Photos courtesy IMSA and LEGO

IMSA unveils LEGO version of 3-time GTD championship car

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If you always wanted to build your own championship race team but didn’t have the money, well, we have the next best thing for you – and you can build it brick by brick, so to speak.

On Wednesday, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship officials announced a replica of the 3-time GTD-championship winning No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 as the latest addition to the LEGO Speed Champions set.

The set, which contains 179 pieces and launches for sale on March 1, also features a LEGO version of driver Christina Nielsen. It will be available to order from and costs $14.99 – a lot cheaper than building the actual full-size car, obviously.

And, you can customize it any way you see fit.

“To partner with Ferrari and the LEGO Group on its 60th anniversary and bring our No. 63 to life is a dream project,” said Giacomo Mattioli, Scuderia Corsa team owner. “We’ve had outstanding results with the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 the past five years, and the LEGO Speed Champions set is a powerful way to tell our story, hopefully inspiring the race drivers, engineers and designers of the future.”

The LEGO version of the Ferrari is spot-on with authentic details, including the red racing colors all the way down to race-graphic stickers, including the green number panel used by WeatherTech Championship GTD teams.

Nielsen’s minifigure comes complete with her signature blonde hair, WeatherTech Championship and Continental Tire uniform logos and a blue helmet. It can also be placed inside the race car through a removable windshield, as opposed to through the door in real life.

To top it all off, the set also includes a replica silver championship trophy Nielsen won for capturing back-to-back GTD titles with co-driver Allessandro Balzan in 2016 and 2017.

“I cannot believe it is becoming real,” Nielsen said in a media release. “I still think it’s unreal. I need to get one myself, I haven’t got one yet, or two, or three, or four, but yeah, it’s absolutely amazing. My life feels 99 percent complete. The last percent is I need to have a Porsche in LEGO as well.”

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Mercedes: F1 teams need to work together to avoid split

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Friday that Formula One teams have a responsibility to try to overcome their differences over the future of the sport in the face of a threat by Ferrari to quit because of a number of proposed changes.

Bernie Ecclestone, who ran F1 for 40 years before being replaced by new owners Liberty Media last year, has raised the possibility that Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne could walk away from F1 and form a breakaway series over Liberty’s future vision for the sport.

Ferrari is unhappy with Liberty’s proposal to simplify engines and redistribute prize money among F1 teams after the current contract with teams expires at the end of 2020.

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene would not comment on the specifics of Marchionne’s previous comments at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday, but said: “My only suggestion, please take him seriously.”

Wolff is also taking the possibility of Ferrari walking away seriously. He told Britain’s Press Association before the Australian GP that he agreed with Marchionne’s concerns and that Formula One can’t afford to alienate Ferrari or lose the team.

“Don’t mess with Sergio Marchionne,” he said. “Formula One needs Ferrari much more than Ferrari needs Formula One.”

Wolff was more diplomatic on Friday, saying he hopes all sides could come together for the good of the sport.

“I think this as much a battle on track as much as it is a fight off track for an advantage,” he said. “It is clear the current governance and how the rules are being made is not very functional. There’s too much different opinions and agendas on the table and we need to sort it for 2021 for the best interest of the sport.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed there are too many competing agendas, suggesting that the FIA-Formula One’s governing body-and Liberty Media come together to decide on a set of regulations and financial framework for the next contract and the teams can then decide if they want to accept it or not.

“Trying to get a consensus between teams that have varying objectives, different set-ups, is going to be impossible,” he said. “It’s history repeating itself. It happens every five or six years, every time the Concorde Agreement comes up for renewal.”

Tempers also flared during Friday’s media conference over another issue of contention between the teams – Ferrari’s recent hiring of FIA’s ex-safety director, Laurent Mekies.

Horner believes Ferrari broke an agreement among teams at a recent meeting to institute a 12-month waiting period for any former employee of FIA or FOM (Formula One Management) to be able to start working for one of F1’s teams. The concern is that former FIA staff who go to work for a specific team could share secrets from other teams.

“Certain teams were pushing for that period to be three years, but in the end it was agreed upon being 12 months,” he said. “It almost makes those meetings pointless if we can’t agree on something and action it.”

Arrivabene defended Ferrari’s move, saying Mekies would not join its team until after a six-month “gardening leave” period.

“There is nothing wrong with that because we were absolutely respecting the local law, the Swiss local law where Laurent was hired,” he said.