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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hot Wheels Mclaren F1 GTR



The biggest news for the 2017 Hot Wheels mainline is the return of the Mclaren F1 GTR casting.  The first release was in the highly sought-after Speed Machines line and was also released in the Wal-mart decades line before vanishing again.  I saw the decades version and almost got it, but i was turned down by the excessive use of racing graphics.  I much prefer the cleaner version.  Since then i've regretted not picking it up as popularity has sent prices skyrocketed.  Luckily I was able to find a good deal on a Speed Machines release for only $10 and as a bonus it was a nice and clean stock look.  Time to preview the hype that will arrive in stores next month.




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The F1 was Mclaren's first true race car built for the road and to go after high-end exotics to capture the title of the all-time greatest supercar, a title that it still holds true today.  106 of these machines were built between 1992 and 1998.  It was a car ahead of its time with seating for three that places the driver in the center of the car.  The body was more streamlined with no large gaping intakes or rear spoiler in sight.  Gordon Murray convinced Ron Dennis and Peter Stevens to create a true sports car that was fast and light.  It was the first car to use a monocoque chassis that all mid-engine exotic cars use today, and use special and expensive materials to cut down on weight.  As a kind of irony to today's Mclaren's Murray wanted a naturally-aspirated motor to create power at all engine speeds, so BMW's M division came up with a 6.2L DOHC V-12 motor that produces 627 horsepower and 480 Ib-ft of torque to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission.  Engine highlights include twelve individual throttle butterflies and to relieve heat in the engine compartment the engine bay is lined with gold foil.  For a true sports car it has no radio (though it can be inserted as an option), no power assist brakes or steering, and instead of a handbrake there is an electronic one that uses a separate brake caliper at the rear to hold the vehicle when parked.




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Now the GTR is the race-car version of the F1 that is built for the track.  A modified Mclaren prototype was used because it already has the look of a track car and thus did not need much modifications.  The F1 GTR has won a handful of races, including a number one finish in the 1995 24 Hours of LeMans.  After their career ended in 1998 the GTR's were sold to private collectors who wanted to either show off the car in a museum or race them on the track, while Mclaren themselves bought a few and modified them to become track cars for the road with just a slight adjustment in ride height and additional regulatory legal road items.




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Despite its racing heritage the stock look of this Speed Machines Mclaren F1 GTR is the best.  Oddly for such a series it lacks the co-mold wheels that were used in earlier Speed Machines releases, opting for 5-spoke wheels  with orange outer rim.  The front has detailed quad headlights with lower signal light slots and a lower bumper with large grilles and a lower chin spoiler.  The orange paint with black stripes look good on this car and also have that racing theme to it even if it lacks any sponsor decals or racing numbers.  The front fenders peak up and reveal vents to relieve wheelwell air pressure, a vent on the front hood area, and on the roof is a smoothly integrated intake for the rear engine.  The sides show a nice sweep of the graphics that align with the triangular cut of the door openings that also have side scallop swipe.  Unlike the stock F1 the GTR has a separate plastic rear spoiler that is fixed and designed for track duty.  The rear has a vented grille for the motor in the center with outer dual taillights to the sides.  More vents are located just below and above the quad exhaust tips.  Overall the look of the car is just simply amazing and even with the added racing gear it still looks gorgeous.


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The base underneath is super smooth to allow clean airflow underneath.  The intake of the roof flows down to the engine and just after it is more vents to relieve heat from the engine.  The engine itself may be hidden and barely visible from the side slits, yet you can still see the valve cover and intake details.  The interior is clearly visible with clear windows and tan interior color.  The three-person seat layout is still visible, though the outer seats are removed for GTR track duty.  The driver's seat is in the middle with the shifter to the right and a few controls to the left.  The dashboard does an arc sweep across the front of the cabin leading to the center where the gauge pod stands out against two round side vents and a 3-spoke steering wheel.  Now how about performance?  In my years of review I always find most Hot Wheels exotic cars to perform extremely well on the track with a feel of excitement as if you're driving the real car.  In the F1 GTR that feeling is definitely there with quick acceleration and G-force bending handling where the car carries speed in each corner with ease.  It even brakes short, too!  Just like the P1 this is one amazing car, and it'll be great that others will get to enjoy that same experience when the 2017 mainline version comes out, now as part of the Then and Now series: F1 GTR to P1.


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