LEGO Speed Champions is back, with new cars to add to the collection. This year though, the vehicles have had an upgrade and are now eight studs wide. Two studs might not sound like a lot, but any Speed Champions can attest to how much difference the proportions make.
In the first part of an exclusive interview with Brick Fanatics, Design Lead Chris Stamp explained why the cars had switched to eight-wide and the importance of fan feedback. As the conversation continues, he discusses the new opportunities that the format change has offered.
Aside from the change to eight stud wide cars, what else is new for Speed Champions in 2020?
One other thing that Speed Champions does is that we were really chasing authenticity because that is our main thing. New race vehicles, new brands. We are not going to start doing spaceships. That is not a Speed Champions innovation. We are not going to start including lightsabers. That is not our innovation. We are a racing car theme. Our innovation comes through which new brands we can get and which types of race cars.
If you look at 2019, that was the first year we included new brands, Dodge, which was very well received. And Mini has been very well received. That was following 2018 where it was the same three brands we had used several times; Ferrari, Ford, Porsche. We really wanted to every year have new partners and every year have new types of race vehicles – without leaving out specific ones like supercars, our bread and butter.
This year again, we have added new types of racing, we have never done drifting before, we have never worked with Nissan before. We are returning to Audi which we haven’t done since 2016.
Lamborghini, whether it is a GT or an SUV, that is something people online have been asking for since the beginning of Speed Champions and I have been saying “can we do it? Why can’t we do it? Please let us do it?” This year it was just like, ”we are doing it”. It is not as simple as just saying I want them, you have to see what is available, you need to see if they want to work with you, ask if the timing is right, those kind of things. They have got a lot of iconic cars, the Countach, the Miura, the Diablo, do we start a relationship with an icon or do we start a relationship with something that is brand new and is going to appeal to kids rather than adults?
But then you have got Formula E, which we have never done before, with Jaguar and directly with Formula E. When we have previously worked with Formula 1, we have worked with Ferrari and Formula 1 or Mercedes and Formula 1, we have never worked with Formula 1. When we did Stock Car racing we never worked with Nascar. This time we are actually working directly with Formula E and that is cool because we have never had that opportunity before, so it will be two partners on one product, which is amazing for us.
We have been in talks with Formula E for several years. We knew at some point we wanted to work with Formula E, being a new brand, it needed to gain a bit of momentum first, but also we needed it to get to a stage where we could do it justice.
Formula E is one of the reasons we went to eight wide, because we explored doing it at the existing scale, we explored doing it at all scales, even seven wide, which was just ridiculous – it was so confusing trying to build LEGO pieces in odd numbers, it was crazy. At the six wide it didn’t look right. Without us making a lot of new pieces, we couldn’t achieve it. At the eight wide, we are now capable of building in space. Because it is not all about filling in gaps, it is also about building in air, that is how you get the shaping on the Ferrari, so this has been a face of getting the eight wide through.
New LEGO Speed Champions sets are available now.