Tuesday, 10 June 2014

REVIEW: Scaleauto Spyker C8 GT2-R

Scaleauto Spyker C8 GT2-R
SC-6026 - 'Spyker Squadron', Le Mans 2007

"Nulla tenaci invia est via."
The Spyker motto, "For the tenacious, no road is impassable"


Spyker is a Dutch sports car marque that started production in 1999.  The 'Spyker Squadron' #85 and #86 car ran in the GT class at Le Mans in 2007 using a 3.8L Audi V8 power plant.   Unfortunately both cars did not finish the race, the #85 Spyker completing only 40 laps retiring with transmission problems and the #86 car suffered from 'serious mechanical issues' completing 202 laps.

This from Wikipedia: 'The C8 Spyder is the original base model with an Audi 4.2 litre V8 engine giving the car 400 PS (290 kW) and a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph). The C8 spyder T has a more powerful Audi 4.2 litre V8 twin turbo with 525 PS (386 kW) giving it a top speed of 320 km/h (199 mph).

The C8 Laviolette has the 400 PS (290 kW) Audi engine but unlike the spyder models that come with a fixed roof with a glass canopy. The C8 Double 12R is a version made specifically for the 24 hours of Le Mans also using the Audi V8 engine with 480 PS (353 kW) and the C8 Double 12S is the street version of this car which has the same glass canopy of the Laviolette and optionally has a 620 PS (460 kW) engine instead of the 400 PS (290 kW) engine from the C8 spyder, giving it a top speed between 301 km/h (187 mph) and 345 km/h (214 mph) depending on the engine.

Both Double 12 versions have a modified C8 spyder frame with a longer wheelbase and a bigger fuel tank, 100 litres instead of 75.  The Spyder C8 Double 12R's first race was the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2002, though an accident prevented the car from finishing. It also participates in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and several other endurance races. Since 2005 it has also participated in FIA GT races in the GT2 class with a Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R.'

This from 'Ritzsit.nl': 'Despite all the problems and management changes Spyker cars continued to compete on circuits around the world. The Spyker Squadron entered the C8 Spyder GT2R in the six-round European Le Mans Series, the Sebring 12 Hours and of course the ever popular 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Instead of building new cars the two 2006 cars were rebuilt and upgraded to 2007 specifications. One of the cars was run by the private team of Speedy Racing, owned by Swiss Spyker dealer Alexandre Pesci.

In the GT2 class of the European Le Mans Series the cars were moderately successful, scoring a podium finish and some top 5 positions. At the end of the season the Speedy Racing Team beat the Spyker Squadron with a 5th place in the final standings; the Spyker Squadron had to settle for 7th place.

Results of the 2007 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race were dramatic for Spyker however. Both cars were entered by the Spyker Squadron; the number 85 factory car was driven by Belicchi, Caffi and Chiesa and the number 86 Speedy Racing Team car by Janis, Hezemans and Kane. 

Despite the experienced and accomplished driver line-up Spyker couldn't make a lasting impression.  As the Le Mans race is stipulated by Spyker as the main event for proving the quality of their cars and establishing their name, the failure to finish was both a disappointment and a severe setback in an already very difficult year.'

The above Youtube video shows testing of the 2007 Spyker at Circuito de Jerez in Spain. The plain silver test livery looks pretty impressive on the Spyker, here's hoping Scaleauto decide to release the test livery.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Ok, the first thing to point out before proceeding with the review is that this review is of a 'pre production' Scaleauto Spyker C8.  That's right, this a pre production version of the #86 Spyker that we were lucky enough to get our greedy little hands on from the 'Spyker Squadron' box set.

So its important to note that this car may not be up to final Scaleauto production standards.  All that being said, if the final Spykers were produced to the standard of this model, I would hazard a guess that 99.9% of slotters around the World would be more than happy with this release.

As previously mentioned, this car is from the 'Spyker Squadron' box set featuring the number 85 and 86 cars that ran at Le Mans in 2007.  Unfortunately at the time I received this pre production Sypker, the final box design had not been released but it was believed to look something similar to the above image from Scaleauto.

Many slot car manufactures produce limited edition or special boxed releases and it's nice to see Scaleauto joining the ranks.  These types of releases really appeal to the collectors amongst our hobby but they need not be placed on a shelf never to see the anger of a heated race.  Packaging quality and design remind me of early Fly releases and are not too different in appearance to more contemporary Slot.it LE set box releases.

Needless to say, this Scaleauto boxed release looks fantastic to the eye, I look forward to getting my hands on the final product.


The following Spyker specifications are from the Scaleauto site:
  • Chassis is RT3 MWB 77-84mm 'Rev.2 Reinforced' (this is a more rigid evolution of the standard RT3)
  • Motor mount: Side-winder
  • Motor: SC-08b Short-Can (20K)
  • Pinion/Gear ratio: 12/32 (aluminium and nylon)
  • Floating motor-pod (4 point adjustment)
  • SC-1620 sprung guide
  • Front Rims: 18x9mm plastic hub
  • Rear Rims: 19x10.5mm aluminium hub
  • Height adjustable front axle
  • Calibrated axles
  • Bar magnet fitted (above rear axle)
The RT3 chassis fitted to the Spyker, (in medium wheel base configuration) comes with numerous upgrade options such as lightweight interiors and sponge wheels.  You can find more details about these upgrade options on the Scaleauto web site here.


I've said it before and I'll say it again, we will never have enough funds to buy all the slot cars we would like and unfortunately there are times we are forced to let one or two slip through the collection.  This section of my review concerns itself with the value a slot car marque represents as a way of helping with the dilemma of, ‘Should I really get this slot?’

From a straight comparison perspective, Scaleauto slots are a little more expensive than your average slot release, say a Scalextric, Flyslot, Slot.it, SRC or a standard Ninco but they are cheaper than Black Arrow, NSR or Le Mans Miniatures.  Scaleauto are more comparable with a 'Lightening' Ninco, MR Slotcar or Cartrix and when compared with these manufactures, Scaleauto represents fair enough value for your slotting dollar.

 While not the cheapest slot car on the market, Scaleauto are far from the most expensive and as you can see from the above and below photos, engineering levels are very impressive.

Another thing worth taking into account is the highly desirable models Scaleauto has been clever enough to release; Pagani Zonda, Honda HSV, BMW Z4, DeTomaso Pantera, Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 - epic slot cars you just NEED in your collection. 


The finish and detail levels on the Spyker are just hands-down excellent, paint finish and level of detail such as side chrome intakes, (wow) numerous front grilling meshings, accurate wheel inserts and driver detail is top shelf resulting in a highly realistic looking slot car that just makes you want to put it on the track and take if for a spin.

I have a bit of an unwritten rule about always photographing a slot car that I intend to review prior to running it on the track and for good reason, I've broken a few in the past.  :)  Well I was unable to photograph the Spyker for several days due to circumstance and I can tell you it was a tough few days not to be able to run the Spyker on the track.  There's something compelling about a completely new release, especially one as impressive looking as the Spyker.

With respect to capturing the Spyker's overall shape and body detail, you would have to agree that Scaleauto have done a top job.  I've looked long and hard and I think even the most scale-orientated slot fan will be very impressive.

The rear-end detail is fantastic, the rear tail-lights, huge twin exhausts and the rear side triple ventilations look menacing, almost like a shark's gills.  The rear splitter and tow hook are also present, the rear wing seems to be fixed well so it should withstand all but the worst of shunts, I also like the external roll cage detail.

I've also been told that with the chassis and body design it will be possible to build both the Lavilolette and the Spyder versions featuring diferent air intakes adapting to the desired year version - this is great news.

When compared closely to the 1:1 race car, proportions and body shape look spot to me, it's more like Scaleauto invented a shrink ray rather than produce a 1:32 slot car.

I'm very happy to report that the side rear vision mirror do NOT protrude from the slot, in fact you can sit the Spyker on its side without the mirrors touching the track.  I'm sure you'll agree that there's nothing worse than loosing a rear view mirror on the first running of your new pride and joy.  Although pretty safe, I would still like to see these mirror made out of rubber rather than the hardened plastic.

While on the subject of rear vision mirrors, you might have noticed that Scaleauto have picked up on small details such as rear vision mirror colours between the #85 and #86 cars. A small thing I know but something other manufactures can to miss.

As you would expect, front end detail is also high including multiple grills (this is a fine black and silver meshing), lower bumper intakes, tow hook, yellow clear plastic front lights and wipers.  I've always liked motorcars with coloured glass on their from lights, just imagine how good one of these Spykers would look with a lighting kit installed.  Stand out feature however has to be down the sides in the form of multiple chrome air intakes which are a real defining feature of the Spyker, Scaleauto have done a great job in accurately capturing these on the slot.

One small detail that you may notice that's missing is the refuelling ports just behind the driver, not a huge issue as the slot runs on electricity. ;)
  Driver and internal detail (dash, roll-bars, steering wheel, fire extinguisher, etc.) are all present as you would expect.  I'm always impressed with light-weight interiors and the Spyker has just that.  As with some other high-end manufactures, the bottom half of the driver figure is actually hollow reducing weight, (see below photo).  A light weight interior is also available if you wish to reduce weight and COG even more.

The driver's helmet has been painted as have the driver's racing harness and overalls as these look good enough, they are not up to Slot.it standards however.  I have previously touched upon the wheels inserts, the spoke design looks great on the car and is an accurate representation.  The wheels also have brake discs and callipers detail and the rubber has Michelin sponsorship present.

Although there are a few small omissions, the Spyker is an excellently presented slot car and I would go as far as to say that you will be very impressed with it in terms of detail and accuracy, well done Scaleauto.


In keeping with contemporary Scaleauto releases, the 7mm deep red guide is sprung which works very well on my Carrera plastic track.   The guide has a high degree of movement and rotates freely (160-170 degree of rotation) in the chassis returning to a central position which allowing the slot to corner well.

From a purely aesthetic perspective, the guide is set at a good height for the front of the slot but its worth noting that the compressed spring does raise the front of the C8 by approximately 1 millimetre.  Removal of the spring is very easy but a small amount of plastic trimming could be made to the guide post housing to address this slight ride height increase if desired.

The RT3 chassis does allow you to swap this bar magnet for a smaller button magnet approximately half way along the chassis.  Although not a significant issue, the C8 does tend to lift (approx. 5mm) at the front when running over hump sections on my layout.  This is due to the powerful rear magnet causing lift as it 'sticks'  the rear of the C8 to the track while running through these sections.

If you have a flat track or intend to run the C8 in non-magnetic set-up then this is not an issue, otherwise I suggest replacing the bar magnet with a more central button magnet.  I installed a 5mm Ninco button magnet in my C8 but if you want even less downforce, then try a 2mm Scalextric button type magnet.

The front axle is height adjustable via 2 small Allen screws which are accessible from underneath the chassis, a small thing but this means you don't have to remove the body to adjust the ride height.

As with most slots that come with an height adjustable front axle, you'll need to set the front axle height to suit your track and taste.  From-the-box the front wheel grub screws are screwed fully in resulting in the front wheels not touching the track.  Once adjusted, the front wheels sit nicely on the track, turning as the slot runs on the track.  There is plenty of vertical play in the front axle so the front wheels don't interrupt the front guide resulting in potential deslots.

The Spyker RT3 chassis comes setup standard in a side-winder motor pod configuration with Scaleauto's SC-08b 'short-can' 20,000rpm motor, I've said it before but I love this motor/gear configuration.  The standard motor is strong enough without being ridiculous for home track purposes and the C8 is well suited to my home track. 

The SC-08b powers the Spyker rapidly along the longer straights (4-5 metres) of my track and the chassis and rear magnet allow the C8 to be pushed quickly through the more technical sections of my layout.

Similar to the Scaleauto Pantera I reviewed last month, my only comment would be that in 'from-the-box' setup, the rear down-force causes the C8 to be too stuck to the track removing some of the pleasure of driving a clearly brilliant slot car.  As a result, the C8 is very fast but a little too predictable to in driving dynamics.  As with the Pantera, removing or replacing the bar magnet with a smaller button magnet does reduces lap times but results in a slot car that is far more enjoyable to drive on the track.  It's your choice, speed vs. driving experience but for my money, the C8 is a far more enjoyable slot to drive with less magnet.

For more specific information on the track used in this review please have a look at my track layout here.  

In terms of gearing, the pinion is 12 tooth and the spur gear is 32 tooth.  The short-can motor is secured (fixed with a pair of small screws) well in the motor pod resulting in zero motor rotation under power.

The weight distribution of the slot is impressive, the upper body is light and although there are lighter offering out there, but probably not with this much detail and accuracy unless it's a Slot.it or NSR offering.   It is only when you remove the body from the chassis that you realise just how light this body is (16.2 grams) and that means low centre of gravity.

The entire slots weight (chassis + body) is 77.6 grams.  For comparison purposes, a Slot.it Porsche 956C weighs 78.7 grams.

The body is held on with 2 long screws, an interesting feature of all Scaleauto bodies is that there are 2 brass knobs (see below photo) attached to the ends of the body mounting posts.  These brass knows allow the body to freely pivot on the chassis, plastic tends to stick to other plastic preventing free movement so Scaleauto have addressed this issue in a clever way.

As an aside, you might want to super glue these brass knobs to the body mounting posts as they tend to fall off every time you remove the body from the chassis.  I don't think this lessons the pivoting effect in any way.  Once glued, I loosened both the chassis screws a full turn and the floating chassis works beautifully, pivoting freely.

The Spyker ran beautifully straight from the box, something I tend to take for granted these days, it wasn't that many years ago you could be almost shedding a tear with some manufactures FTB performance.

That being said, I did the following adjustments to my Spyker after a few quick evaluation laps;
  • Loosen (1 turn) both body mount screws,
  • Adjust front axle height so rubber just touching track,
  • Loosen (1 turn) all 4 pivoting motor pod screws,
  • Check rear axle for rotation and lateral movement, adjust as necessary,
  • Lubricate gearing 
Supplied rear rubber is soft enough and gives a good level of grip on my Carrera plastic track surface.  If you're intending on casually racing then you'll be happy with this standard rubber.  However, if you want the best performance possible then you'll want to upgrade.  Be sure to source a low profile rubber as rear wheel arch clearance is minimal on the Spyker.

So after all that, how does the Spyker run on the track?  Well this is a quick slot no doubt with a few small issues, namely too much magnet.  I'm starting to form the opinion that modern Scaleauto releases are akin to rock ships on rails.  Downgrading the magnet to a central button magnet turns the Spyker into a far more enjoyable slot car to drive.  The slot behaves very well when pushed through corners, the tail end occasionally stepping out a little in a slightly sideways slide. :)  

The front and rear axles comes complete with brass spacers which is a nice touch, my Spyker rear end had the perfect amount of play or lateral movement.  I've spoken before about how close the rear axle is to the motor housing wrapper but you should always check this on RT3 chassis.  If you find an issue, remove the motor wrapper to correct.

While we are talking about the motor, it's great to see that Scaleauto have removed the non pinion end of the drive shaft which protrudes as much as 10mm on some of my earlier Scaleauto models, nice work.

Also as previously mentioned, the Spyker is a rocket ship straight from the box, lap time were consistently in the low 6 second range, best lap time was 6.12 seconds.  Any slot that runs in the 6 second range on my layout is damn quick.  However as previously mentioned, despite being very quick the Spyker was a little boring to drive, downgrading the magnet rectified the problem but also dropped lap times.

Bar magnet removed and 5mm Ninco button magnet installed resulted in lap times dropping almost a second.  Worth it?  Absolutely, the Spyker became a joy to drive.  At the time of this review I had run a few hundred laps with the Spyker, with more laps I'm confident that these lap times will improve.

On speaking about bar magnet removal, I should point out that this is not the quickest operation.  You have to remove the body followed by removing the rear axle, the motor and finally 2 grub screws that hold the magnet in position.  Unfortunately some of the chassis body work obstruct access to the 2 small grub screws, you will have to remove this body work which is glued to the chassis - ouch.

I would like to see the inclusion of a 2nd bar magnet position (perhaps where the button mag position is) for magnetic adjustment or the inclusion of a button magnet standard with the RT3 chassis perhaps.  In terms on non-magnetic performance, this slot is pleasant to drive on the track (and a fair bit quieter too) but would benefit from a rubber upgrade.  This is where the rear body work's minimal clearance could become an issue, be sure to fit low profile rubber.

So does ManicSlots recommend Scaleauto's Spyker C8?   Absolutely, this is an original and aesthetically impressive slot car with great track performance.  What I really like about the Spyker are the configuration options for different driving styles.  If you want a rocket ship, then you'll be happy.  If you're after a higher level of connection to how the slot handles, then you'll you can have that as well.

Required skill level to get the most out of the Spyker is medium to high.  Given the numerous exciting race liveries that have adorned the Spyker over the last decade, I think we will see some highly desirable Scaleauto releases over the next 12 months.

Let's not forget that this is a per production release, Scaleauto are still working on the Sypker as you read this article.  It's this type of dedication to great releases that guarantees that Scaleauto will continue to release more exciting model like the Spyker, great job Scaleauto!
  • Sex Appeal: 6th gear
  • Collectability: 5th gear
  • Build Quality: 6th gear
  • Attention to Detail: 6th gear
  • 'RTR' Performance: 7th gear
Overall ManicSlots' Score: 6.0 Gears.

For more photos of Scaleauto's Spyker C8, head over to the Scaleauto website by clicking the below link.

Scaleauto Slot Cars
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1 comment :

knight4444 said...

GREAT review, I just bought this car and it's awesome!! I high recommend it.