Toyota decks out 86 trio in classic Le Mans liveriesby Ben Hsu
Maybe they will bring them better luck this year.
Ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, Toyota UK has prepared a trio of GT86 sports cars in classic Toyota racing liveries.
Over the decades, Toyota has come unbelievably close to victory at the famed endurance race. In fact, it has even won the World Endurance Championships, but not Le Mans, which is but one race on the WEC calendar, albeit its most famous. This year, Toyota will try again with its 986-horsepower TS050 gasoline-electric hybrid race car. Perhaps having a bunch of sports coupes in past warpaint will improve Toyota's luck.
The first, a blue-on-white Casio-sponsored livery, is based on the TS010, which was driven by Masanori Sekiya, Pierre-Henri Raphanel, and Kenny Acheson. The car achieved a second-place finish and actually set the fastest lap and fastest trap speed of 336 kph (209 mph) during the race, but mechanical difficulties prevented them from claiming the top spot.
The second wears a white-on-red livery based on the TS020, also known as the GT-One, at the time one of the fastest and widely considered one of the most beautiful Le Mans cars ever built. In 1999 the TS020 was on track to close the gap on the leading (and slower) BMW, but it was forced off the track and had to pit for repairs. The result was a disappointing second place. Oddly, Toyota UK has chosen to use the 1998 livery on the DNF car of Martin Brundle, Emmanuel Collard and Éric Hélary, rather than the 1999 second-place finisher of Ukyo Katayama, Toshio Suzuki and Keiichi Tsuchiya.
Last but not least is the black, red, and white livery of the Toyota TS050 hybrid driven by Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, and Kazuki Nakajima. In 2016, Toyota's win seemed all but certain, with one of the TS050s leading in the final lap. Then, with five minutes left to go, the car suffered a breakdown, handing Porsche the win.
All three cars were fitted with aftermarket performance bits, like 1.5-inch lowering springs, a Toyota accessory rear wing, performance exhaust, and wheels that approximated those of their respective race cars. The 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans will be held June 16-17.