USA Diecast - The Split Years

1998 Shakeup

In 1998 the IMSA/PSCR series split in two, with the SCCA sanctioning half of the schedule, including the Daytona 24H, under the revived USRRC name. The SCCA had the nerve to call the prototype class "Can-Am", but karma got them back and the last few races were cancelled due to lack of interest. While most teams ran in both the USRRC and PSCR series, the grids were smaller and all classes raced simultaneously. Another very interesting development occurred in 1998 as a race to Le Mans rules set by the ACO was run at Road Atlanta. This race, which was called 'Petit Le Mans', unified the American PSCR/IMSA and European regulations for the first time ever since the early 1970's.

United States Road Racing Championship 1998

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Daytona 24 Hours
Can-Am Class
1Ferrari 333SP 'MOMO'
Gianpiero Moretti
Didier Theys
Arie Luyendyk
Mauro Baldi
30
Can-Am
Spark
(Unreleased)
SCFI12 
GT1 Class
2Porsche 911 GT1 'ROHR'
Allan McNish
Danny Sullivan
Dirk Müller
01
GT1
Minichamps
430 986801
19Porsche 911 GT1 'STP'
Thierry Boutsen
Andy Pilgrim
Ralf Kelleners
38
GT1
Minichamps
430 986838
GT2 Class
N/CPorsche 911 GT2 'Notter'97
GT2
Minichamps
430 986797 
GT3 Class
6BMW M3 'Yokohama'
Bill Auberlen
Marc Duez
Boris Said
Peter Cunningham
10
GT3
Minichamps
430 982310
 
GT1 Class
 Panoz GTR-1 Ford 'Visteon'
David Brabham
Andy Wallace
4
GT1
Auto Art
69852

IMSA GT Championship 1998

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Petit Le Mans
2Porsche LMP1/98 'Mobil 1'
Michele Alboreto
Stefan Johansson
Jörg Müller
77
LMP1
Trofeu
1305

1999

The 1999 PSCR schedule was dubbed the American Le Mans Series, and Sebring became the most second-most important race of the year. The factory teams of BMW and Audi debuted their new cars, and the margin of victory was the closest in Sebring history. Don Panoz, who had made a fortune developing the nicotine patch, founded the series and entered his upstart team. BMW and Panoz battled all year long, and the USA saw some of the best prototype racing ever.

The GT1 class was all but eliminated, except for the Audi R8C Coupes that ran under the 'LMGTP' classification, and the Sintura that raced at Laguna Seca. The GT2 class was renamed GTS, and GT3 was simply GT. The French ORECA viper team also joined the series, as wll as a GM factory Corvette squad. These two cars provide a showdown of 'American iron' in the GTS class that would be repeated in 2000.

The GT class was dominated by the Porsche 911 RSR, which had been racing since 1994. Late in the year the 911 GT3 debuted.

American Le Mans Series 1999

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Sebring 12 Hours
1BMW V12 LMR 'Beck's'
Tom Kristensen
J.J. Lehto
Jörg Müller
42
Onyx
Le Mans
XGT005

42Minichamps80 42 9 418 137
40

BMW V12 LMR 'Beck's'

Yannick Dalmas

Pierluigi Martini

Joachim Winkelhock

43OnyxXGT006
2:45 Road Atlanta

1

Riley & Scott Mk III 'Yokohama'
Eric van de Poele
Mimmo Schiattarella

0
LMP

Spark

SCRS 06

Las Vegas
1

BMW V12 LMR 'Beck's'

J.J. Lehto

Steve Soper

42OnyxXGT011
2

BMW V12 LMR 'Beck's'

Bill Auberlen

Joachim Winkelhock

43OnyxXGT012

United States Road Racing Championship - 1999

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Daytona 24 Hours
Can-Am Class

1

Riley & Scott Mk III Ford
Elliot Forbes-Robinson
Butch Leitzinger
Andy Wallace
Rob Dyson

20
Can-Am

Spark

2Ferrari 333 SP
Allan McNish
Didier de Radigues
Max Angelelli
Wayne Taylor
7
Can-Am
Red Line
RL107
GT2 Class

18

Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
Ron Fellows
Chris Kneifel
John Paul, Jr.

2
GTO

Minichamps

AC4 991402

46

Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
Andy Pilgrim
John Heinricy
Scott Sharp

4
GTO

Minichamps

AC4 991404

2000

Grand-Am Formed

The USRRC fiasco was replaced by the Grand Amarican Road Racing Association, which has ties to NASCAR. They did an infinitely better job of making this privateer series sucessful. They created rules parity with the Sports Racing World Cup, so Daytona 24H became the 'privateer Le Mans'.

The first race of this series was dominated by two very non-privateer teams. Despite this contradiction, the race was incredible. The GTO Vipers and Corvettes finished within 90 seconds of each other, and beat out the prototypes for the overall win.

Grand American Road Racing Association - 2000

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Daytona 24 Hours
GTO Class
1Dodge Viper GTS-R
'Playstation'
Olivier Beretta
Karl Wendlinger
Dominique Dupuy
91
GTO
Minichamps
430 001491
Ixo
GTM003
Corvette Racing
2Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
Ron Fellows
Justin Bell
Chris Kneifel
3
GTO
Action
ACT100265


Minichamps (Action Label)

AC4001403

24

Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
Andy Pilgrim
Kelly Collins
Franck Freon

4
GTO

Action

ACT100267


Minichamps (Action Label)

AC4001404

Chaimberlain Motorsport
7Dodge Viper GTS-R
Toni Seiler
Erik Messley
Walter Brun
46
GTO
Minichamps
430 001446
GTU Class
10Porsche 911 (996) GT3-R 'Red Bull'
Philipp Peter
Hans Willems
Hans-Jörg Höfer
Luca Riccitelli
7
GTU
Minichamps
430 006907
62Porsche 911 (996) GT3-R 'Texaco/Where the Money is'
Mike Brockman
Paul Newman
Michael Lauer
Gunnar Jeannette
75
GTU
Minichamps
430 006975

10

Porsche 911 GT3-R 'Brumos'

59
GTU

Minichamps

430 006959

In 2000 the strength of the ALMS grew even greater, and there were two european dates at Silverstone and the Nurburgring. These 'ELMS' races were run before and after Le Mans, to take advantage of the cars being on the continent. The race at the renovated Mosport is considered an all-time classic.

American Le Mans Series 2000

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Sebring 12 Hours
BMW Motorsport

42

BMW V12 LMR 'Original BMW Parts'
Jörg Müller
J.J. Lehto

42
LMP

Minichamps
(BMW Dealer Edition)

?? ?? ? ??? ???

43

BMW V12 LMR 'Original BMW Parts'
Jean-Marc Gounon
Bill Auberlen

43
LMP

Minichamps
(BMW Dealer Edition)

?? ?? ? ??? ???

Adelaide
Audi Sport Team Joest
1Audi R8
('Crocodile Car')
Rinaldo Capello
Allan McNish
77
LMP
Minichamps
430 000977
Ixo
GTM001

2001

The Grand Am series soldiered on into 2001, and their main event - the 24 hours of Daytona - showed the weakness of their prototypes teams, as a GTO car took top honors again. But this time, the Corvettes led the way. A soon-to-be-gone Dale Earnhart finished his last race here. A shame, as he clearly enjoyed the run, and probably would have come back...

The GTO and GTU classes became GTS and GT respectively, which made them equivalent to the ALMS. Porsche 911 GT1s also were able to sneak into the GTS class, which is counterintuative, as the GTS class was for GT2 cars.

A geriatric Paul Newman took part yet again, using his walker to get from the paddock to the pits. Paul's age was balanced by Gunnar Jeanette, who at 18 was the youngest Daytona 24 Hours racer ever. Gunnar raced while in the middle of a semester of engineering school, which is a welcome change from the ususal spoiled-brat Eurotrash boy racer.

Champion had no luck fitting a Porsche turbo engine into the Lola Chassis. The whole car was gleefully scrapped at the end of the year in favor of a wonderful new Audi R8. Sadly, it was Bob Wollek's last race. He was killed at Sebring a few weeks later. Ironically, he was riding his bicycle when he was killed.

Grand American Road Racing Association - 2001

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Daytona 24 Hours
GTS Class

1

Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
Ron Fellows
Chris Kneifel
Franck Fréon
Johnny O'Connell

4
GTS

Minichamps
(Action US Label)

AC4 011402

Action Performance

??

4Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
Kelly Collins
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Andy Pilgrim
3
GTS
Minichamps
'Action' (US Label)
AC4 011403

Action Performance
(Dirty Version)

??

Action Performance

??

0

Dodge Viper GTS-R
Stefano Zonca
David Gooding
Raffaele Sangiuolo
Milka Duno

114
GTS

Minichamps

430 011414

0

Porsche 911 GT1
Larry Schumacher
James Holtom
John Brenner
Harry Bytzek

01
GTS

Minichamps

430 016801

Gunnar Racing

0

Porsche 911 GT1 'Texaco'
Gunnar Jeannette
Paul Newman
Wayne Jackson
Michael Brockman

76
GTS

Minichamps

400 016876

GT Class

0

Porsche 911 GT3-RS
Lucas Luhr
Mike Fitzgerald
Randy Pobst
Christian Menzel

31
GT

Minichamps

400 016931

0

Porsche 911 GT3-RS
Peter Baron
Leo Hindery
Gian Luigi Buitoni
Kyle Petty

43
GT

Minichamps

400 016943

0

Porsche 911 GT3-RS
Stefano Buttiero
Philip Collin
Andrew Bagnall
Tony Burgess

57
GT

Minichamps

400 016957

SRP Class
Champion Racing

0

Lola B2K Porsche 'Champion'
Dorsey Schroeder
Bob Wollek
Hurley Haywood
Sascha Maassen

38
SRP

Spark

SCLA 07

Daytona Finale

0

Porsche 911 GT3-RS 'Van Halen'

76
GT

Minichamps

400 016976

United We Race

Many cars at the 2001 Petit Le Mans had special livery to honor victims of September 11.

BMW M3 GTR

The most controversial car of the year was the rules-stretching E46 M3 GTR. The car had a non-stock V8 engine which had yet to appear in the road car. The lack of a commerial version made the car incur penalties that made it uncompetitive.

Ferrari GT's

After years of chanting, fasting, and prayer Ferrari made a decent GT car. The GTS-class 550 Maranello won many FIA GT races and the overall championship. Too bad there is a clause in Michael Schumacher's contract with satan that gives Mattel exclusive rights. This eliminates any hope of a decent 1:43 model.

The GT-class 360 Modena has not yet matched the success of 550, but the Prince of Darkness is said to be "open for offers" if any loyal tifosi are in a "Faustian" mood...

IMSA Strikes back

The lousy PSCR acronym was dropped at the end of the year, and the ALMS runs under the infinitely better IMSA name.

American Le Mans Series 2001

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

GT Class
10BMW M3 GTR
'Yokohama'
Bill Auberlen
Niclas Jönsson
10
GT
Ixo
GTM005
42BMW M3 GTR
'Original BMW Parts'
Jörg Müller
J.J. Lehto
42
GT
Ixo
GTM006
Sebring
GTS Class
6Saleen S7-R 'Giesse'
Oliver Gavin
Terry Borcheller
Franz Konrad
26
GTS
IXO
GTM012
Petit Le Mans
LMP Class
2Audi R8 'Gulf'
Stefan Johansson
Patrick Lemarie
18
LMP900
Minichamps
400 010918
3Audi R8 'Champion' (USA Colors)
Johnny Herbert
Andy Wallace
38
LMP900
Minichamps
400 010938
GTS Class
6Chevrolet Corvette C5-R 'United We Stand' (USA Colors)'
Andy Pilgrim
Kelly Collins
Franck Fréon
4
GTS
Minichamps
AC4 011404
GT Class
8BMW M3 GTR 'Yokohama'
Hans-Joachim Stuck
Boris Said
Bill Auberlen
6
GT
Minichamps
400 012106
BMW Motorsport (Works Team)
12BMW M3 GTR 'BMW Motorsport'
J.J. Lehto
Fredrik Ekblom
Karl Wendlinger
42
GT
Minichamps
400 012142
   Minichamps
BMW Dealer Edition
80420139179 
9BMW M3 GTR 'BMW Motorsport'
Dirk Müller
Jörg Müller
43
GT
Minichamps
400 012143
   Minichamps
BMW Dealer Edition
80420139180 

2002

Sebring 50th anniversary

Sebring had a first-rate entry for its anniversary. While it wasn't required for a slot at Le Mans, it certainly looked good on a team's resume'.

American Le Mans Series 2002

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Sebring 12 Hours
LMP900 Class
Audi Sport North America
1Audi R8 'infineon'
Rinaldo Capello
Christian Pescatori
Johnny Herbert
2
LMP900
Minichamps
400 021392
5Audi R8 'infineon'
Tom Kristensen
Emanuele Pirro
Frank Biela
1
LMP900
Minichamps
400 021391
36Panoz LMP-1 Roadster S (Bomber)
Gunnar Jeannette
Chad Block
Wayne Jackson
00
LMP900
Minichamps
'Action' (US Label)
AC4 028800
LMGTS Class
12Corvette C5-R'Goodwrench'
Ron Fellows
Johnny O'Connell
Oliver Gavin
3
LM GTS
Minichamps
AC4 021403
LMGT Class
12Porsche 911 GT3-RS 'McKenna'
Sascha Maassen
Lucas Lühr
23
LM GT
Minichamps
400 026923
Mid-Ohio
30Lola B2K/40
Rich Grupp
Dennis Spencer
62
LMP675
Top Model
Le Mans 43
LM021
Petit Le Mans
LMGTS Class
12Corvette C5-R 'Corvette 50th Anniversary'
Ron Fellows
Johnny O'Connell
Oliver Gavin
3
LM GTS
Minichamps
400 026923

Daytona 2002

Prototypes were scarce, but the ol' Dyson vs. Doran show never gets, well... old.

Grand-Am Series 2002

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Daytona 24 Hours
SRP Class
Doran-Lista Racing
1Dallara Judd 'Lista'
Didier Theys
Fredy Lienhard
Max Papis
Mauro Baldi
27
SRP
Spark
SCDR04 
Intersport Racing
35Lola B2K Judd 'Banana Joe's'
Joel Field
Clint Field
Mark Neuhaus
Larry Oberto
37
SRP
Spark
SCLA 08 
GT Class
0Porsche 911 GT3-R 73
GT
Minichamps
400 026973 
0Porsche 911 GT3-R 66
GT
Minichamps
400 026966 
0Porsche 911 GT3-R 44
GT
Minichamps
400 026944 
0Porsche 911 GT3-R 'Red Bull'7
GT
Minichamps
400 026907 

2003

Beer Goggles, anyone?

The NASCAR people who started the Grand-Am series went on a journey to hell in 2003. Paving the road were the good intentions of making a stable class of closed-cockpit prototype cars. They saw a future where competitiveness wasn't dictated by budgets but by talent, and that the small privateer could be competitive at a resonable price.

Who the fuck would want to watch that shit? I mean really. Sports cars are supposed to be a decadent waste of money in a world where many go without food or medical care. I deal with the problems of the real world all week. When I watch sports car racing on the weekends I don't want to hear people whine about budgets.

I won't even go into the fact that cars that are the ugliest closed-cockpit prototypes man has ever seen.

Daytona 2003

Every year in sports cars is a transition year, so low grid counts always have an excuse. Daytona 2003 was an especially bad scene, as the Daytona Prototypes were trounced not only on reliability but speed by the Porsche 996-GT3RS

Kudzu Redux

Jim Downing was involved in bringing this WR-built car to the ALMS. While it was not particularly sucessful, there are actually two different 1:43 models.

American Le Mans Series 2003

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Sebring
LMP900 Class
2Audi R8 'ADT'
Emanuele Pirro
J.J. Lehto
Stefan Johansson
38
LMP900
Minichamps
400031338
6Audi R8 'Canon'
Mika Salo
Jonny Kane
Perry McCarthy
9
LMP900
Minichamps
400031399
LM GT Class
23Porsche 911 GT3-RS 'Hazardous'
Spencer Pumpelly
Andy Lally
Steven Ivankovich
33
LM GT
Minichamps
400 036933
Petit Le Mans
LMP675 Class
22WR LMP-02 'Hans'
Howard Katz
Yojiro Terada
Jim Downing
64
LMP675
Spark
SCWR17
   Top Model
Le Mans 43
LM028

2004

American Le Mans Series

Prototypes were scarce in 2004, but the Dyson and Champion squads always put on a good show. European crossover was less due to the Le Mans Endurance Series ability to provide grid slots at the 24 Hours.

American Le Mans Series 2004

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Sebring 12 Hours
1Audi R8 'Canon'
Allan McNish
Frank Biela
Pierre Kaffer
28
LMP1
Minichamps
400 041328
8Porsche 911 GT3-RSR
Timo Bernhard
Sascha Maassen
23
GT2
Minichamps
400 046423

Grand American Road Racing Association

The series had a much brighter year with a large number of prototypes. Daytona was an especially memorable event. NASCAR stars Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt jr. put on a valiant effort in the closing minutes as they tried to bring home a victory with a completely broken suspension.

Milka Duno also scored a solid win against ample cometition, and became one of the few women who can claim to have won a race outright.