1963 Ferrari 250GTO by Maisto

1964 Ferrari 250GTO by Johnny Lightning

1965 Ford GT40 by Matchbox

1966 Ford GT40 by Hot Wheels

1967 Ferrari 330P4 by Summer

1968 Porsche 907/8 by Zee Toys

1969 Lola T70 by Hot Wheels

1970 Porsche 917 by Ertl

1971 Porsche 917 by Pilen

1972 Ferrari 312P by Hot Wheels

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS by Hot Wheels

1975 Porsche 911 Carrera RS by Hot Wheels

1976 BMW 3.0CSL by Tomica

1977 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR by Corgi

1978 Porsche 935 (Tomica copy?)

24 Hours of Daytona
Winners in Small-Scale
by David Cook
images by Doug Breithaupt

America's premier endurance race for many years has been the Daytona 24 Hours. Our North American counterpart to LeMans is the traditional February kick-off to the Daytona Speed Weeks and the world-racing season in general.

Between us, Doug and I have assembled an almost complete collection of small-scale winners of this famous race!

The race began in 1962 & 1963 as the 3-Hour Daytona Continental. This was lengthened to 2000 Kilometers for 1964 & 1965. The 24-Hour race has been held since 1966 with a shortened race in 1972 and no race in 1974 due to the gas crisis.

From its beginning the 24 Hours was a fixture and opening race on the FIA World sports car Championship calendar. During the '70s, however, the France family, owners of the track and the race (not to mention NASCAR!), grew tired of European rule changing that did not suit their interests. They allied themselves with the US-based International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) for many seasons of competitive racing as part of a North American sports car series. With the sale of IMSA in the early '90s, however, the unified series fell apart. Daytona remains the cornerstone of a small, marginally organized sports car racing series run on France family controlled tracks. But they must compete for entries and attention with the American LeMans Series, well managed and run by Don Panoz with big-time manufacturer participation at venues worldwide. sports car racing fans await unification of the two series much like Indy-car enthusiasts.

Our first winner is this beautiful Ferrari GTO, shown here by Maisto and an original Johnny Lightning. The GTO took first place in both '63 and '64.

The next car, again a double winner in '65 and '66, is the famous Ford GT-40. Wins at Daytona were a tune up for the ultimate showdown with Ferrari at LeMans. Two examples are shown here: the old Matchbox from the '60s and the brand-new Hot Wheels version. Each are excellent models from their own times.

Shown next is the '67 winner, a Ferrari 330P by Summer. Not the world's greatest small-scale model but one of the few prototype Ferrari's done in this size.

1968 saw the first of many Porsche wins at this venue. The 907/8 model shown here is by Zee Toys.

The Lola T-70/Chevy represented by this Hot Wheels model in very correct colors won in '69.

Porsche again dominated in '70 and '71 with the famous 917 model, both well done here by both Ertl and Pilen. This was the car that gave Porsche it's first of many LeMans wins.

1972 saw a Ferrari 312P win a gas-crisis shortened 6-hour race. Pictured is the famous Hot Wheels version. The fuel situation also brought about the end of the big-bore, "fire breather" sports racers in favor of cars that more closely resembled production models.

1973, '75 and '77 races were won with Porsches again but this time 911 Carrera RS models. Shown here are two different examples by Hot Wheels and one by Corgi.

Porsche's string was broken in '76 by a BMW 3.0CSL. This Tomica model with European racing colors is a great example.

Porsche began another staggering series of wins in '78 through '83 with the awesome 935 model. This six-time winner is here represented by no less than six different small-scale models by Tomica, Zee Toy, Matchbox (twice), Corgi, and Kenner. This famous car would of course go on to win LeMans as well. The 935 is the ultimate example of the "silhouette" formula, where the outline of the car resembles a production sedan, but the engine and chassis are pure race car, complete with turbocharged engine.

Porsche's dominance would be broken (sort of) very briefly in '84 by a March 83G, powered by (what else!) a Porsche engine. This great Tomica model shown here has its LeMans colors on. By now the rules had been changed to allow pure racing prototype cars again.

Porsche continued it's winning ways with the 962 model, shown here by Majorette and Guisval. These cars are sisters to the LeMans dominating 956 models. 962s won Daytona in '85, '86,'87,'89, and '91.

Porsche battled Jaguar at both Daytona and LeMans in this era. Jags would win at Daytona with the XJR-9 in '88 (here by Guisval) and the XJR-12 in '90 (here by Corgi), both absolutely gorgeous models with very correct markings.

As Porsche factory support waned, the 962s lost a step on the competition. Nissan captured both the 1992 Daytona win and the IMSA series crown with the stunningly fast R91CP model, shown here by Zee Toys. A Nissan 300ZX GT car won in 1994, represented here by Novacar.

Ferrari returned to the winner's circle at Daytona in 1998 with the 333SP. Released by Hot Wheels as a 2000 model, the 333SP represents the new open WSC sports racers that dominate GT racing today.

Pure racing "World Sports Car" models have won more recent races until this year. The Team Oreca Dodge Viper GTS-R, shown here by Johnny Lightning in its LeMans colors, outlasted its faster rivals for the victory in 2000. It was the first win for a GT car over the prototypes in many years.

Hopefully fights over rules and sanctioning will end leaving the Daytona 24 Hours standing as our continent's ultimate sports car endurance race: a challenge of man and machine over metal fatigue and human error!

1979 Porsche 935 by Zee Toy

1980 Porsche 935 by Matchbox

1981 Porsche 935 by Matchbox

1982 Porsche 935 by Corgi

1983 Porsche 935 by Kenner

1984 March 83G Porsche by Tomica

1985-87 Porsche 962 by Majorette

1988 Jaguar XJR-9 by Guisval

1989, 91 Porsche 962C by Guisval

1990 Jaguar XJR-12 by Corgi

1992 Nissan R91CP by Zee Toys

1994 Nissan 300ZX by Novacar

1998 Ferrari 333SP by Hot Wheels

2000 Dodge Viper GTS-R by Johnny Lightning