Now in its fourth year the Speed Champions theme seems to be going from strength to strength, and some are suggesting that the 2018 sets may be the best yet.
Of the 2018 Speed Champions sets, 75888 Porsche 911 RSR and 911 Turbo 3.0 was probably the one that I was most looking forward to getting my hands on. On the basis of the box art, the tricky shape of the classic Porsche 911 Turbo looked to have been impressively reproduced, and I was eager to discover if the build looks as good in person as it does on the screen. Read on to find out….
Box & Contents
The front of the box (above) features the contents of the set posed against a stylised backdrop of Porsche’s Leipzig test track and customer center, while the back of the box (below) showcases various aspects of the set including a couple of simple play features. There are also small images of the real 911 RSR and 911 Turbo on the back of the box so you can see what the builds are supposed to look like.
The box is designed to be opened via a couple of thumb tabs, although as usual I ignored those and instead used a sharp knife to free the flap on the left side so as to minimize box damage. The box contains three sequentially numbered bags of elements, two instruction booklets and a single sticker sheet. The covers of the twin instruction booklets feature imagery that is pretty much identical to the front of the box. In true Speed Champions style the sticker sheet (below) contains well over forty stickers.
The set contains three minifigures which are, from left to right, a member of the pit crew, a female driver and a male driver. The pit crew member and male driver have the same torso which is exclusive to this set. The torso is printed front and back with a racing suit pattern that includes a grey, red and black striped print which mimics the livery of the 911 RSR. The print also incorporates sponsor logos including Mobil 1 and Porsche Design. Both of these minifigures have generic, unprinted white legs and cheery, single-sided headprints which have previously appeared elsewhere.
The backprinted torso of the female driver features a black jacket pattern with zipper and lime shoulders and pockets. This torso has previously appeared in six sets. Her dark blue legs are unprinted, and her helmet and trans-clear visor are similarly unremarkable. Her cheerful single-sided headprint, which features spectacles with silver frames, has previously appeared as a part of numerous other minifigures.
First to be assembled is the lime Porsche 911 Turbo. This is constructed in a similar fashion to other Speed Champions vehicles, employing brackets and other SNOT elements to produce a predominantly studless result. The build incorporates a number of new recolours and uncommon elements, including lime 4 x 2 1/2 x 2 1/3 mudguards which are new in this colour. Four stickers are shoehorned onto the front bumper which is attached to the car via uncommon black modified 1 x 2 rounded plates. The area on either side of the bumper is sculpted via the use of a pair of lime 1 x 1 round quarter tiles which are appearing in a set for the first time in this colour, while the bonnet features an uncommon lime 4 x 2 curved slope running down the middle. The technique used to reproduce the distinctive Porsche 911 headlights is ingenious and the result looks excellent! A Technic pin attaches each headlight – a trans-clear round tile – to a Technic 3L axle and pin connector and this then slides into a slot in the body just in front of the front mudguard on each side of the car. The Technic axle and pin connector is new in lime.
The rear licence plate consists of a sticker which is stuck on to to an uncommon lime 1 x 4 plate with two studs. The single exhaust consists of a black 1L bar with 1 x 1 round plate, and the rear bumper is made up of stacked lime and red 2 x 6 plates with rounded corners which have previously appeared in fewer than ten sets in these colours. A lime double cheese slope stickered with Porsche’s ‘turbo’ motif is mounted on the rear of the vehicle. The rear window consists of two stickers that need to be carefully lined up next to each other; in the old days there would have been one large sticker stuck across two elements, a.k.a. STAMPS. This practice has thankfully fallen out of favour, although it would have made stickering the rear window much easier in this particular case. The 911’s huge ‘duck tail’ spoiler utilises a pair of lime 1 x 2 - 1 x 2 inverted brackets which are currently exclusive to the set in this colour, and the roof is made up of a lime 2 x 4 tile which has only previously appeared in a single set in this colour.
Unlike the 911 Turbo the 911 RSR is built on a black 10L vehicle base. Once again the RSR features a number of newly recoloured and uncommon elements. The mudguards are of the same type as those used for the 911 Turbo and have only previously appeared in 5 sets in white, while an uncommon white 3 x 4 x 2/3 wedge with cutout forms part of the bonnet, and the body is contoured via the use of left and right curved 2 x 1 slopes which are new in white. The headlights consist of stickers which attach to white 45 degree 1 x 2 slopes with cutout that have only previously appeared in four sets in this colour. One of the trickiest stickering jobs involves attaching a curved sticker to the top of the trans-black 5 x 4 x 1 1/3 windscreen; if you end up needing to re-align the sticker you might discover that it leaves a nasty, sticky residue so apply with care! The black rims have only previously appeared in two sets, both of them part of the Speed Champions theme.
Similar to the 911 Turbo the RSR has a back window made up of a pair of stickers. These attach to adjacent curved slopes and again need to be carefully applied to avoid making a mess. The rear indicator lights consist of uncommon trans-orange modified 1 x 1 plates with tooth. Not one but two spoilers are mounted on the back of the RSR; the smaller of the two consists of a new black spoiler element, while the larger spoiler is brick-built and attaches to the car via a pair of uncommon black skeleton arms.
In addition to the cars the set includes a small section of pit wall and a lap counter, as well as a pit board for the pit crew. The lap counter is mounted on a white 2 x 4 x 5 inclined stanchion. Interestingly the lap counter is functional, although the downside is that you need to apply stickers to all four faces of a black 2 x 2 brick to make it ‘work’. The stickered brick is placed on a jumper plate, allowing it to be rotated to display the relevant lap number – simple but effective.
I’m a big fan of this set. I think both Porsches look great, and I’d go as far as to say that they're two of my favourite Speed Champions cars so far, with the 911 Turbo my pick of the two.
On the downside, applying the stickers is predictably tedious, principally due to the sheer number involved; applying the stickers is always optional, of course, but I suspect that most purchasers will probably decide to apply them in order to get the most authentic result. Also, the car interiors can only accommodate a single minifigure, and the models are too tall and narrow to be truly faithful to their real life counterparts. Even so, l think that capturing the essence of these distinctive and curvaceous icons in LEGO so well at this scale is still pretty impressive.
The Speed Champions theme is really getting into its stride now, and in my opinion the quality of car design is improving year on year. Assuming that the theme continues in future years I’m genuinely excited to see what vehicles LEGO releases next. Lamborghini, please!
75888 Porsche 911 RSR and 911 Turbo 3.0 is available from LEGO brand stores and [email protected] at a RRP of £34.99 / US$29.99 / 39.99€. Many thanks to the LEGO Group for providing Brickset with a review copy of the set. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.