Le Mans Mirage Group 8 - 1974

Le Mans Mirage Group 8 - 1974

Postby wixwacing » Sat 13 Jul, 2013 2:43 pm

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Mirage Gp 8 Le Mans 1975
Vern Schuppan / Jean Pierre Jaussaud



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by Phil Wicks


The 1975 Le Mans was a milestone for the event; because of the world wide fuel shortage, the organisers decided to set an example by putting fuel consumption restrictions on all the cars competing. They were also limited to how many times they could refuel!! Faced with this challenge, English motor racing guru John Wyer took up the gauntlet. He had planned to retire during the year but postponed the event in order to prepare and run a pair of newly built cars in the race. Some of the biggest names in endurance racing were engaged and preparations went ahead for the event. Derek Bell and Jackie Ickx were to drive one car, and Aussie Vern Schuppan and Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jaussaud were lined up for the other.


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GTC - Mirage


On raceday, the Mirages took the lead from the start and drove through the afternoon to darkness. The racing had settled into the night stint with the two Mirages in front when the No.10 car developed alternator problems and dropped back six laps behind the leaders. After an incident where the Decadenet Lola shed its rear body work, the race order saw the ‘Gitane’ Ligier move up the leader board. The Cosworth DFV engines used by Mirage and Ligier were known to have exhaust cracking issues but Ligier had pre-empted this problem and had altered the design of their exhausts to allow them to be changed quickly thus allowing them to move into second position. Later in the race the Mirage No. 11 car regained the lead and eventually won the twenty four hour event by one lap! Positions fourth to eleventh were all taken by Porsches.



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So how do we capture all that drama with this model....pretty hard really, but I must say here that this is another of those models which need the wide open spaces to perform properly. If you are buying this for a home racing circuit then be assured you will not be able to get the best out of it. This model sports the orange ‘Hurricane’ motor which is rated at 22,000 rpm and will need room to use it.

So let’s have a look around first to find out what first attracted us to this model??

First and foremostly you would have to have been dead a long time if you didn’t go for the Gulf Livery; probably the singularly most popular livery to date and one that usually puts another $50.00 on a model’s price on eBay!! The blue and orange has been around for many years now and never fails to attract.



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Pulling it from the box there is also a multi lingual instruction sheet. This tells you how to adjust the several screws and bits around the model for optimum performance. The model is not that complex but if you are new to this type of model and haven’t ‘tinkered’ before, then I suggest you take a few minutes to read the notes before proceeding to adjust anything.



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Once again, and as with the Metro 6R4, this is a very thin bodied model! And this time the body weighs 15 grams! But it is a very attractive 15 grams. Tampo is good but there isn’t that much of it to worry about. At the time of the original car advertising was still modest on most racing cars and apart from adds for brakes, shocks and tyres, there’s little else on the model to adorn the flowing lines.



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Front light detail is fair, but, hidden behind the clear covers they are fairly insignificant. Back end detail is very basic too and on the real thing I would be sure there would have been a bit more going on detail wise. One of the few prominent features at this end (the exhausts) look to have been glued on out of align which was a bit sad, but no matter.



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Topside parts are minimal too; the mirrors stick out into the roll over zone so be prepared to loose one or both when racing with slotcar ruffians! The rear wing is sturdy enough and should remain intact after the hardest of impacts; and I’m not sure who is the driver depicted here, maybe one of you could enlighten the rest of us?



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One initially alarming site were the three magnets in the chassis. Expecting the model to get stuck hard and fast on a piece of plastic track I was surprised when it didn’t offer that much more magnetic adhesion than most models. The magnets are not ‘full strength’ type magnets and they offer what must be a calculated downforce for this model.



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Taking the body off, the layout inside is that of another minimalist model, designed for racing first and showing second. The motor is mounted in a separate pod which seems to be the current trend now, and the chassis does not seal the underside of the model but just sits there with the naked edges revealed. Again. Not what I was expecting but who is to say that there is anything wrong with that?



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The chassis is fitted to the body with two screws, and the pod is secured to the chassis by two screws at the rear and what looks to be an adjustable screw and bracket at the front. Turning this screw raises or lowers the front of the pods slightly, and influences the magnetic downforce to the front of the model. At 7.5 m.m. the guide has enough depth for most tracks and will in fact be too deep for some home tracks, and there is no spare guide supplied for this eventuality!



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The front axles are stubs, something I like to see. There are issues enough on a lot of models with front wheel drag and the only other option to overcome this is to set the axle up to clear the track. On this model you can play with the front axle height and still have a firm front end, much better than some other independent front ends I have come across. Front wheels are plastic, unlike the rears which are machined aluminium with anodised inserts.



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The motor is clipped tentatively in the chassis but the saving grace are the two screws holding it in at the gear end. There is a brass pinion and an alloy angle winder gear very similar to those seen in models that run Slot.It chassis'. The axle bushes are firm too and there is an alloy collar on the rear axle for centering the axle in the chassis. Gear mesh is pre set by the left hand axle bush. If you want to run a tighter fit you will need to add a fine shim or two between the gear and the axle bush.



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Ont the track the model runs well and initially on magnabraid was impressive even without the tyres being trued. It was predictable when pushed hard through hairpin and sweeper alike and was also a very quiet model compared to most. Brakes are also good and initial acceleration seems to be adequate. There was no consistent deslot pattern but I did feel the back of the model was a bit too heavy compared to the front. In a non magnet situation there may well be the necessity to add some significant ballast to the front to keep it down in the sweepers, although the deep guide does work well.



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On plastic track (Scaley Sport) once again the model is well behaved, and pretty unshakeable in all but the tightest hairpins. Again, the guide is marginally deep for Scaley Sport track and will be far too deep for older plastic tracks such as Ninco, SCX and Scaley classic (plexytrack). If you have older track consider replacing the guide rather than trimming it, it is too useful for trimming and you never know, you may have the opportunity some day to run it on a 'deep slot' circuit!



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I tried to get on to the Avant Slot site, but it has been under construction for some time now. There is an alternative at the link below but this seems to be a year out of date as far as models go.


Avantslot website



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I found this model drove very nicely and no doubt in its class it will be a great racer, but it will need plenty of space to show what it really can do! Another nice model from Avant Slot and not a bad price. At this moment in time I have not been able to locate an Australian retailer so it looks like an overseas purchase. Not to worry, remember, when you purchase from the UK you will be entitled to get the model minus the VAT (eq. GST) which is currently 20%!!



Many thanks to fellow Brisbane racer Tim Dillon 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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