Monday, January 22, 2007

AutoArt's GT3RS and GT3R

Quite a nice pair of Porsche's have arrived from AutoArt and Global Gateway. I had two questions about these cars when I got them. The first question was how does this car stack up against the Scalextric 911 GT3 car in the looks and detail department? Let's get this out of the way first...the AutoArt blows the Scalex car out of the water. It's not even close. Everywhere you look on this car there are small details that grab your attention. Hood pins, photo etched grilles in the nose, a few nice little tampo printing's here and there.

But most importantly the lines of the model are much nicer. It's got more of that rounded look that Porsche-philes gravitate towards. The rear fenders are flared out nicely. I've always thought the Scalex car is a bit too "restrained" in its design. So a comparison is obviously in order. Now bear with me here... the only Scalextric GT3 Porsche I have is one pieced together from a kit and it was heavily raced in the Race Across America proxy race...with, shall we say, its share of battle scars.

A few side-by-side photos.

The second question I had was why isn't this a popular car, especially for kitbashers who want a plain white car to start with? The plain white body is the form that the real race teams get when they take delivery from Porsche. For reference I have some photos from the Flying Lizard Motorsports team taken for Slot Car News by Jennifer Hart, VP of team marketing when the Lizards got their brand new 911 (997) Porsches.

This car is sold in ready to race/decal/paint form directly from AutoArt.... and since the AutoArt car is around $5-10.00 cheaper than the Scalex car you've already got a bargain on your hands, especially since the Scalex plain white Scalex 911 is now just about impossible to find cheaply.

It's at more than 1/16th" wider than the Scalex Porsche, and comes in at 2-5/16" inches wide across the rear tires. And the white and red GT3RS is narrower at around 2-1/18" wide from sidewall to sidewall.

Both cars have different chassis. The GT3R (shown above) has the magnet mounted on the bottom of the chassis with a small screw. The design, however, doesn't seem to lend itself well to screwing out the screw to lower the magnet to get more downforce. Why? Well because the magnet is only held in the middle and if you unscrew it too much, the magnet may hang down too much on one side. The effect of the magnet mounted so low gives this car a great deal of magnetic downforce. The cars easily hang upside down on plastic track. The GT3RS (shown below) has two magnets, one behind the guide and one behind the rear axle.

The performance of these cars seems to be fairly different but this I think is due to the difference in width. The white and red car tended to lift out of the slot and rolled more easily than I expected. The GT3R (plain white car) handled corners well. Even though these cars are clearly made for plastic track I feel they'd adapt well to non-magnet application. The wider GT3R clearly has got tons of potential for racing on wood where Scalex car is basically a basketcase if you try to run it without magnets.

In the past some have mentioned the depth of the guide as a problem when trying to race this car without magnets or on wood. Well these cars are my first AutoArt cars to examine and here's a shocker... the guides are deeper than Fly guides (which are around 6mm deep) and standard Slot It guides (around 5.5mm deep)... the guide comes in at a robust depth of 7.5mm!

The white and red GT3RS is clearly not a race car (especially since there is a passenger in the front with brown skirt on and pink blouse). I can understand that many slotters aren't into street cars. While this is a street car it's a nicely done car and if you're into collecting every Porsche body, eventually you'll want to take a close look at picking this car up to add to the collection. There are nicely done silver and red wheels here and a well proportioned body. All in all a fine a nice price.

I've focussed more on the aesthetic qualities of the cars because I see nothing to make me question the mechanical aspects of either car. If you're racing out of the box cars, you're racing with magnets. Both cars will work well in box stock form. If you're into wood tracks or non-magnet racing...well then you've got to be someone that likes to do some tuning to cars, I see plenty of potential here for that. Both cars have nice gear mesh and nicely done press on plastic gears. Both have sidewinder chassis. The tires on both cars I think are a bit narrow, but the stock rubber (even though not as wide as the Scalex car) sticks far better. In stock form these cars are fine slot cars and would be great additions to collections. The GT3R stands out to me as a car that's got to be at the top of a "must have" list if you're into modern Porsche racecars.

Now I've heard from more than a few retailers that they don't plan to stock either car. Hopefully this review will change a mind or two and some will go and ask for their sleeper race car. The price is right and the detail and performance are where they need to be.

And if all that blah, blah doesn't get you in the mood to go buy a Porsche...maybe this will help.

Dave Kennedy, Slot Car News

Photos of the Flying Lizard 997's are property of Flying Lizard Motorsports and are used here with permission, no reuse for any reason.

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