1989-1990 A Group C car is developed and gets best result yet of 6th place
A Group C car is developed and gets best result yet of 6th place

The History of TOYOTA at Le Mans Looking back over a long history of unending challenges 1989-1990
A Group C car is developed and gets best result yet of 6th place

Having achieved considerable success with cars mounting small-displacement mass-produced engines, in 1988 Toyota developed its 88c model, which finally put victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans within reach. The car was produced by TRD, while Tom's specialized in the race operations. In its carbon monocoque chassis, the 88C-V mounted a V8 3.2-liter twin-turbo full-race-specific engine, and it would undergo further refinements while competing in the JSPC series, as the team gained race experience.

The next year, 1989, there was a new rule requiring participants to enter all of the races of the World Sports Prototype Championship (WSPC) that the 24 Hours of Le Mans was part of, so Toyota had to enter the entire WSPC series in order to race at Le Mans. For this reason, two cars of a further development of the 88C-V, named the 89C, entered the WSPC series from the Toyota Team Tom's (TTT). The car managed to win pole position in the opening round of the series at Suzuka, but it wasn't able to win the race. Two of the 89C were also entered at Le Mans along with a third car that was an already mature 88C. However, both of the 89C cars had to retire from the race due to an accident and machine trouble. The 88C also had to quit the race because of an accident early on.

But 1990 was a different story, development for the series that had begun with the 88C continued from a base model 89C resulting in the Toyota 90C-V that would compete this year in the JSPC series and finally show its speed and durability. The Porsche cars entered by privateers were no longer a match for the Toyota car. And carrying that momentum Toyota entered three 90C-V cars in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Although they weren't able to compete for the win, one became the first Toyota car to claim a single-digit 6th-place finish.

  • 1989 TOYOTA 89C(P.Barilla/R.Cheever/H.Ogawa)
  • 1989 TOYOTA 89C(J.Dumfries/G.Lees/J.Watson)
  • 1989 TOYOTA 88C(K.Hoshino/K.Suzuki/D.Artzet)
  • 1990 TOYOTA 90C-V(G.Lees/H.Ogawa/M.Sekiya)
  • 1990 TOYOTA 90C-V(A.Suzuki/J.Dumfries/R.Ravaglia)
  • 1990 TOYOTA 90C-V(P.-H.Raphanel/R.Ratzenberger/N.Nagasaka)