|IN THE HANDS OF THE PROS
Corvette Team drivers Olivier Beretta (left) and Oliver Gavin were mightily impressed by the accuracy of GMPs model. We offered to trade them our C5-R for their C6-R (in the background), but they said they needed theirs for the weekend.
Under the hood. Access to the LS1-derived 427-cubic-inch V-8 engine and the 6-speed transmission at the rear is excellent. The front hood and rear panels lift right off the model to expose the inner workings just as they do on a real race car. I have been up close and personal with the real car, and GMP has done a stellar job. The number and quality of the intricate details built into the engine compartment are exceptional. The orange ductwork that directs air to the brake rotors and into the restrictors that sit at the front of the twin intake plenums is actually pliable and feels like rubber. Even the springs mounted on the exhaust headers to allow for thermal expansion are visible. All the plumbing and wires that zigzag around the engine are colored and routed correctly. The only knock against the model are the simulated carbon-fiber parts. They look fake because the fiber pattern is way too uniform and the color is off. But hey! Carbon fiber isnt easy to replicate, and no die-cast company seems to get it quite right.
Like the engine bay, the rear compartment is well adorned with mechanical and electronic details. The giant oil reservoir with its blue and aluminum colored plumbing stands out. Here, you will also find an antenna mounted just aft of the cockpit. It is delicate and requires attention when you remove the inner panel.
Suspension, wheels and tires. Where many die-cast cars fall short is in not having the correct stance. The tires are usually too hard, and the car is so light that it comes off looking phony because the tires dont make complete contact with the surface, and the tires are often not positioned correctly in the wheel well. GMP gets big-time kudos for getting this correct. First, there are functioning front and rear suspensions (right down to springs that compress) and a rear swaybar that allows the car to settle properly. Second, the tires are constructed of real rubber that is pliable. Third, this Corvette C5-R is heavy6 pounds 9.5 ounces, to be exact. When you set the model down, there is just the right amount of mass to compress the suspension and make the tires sidewalls give, so the model looks ultra-realistic.
Simulated multi-spoke OZ wheels are fitted with rubber Goodyear Eagle tires that have been scuffed for a true-to-life matte finish. An included wheel-nut tool makes tire removal a cinch, and once they are off, even more chassis detail is exposed.
My favorite features on the C5-R are the functioning onboard air jacks. One is mounted just inboard of each wheel, and each is spring-loaded. An 1/8 turn pops the jack out, and another slight turn locks them into place. With all four wheels removed, the car can be displayed resting on the jacks.
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FINAL THOUGHTS The GMP 2002 Team Corvette C5-R encompasses everything you could want in a die-cast. The detail is amazing inside and out, and its incredibly intricate and accurate to the real thingplenty of cool features such as the articulated suspension and functioning air jacks. Of course, being modeled after one of the pre-eminent race cars of our day ups its gotta-have factor. GMP did an excellent job of capturing all the things that make the real Pratt & Miller Corvette C5-R so cool, and this die-cast will surely be the prize of anyones collection, as it is mine.
GMPGeorgia Marketing & Promotions (800) 536-1637; gmpdiecast.com