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  Toyota Eagle GTP Mk III      

  Article Image gallery (68) Chassis (6) Specifications User Comments (1)  
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Country of origin:United States
Produced from:1991 - 1993
Numbers built:6
Designed by:John Ward and Hiro Fujimori for All American Racers
Predecessor:Toyota Eagle GTP Mk II
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:October 15, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionBetween June of 1992 and October of 1993, the Toyota Eagle GTP MkIII won every IMSA race it was entered in. Among these 17 consecutive victories were the 1993 Daytona 24 Hours and a repeat win at the Sebring 12 Hours. This unprecedented dominance was the culmination of a decade-long partnership between Dan Gurney's All American Racers (AAR) and Japanese manufacturer Toyota that had started with a GTU-specification Celica in 1983. Along the way AAR also fielded a GTO championship winning Celica before stepping up to GTP at the start of the 1989 season.

AAR first built a GTP car in 1987, mainly for testing purposes but its career was drastically cut short by a heavy accident in testing that left driver Dennis Aase injured. Now with full backing and funding of Toyota, a whole new car was readied for the 1989 season. Known as the HF89 in reference to designers Ron Hopkins and Hiro Fujimori, it was raced with considerable success for the better part of three seasons. While it scored several victories, the HF89 and subsequent HF90 struggled both with cooling issues and a lack of front downforce.

With the flaws of the HF89/90 in mind, AAR set about creating a third GTP design virtually from scratch. Known internally as the WFO-91, which was short for engineer John Ward, who had already worked at AAR before, aerodynamicist Fujimori and others, who together created the car that would become known as the Toyota Eagle GTP MkIII. Ward had returned to AAR specifically to design the new GTP racer and the design work had started as early as 1989 when the HF89 or MkII was not even a year old.

Ward discarded the existing all-aluminium chassis in favour of what would be the team's first carbon-fibre monocoque. Although today a leader in carbon-fibre manufacturing, AAR did not have an Autoclave available yet at the time. Instead, the carbon-fibre components were vacuum-sealed and then cured in an oven that used little torpedo heaters. Bolted directly to the carbon-fibre tub was the double-wishbone front suspension, which used push-rods to actuate the in-board mounted dampers. Aft of the rear bulkhead a steel tubular subframe was used to house the engine, gearbox and double-wishbone/push-rod suspension.

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  Article Image gallery (68) Chassis (6) Specifications User Comments (1)