The big release for the LEGO Speed Champions line has moved around the last couple of years, and this time we're here in early February welcoming 5 new sets to the range for sale as of March 1, 2022. We had a big announcment of the first four sets - solo Ferrari, Lotus and Lamborghini models with an Aston Martin double pack, followed by the Mercedes-AMG F1 and Project One set shortly afterward, so we've got everything here that we know about for 2022. Interestingly, we saw 6 sets last year - based on the LEGO store being out of stock of everything except the Ford Bronco R/Ford GT double pack, we're thinking that set might be sticking with us a while longer.
Let's jump into the new sets:
Against last year's American car heavy Dodge and Chevrolet muscle twin packs, we've come back to Europe - with British, Italian and German brands bringing their race and hypercars. The 8 wide style continues, letting the cars be more detailed and ever closer to the die cast benchmark whilst still maintaining the buildability. LEGO have really focused on handling some of the bigger complaints, with printed pieces and brick-built headlight and taillight combinations used to address some of the fans biggest concerns with the model designs. We've also got a new 2x3 angled bow with additional cutouts that allows the team to provide decoration details to get away from stickered detail.
We saw the Ferrari F8 Tributo back in 2020's original wave of 8-wide sets, and we're back with the brand here with a 70s Historic Le Mans racer - the 512 M. The model features fully brick built headlights and taillights, with an opening canopy for the driver to get in and out of the cockpit. This set definitely picks up the historic mantle from the 1985 Audi Sport quattro S1 and continues the Le Mans theme.
Notably, the lead designer for Speed Champions compared this new 512 M to the Porsche 917K in the pit lane set 75876 from 2016 and the comparison is night and day, there's a lot more length to the model, and the vents on the arches are able to be reflected in built detail.
It's the first time LEGO have released any sets with the Lotus brand, and they've certainly leant heavily on the brand's trademark green and yellow livery. The livery of this set isn't even one that's particularly associated with the Evija, with the box art featuring what appears to be a 3D render of the car in this colour scheme.
The trademark rear intakes inside the wraparound rear lights have been replicated in the model, but it's fair to level a criticism at this model that barring the Lotus badges, it would appear much like a generic supercar model. To be honest, this criticism would hold against the production Evija itself - so we'll reserve final judgement until we see the set itself. The box has a cool theme though, featuring Goodwood house, famed for hosting the Festival of Speed. We've seen Speed Champions sponsorship at Goodwood before, so it'll be interesting to see if there's more to come on this in 2022.
Some small notes on this one - the rear spoiler is actually an upside down dark green surfboard (first time LEGO have done this piece in this colour).
This is probably one of the most requested additions to the Speed Champions line up, and for those Countach fans they're probably glad LEGO waited until the 8 wide format to complete this model. We've got brick-built head and taillight details, with an interesting arrangement with stickers underneath the headlights for the indicator details. As somewhat of a fan of the Countach it's slightly dissapointing they've gone for a mixture of early and late car details (the Countach started off as quite a simple design and grew many attachments over time - the box art shows a very 80s, late car with all of the styling additions).
The car itself is in white, which is somewhat iconic for the Countach but really this car's Wolf of Wall street/unsavoury 80s image will be something LEGO don't want to associate with - the box imagery is focused on a French or Italian backdrop. We're loving the low slung exhausts and custom rim details, but ultimately this one doesn't quite hit as hard as we'd expected. Perhaps the 8-wide Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo we saw in 2020 spoiled us a little.
This was the last set to be leaked and by far is the best, in fact saying this set was leaked would be a bit of a disservice as it was actually revealed on the Mercedes AMG F1 instagram feed. We'd mentioned in our previous 8-wide reviews that we've been excited to see what a Formula 1 car would look like in the new 8-wide format, and we're getting our first look here with the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 from 2021's season alongside the Mercedes-AMG One hypercar (called Project One here, which suggests the set was signed off a fair while ago). Let's deal with the Mercedes-AMG One first.
The Project One hybrid hypercar is based on F1 technology and the car itself is presented in the grey and teal Petronas AMG F1 theme from previous years. We've got a low slung wide profile here, and the rear centre fin is a real focus of the model - reminiscent of the Porsche 919 and Audi R18 LMP1 sets. As with the other 2022 sets, we've got built headlights and taillights and lots of detail in front and rear splitters on the Project One.
The Speed Champions 2021 Mercedes-AMG W12 is crazy to the last attempt at an AMG F1 car - the wheels are far more accurate scales, and modern F1 cars are much longer than they were in 2014. There's a working HALO (as we saw in the Formula E Jaguar) and decorated Pirelli branded tyres with blue wet weather stripes. Pirelli insisted on the treaded tyres having the blue band for realism - LEGO would have preferred white to match the design. Comparing this set with the 2017 Mercedes-AMG F1 cars is night and day in terms of realism and detail.
Sticking with the F1 car, we've got the all-black livery rather than the more traditional Teal & Grey, and it's nice to see LEGO not go to the older livery just to have the sets match. There are some cool details with how the steering wheel is done, and along with the number 44 we've also got a 77 plate in the box for those Valterri Bottas fans. A bit of a shame that LEGO didn't go with a Lewis Hamilton minifigure with this set, but at least we have his number. This set looks to be a great build for LEGO fans, although that it's only available as part of this twin set is a bit of a shame.
Finally, and the first time we're seeing the brand in the Speed Champions range - we have two sets featuring Aston Martin. We've previously seen the Creator James Bond DB5, and we'd wondered if we were going to see the brand at 8 wide scale. In this twin pack, we've got a Vantage GT3 and the Valkyrie AMR Pro. We've got a lime green theme going on, with the gray Vantage GT3 featuring lime accents and the Valkyrie entirely in lime green with red accents. Both cars have printed headlights and there are a huge number of interesting design details, from the gaping intake on the front of the GT3 car to the undulating rear wing of the Valkyrie.
The Vantage GT3 is definitely traditional aston martin, with the complex full width rear light detail implemented across the back of the model. Having seen video of this model, it definitely looks like the sculpture around the cockpit and the narrowing at the top will be more appreciable in real life than in pictures. Continuing the theme, the Valkyrie AMR Pro is almost all sculpture, with two baseplates included to accomodate the huge space right in front of the cabin behind the front wheels.
The Valkyrie also features custom wheel covers to replicate the real car, and is built long to replicate the real thing. We're going to see a matching 5-wide polybag version of the Valkyrie AMR Pro, following in the line of the Lamborghini Huracan and McLaren Elva of having smaller replicas. It'll be interesting to see how the step up to 5-wide from 4 improves the detail - things are certainly looking good.