Super Resistant F1 cars and a Star of the 2018 Range!
Welcome to February’s Test Track! As promised, we’re back to talk a little more about what we revealed at the start of the year with the 2018 Jan – June Range Launch. Of course, that’s not all, as we have an interview with a team responsible for another star of the 2018 range, plus there’s some exclusive artwork reveals and news on the popular Autograph series.
As you can see, we’ve been pretty busy since the last edition of Test Track six weeks ago and we hope by the end of this instalment you’ll be up-to-date with all the goings on here too!
Up first we have the full story behind the new tooling F1 cars that have taken their place in the 2018 range. Appearing both separately, and in a set, these cars are likely to be popular with younger F1 fans or with those slot racers who want a bit more ‘rough and tumble’ in their F1 races. Either way, these cars are great additions to the range, and we can tell you all about them here in Test Track…
The Williams FW40 and McLaren Honda MCL32
In some respects, the story for both these cars begins all the way back in 2010, and the Start range of Scalextric cars. It was in 2010, that our ‘modern’ super resistant F1 cars were first modelled and provided a great introduction for anybody who wanted to use these tougher F1 models. The 2010 versions of the F1 cars had a very generic shape and were almost purely functional in their design.
A sample back from 2010, showcasing the Start tooling (minus its tyres!)
Fast forward to 2014, and an ARC ONE set was planned using super resistant F1 cars. The shape was updated, and a few refinements were added too. Once again, this version of the car was very functional, while still allowing F1 fans to feel they were racing Formula One cars but 32 times smaller.
After more than three years the 2014 Prototype has sustained a little damage, but it was nothing a quick swap with a finished model wouldn’t solve – we think it’s hardly noticeable!
A Rapid Prototype showing the 2014 F1 tooling (with a replacement nose)
This then brings us to the current iteration of the super resistant F1 car. Moving away from a purely generic shape, these cars have been designed to clearly represent 2017 F1 cars. Whilst still not offering the level of accuracy found on our ‘High Detail’ cars, there’s no mistaking that these F1 cars belong to the F1 2017 circuit.
A Rapid Prototype showing the current 2017 tooling
Comparing these cars, you can see not only how F1 cars changed over the years, but also how the Scalextric model changed with them. Each offers a fairly generic shape, but we’ve worked to refine them over the years too. It’s a tough line to tread, but we’re happy the 2017 cars are the best fusion between a functional design and a representation of a popular vehicle that we all see on television throughout the year. We hope you agree!
The development of the 2017 cars themselves began in May 2017, with the work completed by the end of July. Using as much as we could from previous projects, the basic shape of the F1 car was worked up first, before moving onto the specific 2017 sections (which were the trickiest!).
The 2017 F1 tooling as designed using CAD
Much to our researcher’s disappointment, no research trips were required, with both Williams and McLaren offering their CAD data to assist in the project. These were gratefully received and were a great help to the designer as they worked on the cars.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the most challenging areas of the 2017 cars, were the 2017 additions. Both the front wing and rear fin had to be beefed up – after all, these were super resistant cars. It was also important that the rear wing could pop in and out, a feature on almost all our super resistant F1 cars. These tolerances all had to be taken into account, as well as the line that had to be found between functionality and accuracy.
We may be biased but we think the cars’ design hit the bullseye and offers a fantastic compromise for these super resistant cars.
As we know, the CAD and design of the car itself is really only half the story. Slot cars probably wouldn’t have a great deal of appeal if they were all produced in grey plastic. With all the work from the CAD designer passed over, the artwork guys could get started. They had also been supplied valuable information by both Honda and Williams and could get to work creating the livery.
With the artwork supplied by the teams offering a starting point, other references photos were still used to help with placement and to see how the car developed over the season. It must be said too, that the artwork, like the design, had to tread the line between accuracy and offering a more generic version of the car – the overarching principle of this project.
Once the artwork had been completed, the work went through all the necessary sign offs and headed off for approvals.
It then became a waiting game as each sample arrived, was checked, with feedback offered back to ensure the car was exactly what had been planned. Through the Rapid Prototype, to the Decoration Sample and finally the Signed Sample, the project progressed, and we can show you each stage here.
There’s a real feeling of satisfaction, working on a car and seeing it come right through the process, to eventually appear on slot racers’ layouts all over the world. We hope you can share in that here with Test Track too, as you can see every step of the journey.
The Williams FW40 Decoration Sample, with the McLaren Honda MCL32 Signed Sample
The Signed Sample brings us right up-to-date with these cars and we’re now joining you in waiting for their release. The C3955 Williams FW40 car is due in July, with the C3956 McLaren Honda MCL32 car due in August. The C1385 Grand Prix set, containing both F1 cars, is expected later in the year.
As we always have to add, we’ve shown you a lot here of each car that does not reflect the final, released product. We do hope these give you an impression of the car, but remember, the final version of the car is always the best, and that’s what’s found on the shelf when you buy the car online or with your local model shop.
Scalextric Meets Rollcentre Racing
Alongside the F1 cars, another star of the Scalextric 2018 range has to be the fantastic Mercedes AMG GT3 in Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing colours (C3942). Standing out in its bright metallic green and matt black carbon livery, the car has been catching the eyes of motorsport fans throughout 2017. Raced by its owner and long-time club racer Richard Neary, alongside Rollcentre Racing team boss Martin Short, the AMG GT3 has competed on the British GT circuit all through the year.
Once the decision had been made to produce the popular Mercedes AMG GT3 in this livery, we soon got in touch with Martin and his team at Rollcentre Racing. They could not have been more helpful as we worked on the project, assisting with getting every detail correct (including the chrome parts, which was no easy feat!). To offer our thanks, and to show them the car, our ‘roving reporter’ for Test Track, Simon, visited the team just before Christmas.
Over to you Simon!
While Martin Short and Rollcentre Racing are known to many in the GT racing scene, a number of motorsport fans may not be too familiar with their work. However, both Martin and his team have been responsible for some truly fantastic racing cars over the years.
In fact, as many die-hard fans will know, the Mercedes AMG GT3 isn’t the first car Martin has stabled that Scalextric have produced! A certain TVR Tuscan racer, back with the British GT in the early 2000s, appeared in a number of different editions for Scalextric too. With this in mind, our first question had to be, how did he feel having his most recent car join the Scalextric range once more?
It’s really nice to see the cars, and you coming up here is a nice reminder of how many slot cars I have had that I’ve either built or driven. It’s a great feeling knowing that a whole bunch of people are going to see the car and knowing that for a very long period of time, no matter what happens to me they will still exist! It is a special feeling to see your car with your name on it.
Had Scalextric been a feature in Martin’s life growing up? We’ve spoken to several drivers who can all remember starting out with Scalextric in their early life.
Yeah yeah, had all that - and my boys have got it too! Every Christmas we pull all the track out and have a play. The last set I got was actually the TVR challenge set (we got 3!), with all the Digital bits and pieces. One has been worn out but the others are still going strong.
Many slot car racers are eagerly awaiting their model of the Mercedes AMG GT3, and will soon be taking it for a spin on their layout. How does the real car handle? It will be interesting to know if it’s anything like the model!
It’s a great car, it’s worth it just for the sound, the way it rumbles and grumbles along. A fantastic car to drive, but I imagine the Scalextric version is a bit more resilient and less expensive to repair! Compared to the Mosler [a car Martin and the team became famous for importing and racing], the Mercedes is a bit less nimble, the front end works better on the Mosler and it had more power.
The Z4 before the AMG was a bit limited on power, with the new tech on the AMG it really moves the performance along. These new GT3 cars really are very advanced.
Alongside GT racing, Martin and Rollcentre Racing also do a huge amount of prototype racing, both at Le Mans and at La Sarthe itself, using a Dallara SP1 and a Pescarolo LMP1. While the modern GT3 cars are more advanced, Martin says they’re nowhere near as fun…
The Dallara LMP900s downstairs in the workshop are 750BHP with 900KG, compared to 550BHP and 1300KG with a lot more downforce, so they do whip along a bit! We were at Spa three months ago, first time I’d driven the car in 12 years and it was chucking it down with rain…we checked the data logger and I had been doing 175mph up the hill past Eau Rouge! Quite quick, especially as it was wet!
During Rollcentre’s period with the Dallara, you contested several Le Mans events. Drivers we’ve spoken to recently seem to have some mixed feeling about the race – did you enjoy it?
Driving round at like 4am, sort of having a hallucination, wondering what the heck am I doing going round and round in circles in the middle of the night…..that did go through my head! I remember questioning what I was doing and why I was doing it! But that is more from a feeling of exhaustion and a lot of drivers have that sort of moment. I remember realising I was literally losing my hearing in the Radical LMP2 car due to the Judd V8 exhausts directly behind my head. But, yes, I miss it. I miss the whole amazing experience of Le Mans and I was very lucky to do it in an era that felt, with a decent sponsor, affordable for a small private team and possible to get a result. In 2007, we finished 4th overall in the Pescarolo. That was very special.
You recently saw the arrival of Adam Christodoulou, have you seen a big upturn in the pace of the car?
Oh, he was significantly quicker (annoyingly!!), but it didn’t make that much difference because British GT is all about the amateur driver, and both Richard and myself struggled a bit at times to get ultimate ‘AM’ pace out the Mercedes. The way the front end responds, the Mercedes don’t turn quite as well as some of the others.
The Pro drivers can deal with it much better than the ‘AM’ drivers and, therefore, are able to get a better grip on the car. With Adam coming in we noticed a much bigger emphasis on letting the car take its time to turn in. The ergonomics of the car are amazing….but sometimes I yearned for the Mosler!
So, what’s next for Rollcentre Racing following the eye-catching Mercedes AMG GT3?
We’re running our sister Dallara SP1 for James Cottingham, as well as a Ferrari 575GTC in Masters Endurance Legends. Plus, we’re hoping to rent out our own Dallara SP1, as if not, I’ll have to drive it!
After we finished speaking to Martin, he kindly took us for a tour of the facility at Rollcentre Racing, and we were able to grab a couple of photos as we made our way around. The buildings there are truly a treasure trove for fans of modern and historic motorsport, and to say that it was a treat for Simon, our Head Researcher (by day), is somewhat of an understatement!
Both Simon, the Test Track team and everyone here at Scalextric would like to offer our sincere thanks to Martin Short and the whole team at Rollcentre Racing. Their assistance with the project was invaluable, and being able to follow up with them here in Test Track was great. Thanks guys and we hope you like the car!
Exclusive Artwork Reveal – the Ford GTE
Another car that we’ve covered in quite some detail here in Test Track is the Ford GTE. With the cars now on the way (and many collectors ready for them!) we can exclusively show you the Decoration Samples for both the C3857 and C3858. These images are exclusive to Test Track and show you what you can expect when both of these models arrive later in the year.
With only CAD renders available up until this point, these photos show real models for you to enjoy. Of course, we have to mention that these cars aren’t finished just yet, but they should whet the appetite of anyone who’s interested (or thinking about) these cars.
Scalextric Autograph Series
We also have some news for the popular Autograph Series! Following the first two cars of the series (that might have set a record for selling out here on the website), four more cars have joined the collection today.
There’s two more from the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), with Jeff Smith’s Honda Civic Type R (C3860AE), and Sam Tordoff’s BMW 125 Series 1 (C3735AE). They’re joined by Lee Wiggins’ Caterham Superlight (C3871AE) and Oman’s Racing Aston Martin Vantage (C3843AE).
There’s a real chance all these cars will have sold out by the time we join you here in Test Track, but should a few still be available don’t delay if you’re interested, as they really won’t wait around long!
Remember that if you want to hear all the most recent news from Scalextric, as soon as it happens, you should sign up for our email newsletter.
That’s quite a return for Test Track, following our slightly earlier showing in January. February’s blog has probably contained just about everything you can expect from us here, from inside information about a forthcoming release, an interview with a racing team, exclusive news and finishing with a unique set of cars.
We certainly hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog, and that it was worth the wait. We’ll be getting back to it and you can expect us back here at the end of March (the 30th to be precise). Hopefully we’ll have much more to show you, across many different subjects, next time too.
Until next time, we wish you all the best and, of course…
The Test Track Team
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