When Hot Wheels designer, Eric Han brought the “first shot” prototypes of the #Gruppo x24 to the last convention in October, many collectors overlooked both him and this new casting. See, Eric works as a designer in tracks and playsets designing things like the Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage and the Hot Wheels Display Case versus being strictly a casting designer. So when collectors meet him, its safe to say most do not recognize the name. If you are one of those collectors, make sure you check out the Hot Wheels Q&A with Eric Han.
As far as Hot Wheels castings, Eric now has three to his name as he designed the ’15 Ford Mustang GT Convertible (2017), Yondu (2017) and now the #Gruppo x24 (2019).
Its safe to say the Hot Wheels #Gruppo x24 is not on the majority of collectors’ radars as its an #Unlicensed Hot Wheels casting that is built for the orange track. It is what it is, but to me, these “Hot Wheels Original Designs” are some of the best Hot Wheels cars as you won’t find these under any other brand’s name. These are physical representation of the designer’s mind running wild.
IMSA race cars — Google them if you don’t know what they are — are some of the wildest and fastest cars out there. Hot Wheels has done a great job recently at reproducing those cars & designs in the adult lines. Eric’s inspiration for the #Gruppo x24 came from those cars as well as the ones that run at Le Mans. In the Q&A that I did with him, he also mentioned that he, “kept the side surfaces mostly flat and wide like the Rothmans Porsche 962 (to work best with side boosters)”. He also added what I call an “aero roof strake” — similar to the ones found on the Audi R11 — simply because it “looks awesome”.
Make no mistake, the #Gruppo x24 was designed for the orange track. It was what Hot Wheels terms a #Track Star. Hot Wheels has certain requirements in order for a casting to become a “Track Star”. Eric also shared these in the Q&A:
There are several tests Hot Wheels completes in order to categorize new diecast designs. A few test examples for cars to be a track star are it needs to clear 360˚ loops without dragging front or rear, has to turn on bends/curves without disruption of any kind (like rubbing, etc), works best with boosters and manual launchers.
Personally, thats what makes the #Gruppo x24 so cool. It was designed for speed, power and performance, all while being a great design, aesthetically. The mix of hard surfaces and bursts of curvature really makes this casting have a certain symphonic appeal about it, while the aero roof strake almost gives the casting a rebellious “mohawk”. Its hard and soft in so many ways, and thats what makes it cool!
In addition to that, I love that the front chin is a #Moving Part in that it snaps into an upright position for track use and a lowered position for those of you that prefer your cars in a more idle position. How about that wrap-around windshield? It makes you think that if this was a real car, drivers would love the visibility the panoramic windshield would give them. Maybe the driver would be “smooth and rebellious” (just like the car design) and would gesture to other drivers as he (or she) passed them. These are the things that keep me up at night. Hahahaha.
So while Eric Han may not be a household name on the Hot Wheels design staff in the eyes of collectors (yet!), he has certainly delivered one cool casting that I think both kids and collectors will like. Personally, I hope we see it out of the #X-Raycers next, and instead, have some vintage-style racing liveries in the future. Regardless, its one of those #Unlicensed Hot Wheels castings that I will probably end up collecting every release of.
This #2019 New Models release of the #X-Raycers #Gruppo x24 is showing up in stores now as part of the #2019 Hot Wheels “F” case assortments. I invite you to pick one up; its pretty awesome in my eyes and I hope you enjoy it too!
If you missed it, make sure you check out the Hot Wheels Q&A with Eric Han. Lots of cool insight in that article that Eric was gracious enough to share with us.