1991 Toyota TS010: From 1991, the Group C category opened up the competition to high-tech sports cars with Formula 1-style 3.5-litre V10 engines. The Toyota TS010 was designed by Tony Southgate to take full advantage of the new rules, its engine producing around 600bhp in Le Mans trim and 700bhp for sprint events. The car made its debut at Autopolis in the final race of 1991, prior to entering a full season in 1992, where it won the opening race at Monza.
Even though the TS010 never claimed its much-sought victory at Le Mans, it was without doubt one of the fastest cars to take to the track, setting lap records in both 1992 and 1993. In 1992, the car of Pierre-Henri Raphael/Kenny Acheson/Masanori Sekiya finished second, giving Sekiya the honour of being the first Japanese driver to stand on the Le Mans podium.
1998 Toyota GT-One: The GT-One was built by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) at its headquarters in Cologne, Germany, and was the work of a team assembled specifically for the task by Andre de Cortanze, a designer whose past work included the Le Mans-winning Peugeot 905.
The car made its first competition appearance in the 1998 Le Mans race, qualifying in second. The team of Thierry Boutsen, Emmanuel Collard and Eric Helary held second place in the race until the final hour, when the Toyota was forced into retirement through transmission failure. Team-mates Ukyo Katayama, Toshio Suzuki and Keiichi Tsuchiya took the chequered flag in ninth position.
Toyota returned to Le Mans the following year and swept all competition aside in qualifying to claim first, second and third places on the grid in qualifying. However, in the race the number 1 and 2 cars of Brundle/Collard/Sospiri and Boutsen/Kellners/McNish were sidelined by separate accidents. The third car of Katayama/Suzuki/Tsuchiya made rapid progress in the second half of the race and posted a new lap record of 3m 35.032s on its way to a second place finish. Photos courtesy of Toyota.