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Last Updated: Friday, 9 November 2007, 12:09 GMT
Formula One drives Hornby sales
Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton's debut in Formula One racing has caused quite a stir
The surge of interest in Formula One Grand Prix motor racing thanks to the sport's hot new star Lewis Hamilton has helped toymaker Hornby boost earnings.

Sales increased by 37% to 24.6m in the six months to 30 September, from 17.9m a year earlier, Hornby said. Pre-tax profits rose to 2.6m from 1.8m.

The Kent-based firm said that sales of its Scalextric model racing cars got a boost from Mr Hamilton's successes.

Mr Hamilton finished runner up in his first season of Formula 1 racing.

Strong interest

Typically a niche sport for fast car enthusiasts, Formula One was redefined this season with the emergence of racing rookie Mr Hamilton.

A combination of talent, good looks and cool charm, meant that it was not long before he began to dominate the headlines.

Hornby said that models of the McLaren Mercedes Formula One team, which employs Mr Hamilton, were doing very well after interest in the sport surged. Best known for its model railways, Hornby said that "the ranges linked to our licence with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team are set to become best-sellers".

Also helping boost profits was a deal to produce a range of products based on the Hollywood blockbuster film Transformers.

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