Wheeled toys have been a feature of LEGO since the company’s earliest days. As the LEGO brick rolled out around the world cars soon followed, although they tended to stick to generic car designs. Licensed cars did pop up, but they were a rarity… at least until Speed Champions came along.
LEGO Speed Champions sets kicked LEGO cars into high gear, offering a diverse selection of licensed car designs with a greater emphasis on realism than typical brick-built automobiles. The range has only gone from strength to strength since its arrival, with ever-more accurate vehicles and an expanding selection of car makes.
LEGO Speed Champions history
The first Speed Champions sets were released in 2015, following in the (faltering) footsteps of themes like LEGO Racers. This theme debuted in the early ‘00s, and offered dozens of different racing vehicles. By the time it drove off into the sunset, almost 250 sets had been released under the Racers banner.
While most of these sets were the LEGO Group’s own designs, the odd licensed set popped up in this period. 8461 Williams F1 Team Racer is one of the more ambitious examples, although 8375 Ferrari F1 Pit Set features a brick-built design and a minifigure pit crew.
Interestingly, even licensed Racers sets came with yellow minifigures rather than flesh-toned ones. Realistic flesh tones were starting to crop up in this era of LEGO history, thanks to themes like Star Wars. The focus on yellow faces suggested a desire to keep one foot firmly in a core LEGO universe.
Speed Champions’ sets preserved the yellow faces, but every other aspect of its early products was much more realistic than your average LEGO model. New windshield pieces were introduced to ensure accurate shaping, and sets relied on numerous stickers and wheel trims to achieve the necessary fine detail. In addition to realistic car shapes, a number of real-world brands were acknowledged in car liveries. No Octan or Vita Rush for this theme.
While many early Speed Champions sets were ready for the highway, others had a clear focus on Formula 1 tracks. 75911 McLaren Mercedes Pit Stop includes a McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 race car, as well as a garage, pit crew and launching feature. Later models such as 75874 Chevrolet Camaro Drag Race included a start line, allowing you to stage fast-paced races more easily.
That formula remained largely consistent until 2020, when the LEGO Group completely overhauled the underlying design principles of the theme, taking its cars from six studs to eight studs wide. This radical shift was first seen in sets like 76895 Ferrari F8 Tributo, which boasts more accurate proportions and can seat a drive and passenger side-by-side.
LEGO Speed Champions Ferrari
Italian car maker Ferrari has had a surprisingly long history with the LEGO Group. The first LEGO Ferrari appeared in 1998 as a promotional item, with DUPLO versions popping up in 2004. They’ve also proved a fixture of the Racers theme, earning a whopping 27 different products over the theme’s lifespan.
Speed Champions continues this tradition with various Ferrari products. They’ve appeared in the range from the start, with models like 75899 LaFerrari and 458 Italia GT2 offering standalone Ferraris for petrolheads to build.
The Ferrari branding has also appeared in more ambitious LEGO releases. 75913 F14 T & Scuderia Ferrari Truck offers a larger vehicle to transport an F14 T race car, along with a pit crew, plenty of tools, and even interchangeable noses for additional accuracy.
For fans wanting to recreate a larger racing environment, 2018’s 75889 Ferrari Ultimate Garage was a natural choice. In addition to a chunk of race track infrastructure, the set features a garage area with tools, a petrol pump and a set of retro posters. Naturally, there are also a few cars included: a Ferrari 312 T4, Ferrari 488 GTE and Ferrari 250 GTO.
The LEGO Group’s Ferrari sets would continue to go in interesting directions. 75890 Ferrari F40 Competizione recreates the Ferrari F40, built to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary. The car was warmly received during its lifespan, and a larger-scale model (10248 Ferrari F40) was also produced by the LEGO Group in 2015. In addition to numerous wheel trims, this car could be built as either the standard model or the more powerful Competizione version.
76895 Ferrari F8 Tributo introduced both the new eight-stud-wide car design and new wheel and canopy pieces. Its driver sports a Ferrari-branded torso piece, while 1×1 plates – printed with the Ferrari logo – ensure greater accuracy. Given the carmaker’s apparent popularity we anticipate additional Ferrari models from the LEGO Group, both within the Speed Champions line and elsewhere.
LEGO Speed Champions Porsche
Unlike Ferrari, Speed Champions marked the first appearance of a Porsche in LEGO form. To date, the German car manufacturer has enjoyed almost a dozen appearances in the LEGO line-up, including both Technic and Creator Expert versions of cars in the Porsche family.
The first LEGO Porsche was 75910 Porsche 918 Spyder. Featuring a tasteful grey livery, the model also includes a brightly-attired driver and a chequered flag – a key component of any race. Later releases include 75911 Porsche 911 GT Finish Line; this exciting set features a starting line, a winners’ podium, and even a selection of international flags to display.
Another larger model was 75876 919 Hybrid and 917K Pit Lane. This model included a well-provisioned garage and two cars from different eras of Porsche history. The ultra-modern Porsche 919 Hybrid and classic 917K each made an appearance, as did a car lift, drivers, mechanics and interchangeable wheel trims.
The Porsche 911 is a well the LEGO Group has returned to on multiple occasions. The first version of this car appeared in real life in 1964; since then, the basic concept has seen extensive enhancement and modification over the years. It’s also been hugely successful in motor races, winning numerous world championships. The one millionth Porsche 911 was manufactured in 2017.
75895 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0 is one of the latest versions. It’s very similar in structure to one from 75888 Porsche 911 RSR and 911 Turbo 3.0. Unlike the latter version (which came in lime green) this one sports a plain white paint job. It also includes some traffic cones to encourage bold steering manoeuvres.
LEGO Speed Champions Lamborghini
Lamborghini – Italian maker of luxury sports cars – is similarly rare in LEGO form. Before Speed Champions, LEGO Lamborghinis had appeared twice before – and in one case, this was more than a decade ago.
In a similar vein, Speed Champions currently features three Lamborghini models. 30342 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO was first released as a promotional item in mid-2020. Using just 70 pieces, it may not be the model Lamborghini fans were looking for.
A bolder Lamborghini set was released the same year. 76899 Lamborghini Urus ST-X & Hurácan Super Trofeo EVO features a duo of Lamborghini vehicles. Both benefit from the new 8-stud wide car designs, as well as numerous sticker details and vivid colour schemes. An included start/finish line may also inspire further play scenarios.
Finally, 76908 Lamborghini Countach is the latest LEGO Lambo to land on shelves, debuting as part of the 2022 wave. Cast in white, it’s the first official brick-built take on the Countach to date. Beyond this, it’s unclear what the future holds for LEGO Lamborghinis. However, 42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 is sticking around until 2023. A star of the Technic range, it’s a solid choice for any Lamborghini fan.
LEGO Speed Champions cars
Beyond these car manufacturers, the LEGO Group has taken a broad approach to its choice of Speed Champions sets. While some have proved more popular than others, there’s something here to tempt almost any car fan.
British manufacturer McLaren has seen several sets inspired by its cars. 75909 McLaren P1 was the earliest example in the Speed Champions range. Its smooth lines and striking yellow paint job made it a solid choice for LEGO fans. 75880 McLaren 720S, meanwhile, took a different approach to its broader set design. Instead of a racing driver (and associated infrastructure) it includes a McLaren designer minifigure. He even comes with a design desk and tiny car model.
By 2019, LEGO McLaren sets had started drawing inspiration from more expensive cars. 75892 McLaren Senna features a sophisticated dark grey and orange colour scheme, as well as a wind tunnel to aid imaginary car development. The real thing retails for £750,000 – over half a million more than the 720S.
The most recent LEGO McLaren is 76902 McLaren Elva. It’s an unusual entry in the Speed Champions range as it lacks any sort of windshield. In real life, this design choice is reportedly inspired by open-top racers from the 1960s.
The LEGO version can comfortably accommodate two minifigures, and features bright blue bodywork as well as brick-built headrests. It may also prove more attractive than the real-world counterpart, which apparently retails for £1.425m.
Audi has enjoyed a few LEGO appearances too, though none of these cars were meant for the highway. In 2016, 75872 Audi R18 e-tron quattro modelled a Le Mans prototype race car. In addition to a vibrant white, black and red colour scheme, it includes a realistic fuel pump for added play value.
76896 Audi Sport Quattro S1 took us back to 1985 with its recreation of the famous rally car. The bulky bumper immediately distinguishes it, as does its famous white and yellow livery. The LEGO edition actually coincides with the real car’s 35th anniversary, making it a fine choice for Audi fans.
Another staple of Speed Champions is cars by Ford. These sets have offered a very diverse selection of car designs over the years. 75875 F-150 Raptor & Ford Model A Hot Rod includes both a pick-up truck and a classic hot rod, both unique to the Speed Champions range. A later two-pack – released in 2021 – features slightly younger cars.
76905 Ford GT Heritage Edition and Bronco R includes two models. The Ford GT Heritage Edition pays tribute to 1960 prototypes, while the Bronco R is a prototype. It appeared at the gruelling Baja 1000, a Mexican off-road race, although cooling problems deprived it of the chequered flag. Both LEGO incarnations capture the real cars’ technical features, including the Bronco R’s distinctive blue space frame.
A few car makers have appeared just once in the Speed Champions theme. 75894 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally and 2018 MINI John Cooper Works Buggy is the only MINI Speed Champions set to date. It features a classic Mini design and an off-road competition car, first constructed in 2018.
Koenigsegg – a Swedish manufacturer – received its first LEGO set in 2021. This hypercar offers an advanced aerodynamic design, which helps it reach speeds of 300mph. While it might not be a household name, 76900 Koenigsegg Jesko is still a solid addition to any LEGO car collection.