Friday, 4 January 2008


FINA #43, 3rd Le Mans 1997

Firstly, I'd like to thank Cathy from Armchair Racer who got this car to me a little early so I could complete this review by the FINA McLaren's release date - Thanks Cathy!


The FINA McLaren F1 GTR competed in the GT1 class and finished in 3rd, (3 laps behind the winner) at Le Mans in 1997. The number 43 McLaren completed 358 laps and was driven by P.Kox, R.Ravaglia and E.Halary. The FINA sponsored car was beaten by another McLaren F1 GTR sponsored by the Gulf Team. The winning car was a Joest Racing Porsche 935/76 F6 although this car was in the LMP class. Interestingly, the FINA McLaren also competed against the Nissan Motorsports R390s in the GT1 class. These cars have also been released by making them a great running mate for the FINA McLaren.

You can read some more information about the evolution of the McLaren F1 GTR "Longtail" at Great Racing Cars:


I'll for warn you that I almost ran out of superlatives to describe this slot car. really have produced a model worthy of the 1:1 McLaren F1 GTR that is such an icon of motor sport. This is the second McLaren F1 GTR released by, the first being the Goodwood 2005 orange car, CA10A. The Goodwood McLaren was the most popular sold in Australia in 2007 and there is a good chance the FINA McLaren will be the most popular for 2008. The car comes with an extra set of S1 rear tires.

The FINA McLaren comes in's standard packaging of which I'm a big fan. Although the car is firmly secured to the box base, ship their cars with a clear plastic spacer which protects the car from damage should it come away from the base. If you've ever experienced what I term a 'slot car milkshake', (where a slot comes away from its base during transit) you'll also appreciate Slot.its packaging efforts.


  • Crown Gear: SIGI26
  • Pinion Gear: SIPI09
  • Motor Pod: SICH24 - Reverse offset mount
  • Tires: SIPT02 (comes with an additional rear set of S1 rubber)
  • Motor: Inline 21500 V12/3 with
  • Magnatraction: Dual position, (magnet supplied in rear position)
  • Side-winder or Boxer (Long Can inline) motor pod compatible
For additional model detail, head over to's website;


As I've come to expect from, it's very hard to find any flaws regarding their build quality and attention to detail. continue to produce slot cars built to very high standards and their attention to detail is excellent. The paint and decal finish of this model is absolutely top-shelf. obviously enjoy a real challenge as the decals on this car are very good considering the amount of raised body detail this model has.

The front of the McLaren looks absolutely striking, of particular note are the front lights which look great. I'm very tempted to order a lighting kit for this car as I think it would really look great with lights. The front of the car has plenty of detail including; vents, intakes and a tow hook. The wheel inserts look fantastic on the car and are a little darker than those on the Goodwood McLaren.

One thing I did notice about the front of the car was that the nose section proportions don't look quite right. If you look at the 1:1 side profile photo and the similar slot photo directly below it you'll notice that hasn't moulded it long enough.

I'm pleased to report that the issue with the wheels inserts on the Goodwood car not being completely flush has been fixed, at least on the FINA McLaren I have. This was a small problem with the Goodwood car but it was visually unattractive so I'm glad has fixed it.

Rear detail is also excellent with exhaust pipes, vents, clear rear lights, rear grill and McLaren logo. Decal detail is excellent, it seems every time I examine the car I find another decal previously not seen. The rear tail is glued in place and has little flexibility about it, it does however seems strong enough to withstand heavy impacts.

The model comes with a rubber aerial which is great for longevity. However, is still producing plastic rear-vision mirrors, which is a bit of a pet hate of mine. They do seem pretty secure and the mirror posts have some strength but wouldn't survive a heavy knock.

The driver figure is impressively painted and decaled as can be seen from the below photo. I didn't want to pull my McLaren's body apart so I'm not too sure about dash detail as the side windows are heavily tinted. This heavy side window tint gives the car a really cool appearance on the track.

The body is removed from the chassis via 2 screws which is standard for all cars, body removal and reassembly is very easy. As you can see this chassis is side-winder motor pod compatible and comes with the SICH24 reverse offset motor pod. The McLaren comes with a standard magnet in the rear position although it's not shown in the below photo. You can also see that this chassis can be upgraded to SSD Sport Digital system.

One of the first things I do to any I drive is to loosen the motor pod screws half to one full turn thus allowing a degree of chassis/body role. You'll find that you can hold more speed through corners if you do this although be careful not to loosen the screws too much, as the rear rubber can rub on body work.


As with the recent AEG Mercedes Sauber C9, I found the FINA McLaren's guide to be very tight. As with my AEG Sauber, I removed the guide from the chassis by carefully levering it out from underneath the chassis using a small flat head screw driver. To fix the tight guide post issue, I used a low RPM cordless drill and a 9/64 drill bit. After removing the guide, slowly drill the guide hole, (make sure you're drilling perpendicular to the chassis). You won't need to drill very much, just a few seconds at very low RPM to remove a little excess plastic. Reinsert your guide and test, you should find that the small issue is fixed.

The McLaren has very strong acceleration and braking and is damn quick in a straight line. In fact it's very quick through even the most testing of corners too! One of the reasons the McLaren can really travel through corners is its brilliant chassis setup and weight distribution. Another factor is that the McLaren, like a lot of other Slot.its (Porsche 956 & 962, Nissan R390, Audi R8c) has heaps of magnetic down-force making them VERY fast racers.

On my Carrera track, the McLaren seemed to get on and off the power as the magnet down-force kicks in and out depending on chassis/track clearance. I tried moving the magnet to the forward position and although the car became a bit more playful in the rear, the magnetic down-force was still too high. I decided to remove the magnet all together and see how the car would run. I also decided to install S1 rubber to improve rear grip now I was running non-mag.

WOW!!!! Let me just say that the McLaren is probably the best 'from-the-box', non-magnetic slots I have ever driven. To put that statement in context, I'm comparing it with Proslot Toyota GT-one, Audi R8C and Porsche 956, Spirit Racing Raynard and Dallara and Fly Racing 911 GT1 Evo 3 but not the NSX Mosler as I haven't had the pleasure of owning one yet.

The McLaren instantly became a transformed slot car. Driving was as smooth as silk, the big car effortlessly gliding around the track. Acceleration and running was now consistent and the annoying feeling that the car was on and off the power was completely gone. The McLaren still handles corners elegantly non-mag and it seemed the more I drove it, the better it was getting and the more I wanted to drive. This is one special slot car, congratulations

Now that I was running non-mag I was having a little trouble with sudden changes in elevation on my track. As you can see in the below photo, I added a little extra weight up front which stopped the nose deslotting. I haven't experimented a great deal with weight and this car but I get the feeling that the performance in this chassis is no where near at its full potential.

Once again has stuck to their 'magic slot formula' and produce a slot car that is destined to be fiercely raced and highly sort after once it sells out. As I've commented before, continue to produce slots cars that have a high level of engineering, are as fun to drive as they are stunning to look at and are without doubt very collectible. I predict that the FINA McLaren will be one of Slot.its greatest releases.

Manic Score Breakdown

  • Sex Appeal: 7th Gear
  • Collectibility: 7th Gear
  • Build Quality: 7th Gear
  • Attention to Detail: 7th Gear
  • 'RTR' Performance: 6th Gear
Overall Manic Score: 6.8 Gears - The highest review score to date!

The FINA McLaren F1 GTR goes straight into 'Manic's collectible slotcars' list.

So if you want to get your hands on one of these beautiful slots and lets face it, you NEED to get your hands on one of these! Head straight over to Armchair Racer who currently have them in stock;

If you'd like a FINA McLaren F1 GTR wallpaper for your desktop, you can download one below. Just click on the image that suits your desktop size.

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at

Head over to the McLaren Automotive gallery for some great photos;

For more information about the 1997 Le Mans race, see Racing Sports Cars;

YouTube has a great movie of the 1:1 FINA McLaren, listen to that engine!


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