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 LEGO.com 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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Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

Photo: IndyCar
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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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