24 May 2023
With Ixo’s new release of the 2019 Le Mans GTE Am class winner, Rick Wilson completes a trio of models of the car in different scales.
There has always been a fascination by manufacturers and teams to run cars in special liveries for the Le Mans 24 Hours. There have been plenty over the decades since the famous Andy Warhol BMW M1 ‘art car’ that ran in the 1976 edition.
In 2019, the Team Project 1 entry ditched its usual WEC-season black and yellow livery and sported a most fabulous all-over wrap. Designed by American artist Richard Phillips, the #56 entry featured a multi-coloured design that encompassed some of Phillips’ earlier art works. The new look was unveiled ahead of the pre-event Test Day, held two weeks before the race itself.
The car’s livery was created in co-operation with Porsche Digital using the ‘Second Skin’ wrapping technique that was soon to be made available to Porsche customers worldwide. Artist Phillips commented, “This is a great chance to display my art in a completely new way. I decided to combine three works for this Le Mans design. That’s a new aspect and shows how everything in terms of car design can be transposed and put into practice. I’m very proud of the result and hope to provide fans with a lot of pleasure.”
Project 1 went into the 2019 Le Mans season finale of the WEC leading the GTE Am class championship, with its drivers Egidio Perfetti, Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Lindsey holding a 23-point lead over the Spirit of Race Ferrari crew. During the race, the GTE Am class proved to be an incredibly competitive affair, with the first three places going to cars on the same number of laps – always an amazing achievement after 24 hours of racing. Initially, Project 1’s #56 entry finished second, but the ‘winning’ Keating Motorsport Ford GT was disqualified at post-race scrutineering when it was found that the car’s fuel tank was a little larger than the regulations allowed. So Project 1 were promoted to the race win, and with it took the championship too.
This was obviously going to be a popular miniature replica, but what a challenge for the model manufacturers to recreate that livery! Ixo released its 1/18 scale version last year, but now it has been released in 1/43 too – available in the UK through John Ayrey’s (www.ayrey.co.uk) for wholesale enquiries, or contact your preferred sales point for retail purchases.
Joining the Ixo pair is a rather delightful 1/64 scale version by Sparky (Spark’s 1/64 scale brand). Released a couple of years ago, this truly is a masterpiece, given the size we are talking about – all the artwork detail is right there.
Focusing again on Ixo’s new model, it has been released as part of its premium Limited Edition Series (as was its bigger sibling last year). But as a complete Le Mans nerd, I have to point out one glaring error on the new 1/43 version – the font for the race numbers is completely wrong and, to me, sticks out like a sore thumb. It was correct on the 1/18 release, so I can’t even begin to guess what happened here. It’s such a shame as the rest of the model is stunning, just like the real car, of course.