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1988 Toyota - One of just two ex-works Le Mans Toyota 88C's For Sale

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  • £895,000 As stated
  • 1988
Message the seller
Price £895,000 As stated
Ad Type For Sale
Category FIA Race Cars
Make Toyota
Model 88C
Year 1988
Country UK
Region Sussex
Telephone 01825 831028
Status Trade
Date 18-Oct-2020
Ref C1194248
1988 Toyota 88C

Toyota’s works taka-Q liveried entry for the truly classic 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours. Also successful in Japan & IMSA, chassis 87C-007 is a unique opportunity and has a huge spares package too.

One of two ex-works Le Mans Toyota 88Cs
Iconic taka-Q NewMan livery
Ex-Stefan Johansson, Paolo Barilla, Tiff Needell, Juan Manuel Fangio II
One of very few cars to have raced in all three Group C championships
Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring history
Run by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers team in IMSA
Enormous package of spares
Perfect for Le Mans Classic and Historic Group C racing

An Ex-Works Toyota from Group C’s apex year and an ideal entry for historic racing.

With so many works teams and manufacturers represented, the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours is considered to be the pinnacle race from that golden era of sports car racing. Porsches had won six consecutive Le Mans – that’s every single one since the ‘new’ Group C category was introduced in 1982 for those of you counting – and, going into 1988, they were still very much the marque to beat.

Jaguar was still playing catch up and, even though its TWR-run cars had enjoyed significant success, victory at Le Mans had still eluded them. For ’88 they fielded a fleet of 5 fire-breathing V12 XJR9s. But it wasn’t just the giants of Germany and Great Britain, the Japanese were keen to get in on the action and both Nissan and Toyota each sent a two car team – not to mention the three-car Mazda team in the GTP class.

Bringing all this action into living colour were the dazzling array of now-infamous liveries, with household brands indelibly linked to the manufacturers they sponsored. Few people remember the designations of ‘XJR9’ or ‘962’, but the Silk Cut Jag’ and Shell Dunlop Porsche? Iconographic.

Just as striking were Toyota’s two 88Cs. One was sponsored by Minolta and the other was this, their standout Taka-Q car. These waspish yellow, black and white colours had been made famous by sponsor NewMan on the double Le Mans winning Joest Porsches, and its fair to say that they suited the curvier Toyota very well indeed – perhaps even better than the squarer Porsche 956.

The 88C capitalised on the tough lessons learned with its predecessor and, while both share the 87C chassis designation, the 1988 car was a significant improvement. Following a strict diet and focussing on nimble chassis design, Toyota utilised a relatively diminutive 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo engine. The outcome was that the overall weight was a mere 760kg (the portly Jags were nearer 900kg) and the 650bhp available exceeded that of Porsche’s 956 flat six.

This example, chassis 87C-007, debuted at the 500km of Fuji in March ’88 and began a streak of three top-ten finishes in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship before making the long journey to France for Round Five of the World Sportscar Championship: the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Paolo Barilla, Hitoshi Ogawa and Tiff Needell excelled in qualifying and placed the No.37 Toyota on the 5th row of the grid. An outstanding result, when you consider that only cars to best the Toyotas were works Porsches and Jaguars, and a Porsche 962 each run by the prolific Joest and Kremer outfits. During the race two trips to the gravel trap cost the No.37 car insurmountable time and, although undamaged, 87C-007 would finish in 24th place. The potential had been proven though, with the Minolta Toyota coming home 12th.

The 88C answered its ultimate calling in 1989 and found incredible form in the American IMSA series. Run by motorsport hero Dan Gurney’s All American Racers Team (AAR) 87C-007 was frequently helmed by Juan Manuel Fangio II and impressively scored two pole positions, three podiums and four top-five finishes. Arguably more impressive is the fact that 87C-007’s career had now spanned all three of Group C’s championships - All Japan Sports Prototypes, World Sportscars and IMSA – and had included the category’s big three races of Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. Quite an achievement indeed and one that very few chassis can surely boast.

Recently returned to its 1988 appearance, 87C-007 would be an ideal entry for the enormously popular historic Group C racing series and indeed Le Mans Classic. Short of securing a drive in the current and Le Mans winning Toyota team for the 24 hour race, you are unlikely to be able to experience Le Mans at such speed than in the Classic Group C race.

For those seeking a genuine and important ex-works mount for Group C Racing, the barrier to entry has usually been exceptionally high there can also be the added complication of when damaged cars have tubs changed and identities become confused. But this Toyota is not only a refreshingly genuine and rare ex-works car with fantastic provenance, but is a significantly more realistic proposition and is accompanied by an abundance of spares – even down to moulds for the bodywork.

Both the potential and ingredients are very much there for this Toyota to be the ultimate historic Group C racer.


1988 Toyota 88C 87C-007 Race History

RACE DATE: 3rd March 1988
RACE: 500km of Fuji
DRIVERS: Paolo Barilla/ Tiff Needell
RESULT: 7th

RACE DATE: 10th April 1988
RACE: 500km of Suzuka
DRIVERS: Paolo Barilla/ Stefan Johansson
CAR NO: 37
RESULT: 5th

RACE DATE: 1st May 1988
RACE: 1000km of Fuji
DRIVERS: Paolo Barilla/ Tiff Needell/ Hitoshi Ogawa
CAR NO: 37
RESULT: 10th

RACE DATE: 12th June 1988
RACE: 24 Hours of Le Mans
DRIVERS: Paolo Barilla/ Tiff Needell/ Hitoshi Ogawa
CAR NO: 37
RESULT: 24th

RACE DATE: 24th July 1988
RACE: 500 miles of Fuji
DRIVERS: Paolo Barilla/ Tiff Needell/ Hitoshi Ogawa
CAR NO: 37
RESULT: Retired

1989 Season

87C-007 run by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers team in the IMSA series.

RACE DATE: 7th January 1989
RACE: Daytona Test
DRIVERS: Juan Manuel Fangio II/ Willy T. Ribbs
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: N/A

RACE DATE: 5th February 1989
RACE: 24 Hours of Daytona
DRIVERS: Drake Olson/ Chris Cord/ Steve Bren
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 50th

RACE DATE: 5th March 1989
RACE: 3 Hours of Miami
DRIVERS: Drake Olson/ Chris Cord
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 4th

RACE DATE: 18th March 1989
RACE: 2 Hours of Sebring
DRIVERS: Drake Olson/ Chris Cord/ Steve Bren
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 39th

RACE DATE: 2nd April 1989
RACE: 500km of Road Atlanta
DRIVERS: Drake Olson/ Chris Cord
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 14th

RACE DATE: 23rd April 1989
RACE: West Palm Beach
DRIVERS: Drake Olson/ Chris Cord
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 3rd

RACE DATE: 29th May 1989
RACE: 150-Laps of Lime Rock
DRIVER: Drake Olson
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 13th

RACE DATE: 4th June 1989
RACE: 500km Mid Ohio
DRIVERS: Drake Olson/ Chris Cord
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 14th

RACE DATE: 2nd July 1989
RACE: 500km of Watkins Glen
DRIVERS: Juan Manuel Fangio II/ Drake Olson
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 3rd

RACE DATE: 16th July 1989
RACE: 500km of Road America
DRIVERS: Juan Manuel Fangio II/ Drake Olson
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 5th

RACE DATE: 30th July 1989
RACE: 300km of Portland
DRIVERS: Juan Manuel Fangio II/ Drake Olson
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 11th

RACE DATE: 13th August 1989
RACE: 300km of Topeka
DRIVER: Drake Olson
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 4th

RACE DATE: 3rd September 1989
RACE: 2 Hours of San Antonio
DRIVERS: Juan Manuel Fangio II/ Drake Olson
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 2nd

RACE DATE: 10th September 1989
RACE: 300km of Sears Point
DRIVERS: Juan Manuel Fangio II/ Drake Olson
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 5th

RACE DATE: 1st October 1989
RACE: 360km of Tampa
DRIVERS: Juan Manuel Fangio II/ Drake Olson
CAR NO: #1
RESULT: 23rd
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