1999 Toyota TS-020 (GT-One) Pilots: K. Tsuchiya, T. Suzuki, U. Katayama Team: Toyota Motorsports Race: 2nd in GC (1st in GTP class) at Le Mans in 1999 Altaya - PBV 05 (diecast)
At the 1996 24 Hours of Le Mans, the MC 8-R come in a disappointing 24th place. As a result, Toyota skipped the race in 1997 to better develop a new GT car. So in 1998 Toyota developed the TS-020 for the GT1 class. However, the following year ACO changed the rules of the game. With that, for the 1999 24 Heures du Mans Toyota adapted the car to run as a Le Mans prototype. The engine, based on Toyota’s earlier Group C power plant, was the R36V, a twin-turbocharged 3.6l V8 good enough for 600 hp on the rear axle.
The car was really fast, but had two important flaws. It had a higher fuel consumption than the competition, which demanded more fuel stops. And, even more worrisome, the wheel wells were designed in a way that a blown tire could easily damage the mechanical linkages inside. Unfortunately, the later came to fruition. In the 23rd hour of the race, while hounding the leading BMW V12 LMR, the #3 had a blown tire. Consequently, it had to limp back to the pits, ending all hopes of catching the bimmer. The car finished in second, but that tire might have costed Toyota’s first La Sarthe win.
Fortunately without the bad luck of Toyota, Altaya had much better success in recreating the car in scale. The model has two things going for it. First, the detailing is quite nice for a low cost model. And second, it has an awesome paint job – MUCH better than what you get on a pw, for instance. Therefor, this is one of those models with a great bang-for-the-buck. Again, not perfect but quite nice – if the “panel gaps” were a bit crispier it would look great.