SCX Ferrari 550 Maranello
SCX item #62980
by Peter Emery (Tofosi)
The 1:1 Maranello
The Ferrari 550 Maranello was launched in 1996 and signalled a return to a front engined GT car as the Ferrari range topper.
Although not intended for competition it was not long before some enthusiastic owners started preparing their 550s for racing, notably Red Racing and Ital tecnica.
In 2001 a more serious race car based upon the 550 was produced by the UK Prodrive concern, indeed this was a bespoke racer completely designed and built in the UK. The 6 litre, 600 BHP engine used the Ferrari block but everything else was designed by Prodrive. Dubbed the 550 – GTS by Prodrive around ten cars were built for use by the Prodrive works team and for private entrants. The car was to prove very successful with class wins at Le Mans and in the American Le Mans series and a FIA GT championship for Scuderia Italia in 2003 courtesy of 8 wins. In 2004 BMS Scuderia Italia again took the FIA GT championship while Labre Competition nailed the GT1 class in the Le Mans Series. BMS Scuderia Italia then made it a clean sweep by taking the Le Mans Series in 2005. The customer cars were looked after by Care Racing and some owners were still campaigning the Prodrive designed GTS in 2007. It is ironic that the Prodrive designed Aston Martin DBR9s were the cars to finally make the 550 Maranello yesterday’s car.
The car modelled was a Prodrive built 550 - GTS entered by Luc Alphand Adventures in the 2003 Le Mans race. It was placed 21st overall in the 2003 Le Mans race driven by the three French drivers Luc Alphand, Jérome Policand, Frederic Dor. It achieved 5th in the GTS, now GT1, class behind the winning Prodrive 550 Maranello two Chevrolet Corvettes and a Dodge Viper.
Ferrari did replace the 550 as a road car with the 575M and some development was undertaken by Ferrari and Michelloto to make a racer out of the 575 but it has not been as successful as the Prodrive built 550-GTS.
The SCX 1:32 Maranello
This SCX GT car follows the design trend of the recent SCX releases. The chassis is wide and flat with a ‘pod’ to carry the motor and back axle. The advantage of this pod arrangement is that the motor and back axle are allowed to float slightly which decouples the motor from the rest of the chassis, same theory as but a lot more effective than merely loosening the body/chassis fixing screws. The rear axle bearings are spherical so are naturally self centering giving a smooth running rear axle. The front axle is also mounted using bearings but these are more traditional plastic ones. The guide is lightly sprung and fitted with the double pick up braid arrangement that appears to work well although I do know that some club racers are less than convinced. The motor is the familiar SCX ‘RX’ unit, recently revised and MUCH better as a result. This is a strong, torquey motor that I have found benefits from careful and extended running in. Finally the guide to the motor and lighting units is connected with copper strips fixed to the chassis. Again this is an unusual arrangement but appears to work very well. The lights are bright and clear and look just right on this endurance racer.
The colour scheme is attractive in predominantly pale blue and white. The paint is fairly good and the tampo printing is crisp and clear. The wheels look a wee bit chunky to my eye with overly thick spokes. Taking a look at contemporary photographs of the car at Le Mans shows the wheels should be gunmetal grey rather than the silver used here and the rear wing is completely wrong on the model. What a shame.
So how did the 550 GTS perform? Well, first impressions of the car on my short test circuit was – not good. The car was OK with the magnet fitted but no record breaker. Even with the magnet in place the car was easy to. It acts like a model with poor weight distribution. The comparison with the recently released SCX SEAT 131 rally car was really surprising. The SEAT 131 ran rings around the Ferrari with or without magnet and was much easier to drive and far more progressive in it’s breakaway.
I would think that some experimentation with adding weight to the sides and front of the motor would pay dividends but why bother?
This car will get crucified at a club race meeting against more developed GT cars and will never have the power to compete on the longer club tracks even if the handling was A1.
If you like Ferraris, which I do, then this is a nice model of an important link in the Ferrari GT story through the years.
If however you are looking for a car to race then you can do better, look elsewhere within the SCX range – there are some fine cars there.
|Lo-Fi Version||Time is now: 22nd May 2013 - 05:07|