Scalextric 2017 on the GT Circuit!
And along comes another one! The 2017 announcements keep coming at you and for November’s Test Track we have a modern car, fresh onto the racing circuit in 2016. If last month we looked at an all-time classic, the next car we have for you is definitely trying to work on obtaining that kind of status, at least out on the track.
With our hugely exciting new announcement we also have a few other bits for you in this edition of Test Track. There's the return of the Story Behind the Model feature that we trialled a couple of months back, alongside our normal New Arrivals. We'll then leave you with some Christmas news (yes, it’s that time of year again…).
Let’s not drag it on any longer then and reveal our big announcement! Following the unbelievable reception to the E-Type, Test Track can exclusively announce that Scalextric will be releasing the Mercedes AMG GT3 in 2017!
The Mercedes AMG GT3 was announced in 2015 at the Geneva Motor Show as the race version of the GT. Using the deafening 6.2-litre V8 from the SLS AMG GT3, the GT3 also has a significantly lower weight than its road-going brother (thanks to some carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer), which allows the GT3 to comply with racing regulations.
With around 550bhp, the AMG GT3 looks to improve upon the popular, and incredibly successful, SLS AMG GT3 and conquer the massively competitive GT3 bracket.
Mercedes-AMG, based in Affalterbach, Germany have been engineering and customizing Mercedes for decades and still stick to their often quoted, ‘one man, one engine’ philosophy (the engine builders even get to put a small plaque with their name on each built engine!).
Knowing how difficult it is to make an impression in GT3 racing, Mercedes-AMG worked long and hard on the GT3, looking to learn some lessons from the SLS AMG GT3. Looking through the results of 2016, the GT3 has definitely made an impression around the globe, including on us here at Scalextric.
Work on the GT3 model wasn’t completed too long ago, after what we consider a fairly standard six to eight-week design time. While our Research Team had their eye on Mercedes-AMG for some time, the project only really started to form at the beginning of the year. The product designer got started in around February this year and was turning his work in during April.
No LIDAR or space-age technology this time round, just good old-fashioned (is CAD old-fashioned?) design work. However, this, of course, wouldn’t have been possible without access to a real car.
RAM Racing based at Silverstone (right next to Force India!) were the only people in the UK to have the Mercedes AMG GT3 when our team were on the hunt. Fortunately for us, RAM Racing couldn’t have been more accommodating and a visit was soon planned.
RAM Racing’s assistance was vital for us in this project and we’d like to extend a huge thank you to RAM Racing for helping us with their (at the time) one-of-a-kind Mercedes AMG GT3. Cheers guys!
We hope you’ll welcome the news that the Mercedes AMG GT3 will be joining the Scalextric 2017 range as it’ll be appearing in a couple of different guises throughout the year. Of course, it wouldn’t be fair if we didn't reveal at least one for you here, so we are able to announce one livery, one we’re quite fond of here in Test Track!
Perhaps unsurprisingly, after their assistance, RAM Racing’s Gulf liveried GT3, as it raced in the 24H series at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France, has been selected as a 2017 livery. As the defending champions from the event in 2015, RAM Racing were always going to be favourites, especially in their new GT3. Unfortunately, the top spot on the podium eluded the five-man team and they had to settle for second place. Still a fantastic result as the team clocked up 577 laps.
RAM Racing’s GT3 looked fantastic in the Gulf colours and we were hugely excited to be able to produce their no.30 car in this iconic and instantly recognisable livery.
The C3853 Mercedes AMG GT3 in RAM Racing Gulf livery is available to pre-order now from the Scalextric website, and is currently scheduled to arrive in summer 2017.
We’ve produced a number of Gulf livered cars which we hope to continue in the future (and you can bet they’ll be featured in Test Track!). And at the risk of causing a Gulf-induced overdose, we’ve got even more Gulf-related news for you below.
Story Behind the Model & New Arrivals
After the success of our Simon our Lead Researcher's story behind Roland Ratzenberger’s red BMW M3, we were keen to tell you a couple more fascinating, and hopefully enjoyable, stories behind the models you may very well be adding to your collection and/or slot car garage. These stories fit neatly into our New Arrivals section so we’ve combined the two together (‘Story Behind the New Arrivals’? Probably not as catchy…).
Luke, the Senior Product Designer, who you’ve seen in a few Test Tracks (especially when there’s a trip to the BTCC on…) has a great story behind the recently released C3732 Porsche 991 in Gulf livery (we said it would be back!). Luke’s tale takes us back some time ago, when the team were initially researching the Porsche 991. Take it away Luke…
The search for a Porsche 991 in the UK took us to Gulf Racing in Milton Keynes. Gulf Racing was co-founded by Roald Goethe – an avid motorsport enthusiast and racing driver who has become obsessed with Gulf liveried racing cars since childhood. He is the owner of the world renowned Rofgo collection – a collection of racing cars past and present that adorn the iconic Gulf livery. The collection includes the Jacky Ickx Brabham BT26 F1 car and 1907 Mercedes transporter – both of which we went to see on another research trip to Basingstoke last year. I’m going off on a tangent here but the Mercedes transporter is the actual transporter used to ferry the Gulf Porsche 917 to and from Le Mans in 1971. Anyway, I digress…
Upon arriving in Milton Keynes we found ourselves in the middle of a very unassuming industrial estate – a place that not many people would envisage a world-class racing team to be located, but this tends to be the norm in motorsport. We were greeted in reception by the team principal who showed us into the garage where the Porsche was located…on axle stands. Not ideal but sometimes these things happen so we made the most of it! We set to work measuring and photographing the car and as time went on I couldn’t help but notice several other cars in the garage under covers. A quick “So what have you got under there then?” to one of the team’s mechanics would reveal a plethora of iconic race cars, all in the famous Gulf livery – the 2009 Lola-Aston Martin LMP1 car, a McLaren 12C GT3, Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 and an Aston Martin DBR9. For an avid motorsport enthusiast like myself I was in heaven.
The day went on with me trying not to break concentration, attempting to focus on the task of photographing the Porsche rather than drooling over four epic race cars. One last scout around the workshop before we left would reveal a mint condition Porsche 964 turbo in the corner – a Porsche fan’s dream! We met back up with the team principal to say our thanks and goodbyes, and before we left we were lucky enough to be shown some of Roald Goethe’s racing memorabilia in the team’s office upstairs, which included race posters, helmets, overalls and other items from some of the world’s most famous races and racers.
The life of a Scalextric Designer eh? You wonder how they manage to get out of bed in the morning…
Anyway, a fantastic story and one Luke is unlikely to forget. Whenever we conduct these research trips, the teams and owners we visit are always so accommodating and helpful. It really would be impossible to do it without them and their unbelievable cars. Many thanks to Gulf Racing and Roald Goethe, we hope the Scalextric car has made it into your collection!
Not all Scalextric models can be supercars or involve trips of a lifetime though. As a hobby we need to recruit youngsters and one of the most successful ways we’ve seen is offering robust and fast-paced cars that can be raced around a set. These cars need to be interesting and exciting and a lot of work goes into them.
To shine a light on some of the lesser seen work, Dan, who started with us only a few months ago, offers us some details on what went into one of his first projects. Over to you Dan…
The C1361 American GT set was the first time I was able to create a livery for a car by myself, so it was an enjoyable set to design. It allowed me to create an inventive livery for a car based on a generic theme, that of America. I was inspired by two different things for both cars, the white car was inspired by the Bald Eagle, creating a large graphic of one to look like it’s flying through the air, with the blue car inspired by the power of the USA, using fire and lightning to get this across. Both cars then use the colours of the Stars and Stripes to make them feel together, as part of the set.
If you’d like to see Dan’s handiwork close up, please head on over to the C1361 American GT set, which is available now. Perfect for younger racers, especially those in the USA, who are looking to get started with the slot racing hobby.
We hope these three sets cater for different budgets, and tastes, and provide an introduction into what could be a lifelong hobby. I wonder how many of our readers started off with a simple Scalextric set?
Christmas is here and we’ll soon be beginning our own countdown to the ‘Big Day’ with our annual Website Advent Calendar. Each day a new window will open and you’ll be able to see what goodies we have in store for you. We’ve got a lot planned, which we hope will keep everyone happy until they can rip the wrapping paper off that big Scalextric set under the tree. Be sure to pay our website a visit on the 1st of December to open the first window, with something new following every day until Christmas Day.
So whether you’re singing Christmas carols or walking around shouting “Humbug!”, we hope you have a great festive season and we’ll be back sooner than you think. We still have lots to tell you about, and announcements can work as Christmas presents right? So we’ll definitely have to pop an announcement under your tree.
The Test Track Team
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