GMP 2002 Team Corvette C5-R Page 1

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Above: The LS1 engine is loaded with so many details that you almost expect it to start . For instance, the orange rubber hoses that lead to the air restrictors are made of pliable rubber, and the intake plenums are made of simulated carbon fiber.

In 1999, General Motors teamed up with Pratt & Miller Engineering and Fabrication to create the Corvette Racing Team and to compete in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). In the years that followed, Corvette Racing and its C5-R have proven to be dominant in endurance racing by tallying 42 wins, including 32 1-2 finishes. If there is one particular year that epitomized the team’s strength and cemented it as the standard in production-based sports car racing, it was 2002, when they won an amazing 10 of 11 races. One of those 10 wins was the highly coveted 12 Hours of Sebring—the longest-running sports car event in the U.S. and the one important victory that had eluded the team. GMP has released a superbly detailed die-cast version of the No. 3 C5-R Sebring winner in mammoth 1:12 scale to commemorate the accomplishment of the team and the drivers and the excellence of the C5-R. All of the high-tech gear on the full size C5-R has been masterfully re-created on this limited edition, serialized model, making it a “Holy Grail” for Corvette enthusiasts.


Above: GMP accurately re-created the great- looking body lines of the full-size C5-R race car and also tiny details such as hood pins.

Exterior. The detail GMP incorporated in the C5-R is staggering. With just a quick look, you will miss most of it. A car of this caliber takes time to examine; the longer you look, the more you find. Photo-etched metal parts are used to make the grille openings in the nose, the hood and the tail. Careful handling is required so that you don’t inadvertently poke your finger through the grilles. The headlights and taillights accurately mimic the real ones, right down to the yellow headlight lenses and multipiece lenses in the rear. One detail I totally missed until I read through the owners’ manual was the rear fascia body hatches that are just under the taillights. The hatches open to reveal luggage compartments that fulfill the requirements dictated by the Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO), which created the rules under which ALMS operates.

Just like the real C5-R, the hood and rear panels are removable to expose the inner workings. When they’re in place, the gaps between the panels are spot-on. Tiny rubber clips simulate the metal draw latches on the big car and work well to keep the panels in place. The handles on the doors are hinged and appear to function but are just for show; the doors open easily without your touching the handles. Magnets mounted under the body where the door would actually latch keep the doors closed.

The bright yellow paint scheme makes it easy to spot the real Vettes when they’re out on the track, and GMP did a great job laying down the paint on its model. It has a smooth, gleaming finish that has been carefully applied. Unlike on many other die-casts, the super-thin air vents over the front wheel wells and radiator are perfectly clear of paint; we often see openings like this marred with overspray.

Scale: 1:12
Price: $599
Length: 14.88 in.
Wheelbase: 8.38 in.
Width: 7.13 in.
Height: 4.06 in.

» Operational steering
» Functional air jacks
» Articulated suspension
» Opening doors and rear fascia body hatches
» Removable inner and outer rear panels, hood and tires
» Extra pieces: adjustable jack stands, display stanchions, gloves, model-access tool and wheel-nut tool

RATINGS: (scale of 1-5)
» Body, paint 5

» Wheels, tires 4.5

» Engine 5

» Chassis, suspension, undercarriage 5

» Presentation, proportion, stance 5

» Collectability 4.5

Interior. If you have ever seen the inside of a race car, you know that it is not built for looks but purely for function. There is no carpeting or contrasting color to make a nice impression. You may not have given a great deal of thought to all the types of material that make up the driving environment in an endurance race car. GMP did not use this as a justification to take shortcuts with the interior. No matter where you look, you see all kinds of material textures and colors. Yes, they are subtle, but they mimic the real deal. For instance, the driver’s seat and steering wheel are textured just like the padded originals, the floorboard is a smooth shiny aluminum color, and the door panels and instrument panel look like carbon fiber.

With the doors swung open, the complex roll cage that protects the driver during side impacts is clearly visible; there are even welding marks at each of the joints. Cables, tubes and cabin air hoses line the driver’s compartment in the right spots. There are small
wire straps to hold the air ducting to the roll cage. The instrument cluster and multitude of knobs and toggle switches on the dash are faithfully reproduced. A bright red five-point fabric seat belt sits loosely on the chair. To keep the driver hydrated, water is piped to him from a water cooler mounted on the passenger side. Just next to it is the bank of batteries.

Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:23 AM
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