Toyota GT One - TS020 - 1998 - 1999 "LM, Le Mans"
The Toyota GT One “TS020” 1998 – 1999 was developed to achieve victory at Le Mans after past participation came close. Toyota launched an ambitious and intensive project from its European base and recruiting Andre de Cortanze, a designer whose past work included the Peugeot 905 winning car at Le Mans 1992 and 1993.
In January 1997 de Cortanze completed the TS020 (GT One) chassis and exterior part like car’s front, rear and fuel tank integration. Global work was finished by September 1997.
The project was entirely accomplished by CAD systems (computer assist design).
By October 1997, the sleek shape and bodywork was refined using wind tunnel to better aerodynamics.
The engine, a twin-turbo V8 used by Toyota Group C racing cars in the late eighties, was revised Toyota European base, led by Norbert Kreyer, whose team reduced weight, height, improved fuel economy and boosted power.
First test started by December 1997 with Martin Brundle on track before all forthcoming pilots (nine) for Le Mans were given significant drive time at the wheel. To legitimate the Toyota GT One - TS020 for Le Mans according to FIA rules, a road type version was built.
The Toyota GT One - TS020 – made its first appearance in competition in the 1998 Le Mans race qualifying second. The TS020 driven by Thierry Boutsen, Emmanuel Collard and Eric Hélary held first place until last hour on transmission failure. The Japanese teammates Ukyo Katayama, Toshio Suzuki and Keichi Tsuchiya finished in ninth place.
The following year team Toyota returned to Le Mans with the Toyota GT One qualifying three cars at the three first places. However, during race, car number 1 and 2 were sidelined by accidents. The last one made a comeback to the second place, with a new lap record of 3m35.032s. It was the last apparition of TS020 in competition.