The Toyota GT-One (or TS020) was one of the most radical prototypes of the 1990s. Toyota could have been the only other Japanese manufacturer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright. Their Le Mans weapon was the Toyota GT-One. Late-race troubles in 1999 led to BMW taking the outright win. While the GT-One didn't win Le Mans, it was still one of the coolest and most popular Le Mans race cars ever. It's certainly one of my favorite race cars of all time.
LATEST UPDATE(S)/REVISION(S):FEB 25 2012 - post updated and renovated
--- Motorsports Style: The Toyota GT-One ---This car was built by Toyota Team Europe. It roars beautifully and can go pretty fast. I like the 1999 livery more than I do the 1998 livery. Both models could be found in Gran Turismo 2, including the road car. Here are as many pictures as I can use to describe this car:
^ from: mitsuru-1029.cocolog-nifty.com The 1999 Toyota GT-One.
^ from speedhunters.com 1998 Toyota GT-One.
^ from www.ae92gts.com - Toyota GT-One Road Car. You know you want one. :)
The car has lovely character up front. A set of four small headlights on either side join together to provide the lighting for this car. Small vents under the headlights help feed some extra air into the car. Along the front, you note this F1-like design up front followed by two extra vents near the canopy of the car. With this being a right-hand drive car, the side mirror on the driver's right (from inside the car) is closer to the driver while the left side mirror is above the left-front tire. The areas around the front tires are opened up a bit from up front. Up top on the canopy is the big roof scoop feeding air into the Turbo V6 engine. Huge openings on the sides gives for better ability to cut through the wind. Up top is a wide and narrow hood scoop to feed air into that twin-turbo V6 engine. This car from the sides is gorgeous. Lots of swoopy lines and beautiful curves accentuate the car's design as it cuts through the air during a race. Big side ducts only added to the aggressive stance of this. The rear wing assembly is nothing overaggressive or flamboyant. It does, however, get the job done keeping the back end of this car weighed down. From the back, its elegance and charm is undeniable and graceful.
According to totalmotorsport.com, did you know that this car was created entirely on CAD drawings? The site says it was not made with any drawing boards. That alone (for its time) was pretty impressive for a car like this. I'm still sure Toyota would love to re-do Le Mans 1999 and win it. I'm sure they'll want to be the second-only Japanese make to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans since Mazda's triumph in 1991 with the Mazda 787B (that I blogged about). This is a car that can honestly and truly perform. It didn't win Le Mans (it almost did in 1999), but it's still one of my all-time favorite race cars. And yes, I enjoy driving the heck out of this car in Gran Turismo games.
Since Toyota's failures in F1, it makes me wonder if Toyota wants to try sportscar racing again. Maybe they can develop a car that can compete with the best prototypes from Europe (though the Toyota GT-One) was developed by Toyota Team Europe). I think it would just be different to see more non-European prototypes compete in high-level sportscar racing again. Formula 1 didn't work. Care to return to sportscar racing, Toyota?
(ADDED: May 29, 2011)
This video gives you an idea of how this car performs in its natural habitat. Sadly, it also features its untimely demise at Le Mans 1999:
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