Audi R8 #77 “Crocodile” – Ixo

2000 Audi R8 #77
Pilots: R. Capello, A. McNish
Team: Audi Sport North America
Race: 1st overall (LMP) at the Adelaide Race of a Thousand Years in 2000
Ixo - GTM001 (diecast)

Published 08/27/21

The year 2000 was marked by celebrations all around the world. After all, it was the last year of the millennium. From September 15 to October 1st, Sydney in Australia hosted the XXVII Olympiad, the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. And a few months later, to close the millennium, on December 31st at Adelaide occurred the Race of a Thousand Years. It would be a 1000 km-long endurance race, held at Adelaide’s Street Circuit. Furthermore, it was also the twelfth and last race of the 2000 American Le Mans Series. In theory it should be a precursor to a planned Asia-Pacific Le Mans Series run by Don Panoz (creator of the ALMS). However, due to the lack of interest by regional teams, the new series never went ahead. 

Before the race the Audi team went through some pre-race stress.

All in all, there were 25 cars on the grid that hot day, divided among LMP, GTS and GT classes. In the prototype class, the big favorite was undoubtedly Audi. After the R8’s 1-2-3 win at La Sarthe in June, the competition was in a tough spot. Panoz’ LMP-1 and Cadillac’s LMP had minimal chances against the spectacular R8. Nonetheless, the pre-race atmosphere was festive, with many team members wearing “Crocodile Dundee” hats. However, Audi wanted to do one better. Audi Sport North America arrived with two cars for the race, R8 #77 and #78. While car #78 was in the traditional “Audi R8 silver”, car #77 received a “crocodile livery”. Despite the favoritism, prior to the race the Audi team ran into some drama. Allan McNish injured his back and almost had to go home. Fortunately he recovered in time to strap-in the car on that Sunday afternoon.

Despite being the race of the millennium, it seems that things were not very well planed beforehand.

With a crowd of 135,000 spectators in attendance, the Race of a Thousand Years should have been 1000 km long. Nonetheless, because of the absurdly hot Australian summer, it started later in the afternoon. And because of that, the organizers cut it short to 850 km, finishing two hours before midnight 😲. As expected, Audi’s R8 dominated, with R8 #77 in the lead for 90% of the race, finishing in first. Car #78 suffered a minor crash in the second half of the race, and finished in 15th. Though not in HD, you can watch the highlights of the race here (1h52min).

In coolness factor, that livery is hard to beat.

Yes, this is an art car. An Audi R8 art car, the famous Crocodile R8. Without a doubt this is one of my all-time favorite racecar liveries. In fact, the Crocodile #77 was the first art car I bought in 1:18, from Maisto, almost 20 years ago. Nonetheless, I already have quite a few R8 in the W-143 Garage, and this is not a Le Mans car. In spite of that, I think I can circumvent the Only Le Mans rule here…😉  In scale it is an OK model – a recent offering from Ixo, thus you can expect a certain decency in quality level. And a decent model is what you get, not more not less. However, be aware that the livery is a full-body decal 😲. So, even though it is not as good as a Minichamps R8, I’m happy with it.

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