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  Toyota 87C

  Article Image gallery (20) 003 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Japan
Produced in:1987
Numbers built:3
Designed by:Dome
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 07, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDuring the 1980s, Japanese specialist manufacturer Dome fielded a series of Toyota-engined Group C cars. With the odd venture to Le Mans, the cars were mainly campaigned in domestic events, with considerable success. Ahead of the 1987 season, Toyota stepped up their involvement and from that year the cars were officially referred to as Toyotas even though they were still built by Dome.

Very much an evolution of the existing Dome design, the new 87C was built around a sheet-aluminium monocoque with a honeycomb core. Carbon-fibre composite reinforcements were also added in key areas. Suspension at the front was through double wishbones, while at the rear top rockers were fitted with in-board springs to create more room for the ground-effect tunnels. Also a development of the existing design was the smooth carbon-fibre bodywork with a large frontal air-intake.

In addition to providing a majority of the funding, Toyota also supplied the four-cylinder engine mounted amidships. Based on a cast-iron production block, the 3S-GTM featured a bespoke aluminium cylinder head with twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. An in-house developed turbocharger helped lift the power of the 2.1-litre engine to a claimed 680 bhp in qualifying trim. Mounted in a separate sub-frame, the engine was mated to a March-sourced five-speed gearbox.

Toyota underlined its increased commitment by signing Formula 1 World Champion Alan Jones to drive one of the two 87Cs. The car debuted at Suzuka where Jones and Geoff Lees placed third. At the subsequent Fuji 1000 km Jones and Lees scored a victory, with Masanori Sekiya as the third driver. Le Mans was the sole international event on Toyota's roster and it turned out to be a disaster with both cars retiring very early in the race. Later in the season, the 87C scored another victory, at Suzuka with Lees, Sekiya and Hitoschi Ogawa behind the wheel.

While an all-new V8-engined and full carbon-fibre machine was developed, Toyota continued with a further evolution of the existing design into the 1988 season. One was also raced in the United States by Dan Gurney's All American Racers. International success, however, remained elusive for the Dome-built, Toyota-engined Group C racer.

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  Article Image gallery (20) 003 Specifications