought the livery had to be the 1988 race against Andy Rouse, where you both duelled side by side for much of the duration! Do you remember that race fondly?
Yeah, it’s memorable, partly because I didn’t win! And I got irritated because I thought I should have won! We went onto the last lap and Andy is a great driver, a fair driver, someone you can race with without any problems. We’re on the last lap, I positioned myself and got into the lead and was on the inside running down the back straight. What it doesn’t show on YouTube and the TV is that there was someone off along the straight, bouncing along the grass, about to come back on. Now both of us [Steve and Andy in the RS500s] were side by side going flat out 100+ MPH and I kept looking at this slower car thinking if he comes back on he’s going to wipe me out! And Andy is right next to me! So, as he got closer and closer, at the last moment, as he seemed like he was about to re-join the circuit, I came off the throttle. I was convinced he was going to come back, but as it turned out he didn’t! The panic lift off the throttle cost me the race and Andy was gone…
After the RS500 you moved over to BMW and the E30 M3. Although built to the same rules it must have been a very different car to drive?
Yeah, I left Ford at the end of 88, joining BMW in 89 and was with them for 11 years, it was a much more nimble car, the Sierra was all horsepower. You had to get it straight, whereas the M3 was a much nimbler nice little car to drive. They were both fun, but a very different sort of fun.
Our Scalextric cars seem to mimic this! We’ve found the RS500 to be the quicker in a straight line but the M3 is a bit better round the twisty sections…
You’ve actually managed to do that, have you?! That’s great, so if I’m going to have a race then I’ll have to use the M3 yeah?
Unless it is a Bathurst style track with a very long straight, it is the one I’d choose yeah! So, staying with Scalextric, did you have it when you were younger?
Absolutely, as a kid I grew up with Scalextric, I never had train sets, it was all Scalextric racing all the time! The sets got bigger and bigger and longer and longer! My father was very keen and would race with me all the time and the circuits got more and more evolutions and were 25-30ft long, taking over the whole living room!
Speaking of circuits, where would be your favourite circuit to race?
People have asked me that before, it is quite difficult to call. I always come back to Suzuka, and I’m not sure why I always come back to there but I do.
Surely the famous 130R corner has something to do with it…
Yeah, the whole circuit is really quick. I excel with fast corners, I’m not very good with ‘Mickey Mouse’ circuits and slow corners so I’m more competitive on fast circuits. I’ve raced Supertourers as well as McLaren F1s on Suzuka so it is definitely one of my favourites. The old Nürburgring is demanding and I used to enjoy it, again it is up there. As is the old Brno before they changed it. I raced there in Rovers and the XR4ti Sierras.
And I suppose Brands Hatch GP fits the bill too then?
Yeah as well as Silverstone GP, although I prefer the old Silverstone layout to the new.
Moving on to today, do you follow the BTCC now?
I’ve known Matt Neal for 30 or so years but I haven’t followed it that closely until recently as Team Dynamics now run my Lotus Cortina for me in Historic Racing, and it has sucked me back in a bit. If I’m in I’ll watch it on TV. I’m not a fan of the regulations I can’t understand although I know it’s great TV, all this draw it out a hat, ballast stuff, if you are the fastest you are the fastest and you should be on pole. And so, I think the fastest car and the fastest driver should win. The driver and team who put the best package together should win, so I don’t get it. But I do watch it because I know a lot of the drivers doing it! So, I’m still interested.
So, to finish Steve, we have here your Sierra and your M3, do you have a favourite of all the cars you have driven?
I’d like to have a Cosworth. I’d like to have owned one of those. I’d have also liked a DTM M3. And all of these cars I could have bought back then, I’m sure if I’d put my mind to it I could certainly have got a car from BMW, probably for nothing. But my favourite car is probably the 99 Le Mans winning BMW. But that would be a bit pointless sitting at home! It’s a bit noisy for track days. But otherwise those two, the Sierra and the M3 are up there. In fact, that Mobil car there, the BMW, a friend of mine found one which we are sure is my car.
Thank you so much for your time Steve, I best be off now to leave you to practice with your set!
Yes, with Team Dynamics having a set in their office I best get practicing to beat Gordon and Matt next time I am up there!
We’d like to add our thanks too – a huge thank you Steve for spending some of your time with us.
As with both Andy Rouse and Tim Harvey, Steve Soper was kind enough to sign a few Scalextric models for us so we can give them away to a lucky BTCC fan! For your chance to win a signed BMW E30 M3 (C3782) and Ford Sierra RS500 (C3738) please enter the competition by answering a simple question over on the Competitions page.
The competition is running until the next edition of Test Track (which is due for the 27th November) where we’ll announce the winner – good luck!
The First Shot of the Ford GTE was recently received here at Scalextric HQ and we’re able to share these exclusive images with you in Test Track. Following on from the Rapid Prototype we featured last month (that had experienced some rough and tumble), the First Shot gives us a great idea of what to expect from the upcoming GTE model.
As always, we must mention that these images don’t show the car in its final state but should give you a good impression of what to expect.
The latest sample of the Ford XB Falcon (C3983) was also recently received, and given its popularity, we felt we just had to include it in Test Track. We’re getting happier and happier with each sample we see of the car and are confident the model will be one that won’t disappoint anyone waiting to add this model to their layout, or collection.
Special Edition Packaging Series
Last week we added the second wave of models to the popular Special Edition Packaging Series. Part of the 60th Anniversary Collection, this selection of cars (only 250 pieces of each) offers Scalextric models with special edition 60th Anniversary packaging and decals. You can check out the latest additions over in the category, with the six new cars at the top.
You’ll notice that most of the other cars in the first wave of the Special Edition Packaging Series have sold out on the website, but many are still available from Scalextric retailers – be sure to check with your local shop to see if they can help.
Well, that brings us to the end of a packed Test Track!
One final thing to mention is that we revealed a 2018 Twin pack (C3898A) in a special blog a few weeks ago, which we’d definitely recommend checking out if you haven’t seen it already. The number of pre-orders for the Twin pack has been impressive and it’s unlikely it’ll be round too much longer on the website.
Don’t forget that we still want to hear from you too, using either the Forum, Facebook or Twitter (#TestTrack) to get in touch - we imagine there could be a few opinions about the BTCC cars for next year! Plus, keep an eye on our social channels where we’ll be sharing lots more from our visit to Brands Hatch soon.
The Test Track Team
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