Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mr Juicy

It's very rare that a Formula 3 car gets done in 3" or 1/64sh scale diecast... but this is an exception.... It's a recycled casting of the "F1 Racer" Matchbox car.

Actual race car was the 1987 Macau GP winner, driven by Martin Donnelly.  The car is technically a Ralt RT31-Toyota.  Ralt is a race car manufacturer founded by Ron Tauranac, after they (he and Jack Brabham) sold the Brabham team to Bernie Ecclestone in 1971.  Notice that Brabhams have the “BT” designation – for Brabham-Tauranac.

Donnelly himself made it to F1, but his promising F1 career came to an abrupt end at the 1990 Spanish GP when he had a violent crash – many, including myself, thought he was dead.  He did survive but he would never race in F1 again.

As for the Macau Grand Prix itself.... did you know that the first 2-time winner of the event was a Filipino?  It’s Arsenio “Dodjie” Laurel (yes, he is related to the family involved in politics), who won back to back (1962-63).  He would later die in the same race in 1967.  Back then the race wasn’t as high profile as it later became, as most of the entrants were from the Far East.  Still a great sporting achievement for a Filipino.  I knew this as early as 1982 (I was 11) when I did a “research” on Laurel as part of my report in my English class in First Year HS.

In 1983, Formula 3 teams and drivers from all over the world came to the year-ending race, and it was a big hit.  It became the unofficial “finals” of Formula 3, since there was no intercontinental championship in that form of racing – only national titles (German, British, Italian, etc).  Then in ’83 upcoming stars from all over the world came.  The winner?  One Ayrton Senna.  Amongst his competitors were Martin Brundle (yes, the same guy doing commentary in todays F1 races on Star Sports) and Gerhard Berger, who would later become his rivals in F1.  In subsequent years, the best young drivers from all over the world would come – including a memorable duel in 1990 won by Michael Schumacher over Mika Hakkinen.  Michael’s brother Ralf would also win, in 1995.  In recent years, however, future F1 stars didn’t fare too well – multiple world champions Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton both competed but never won (Vettel finished 3rd in his only attempt).  With junior Formulas being “internationalized” as well, the Macau GP didn’t provide the “shootout” it once did...

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