Toyota Le Mans Racing - TS030 v Audi and Before - SHAKEDOWN


Uploaded by drive on 24.08.2012

Transcript:

We're back from Road America.
We're back in the studio.
Now it gets tough to keep your attention.
But at Road America it was great to meet all
of you that I did.
And thank you for being such fans of Shakedown and of
course of DRIVE.
And I'm sorry to those of you that I may have missed.
But, hey, you didn't miss anything.
Focus on the racing and the racers, not some short, old
guy on the internet.
So the topic for today's show was supposed to be a look at
the GT cars and the new rules that are coming in GT.
But instead, we're going to look at Toyota and its history
of Le Mans racing cars.
Why?
Well, because the World Endurance Championship is back
in action this weekend at Silverstone for a six-hour
endurance race.
And that means the Toyota TSO30 is
going up against Audi.
Now Audi's bringing two R18s, an e-tron and an Ultra.
McNish is going to be in the normal car but
versus only one Toyota.
But they've updated it with new aerodynamics.
And that got me all fired up about how Toyota has attacked
Le Mans year after year but never really finishes the job.
Yeah, the cars were cool.
But to me, the results were never all the way home.
It's kind of like only a kiss at the door and nothing more.
Plus, there was other racing news that got me into this
whole turning Japanese mood.
Come back and you'll see what I mean.

So I was going to come back from Road America and going to
do the GT rules story.
And I was supposed to do a Viper interview at Road
America as well.
It didn't happen.
But I'll explain all that in a minute.
And sticking with GT, I'd probably have to have a
different conversation than I had with Doug Fehan, the
Corvette team manager, than the one I did at Road America
over a bratwurst.
This time I'd have to talk about how Corvette drivers are
mugging the other drivers on track.
Don't ask Bobby Rahal what happened to his
BMW in the last lap.
And of course, Fehan would probably retort, hey, they
treat us the same way.
And he'd reference the Ferrari beating up on his Corvette in
the last corner of the last lap.
But I really wanted to talk about the GT rules story.
And I wanted to go deep into the insight of all that.
But you know what?
It got real simple.
The ACO and FIA have decided they don't want GT3 spec in Le
Mans racing.
GT3 to them should stay regional.
And it will.
GTE rules, the ones they're currently running, will
continue as is into 2013 and '14.
Although one manufacturer says doing it that way still
creates such a high barrier of entry and expense for new
manufacturers to come in.
Yeah.
But then he explained, they're going to do a GTE car anyway.
So I guess all bets are off.
I respect the confidentiality.
And I'm not going to tell you who told me all that.
I'll let you guys guess in the comments.
Now ALMS is going to create a new class, GTE-Am, just like
they have in Europe and Le Mans with the Ferraris and all
the GTE-Am cars running against Pro cars as well.
There will be no spec difference between Pro and Am.
And it's all about selling cars and to get gentleman
drivers to step up and spend their money.
And the paddock talk in the ALMS has been active.
In fact, Corvette, a factory team, had a car tested.
The two guys that won for JDX Racing in a Porsche in
Mosport, in GTC, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Tim Pappas,
did the testing.
And they're actually looking at a lot of GTE manufacturers.
And if you know the LMS GT paddock, you can guess and
know which gentleman drivers lobbied for this GTE-Am rule
and this class.
You'll see them from Lizards, Ferraris, and even the Lotus
with Bill Sweedler.
And Pappas--
he of GTE-C championship--
he went up and ran P2, but went off the deep end
financially, quite frankly.
So GTE-Am to him makes perfect sense.
It's all going to happen in 2013.
And that's going to be a new class for ALMS.
And that's the big America Le Mans series
problem, too many podiums.
They're going to have five classes--
P1, P2, LMPC, GTE-Pro, GTE-Am, and GTE-C. What is this, kids'
soccer where everyone gets a medal?
Staying with the GT stories, we were also supposed to, as I
mentioned, have that talk and interview with SRT Viper at
Road America to get the behind-scenes facts on what's
going on with that program.
Bill Riley, the company that builds the Viper for SRT, SRT,
the company's program manager, Tommy Kendall, one of the
drivers, were all going to sit down and chat with me.
And with Tommy, sit down is the key word.
He's so damn tall.
But they all want to do it.
They promised to do it.
And they want me to help showcase that it really isn't
an f'ed up slow program, but 2012 is the beginning of the
2013 campaign.
Because they're really doing the testing, shakedown, and
the R&D for the new car for the 2013 year.
But Bill Riley was in a mood.
And that's not fair.
Because the car is still very time intensive for the crew,
as they learn it, as they shake it down, and as they
burn time learning which setups work best in the car.
So Bill was focused.
And in the end, each of our schedules got scrambled up.
But we all promised, as I said, to do it in Baltimore.
So when we go down there, that's
going to be first mission.
I was trying to think of the topic for today's show.
And because of WEC, because of everything, Toyota and Le Mans
racing came to be the story.
You know the TSO30, and they're coming back.
But there was other Japan news that caught my attention.
And in 2013, the Asia Le Mans series--
which is a feeder series to WEC just like the American Le
Mans series is--
well, they're going to allow their GT300 spec, which comes
from Super GT into the Le Mans series in Asia.
Cars like the GT300 cars that were built for it, like the
BRZ, the Subaru, but also the GT3 cars that have been
migrating over to Super GT, like the Audi
R8 and the BMW Z4.
So that's going to be all cool, all Japanese.
So that gets me to Toyota.
So where does this Toyota-Le Mans story start?
Well, how about this thing?
It was built around the Toyota 7 cars that were built in the
late '60s, beginning of the '70s.
This never ran at Le Mans.
But it was an exercise to look at how to make a Le Mans
racing car from Toyota.
And you could see all that transparent stuff
is for the R&D work.
They built a wind-tunnel model.
You can see the arrow, the long tail.
And they even tried a single fin in the back for stability.
It never ran.
But Toyota was looking at Le Mans all the way back to the
late '60s, '70s.
Now in 1980, car builder from Japan, Dome, was building
Celica, Toyota race cars.
And they built this turbo Celica.
It went to Le Mans.
It tried to qualify.
It did not.
But Dome went to Le Mans and kept going to Le Mans.
And this is their 1980 Dome car.
It had a Cosworth motor.
And you see the RL 80 was clearly working on
aerodynamics.
Dome came back in Japan with Toyota and built this Celica
C. It was mid-engine.
It was trying to develop a race car, a global race car.
But it only ran in Japan.
Now all during this time, Mazda was screwing
around with Le Mans.
This is the 727C.
Kind of ugly, but they're getting Le Mans experience.
And we all know how that turned out.
And Dome actually was doing the same thing--
1983, the Dome Le Mans cars.
We showed you this one.
1983, they cleaned up the arrow, made it a little more
normal looking, all to get a little experience, and get a
little quicker.
Mazda, as I mentioned, was there.
So Toyota finally took down the challenge and came to Le
Mans for the first time in 1985.
This was the 85C-L. It's turbo, four cylinder.
It finished P12.
Dome built the chassis.
TRD built and managed the car.
Two teams, SARD and TOM'S, raced the car.
It finished P12, while Porsche was dominating Le Mans in
those years.
1986, here's the 86C-L, and the first of the beginning of
DNFs for Toyota.
But again, they brought a couple of cars.
You can see they're starting to clean up the aerodynamics.
Porsche won again.
'87, the 87 version, back to the long-tailed configuration,
trying to make a winner.
Guess what?
More Toyota DNF.
1988, Toyota came back with the 88C-L. They finished P12
and P24, didn't DNF.
Jaguar won the race.
But the 88C is important because in America Dan
Gurney's All American Racers was racing for
Toyota in IMSA GTP.
And they used the 88C as a test bed to collect data and
learn how to win.
And that got Gurney to this dominant beast, his own
purpose-built Eagle chassis, with a Toyota four-cylinder,
making 1,000 horsepower plus.
And they won the championship and kicked all the other
manufactures out.
But back to Le Mans and Toyota.
In 1989, Toyota finally showed up with a V8 turbo, the R32V,
3.2 liter V8, in the 89C-V chassis.
Plus, they ran an 88C with the four-cylinder
turbo as back up.
And they went back to DNFing as Mercedes won.
In 1990, came back with a 90C-V, continue with the DNFs.
Jaguar went back to winning.
In 1991, the rules changed to encourage 3.5
liter F1-type motors.
So Toyota didn't race.
Mazda won the race.
We all remember that.
1992, Toyota came back with the TSO10 with a
small V10, V8 engine--
check me on those facts--
F1 derived.
And they started to show some success.
They finished P2, P8,and P9 with the others, one DNF.
Peugeot won the race.
In 1993, there were two sets of rules, because the F1 thing
wasn't working out.
So Toyota showed up with two TSO10s, and two 93C-Vs with a
3.6 liter, V8 twin turbo.
The cars finished P4, P5, P6, and P8.
O10 finished P4, the two 93s, and then the O10 was the
eighth place.
All the while, Peugeot won the race again.
Then in 1994, the rules of the 3.5 liter F1 motors went away.
The rules were good for the 94C-V. And here's where Jeff
Krosnoff, Eddie Irvine, I think, and his team finished
P2, one lap down from the Porsche, the not-factory
Porsche, the Dower Porsche.
And that was the beginning of Toyota's success and got them
all encouraged.
But somehow the rules changed in prototypes.
So in 1995, Toyota came back, but with production-based
cars-- the Supra that ran in GT and MR2-derived, MC8-R with
a four-liter, V8, twin turbo, mid-mounted.
All the while, McLaren, in the F1, won the race.
1996, the same Supra.
But you start to see the updates in aerodynamics and
some technical stuff.
And the MR2 got updated as well.
One of them finished P24.
Porsche won the race.
In 1997, there were no Toyotas.
Porsche won the race, which gets us to 1998 when Toyota
really got serious with everyone's favorite car, the
Toyota One, or TSO20.
It finished P9.
It DNFed.
It DNFed with the three cars.
Porsche won the race.
But they came back in 1999 more serious than ever.
The competition was tough.
Audi entered the race.
Toyota finished P2.
Audi finished P3 and P4.
BMW won the race.
But that was the beginning of Audi domination,
and Toyota was done.
2000 was all Audi.
The decade was Audi.
And that gets us to now, where Toyota decided to come back to
Le Mans racing 2012, with these TSO30.
And they're going to go head to head at Silverstone.
They had a pretty good Le Mans.
They led for the first time.
They led hours into the race.
McNish is saying they're going to be more formidable with
their aerodynamic update at Silverstone.
McNish should know.
He was one of the racers in the Toyota One.
But it's time for Toyota to get it done.
All this history, all this money, all these cars, no
results in Le Mans racing.
Maybe this car is the one that will get it
done for them finally.

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