1992 Toyota TS010 Pilots: K. Acheson, M. Sekiya, P. H. Raphanel Team: Toyota Team Tom's Race: 2nd overall (C1) at Le Mans in 1992 Spark (pw) - HACHLM16 (diecast)
For 1992, FIA issued new rules for the World Sportscar Championship. These new rules demanded engines with up to 3.5 l and NO turbocharging. That being so, Toyota’s current 90C-V became illegal – they needed something new. Work on the new car began in 1991, and they even skipped Le Mans. But by the end of the year the new TS010 was ready (3m33sec video). Designed by Tony Southgate (responsible for the XJR-9 and XJR-12), because of the new engine it had a new chassis. Though very similar to Toyota’s previous tub, the TS010 had a longer carbon fiber monocoque chassis. The engine, on the other hand, was totally new. It was a 72º V10 displacing 3500 cm³, with 40 valves, DOHC and fuel injection. It could deliver up to 700 hp, but for endurance output was actually around 600 hp. With a carbon fiber body, it weighed 750 kg.
The TS010 debuted in late 1991, at Autopolis in Japan. There it finished a promising sixth place, not bad for the car’s first race. The 1992 season started at Monza, and the TS010 finished in first place. However, due to the new rules, competition was really low. But the real quest was La Sarthe in June. The Toyota works team, Toyota Team Tom’s, fielded three TS010. And for good measure, there were also two older 90C-V (in the C2 class). However, despite the strong team, the TS010 only managed a second place with car #33 (chassis #003).
In theory this is from Spark, but is sold as a pw by Hachette. It’s part of a series of Le Mans cars sold in Japan, that comes in a blister pack with a booklet/magazine. It does come with an acrylic case, but the base is plastic, and not the traditional Spark base. Also, the base comes with a series of pre-drilled holes, so one base fits all models (like what Highspeed uses). Detail-wise the model is so-so. The underside of the model, in true pw fashion, is devoid of detailing. While windshield wipers are photo-etched and painted, the overall paint job is almost crude. Aerials are all delicate, but wheels are a bit “rough around the edges”.
Many years ago Spark released this TS010 in resin, but it was never reissued and it’s absurdly hard to find nowadays. What you can easily find is the Ixo version, that is also quite old and consequently with a not-great detail level. This “Spark” here is definitively not current Spark-good. But in fact, I would say it’s a tad better than the older Ixo. So, if you (like me) can get it for a VERY good price, it’s a great acquisition. But only if found for cheap, because the model is just okay.