Back in 2006 renowned German based Reiter Engineering converted a factory original Lamborghini V10 into a pure bred GT3 race car and called it the Gallardo GTR-3, it took several years before anyone had the bright idea of creating a 1/18 scale model of that original race car, Meko Models created a sealed, resin model of this very impressive car ... very expensive, but so rare I just had to add it to my collection ... in a plain body white livery, I prefer plain body race cars by the way.
In 2010 Reiter Engineering started using the new Gallardo LP560-4 as a basis for their GT3 car, they even created a GT2 version at that time, but this latter one didn't become a success ... the 2011 evolution of the GT3 Gallardo did ... known as the LP600+ (for over 600hp by the way, hence the '+' sign) this evolution would become a massive success on the tracks all over the world with many podium finishes ... the Gallardo LP600+ GT3 evolved into an even more impressive model for the 2013 season, now using the new styling of the 2012 Paris Motor Show Gallardo LP560-4 final edition ... Reiter calls it the Gallardo GT3 FL2 ... for Face Lift 2.
So when I learned about Minichamps going to release a 1/18 scale model of the 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 race car I got excited to say the least, naturally I have several 1/43 scale Lamborghini models by Minichamps but no a large 1/18 ... but it would take a long time before these large scale models would be available, and when they did Minichamps started with a matte black version ... while I specifically wanted a plain body white one to match the Meko Models Gallardo GT3 I already owned ... second in line from Minichamps was a bright green one ... and finally the white version became available ... I immediately put in an order and waited for it to arrive.
The large, well padded cardboard box arrived within a few days, and when I opened the package I really was pleasantly surprised ... keep in mind this is a 60 Euro model and I've been reading all kinds of negative comments about it, most of them because it is a sealed model, hence nothing opens, and the fact Minichamps used transparent plastic parts with a grille imprinted on them and not real metal grilles like AutoArt would do.
Still I really like this model of the 2011 Gallardo GT3 race car, I think the attention to detail by Minichamps is really good on their 1/18 Lamborghini, just take a look at the interior ... complete with racing seat that shows the Reiter Engineering script on the side of the headrest, the red fire extinguisher is there, the central console buttons are present, complete with color coded surrounds while the rear view mirror is in fact an LCD screen.
Back to the exterior, with the amazing looking OZ Racing Wheels, I love the black wheels with their white outer ring and red central locking screw covering a set of racing specs disk brakes with the typical gold painted center ring ... the brake calipers even show the 'Reiter Engineering' script too ... this is really nicely detailed, especially for a model in this price range.
What I really loved about the real 2011 Gallardo GT3 race car was the engine cover, with the ten outlets it actually runs right up to the rear of the roof, creating a smooth line from front to back unlike the Gallardo Super Trofeo race car which has a similar looking engine cover, but one that is in the same position of the Gallardo it is based on ... Reiter Engineering made an extra effort to create a better aerodynamic design that still cools down the V10 enough ... and Minichamps made a perfect 1/18 scale replica of it.
For the 2011 model Reiter also created a different rear wing design, if you compare it to the earlier Gallardo GT3-R it might look less impressive, but in fact this new design increases down force while having a lower drag coefficient ... and it looks amazing too with the carbon fiber finish Minichamps managed to scale down very nicely ... note that the engine cover is also completely finished in clear carbon fiber, beautiful to say the least.
Underneath the large rear wing we encounter a modified section under the taillights that shows the two Reiter Engineering exhaust pipes and the connection for the compressed air entry that brings out the four 'struts' under the car when it comes in to the pit, this raising it into the air so the mechanics can quickly change the wheels and tires ... the quick filler is also present on this Minichamps model ... naturally.
Further down a large lower diffuser acts as an additional stabilization unit together with the rear wing, up front the new bumper features large air vents on the side with carbon fiber fins to have even more down force on the front wheels ... also note this Minichamps model has the special section on the front bumper where Reiter Engineering would install four additional lights during 24h racing for instance ... the lights aren't there, but the 'inset' it, so perhaps a future model by Minichamps will be a full livery 24h de Spa version, the black one please ...
Up on the roof we have a tall communications antenna, which makes this model almost look like an R/C version, and a black hexagon pod ... however the most impressive item up there is the air intake just above the windshield, which also houses special lights on the real car by the way, so despite this being a sealed model I'm still really impressed with the attention to detail at this price.
To show the difference between the 2006 Gallardo GT3-R and this 2011 Gallardo LP600+ GT3 I put this Minichamps model next to my Meko Models edition ... keep in mind the price of 60 Euro against 425 Euro for the Meko Models you have to admit the Minichamps sure isn't that bad ... both are sealed models, both have their faults ... sure the Meko Models is even more detailed, on the sliding side windows for instance, but on the other hand the Minichamps model has much nicer wheels ... now the Meko Models does show real grilles on the intakes while the Minichamps has the printed plastic parts ... but if I'm really honest I have to admit the paint finish (especially the black sections) on the Meko Models Gallardo GT3 is really not up to the high price range for this model while the much cheaper Minichamps model shows nearly perfect paint all around.
Now I understand the fact the Meko Models Gallardo GT3 is hand made by artisans, and it is extremely rare makes you tend to look through these issues, but still I think it should be a lot better for this kind of money ... just to get a second opinion I also 'parked' this 2011 Gallardo LP600 GT3 next to my white Gallardo LP560-4 by AutoArt, this also shows the difference between the base car and the GT3 edition.
Sure the AutoArt Gallardo LP560-4 is better and more detailed, but the Minichamps Gallardo LP600 GT3 holds up her own against this fierce competition ... so even next to a much more expensive, handmade Meko model, or against a reference model like the AutoArt one this new Minichamps scale model is really worth adding to your collection ... for one the price is great for the finish and detail of this model, the box says it is limited to 600 units which is always nice too ... but more importantly there is no other 1/18 model out there of this 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 GT3 ... so in the end this Minichamps Gallardo has no competition.
Photos © LAMBOdiecast