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  Article Image gallery (26) 85C-01 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Japan
Produced in:1985
Numbers built:2
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:October 10, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionToyota's first steps into sports car racing were tentative at best. The Japanese manufacturer started with supplying an engine, originally developed for rallying, to teams that ran in the Japanese sports car championship during the early 1980s. While different teams ran Toyota-powered cars, Dome was the chassis builder of choice. Considering Dome's previous outings in the 24 Hours, it was no an entry for Le Mans was eventually considered. The works debut came in 1985 when a pair of Dome-built Toyota 85Cs were fielded.

In addition to a major chunk of the funding, Toyota's main contribution to the project came in the form of the turbocharged, four-cylinder engine. Derived from the Celica road car unit, the 2.1-litre 'four' produced around 500 bhp courtesy of a Toyota CT26R turbocharger. Mated to a Hewland five-speed gearbox and housed in a separate subframe, the engine was bolted to a Dome-built aluminium monocoque. This was tightly wrapped in a full ground-effect body with massive tunnels running on either side of the drivetrain.

Although Toyota very much was the driving force behind the two entries, the cars were fielded by TOM's and Dome respectively. Each of the two Japanese teams worked independently and the two cars were not quite identical. The #36 TOM's entry, for example, used BP lubricants and Bridgestone tyres, while the #38 Dome 85C relied on Castrol oil and Dunlup rubber. The former boasted an all-Japanese line-up of Satoru Nakajima, Masanori Sekiya and Kaoru Hoshino. The #38 had the more international pairing of Eje Elgh, Geoff Lees and Toshio Suzuki.

Before travelling to Le Mans, the cars were first raced at Fuji where they finished sixth and seventh in the 1000 km race. At Le Mans, the Dome car was forced to retire with clutch issues but the TOM's Team machine finished a commendable 12th. After Le Mans, the two cars were returned to Japan and raced in the All Japanese Endurance Championship. The best results were a couple of second place finishes but no victory was scored by the Toyota-engined cars.

For the 1986 season, the design evolved into the 86C, which was again raced at Le Mans. Over the following seasons the evolution continued and Toyota has become the most loyal Le Mans entrant of all Japanese manufacturers. Toyota would come achingly close to victory several times but it would take until 2018 for a victory to be scored.

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  Article Image gallery (26) 85C-01 Specifications