Scalextric BMW M3 BTCC

Scalextric BMW M3 BTCC

Postby wixwacing » Tue 18 Oct, 2016 3:30 pm

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Scalextric BMW M3
Frank Sytner 1990 BTCC Champion



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by Phil Wicks


The M (Motorsport) series of BMW’s originally started life as BMW’s in house competition department back in the later sixties, and as success followed success BMW chose to release limited edition road going versions of their sporting cars to the general public. One reason for this was to help BMW meet homologation requirements for saloon car racing. Uptake by the public was encouraging and eventually the BMW ‘M’ designation was to become a more familiar site both on and off the track. With the release of the new BMW 3 series it followed that this model would also take its turn in motor sport and with it the M designation was to be upgraded to the M3 and applied to the 1986 E30.

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BMW M3


The E30 BMW was the first car to receive the M3 designation and the model came in various packages. Upgrades over the "standard" 3-Series automobiles include more powerful and responsive engines, improved handling/suspension/braking systems, aerodynamic body enhancements, lightweight components, and interior and exterior accents with the tri-colour "M" (Motorsport) emblem. Engine of choice was the S14 which was regularly upgraded, up to the 175kW EVO3 model. Other ‘EVO’ chassis tuning changes were such things as larger wheels, thinner rear and side window glass, a lighter boot lid, a deeper front splitter and an additional rear spoiler.

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The M3s were entered by BMW as well as private racing teams and its wins included the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, British Touring Car Championship, the European Touring Car Championship, the Australian Touring Car Championship, as well as the World Touring Car Championship drivers' title in 1987. The E30 M3 is also a multiple winner of the Nürburgring 24 Hours and Spa 24 Hour races. The BMW M3 series remains the only car ever to have earned more titles than the Porsche 911 in motorsport, and is also the most successful touring, and grand touring car ever to have participated in racing.

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The Scalextric model is of the car driven by Frank Sytner in the 1990 British Touring Car Championships, By now Frank was a seasoned driver already achieving noteworthy results in previous years, especially 1988 where he won both outright and his class. Frank started racing in the early seventies in Formula Ford. He moved into touring cars in the eighties and even though by now he was successfully building a chain of BMW dealerships, he chose Tom Walkinshaw’s Rover team to make his touring car debut. This was short lived and Frank decided to decamp mid season, ending up driving a 635 for Ted Grace Racing. Frank latterly entered a semi works 635 under his own team name and achieved second spot for the year.

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After a year off he rejoined the touring car circus racing a BMW Finance Team M3 which at the time was managed by Prodrive. The following year, 1988, saw frank take out the overall championship and class trophies. Two years later driving the M3 he achieved first in class and second overall. Frank’s final season was 1991 when he retired to run his burgeoning BMW Dealership group. But he has not left motorsport altogether and can still be seen on the track in historic open wheeler events.

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So what have Scalextric done to reflect this achievement by both man and machine? Well, in a word, HEAPS! This model is a vast departure from what we have been expecting and getting from Mr Scaley in recent times. The first time I felt something had changed was when I picked the model up, very light by comparison and did that bode well for both magnet and non magnet? Time and a couple of track tests were going to tell; but for now let’s look around at what we have.

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The first thing that hits you is the ‘stance’ of the model, the body sits low down and clears the track surface by barely a couple of millimetres, and for the fine tuner there is still a mil or two of gap under the wheel arches to pump out the track a bit. The car sits nicely on the track and on the set up board, and at 72 grams is far from overweight. The white finish is very white and all other markings on the model are enhanced by its brightness. Tampo is bold and crisp. The model looks good and alongside Mr Scaley’s 1990’s E30 looks positively scale.

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With the lid off there is little to tell you which model it is, sharing a lot of detail with its brothers and sisters from the factory. The traction magnet is quite firm in place and so too are the light boards, this negates the need to have three hands on standby when replacing the body! Driver’s tray is simple and the only comment I would make here is that Scaley have opted to have one of the Smothers Brothers as driver. The driver looks very stiff and is staring into the nether regions of the roof lining for some reason. At this juncture I will implore Mr Scaley to do something about their drivers in the saloon and rally classes. Surely they have got their money back on the current drivers? Time for a change?

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The chassis is a three screw mount which I like when it comes to non magnet racing. Slackened off half a turn and screw holes oversized should ensure steady cornering performance. Inside the body is simpler too and the areas above the lights have been masked to minimise light bleed through the pale body.

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The first track time I had was the technical LCR just south of Brisbane. During a break in practice I took the model for a trial SOOB! Brave indeed, but pushing off slowly and building on lap speed lap after lap, I soon had the model circulation at a respectable speed in the high sevens. Not being my model I was loath to attempt to do anything clever, so I pumped away for a few more laps. Once in the groove the model was very drivable and I can see this series of BTCC cars are going to be a big favourite of slotcar fans.

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A few days later I took the model with me to the north west suburbs of Brisbane to race on a high speed Ninco track. During the break I put the model on the track for a work out. Again I was very surprised how quickly I got used to the handling of the model even on standard rubber. The traction magnet is not excessive but holds well under some serious track manoeuvers. Raising the speed the model hangs on tenaciously in nearly all situations, After building on some good lap times the model eventually let go at an inner/inner curve at the end of a back straight.

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All in all a very impressive model for a sedan/saloon and certainly a departure from what we have been getting from Mr Scaley. This model is one of the crossover models which have been developed in conjunction with Slot.it, and for the out and out racer, there is a Slot,it designed chassis available for the tinkerers amongst us.

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BMW M3's on eBay


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So, I am sorry to say, this is yet another model you will need to rush out and buy!! This particular model is half of the boxed BTCC presentation, but there are a couple of equally good liveries either out already or coming out! For home racing or for more serious stuff, this model will leave its mark.

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Many thanks to Gold Coast racer Brett Sloman for the opportunity to review this model
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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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