2006 Le Mans Corvette no.64 by Dale Koppi
The Corvette C6R is one of the most successful Corvette race cars. It raced predominantly as a factory-backed team in the American Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans with private teams contesting the Le Mans Series and FIA GT Championship. This car holds a record of four straight class victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring, winning in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Development and construction of the C6R was enlisted to Pratt & Miller in New Hudson, Michigan for General Motors. The engine was sourced by Katech who also built the units for the C5R. The Corvette innovated the used of air conditioning and variable displacement. Only six chassis were constructed.
At LE MANS, Corvette and Aston Martin went toe-to-toe in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, trading blows through a gruelling day and night of racing. When the battle finally ended at 5 p.m. Corvette Racing had won the GT1 class in the world’s greatest sports car race for the fifth time in six years.
The victorious No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen finished fourth overall. It was the trio’s third consecutive class victory at Le Mans and their fourth straight endurance racing win, a streak that includes last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Petit Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Corvette Racing extended its perfect finishing record in the 24 Hours of Le Mans to seven consecutive years and Corvette became the winningest manufacturer in recent GT history at Le Mans.
So then, this is the Revel kit, which I picked up at the Yeovilton show at the Fleet Air Arm museum for a whopping £6. I then purchased the corvette Le Mans yellow paint made by Zero from Hiroboy.com. Other purchases to finish this kit also included some Alclad duralium, and some generous donations of a few etch bits from Paul. I also robbed my scratchbuild collection for some mesh and other little bits and bobs.
The shell of this model is made from a very hard plastic, which is very nice to work with, and also has some great detail on it, such as the bonnet grills. Construction was pretty straight forward following the plan…. but then I decided to go get some reference pictures and realised there are a few differences I needed to take account of during the build.
The fit of the parts on this kit is surprisingly snug, and as such did not need too much filler being applied. The only exception to this was the bonnet scoop. This took a lot of work. After filling with Mr Surfacer and then rubbing it down, and repeating this process a few times I eventually got to a point I was happy with. Being a confined area, sanding down the filler was a real pain…. till I found the joy of the super sharp scalpel (not the Russel kind). My no 15 blade has a curved blade and as such, can scrape away at the filler to leave a nice smooth curve without the need to get sandpaper in there.
The body shell was then primed with Tamiya fine white primer, which was then gently sanded down with 1000grit to remove lumps on the surface. Now this is topic that has been discussed before. Why sand the primer smooth, wont the paint not adhere to the surface? The answer to that is dependant on the paint being applied on top. In this case, I am using an enamel based paint that has a very fine pigment. As such, 1000 grit surface has plenty for the paint to adhere to. If I was using spray can or Tamiya paints, then I feel that is too smooth for the paint to grip properly.
So then, 3 coats of the paint later, I gave the body a gentle rub down with 1500 grit to remove and lumps, and then gave it a final coat of yellow. Once this had cured, I started on the clear coats. This is a two part mixture that is used to paint the real cars. I gave the car two rather heavy coats, almost to the point where it might run but I got lucky. Then I polished the body shell in preparation for the decals. Using different mesh grades, to 8000 grit, then a polishing compound to restore the shine. The decals then went on, and thanks to the smoothness of the surface, the decals went down really well, and on the decals that went over a panel line, I used some Microsol to soften then to conform the shape. Because of the clear coat, I had no worries of reaction like I found with Klear. Once the decals were set, I gave the model another 2 coats of clear, allowed time to cure and then polished it back to a nice shiny finish.
Oh, when I was putting the decals on, I had to check the reference images as depending on when the image was taken, the decals differed. Eg, the ALMS series, pre inspection, qualifying and the race were all slightly different on the car. This actually proved to be a headache at some times after I put a decal on and then stumbled on a different photo that showed it shouldn’t be there.
So then, the chassis was pretty straightfoward, and a few parts were replaced as I went along as the scale on them looked ridiculous. The main one being the driver’s side netting. The kit part was so overscaled that the netting had strands the thickness of the rollcage. So this was replaced with some mesh, some tape and fibre strands. Other parts that were added were the vents on the back of the car, and the vents by the front of the doors. This actually turned out rather well.
The body was then glued to the chassis, using a combination of PVA and Superglue. The wheels had thier Chrome stripped with oven cleaner, and then sprayed gloss black. After that they were sprayed with alclad durallium. Once this had dried, I applied alclad clear coat on them. This is water based and initially comes out milky in colour. I forgot that is was water based, and discovered this when I put the tires into hot water to soften them, then fitted the tires to the wheels and noticed the clear had started returning to its liquid form. Again I got lucky and somehow didn`t ruin them.
The windows, front lights, wing-mirrors, rear spoiler, exhaust plates and Aerials were applied to finish the model off. The exhaust plates were made from bare metal foil and the Aerials were scratchbuilt from piano wire, plastic sprue and some superglue.
I am pleased with the result, and feel it’s my best car build to date. Now then, that’s two models finished this year. I also have to thank Paul for passing some of his knowledge in my general direction.