'The GT40 Replacement'
The Ford P68 also known as the F3L for Ford 3 Litre, was built as a possible replacement for the GT40. Alan Mann Racing was specifically responsible for development of the new prototype.
Prototype racing was limited to a three litre capacity in 1968. This restriction motivated Alan Mann Racing take a very close look at the F1 Lotus Type 49 which featured a three litre V8. Financed by Ford, the Cosworth DFV V8 was designed specifically for Type 49. After a promising 1967 season, the DFV V8 seemed fitting for the basis of a new sports prototype.
Unlike the GT40 which used steel, an aluminium monocoque with a rear sub frame supported the P68 and the engine was not fully stressed as in the Type 49. An aluminium body designed by Len Bailey covered the car which was not only strikingly beautiful, but featured a low drag of 0.27 Cd. The car was said to have been designed to create down force without the use of wings.
The car was reputed to be capable of top speeds of well over 350km/h. Although the Len Bailey designed body allowed for incredible top speeds, the P68 had high speed instability, so much so that John Surtees refused to drive one. Later wind tunnel research showed that the body did in fact create down force, but mostly on the front wheels, which caused the much feared instability at high speed. The long tail may have also contributed to a gyroscopic effect on the car whilst cornering. Over its career the nose received a small lip and a rear wing was tried to create more down force.
On The Track
After the a brief testing period, the P68's racing career started at the 1968 BOAC 500 miles at Brands Hatch. Two cars had been made but only one was able to start the race with Bruce McLaren and Mike Spence at the wheel. The car lasted 66 laps until a driveshaft problem occurred.
Following Brand Hatch, two cars were brought out to the Nurburgring 1000kms. The event really pinned Porsche against Ford with Porsche's 907 and 908 prototypes challenging John Wyer's GT40s and Alan Mann's P68. Unfortunately Chris Irwin suffered a bad crash in his F3L which retired both him and car from racing. The second car, driven by Gardner and Attwood failed early due to brakes. In the end, even the proven GT40s were beaten by the Porsche 908 which had debuted at the race.
Ford P68's ran in three more races for the 1968 season. Due to reliability problems the cars failed to finish any race. The highlight of the season, and the F3Ls racing career came at the Spa 1000 kms where Australian racing driver Frank Gardner received pole position.
Unfortunately, during the late sixties, Ford's interest in international racing was on the decline, especially after endorsing a no-expense spared GT40 program for several years and achieving top honours in field, there was little motivation to develop a complex race car such as the P68. Ford had after all. achieved it’s aims of beating Ferrari at Le mans and had done this with American drivers after it’s failed attempt to acquire Ferrari. This car become on of motorsport’s could-have-beens. As such, only three examples were built with two surviving today.
NSR is an Italian Slot Car manufacturer headed up by multiple World Champion Salvatore Noviello. The company is proudly Italian and the cars and all of the components are manufactured and assembled in Italy. NSR has quietly grown it business and has been acquiring specialised equipment to ensure that they have total control over their product quality. NSR is in fact moving to a new factory in May this year.
Some have questioned the cost of NSR car however if you are a serious racer you will find the cost quite reasonable. You do not need to pay for any additional parts to make these cars serious racing machines. You get high quality alloy wheels all round and racing rubber that just needs to be glued and trued than off you go. I have spent between 1.5 and twice the cost of this car on other brands just to get the parts on a similar level i.e. new alloy wheels, tyres, gears new motors etc etc. and still I would not have a car which is ready to race at the same level as the NSR.
One thing that NSR do very well is provide spares and upgrades parts for all of their cars.
NSR recently promoted the World 24 Hour Classic race which was televised nationally in Italy. Please see Slotcarillustrated for this event.
This is the third NSR classic car and utilises the same motor pod as the Ford Mk IV and Porsche 917.
The real life car has been described as one of the most curvaceous and evocative shapes ever to adorn a sports car.
The dimensions for this car are 62.5 mm width x 142.5mm length x 28 mm high.
The wheelbase is 70.5mm with the distance from centre of rear axle to centre guide being 86.0mm
Body dimensions are 62.5 mm width, 142.5mm length with a height of 28 mm.
The wheelbase is 70.5mm and the distance from centre of rear axle to centre guide is 86.0mm.
The weight of the painted body shell it is 18 g. whilst the weight of the RTR car it is just 69 g.
The first version of this car is the 1000Km Nurburgring 1968 version, finished in red, white and gold with the number 9 roundel. A second livery ion British Racing Green is to be released as a limited edition with a third livery in red number 9 also slated for a later release. With the limited racing that the 1 to 1 car undertook it is unlikely that we will see too many more authentic liveries coming out which will be a pity as this car is likely to be popular in the club racing scene. No doubt the white kits will be on offer for your own decoration which will add to the variety on our tracks.
Second livery British Racing Green
Out of the box this car looks impressive in terms of it design and generally the painted finish. There has been some discussion of some of the forums about the paint finish and NSR have included a card in the display box which states:-
“This model has been finished manually.
The imperfections are not defects but witness of handmade job.”
The car that I have for this review is quite satisfactory the main issue that I have seen on other P68 have been the hand painted white paint finish to the tail of the car and some red bleed through on the front number roundel.
The scale of the car looks from the limited information on the web to be true to scale and the livery faithful to the 1000Km Nurburgring 1968 version. There was quit a few rear winglets and front air dams trailed over the cars short life span and the NSR look to have captured the essence if not the exact detail of this car. I welcome your comments on this issue as I am certainly not expert on this aspect of the car.
The car setup is similar to the other NSR classic cars the Ford Mk IV and Porsche 917. These cars use the same motor pod which is fixed to the chassis with three screws one at the front and two at the rear. The screws are secured into plastic cups which can be adjusted to allow your required amount of pod float. These screws and cups can be replaced with an optional NSR spring suspension kit if required. These suspension kits come in soft medium and hard spring sets which cater for uneven plastic tracks i.e. soft springs for Scalextric through to hard springs for smooth even timber tracks.
The pod has three positions for button magnets running down the centre of the pod in front of the motor.
The pod takes short can motors and is equipped with the NSR Shark motor 20,400 RPM at 12Volts with of 164 gr/cm of torque. The pod is setup with a lightly angled sidewinder setup (2 degrees offset).
The pod takes NSR oilets/bearings which are machined to reduce friction and have an oil reservoir on one side of the bush which is placed on the inside of the pod which assist in the ongoing lubrication of the axle.
One aspect that I like about this pod is that the motor mount and the bearing holders include an integral brace which stops any oscillation of the crown and pinion under power which is an issue on some slot cars which require bracing to eliminate this oscillation which leads to the infamous NINCO hop.
The front axle holder has an elongated housing which allows vertical movement of the front wheels and axle and preserving the classical tripod arrangement of guide and rear wheels. This also ensures that the front tyres touch the track for scrutineering requirements in some competitions.
The chassis and pod show considerable refinement and continuous improvement by NSR as you can now see guide wire holders and channels designed into the chassis/pod to route wire neatly and effectively front motor to guide.
The car comes with the standard or medium black chassis and NSR offer also both the soft (blue) and hard (white) chassis available depending on the track surface you run on.
The pod is the narrowed black motor support we will see if NSR follows the Mosler route with soft and hard version pods being made available in the future.
The standard magnet is a round 8x4. The magna-traction that I found by placing the car on my steel setup board was remarkable, not enough to pick up the plate but requiring some effort to lift the car from the plate. This is caused and the combined magnetic force from the magnet and the motor plus the fact that the car is just so low.
The guide is a low-profile 1mm thick unit and spacers can be used to adjust the ride height using .005” .010" or .020” spacers, to suit your rules or type of track that you race on. The guide is fitted with the standard NSR Super Racing braids which are reputed to be the thinnest on the market.
The car comes with 11/32 gearing as standard. NSR advertise that these gear are lightest on the market and made to race.
Normally when you get a slot car there is a fair amount of scrapping, filing or sanding to be done to ensure that the body freely floats on the chassis. This car required no fine tuning and was ready to go in this respect straight out of the box. The body also sat perfectly on my setup plate showing that it was true and square with no twisting or warping from the moulding process.
The body is fixed via three standard 2x6.5mm screws.
NSR do a great job in making spare parts for all of the car components available including bodies, wings, window glass, etc unlike some manufacturers.
The standard motor is the NSR Shark 20,400 RPM motor rated at 12Volts with of 164 gr/cm of torque.
Wheels and Tyres
This car comes with 16” standard non air system front wheels and 16’ air system rears.
The standard tyres are 18.5x9 no-friction fronts and 20.5x10 Supergrips for the rears.
On the Track
I approached this review with the view to testing the car out of the box through to my normal race preparation which has taken me a couple of weeks.
Initially I removed the body to check review this initial setup from NSR and ensure that the running gear was all as it should be. I found that the gear mesh quiet smooth and free spinning, the pod screws were about ½ a turn off of tight and the body screws about 1 turn off of tight. The tyres were ok but did need to be slightly adjusted on the rims for alignment but nothing too drastic. I did note that the front tyres had the potential to just touch the underside of the front wheels arches which would rob some of the cars performance and handling.
On to the track I have used the same track and lane for all of my testing this being a commercial timber track painted with ferrous paint, a track which also has a good deal of grip after many years of racing. The track is non magnetic and the magnet was removed for testing.
After several laps to clean up the track surface using a wet sponge every few laps I set off to see what the car could do. There was a slight wobble down the straight (now doubt caused by unglued and trued tyres) and a slight twitchiness around the corners (possibly caused be the front tyres touching the underside of the guards).
The car was doing consistent 7.1 second lap times not great but showing some promise. The car handle well and had the ability to drive deep into the corners, it cornered flat and showed now signs of tipping if pushed too hard. The car would only de-slot by braking hard deep into corners causing the rear of the car to spin out which did not happen very often, twice from memory.
The next step was to glue and true the tyres which made a big improvement. Also truing the front tyres and slightly tightening the pod screws eliminated the front tyres touching the undersides of the guards.
Tyres glued and being trued on an NSR tyre truer
The car ran true and smooth having lost all of it’s nervousness from its first outing. The lap time immediately dropped to consistent 6.4seconds with 6.443 seconds the best time and starting to became a real pleasure to drive.
The next stage was gluing in the motor and bearings, treating the rear tyres for about 8 hours to provide extra grip and coating the front tyres with superglue (all standard practice at our club). What a transformation the car dropped straight to 6.0 second laps and the more that I ran the car the further times dropped with an ultimate lap time of 5.906 seconds.
Tyres being treated
Gluing in the components
The most impressive aspect was that the car could be ran flat-out, pushed hard into corners and still remained extremely stable. The car was now running consistent 5.9 second laps and seemed be getting better the more that the motor, gears and the like bedded in.
After this testing I ran the car on two magnetic tracks with the magnet installed, the car was a bullet.
This car is likely to be a very popular addition to the classic car ranks and well worth the investment for the serious racers amongst us.
The car requires minimal set up and can be prepared for what ever 1/32 classic racing you desire. In standard from as tested here or specked up with higher performance parts the car should be very competitive in its class. NSR’s advertising a statement is “Your only competition is the stop watch”!
In both magnet and non magnet racing this car will be well worth consideration as part of your racing stable.
|Lo-Fi Version||Time is now: 19th June 2013 - 22:50|