• 1988 Toyota 88C

    One of two ex-works Le Mans Toyota 88Cs

    Iconic taka-Q NewMan livery

    Ex-Stefan Johansson, Paolo Barilla, Tiff Needell, Juan Manuel Fangio II

    One of very few cars to have raced in all three Group C championships

    Run by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers team in IMSA

    Currently undergoing a total rebuild by a renowned specialist

    Enormous package of spares

    Perfect for Le Mans Classic and Historic Group C racing

    Full Competition History

  • Toyota’s works taka-Q liveried entry for the truly classic 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours. Also successful in Japan & IMSA, chassis 87C-007 is a unique opportunity and has a huge spares package too.

    With so many works teams and manufacturers represented, the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours is considered to be the pinnacle race from that golden era of sports car racing. Porsches had won six consecutive Le Mans – that’s every single one since the ‘new’ Group C category was introduced in 1982 for those of you counting – and, going into 1988, they were still very much the marque to beat.

    Jaguar was still playing catch up and, even though its TWR-run cars had enjoyed significant success, victory at Le Mans had still eluded them. For ’88 they fielded a fleet of 5 fire-breathing V12 XJR9s. But it wasn’t just the giants of Germany and Great Britain, the Japanese were keen to get in on the action and both Nissan and Toyota each sent a two car team – not to mention the three-car Mazda team in the GTP class.

    The 88C capitalised on the tough lessons learned with its predecessor and, while both share the 87C chassis designation, the 1988 car was a significant improvement. Following a strict diet and focussing on nimble chassis design, Toyota utilised a relatively diminutive 2. 1-litre four-cylinder turbo engine. The outcome was that the overall weight was a mere 760kg (the Jags were nearer 900kg) and the 650bhp available exceeded that of Porsche’s 956 flat six.

    This example, chassis 87C-007, debuted at the 500km of Fuji in March ’88 and began a streak of three top-ten finishes in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship before making the long journey to France for Round Five of the World Sportscar Championship: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Paolo Barilla, Hitoshi Ogawa and Tiff Needell excelled in qualifying and placed the No. 37 Toyota on the 5th row of the grid, notably out-qualifying two of the factory Silk Cut Jags.

    An outstanding result, when you consider that only cars to best the Toyotas were works Porsches and Jaguars, and a Porsche 962 each run by the prolific Joest and Kremer outfits. During the race two trips to the gravel trap cost the No. 37 car insurmountable time and, although undamaged, 87C-007 would finish in 24th place. The potential had been proven though, with the Minolta Toyota coming home 12th.

    The 88C answered its ultimate calling in 1989 and found incredible form in the American IMSA series. Run by motorsport hero Dan Gurney’s All American Racers Team (AAR) 87C-007 was frequently helmed by Juan Manuel Fangio II and impressively scored two pole positions, three podiums and four top-five finishes. Arguably more impressive is the fact that 87C-007’s career had now spanned all three of Group C’s championships - All Japan Sports Prototypes, World Sportscars and IMSA – and had included the category’s big three races of Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. Quite an achievement indeed and one that very few chassis can surely boast.

    Recently returned to its 1988 appearance, 87C-007 would be an ideal entry for the enormously popular Le Mans classic including Historic Group C racing. Short of securing a drive in the current and Le Mans winning Toyota team for the 24 hour race, you are unlikely to be able to experience Le Mans at such speed than in the Classic Group C race.

    For those seeking a genuine and important ex-works mount for Group C Racing, the barrier to entry has usually been exceptionally high there can also be the added complication of when damaged cars have tubs changed and identities become confused. But this Toyota is not only a refreshingly genuine and rare ex-works car with fantastic provenance, but is a significantly more realistic proposition and is accompanied by an abundance of spares – even down to moulds for the bodywork.

    The car is currently in the final stages of a total rebuild to the upmost standard with a renowned expert. There are two engines in build which are being completed to the highest possible specification and the same approach is being taken to the gearbox. Once completed this car will be fully race ready and itching to prove itself wether this be on track days, demos or historic racing events. Both the potential and ingredients are very much there for this Toyota to be the ultimate historic Group C racer.

    Complete Spares List (PDF)

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