Lotus Renault 97T, Senna 1985 1:12 Scale


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In the decade 1984-1994, one star burned just a bit brighter than all the others in motor racing's firmament; Ayrton Senna. Acclaimed for his superb driving skills, technical knowledge, and unquenchable desire to win, his career was also filled with controversy. Along the way, he drove for the Toleman, Lotus, McLaren and Williams teams, amassing a highly respectable three world championships. His bright star was tragically extinguished in 1994 when a mechanical failure sent his car off the track at the San Marino Grand Prix at nearly 200 mph. From 1989-2006 his record of the most pole positions (65) would remain unbroken.

Our 1:12 scale Lotus-Renault 97T represents the car in which Senna won his very first Grand Prix in Portugal during rainy conditions in 1985. Produced for Paul's Model Art by Minichamps, it is #2577 in a worldwide edition of 6194. Once again, the large scale afforded the manufacturer the opportunity to lavish a wealth of detail on this model, and it doesn't disappoint. The jet black paint work is striking, especially when offset by the gold sponsorship and pinstriping of the John Player livery. The front suspension is remarkable, featuring 20 aerodynamically fared struts, fully poseable wheels with correct rain tread tires, and complete braking system. The driver figure (which often leaves much to be desired) is quite good with nicely delineated race suit, helmet, and five point Sabelt harness with photo etch buckles. 

Lift off the heavy metal engine and central tub cover, and you're in for a treat. The six cylinder, twin turbocharged Renault-Gordini engine, which was reported to produce over 900 hp, sits nestled behind the fuel cell, and is fully plumbed and wired. Move further aft, beneath the massive rear spoiler, and discover the transmission with its dedicated oil cooler, booted driveshafts and full-width venturi tunnel. Not only is the detail great to look at, but one can begin to see how things actually worked on this landmark grand prix car. One crucial detail on this model that is often overlooked are the incredibly fine and realistic carbon fiber surfaces. At first glance, it appears to be a flat paint treatment, but shine a bright light on the front wings, rear spoiler, and inner body shell, and you'll be amazed at the microscopic pattern that is revealed. Smaller scale models often attempt but frequently fall short in the correct replication of carbon fiber.

The Lotus Renault T97 is supplied with the original outer box with serial number, the inner styrofoam packing and clear form-molded paint protectors. It is in new/undisplayed condition. A huge bargain for the money.

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