Bentley Boys at Bathurst
Call me a grumpy old git, but I’m over our current Supercars formula at Bathurst. There, I said it. I’m sorry, but I get a bit cynical when each and every year, the monster that is television wants the Bathurst 1000 to be the closest ever, to the soundtrack of Holden and Ford fans yelling and getting mad in an automotive version of the World Wrestling Federation.
Don’t they – ‘they’ being the ones that have developed the format – realise that each year Bathurst 1000 can’t be the best ever? How can you appreciate the excellent ones, when there are no mundane ones?
I get the feeling that, while Brocky’s 1979 Bathurst victory was one for the record books, ‘they’ mutter in dark corners that it would be suicidal for the business if anyone ever won by six laps again. And so now everything about the Bathurst 1000 is about trying to make sure that the key players have ‘bought a ticket to the end game’, and the race is supposed to come down to an attempted pass on the final lap. You may as well be asleep for the middle of the race.
As a result, every year I go to Bathurst in October and watch a batch of highly tuned spaceframe mobile billboards that look almost identical to each other, race to make it to that final lap in a winning position. And apart from the year of the Big Pot-Hole and the Big Wet this year, there is not much that separates one race from another in the last 15 years, at least in my jaded memory. There was a time I looked forward to new models or at least new homologation packages each year. Cars used to change significantly, more than three brands faced each other, and each year seemed fresh!
There is an antidote for my malaise – the Bathurst 12 Hour and the GT3 formula. OK, so I recognise that we can’t have showroom production racecars, and yes, it is a performance formula, but GT3 at Mt Panorama is something that brings back the spark. Ferraris, Audis, McLarens and Mercedes, to name but a few, swooping around our best racetrack in the dark and the light, each with their own individual look and sound. This is a spectacle that is truly memorable.
What about racing muscle, you ask? What about those Bentleys, I say! Four litres of V8 being punched along by twin-turbos. They tower over the low-slung sportscars with a brutish presence, a modern day reincarnation of the Speed Six Bentleys that ruled Le Mans in the 1930s.
And the slot car makers are in on it too. There are a whole range of GT3 slot cars being made that match what we see at Mt Panorama every February, some with specific Bathurst 12 Hours liveries. Audis, Mercedes and Porsches made by Scalextric, Carrera and SCX, but not yet a commercially available Bathurst-specific Bentley model.
A quick look through the existing Bentley GT3 range produced by Scalextric shows the 2015 Bathurst Bentley paint scheme is very similar to that featured on one of their range, the #7 raced in the European Blancpain series. Thanks to Patto’s Place decals, we can use that as the basis of a Bathurst 12 Hour car, so I picked up a nice pearl-white Bentley to convert.
As Bruce Moxon has been pointing out in the Mini Muscle section in the last few issues of AMC, Patto’s Place has been making high quality decals for some time, and Bruce Paterson’s products are popular all over the world. Not only can you choose from a range of scales, but the decals can be ordered in simple stick-on media or modeller-preferred waterslide. Glancing through the Patto’s range shows that the #8, #10 and #11 MSport Bentleys have decal sets available. I picked up a set for the Smith/Kane/Bell #10 car.
The thin yet relatively robust waterslide media flatten to the surface of the body very nicely. If you apply them with care, you can barely make out the thickness of the decal paper once they are dry. For this car Patto has produced them in an over-wrap style for clear slot bodies, so I cut out the bits and pieces needed. Good quality scissors and decal solutions such as the Microscale range help to ensure a neat finish.
Unfortunately, in a couple of places the original decals are larger than the new ones. I used