BMW M3 GTR 2005

BMW M3 GTR 2005

Postby wixwacing » Thu 25 Nov, 2010 5:30 pm

AUTOart BMW M3GTR


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By Phil Wicks

It seems like BMW have been making the GTR for years now but in reality its turns out to be one of the more popular models produced in recent times, and in the guise of BMW MOTOR SPORT it has given many a young racing driver a start in the world of motorsport. It has also been a quality ride for some more regular motor racing drivers both contemporary and those entering the final years of their racing careers, and the Nürburgring has been party to their success.


BMW Motorsport - Nurburgring 24 hour - 2005


BMW’s performance at the Nürburgring has been more than commendable, making it their own by shear weight of victories with nineteen victories to their credit, of which eight were ‘one-twos’. Names such as Andy Priaulx, Jorgen Muller, Hans Stuck, Johnny Cecotto, Armin Hahne and many others have signed up with BMW and have shown that the Bavarian product is not to be sniffed at when it comes to generating silverware for the sideboard.





BMW have been, for many years now, a mainstay of the world endurance racing circuit, and the M3 GTR has had its fair share of fun in other enduro events such as Le Mans , ALMS, Nurburgring, Spa and Monza to name a few. The age old Alpina livery which Motorsport uses in various forms has been seen in the winners circle continuously for many years, and along with Porsche, is probably one of the most instantly recognisable racing cars.



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So what has AUTOart contributed with this classic model. It has already almost been done to death by the majors and even Fly and Ninco can be hard acts to follow…….sometimes!.......... But AUTOart will always retain a little spot in the corner of my slotcar heart, simply because of the quality of their models. Admittedly, some have taken a bit of time and trouble to get them working, and others haven’t warranted the trouble because they aren’t going anywhere anyway!!



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I have their Murcielago which I have spent time and trouble regearing and re shoeing, but a labour not lost in the effort as the model recently came a close second in a fourteen car Slot.It ‘Modern GT’ race locally on Ninco track. A fellow racer has got his Miura into board track competitive condition with the application of some time, and a new rear axle in the Ford 500C made it devilishly quick on a local six lane Carrera circuit a little while back now.



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And there are AUTOart models you don’t want to race. Yes, unashamed shelf queens that, if you where to race and break something, would make you sob uncontrollably in the presence of younger people. I have the Peugeot and Citroen rally cars which as far as detail is concerned, are unapproachable, even down to the tampo’d heated screen elements. There is the Jaguar ‘C’ type which (apart from the diminutive driver) is a pure delight to catch a glimpse of in pride of place in the toy cabinet. And of course, the Miura!!!! End of conversation!!!.

Where does that leave the majority of AUTOart cars. Well, there are models they make which are excellent models, but aren’t near the top of the ‘must have’ list. The D type is one, Scaley have a better and a more drivable one. The Sierra Turbo. Again, well made but not well enough to separate it decisively from the SCX model. The other Lambos are well made and excellent models, but again, have more serious challengers from the major makers. So, if you are thinking of buying an AUTOart, it will have to fit into a niche for it to remain a favourite in your race box or your collection. They don’t do both out of the box!



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This model was a chance acquisition and is cherished no less because of that. I will run through its pros and cons as if I might be setting it up for the track, but that is where it will end as I don’t intend to race it. I already have the Fly and Ninco models for that! So, where do we start…….

As already mentioned, the outside of the model is probably the best detail you will get. AUTOart are long established diecast manufacturers and reproduction of detail is going to be the least of their worries. The tampo is impeccable and there isn’t a flaw on the model, trust me, I looked for five minutes. The anodised parts are brilliant, check out the front grille and the fuel filler especially. They have including the tank vent which exits through the back screen and on looking around the wheel arches (guards/wells) you can see what must be some of the minutest photo etched grilles and vents,….. all see through! The front has more grilles and the bonnet (hood) too, has some of the finest detail.



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Once again, as with previous models, the tampo detail is that fine that in places it is unreadable to the naked eye, but with the aid of two pair of spectacles and a magnifying glass, all will be revealed!! The door mirrors aren’t left out of this detail extravaganza and they carry a silvered mirror finish. The antenna on my model was barely attached. I can’t say if it was intentional or a fault, but this item could end up getting misplaced. I suspect mine will eventually be fixed permanently in place once it has had a few cursory laps to check out its potential track ability.



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Unlike Scaleys, the interior is not readily removable, so adoration of the interior has to be done through sparklingly clear front and side screens. Inside, the fuel tank is clearly visible and the dash has a good showing of detail. There is a full roll cage and for the most part the driver looks good. Being critical I would say that maybe more time could have been spent on the driver’s racing suit and one noticeable absence is a full racing harness, something that some other manufacturers seem to be able to duplicate? Once again, the clear parts are optically quite good and the are no ‘sweaty Betty’ fingerprints on either the inside or outside of the model (as some have).



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Last up with the outside are the lights. Yet again very well made and as lights, very effective. These rank among the best looking lights in my collection , and functional too. The rears too are well reproduced and carry the minutest of reversing light lenses moulded in….not painted!



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Under the model there is the barest of detail. Two traction magnets !! The good thing is that these magnets are screw fitted from the outside. This will facilitate easy shimming down in a race set up situation with no need to keep removing the body. The shims would need to be made as there are none supplied, but an eventual fine balance between front and rear should be achievable in a relatively short space of time at the track!! The guide is poor, poorer than almost all others. It is deep enough and long enough, and spring loaded too! But the side and end slop is atrocious, only being surpassed by the Pioneer Mustang guide, and it would need attention if it were to be a serious contender.



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Inside the model there is plenty of space if you intend to add ballast, but the interior does consume most of the remaining space. One thing that becomes obvious is that AUTOart have reproduced door trims in the model indicated by the dimensions of the drivers tray, but this is wasted as they are not recognisable from above. Again, for a serious racing model there is a bit too much weight ‘upstairs’ and little scope to reduce it without butchering the excellent driver’s tray. AUTOart have overcome the age old problem of light bleed through the body by anodising the front light unit. This keeps all extraneous light inside the unit and increases the brilliance of the light emitted forwards. All wiring and added parts under the body have a spot of glue on them. In my experience this reduces the noise emitted by body parts, especially on plastic tracks.



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The business side of the chassis is mostly fine. The motor seems to be rated along with most ‘S’ cans at about 18,000 rpm. The wires are neatly fixed to the chassis and are positioned to aid guide centring. The motor is tight but can be encouraged to move if persuaded. Both front and rear axles are snugly mounted in brass bushes which in turn are gripped firmly in their chassis mounting saddles. The gearing looks ominous and you could be forgiven for thinking it was not up to the job, but trust me when I say that firstly, it has a drive ratio of 3 : 1, and secondly, it is as sturdy as most. The only observation I would make is that the pinion teeth have ’through’ valleys between the teeth, which means with time or use, its days are eventually numbered. The pinion is 7.0 m.m. diameter which means an ‘off the shelf’ pinion may not fit in the event of failure, but the spur gear is 19.0 m.m., which is not so problematic.



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The last bit of the business end is the wheels and tyres. Again, an Achilles tendon for a potentially good model. The wheels are round and concentric but they will need checking for the little ‘nibs’ which are left behind after pulling them from the sprue in production. Lastly, underneath, the tyres are little more than scrap value. The tyre mouldings are irregular and inaccurate. The slot in the centre which fits over the wheel major step is too narrow and does not allow the tyre to sit evenly on the wheel readily, you have to work at getting the lip to sit over the step.



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The tyres themselves contort to a multitude of shapes when inverted, indicating they are of various thicknesses and doubtful material consistency. The compound too is suspect, along with the impractical true scale width. I have tried to match some MJK tyres to the model but the closest I could get from my collection were the Scalextric Nascar tyres (MJK 4239). These are a good fit on the rim but will need some diameter trimming off them to achieve a comfortable fit under the wings (fenders/guards).



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Before concluding, there is one more serious complication. When I removed the model from its case and placed it on the set-up block, the model balanced on diagonally opposite wheels?? I had come across this before with the Revell McLaren M6a and the problem with that model was poor axle mounts not allowing the axles to go right into the saddles. The body was removed and the chassis once again sat on the block. A great improvement but still a bit crooked. Taking into account the poor tyre fit I tried to pinpoint what was happening.



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The first move was to remove the axles and sure enough, during the moulding process the inside of the axle bearing saddles in the chassis have a small degree of moulding flash on their inner edges. This was preventing the axle bearings from sitting completely in the saddles. With a sharp modeller’s knife I trimmed the saddle edges carefully, and on replacing the axles, the problem was eradicated. But this was not the total solution. The body was still difficult to fit back onto the chassis.



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The body/chassis mounting posts are recessed like many these days, and fit inside each other. This is fine if they are a perfect match. But with this model, somewhere down the track the dimensions of the male and female parts has altered ??!! Closer examination revealed that the chassis fouls the rear valance. The back end of the chassis was then trimmed and refitted. The chassis goes almost all the way home now but is still a bit too long?? I had noticed that the axles were a very firm fit in the chassis and this set me thinking. On removing the axles again, the chassis is almost there? It appears that the axles, when clipped in place, are causing the chassis to spread and put the chassis mounting posts out of position!!



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So what next? With the axles removed, the chassis was trimmed at the rear until it fitted inside the body. There was still a little bit of springiness, but this turned out to be the wiring on the front of the motor fouling the drivers tray, so this was relocated and now the chassis dropped squarely over the body posts. With axles refitted there was a little more distortion causing the body and chassis posts to miss align.



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I lightly scraped the axle bearing saddles on the chassis and refitted the axles. This had detentioned the axle fit enough for the body and chassis posts to re align, and with some fine trimming and with screws refitted, the model finally stood squarely an all wheels for the first time. For its track debut and probably its only appearance, I have slightly enlarged the chassis screw holes and slackened off the body screws three quarters of a turn. This should allow the newly tuned chassis just to ‘float’ a little.



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With the exception of the tyres I am now very happy with the model and some time in the near future I will endeavour to take it to my local plastic track for evaluation. But as mentioned before, I have the Ninco and Fly models which were far less problematic out of the box. So unless the model has an alarming performance, it may well join its brothers in the front of the cabinet.


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This is a great model and has the potential to be a good slot racer after the above items are addressed. It may also be a case of new rear wheels and tyres for the serious racer, but the potential of being able to adjust the traction magnets is a big plus although the high body weight could be a minus! The price bodes well too, as Ninco and Fly model prices have now gone through the roof locally. For those who mix their classes, the Scaley and SCX BMW 320i’s outwardly are very similar models and equally as drivable out of the box. Go out and buy it? Mmmmmmm? I love this model, but unless you are prepared to spend a bit of time in the workshop with it, it might not be the best choice. And on the track? Stay tuned ……………
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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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