Having sponsored the Tyrrell, Alfa Romeo and Toleman F1 teams Benetton Formula Ltd. was formed at the end of 1985 when the Toleman outfit was bought by the Benetton family.
The Benetton B187 car, designed by Rory Byrne, replaced the B186 of the previous season. A noticeably different car from the ‘86 chassis it started a development series that ran through the ‘88 and ‘89 cars too. Also notable was the change in colour scheme which ran on through the following years although the colour positions were alternated.
The B187 had a carbon fibre monocoque and Benetton’s own longitudinally mounted 6-speed manual gearbox mated to the Ford V-TEC V6, 1,497cc, 120º V, turbocharged (4.0 Bar limited) engine, to which they had exclusive access for 1987. This was the last turbo engine used by Benetton (a year ahead of the rule change) being replaced in 1988 by the naturally aspirated Ford DFR V8 in the B188.
With drivers Thierry Boutsen and Teo Fabi, the teams 1987 season got off to a good start. Boutsen finished 5th at the season opening Brazilian Grand Prix. By mid-season both Fabi and Boutsen were regularly fighting for podium finishes, Boutsen even led for 13 laps of the Mexican Grand Prix before being forced to retire.
Fabi’s season was a little more chequered, an ambitious over take manoeuvre on Eddie Cheever in Detroit GP lead to him losing his nose cone and front wing but his best result of 1987, third place in Austria was well deserved and might even have been second . The Austrian race start was marred by two restarts after huge start line accidents. On the first Start Teo had done a lightning start from 5th on the grid, passing his team mate Boutsen and the Ferrari of Berger to be third at the first corner and second by mid lap, unfortunately several drivers got into trouble and blocked the track behind him and the red flag was out. Teo’s restart was good again but Mansell had clutch problems and was slow away. Although the front of the grid got away clean and most of the midfielders were able to take avoiding action those at the back had little chance of seeing what was happening and the starting straight became completely blocked with a huge pile of cars on the track. Literally a pile as Pascal Fabre’s AGS had gone over Phillipe Alliot’s Lola and parked on the nose of .Phillipe Streif’s car and the March of Ivan Capelli. At the third start Fabi wasn’t quite as quickly away but was still challenging the top six around the first corner, he kept on pushing to record a very creditable third place.
Boutsen equalled this with a 3rd place finish at the final race of the season in Australia.
At the end of the season Boutsen was 8th in the drivers championship with 16 points while Fabi, in his last year in F1, was 9th with 12 points scored.
Benetton finished 5th in the constructors championship with 28 points, a 1 place improvement on the 1986 season.
Teo Fabi retired from F1 at the end of 1987 making the B187 the last F1 car he drove.
1/24th scale kit.
Built by Ian.
Gunze Sangyo are not prolific F1 model kit producers, in fact this kit is one of a series motorised 1980s F1 cars that came out in the late 1980s. Due to the fact of being motorised the kits obviously lack some detail. Most notably in the cockpit, where the driver supplied is moulded to a flat plate slot car style, and the engine-gearbox area.
What this kit lacks in these areas it makes up for by being a pretty good shape of the car it is meant to represent, and with a little work builds up into an acceptable model. Ian fitted a resin driver into a scratch built cockpit, scratchbuilt the gearbox and rear of the engine then focused on making the visible details stand out a bit.
The model is painted with Halfords car paints but some of the areas of colour were actually from the decal sheet. Once all of the decals were on and dried then coats of Halfords clear gloss were slowly built up to allow a smooth polished body look to be achieved.
This compromise of standard of kit and need for 1/24th scale illustrates a major frustration for Ian. Generally F1 Model kits are made in 1/20th scale, not 1/24th, which creats an imbalance when joining the models together for display. Ian has searched extensively for 1/24th scale Grand Prix cars and there are many available from the earlier years of motor racing, but usually these kits are not up to the standards of the Tamiya plastic model kits or the many Japanese resin manufacturers. Revell have come to the rescue in modern times but whether they will continue to produce F1 subject in the future is not guaranteed.
Gunze Sangyo's set of F1 cars includes the: 1987 Benetton-Ford B187
1987-8 Ferrari F1-87 (F1-88C)
1988 McLaren MP4-4
1988 Lotus 100T
1988 Williams FW12
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