Scalextric 2017 and an all-American Classic!
With Christmas Day just over a week away, it’s definitely time for an early present. We ended our last Test Track with the promise of something “tucked under the tree” and it’s about time we rip the wrapping paper off and take a look (praying that it isn’t another pair of socks!).
If you’ve been following our Advent Calendar this year you’ll have seen a fairly cryptic teaser for this edition of Test Track - I wonder if any of you were able to get it?
All will become clear in just a second. While we’re on cryptic clues, what’s better than one 2017 announcement? That’s right, two! While the new tooling news is likely to take the limelight, we also have an announcement that should make a number of MINI Challenge fans very happy, plus a fascinating interview with the driver himself.
If all this wasn’t enough, the Story Behind the Model feature is back again, plus there’s the usual New Arrivals and a competition winner to show off. All in all, this edition should be a bit like Christmas dinner, far too much for one sitting but we'll try anyway!
The Ford GT40 is an incredibly popular car and I’m sure many of you are familiar with this legendary grand tourer. The Ford Mk IV is a little different to other GT40s though. Designed and built in the late 1960s, the Mk IV was developed in 1967 and was definitely an all-American affair. The Mk IV was a highly advanced racing car for its time. The chassis was constructed using a “honeycomb” method, not used in motor racing before, but commonly used in aircraft design.
The Ford Mk IV was also significantly heavier than the other cars of the time, notably the Ferrari 330 P4. However, the weight was mainly from the steel-tube roll cage, added as a direct result from the fatal accident that claimed Ken Miles’ life when testing the J-car in August 1966.
The Mk IV was incredibly fast, as it proved on the Mulsanne Straight in Le Mans, pulling 212 mph. However, it did struggle in the corners as the need to maintain the brakes led drivers Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt adopting a strategy of coming off the throttle completely, way ahead of the braking area to slow down.
Despite only running in two races (24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring, both in 1967), the Mk IV won both, despite being considered by some the least likely to win. The roll cage, which added so much weight, was then ultimately credited for saving the life of driver Mario Andretti who crashed at Le Mans, but escaped with only minor injuries.
Before Le Mans, American Mario Andretti with Kiwi Bruce McLaren won the 12 Hours of Sebring by 12 laps, ahead of the Ford Mk II B. With the Mk IV winning Le Mans two months later it is still the only all-American victory at the world-renowned circuit, having American drivers (Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt), team, chassis, engine and tyres.
While speculation is rife, the Mk IV’s life was frustratingly cut short with new regulations implemented, meaning it couldn’t compete again. A real shame, but the Mk IV’s legacy lives on.
The Scalextric car was designed this year, and took a few months. Having produced the other Ford GT marques, it made perfect sense to model the Ford GT40 Mk IV despite it, sadly, only entering two races. Work was started by the team in April, with the CAD finished in June.
Unfortunately it wasn’t possible for us to visit a Ford Mk IV to research the model, with the only example being in the US, but our designers were able to use a myriad of resources and no small amount of skill.
With this new tooling announcement we can also reveal one model you can expect next year. The C3859 Ford GT40 Mk IV will be available in the winning livery from the 12 Hours of Sebring. While the car had been showing promising signs in testing, the 12 Hours of Sebring was the first tangible result that showed Ford they could claim what they truly wanted, the win at Le Mans.
The C3859 Ford GT40 Mk IV is available to pre-order from the Scalextric website right now.
While you’re no doubt recovering from the fantastic news of the forthcoming Ford GT40 Mk IV, we have another announcement for you. Moving things to a more modern setting, we can reveal a new livery for the ever popular MINI. Luke Reade’s MINI Challenge car no. 26 (C3873) will be available next year in its eye-catching black and white livery. We hope fans of both the MINI itself and MINI Challenge race series will be happy with the news!
In celebration of the announcement we got in touch with Luke to ask some questions about his car and what the future holds. We’d like to offer Luke a huge thank you for talking to us and we truly hope both he, and you, will be pleased with the final model. Like all new announcements, we’ll be keeping track of how the car gets on next year and I’m hopeful we’ll chat to Luke again when his car hits the shelves.
The paint scheme for your MINI is pretty outlandish, how did you arrive at such an amazing livery?
We had to try and design a stand out livery for the MINI to attract as much attention as possible. My friend Keith Wood at Hype Creative came up with the original idea and design, after a few tweaks here and there we landed with the design you now see on the car.
How do you feel having your car immortalised by Scalextric? Was it a brand you played with as a child?
It is definitely the coolest thing to happen in my racing career to date! I can still remember my dad setting up Scalextric tracks for me to race around as a child.
Have you seen the other models we’ve produced for the MINI Challenge? What did you think of them?
I saw a MINI Challenge model for the first time last year and thought it was the coolest thing, I am extremely grateful and excited to see this model when it is out!
Do you have any racing tips for those looking to improve (either on the real track or the Scalextric one)?
It’s all about dedication and commitment and the times always come, I am sure the same concept applies to the Scalextric track as well!
What’s the hardest thing to get right when racing?
There are a few things you need to nail in racing, obviously the raw speed but also consistency. It can take a while but once you have these down there’s nothing stopping you.
What made you want to start racing?
Ever since I can remember I have wanted to race, I have been surrounded by it my whole life. My dad raced for a bit and his dad before him. Also he owns and runs the mega store at Brands Hatch Circuit, so I am at Brands Hatch most weekends watching some form of racing.
What are the main things racing and competition teach you?
Unfortunately, there are a lot more downs than ups in racing, but when there is an up it more than makes up for hard times. It helps motivate you and pushes you to achieve your goal.
What are your plans for 2017? Will you be back racing MINIs or moving to another series?
We are hoping to move to the Renault Clio Cup in 2017. I am also hoping to top the design on the car, so watch this space! If we are lucky there might still be a few races in the MINI.
It will be a shame not to see you in MINI Challenge and we wish you all the best. Do you have any fun or favourite memories you’d like to share?
I have loads and loads of great memories, I am fortunate to have a lot of friends with me at all the meetings. There is never a dull moment, someone is always playing a prank or having a laugh.
Thanks again to Luke for talking to us and we can't wait till his car joins collections all over the world. If, like us, you can't wait, the C3873 F56 MINI Cooper is available for pre-order on the website now.
Story Behind the Model
We have another fascinating Story Behind the Model for you, with Luke from the Scalextric Development Department back once again (with the ill behaviour?) with another tale of seeing some quite unbelievable cars whilst on a research trip. With all these amazing stories I must try and find a way to get invited to the next trip… Anyway, over to you Luke.
A warm sunny morning greeted us for our research trip to visit the legendary Audi quattro – our destination would be the Audi quattro Rooms in Brentford, just around the corner from picturesque Kew Gardens. The Audi quattro Rooms are, or were, a conference centre above a large dealership that displayed some of Audi’s greatest racing machines. Located on the third floor were an impressive portfolio of Le Mans racers, touring cars, road cars and of course the iconic rallying brute of the 80s – the Audi quattro.
As we entered the building at ground level we were met with brand new cars from Audi’s fleet – everything from a base spec A3 to an RS4, right up to the range topping R8 (a monster in itself). Upon meeting our contact, we were shown to the lift where we were told to go to the third floor. As the lift ascended and the third floor came into sight, we were met with a plethora of iconic machines. The first car we saw was the villain in question – Stig Blomqvist and Walter Rohrl’s 1985 World Rally Championship challenger. Although not in the livery we would initially be doing, the car was period correct, so the photography began.
I have a habit of being distracted by cars, so although I was photographing arguably the most iconic rally car of all time, my mind was wandering over to the unmistakeable Audi A4 Supertourer of Frank Biela. Being a huge BTCC fan, I just had to go over and have a look. Ideally located next to a bar and a seating area, I was in touching distance of the car that took Audi to the 1996 title – an all-dominating 4-wheel drive machine that claimed 8 victories at the hands of Joest Racing’s finest driver.
Getting back to the task at hand after a glorious few minutes, the photography resumed. With the job done after around 2 hours it wasn’t long before distraction set in again. This time the culprit was the Audi R8C – a Le Mans Prototype developed to race at the 1999 24 hours of Le Mans. This car was actually a closed cockpit version of the R8R Le Mans Prototype that ran in the same race. Although aerodynamic hurdles prevented a decent result, the R8C clocked 217mph on the Mulsanne Straight, and was part of the programme that started Audi’s dominance of the most famous race in the world.
All in all, a great research trip with excellent images taken to accurately reproduce the Audi quattro.
Joining the Audi Sport quattro is a wealth of new models. Rather than go through each one, we definitely recommend you check out the New Arrivals section on the website, an incredibly useful section to see what’s come in and what to expect with your local stockist shortly.
There’s a number of models we’ve looked at here in Test Track and it’s a real shame we can’t go through each of them individually, but we’re sure you’ll recognise the C3694A BTCC Champions Twinpack, C3741 Ford XC Falcon, C3743 MINI Cooper S and C3749 Ford Escort Mk2.
We’re also expecting the highly anticipated BTCC VW Passat (C3737), as driven by Jason Plato, before the next edition (fingers crossed!).
Customer Image Competition Winner
Advent Calendar readers not only would have seen the cryptic clue for the Ford GT40 Mk IV, they would also have seen that we offered a competition to scoop £50 to spend on the website for the best, and most festive, Customer Image submitted to the website (or via email) last week.
Del Hawes won with his emailed image of a slot racing Christmas tree decoration, which we certainly haven’t seen before. We like to think Santa would be a slot racer, he probably has delivered a fair few sets to children all over the world.
Congratulations to Del and a huge thank you to everyone who submitted images. Please keep them coming and who knows, we might be having more competitions next year…
Well that just about does it for this edition of Test Track and we won’t be seeing you again until after Christmas (meaning you won’t have to endure anymore Christmas-based metaphors!). We will be seeing you again soon though as we’ll be reviewing Test Track in 2016 at the end of the year and picking out our favourite bits.
All of us here at Scalextric would like to wish you a very Merry (and relaxing) Christmas and we’ll see you right at the end of the year for a retrospective on all things Test Track.
See you soon and happy racing!
The Test Track Team
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