New onboard 4K video of the famous Toyota GT-One Le Mans race car has emerged, with the car driven in anger for more than 20 years after it last raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The new video, posted to our forums by Techlet, was captured by film-maker Robbert Alblas at the recent Le Mans Classic, shows the 1999 version of the GT-One — codenamed TS020 — taking part in an Endurance Racing Legends event at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Prepared by French racing team JMB Classic, the GT-One was part of a 54-car field of machinery from 1997-2010, including a race-winning Bentley Speed 8. Francois Perrodo was at the wheel of the Toyota.
As you can see from the video, which consists of some on-board action and some external shots, the drivers aren’t exactly hanging about, despite the precious nature of the cars and the very slick conditions.
If you were to ask 100 different Gran Turismo fans for their ten favorite cars across the 25 years of the series, you’d likely get 100 different sets of answers, but it’s pretty likely most would name Toyota’s GT-One among them.
The race car made its debut in Gran Turismo 2 in 1999, in both the original 1998 form and the updated 1999 car, along with the homologation-special road car that Toyota built to allow it to race in the GT1 class.
Built by Toyota Team Europe, the GT-One was an entirely bespoke creation save for the engine which was a development of the 3.6-liter V8 that Toyota had used on its Group C cars in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
For the 1998 race, the original GT-One qualified in second — behind the Mercedes CLK-LM but well ahead of the Porsche 911 GT1 — and two of the three Toyotas would lead at one point or another. In fact Martin Brundle set the lap record in the #28 during the night.
However the #28 later retired due to an accident, and the #29 would see gearbox issues that dogged it throughout the race cause a retirement from the lead only 80 minutes from the finish. Only the #27 would reach the end, 35 laps down, after its own issues.
Toyota returned in 1999 with the car updated to meet a new LMGTP specification — with the ACO changing GT regulations to require significant production volumes — and blitzed qualifying with a 1-2-3 finish.
Again though they’d face Le Mans at its meanest, with two cars retiring from accident damage and the #3 suffering a puncture almost within sight of the leading BMW LMP in the final hour after setting another new lap record in the hands of Ukyo Katayama. The team would record a best-ever finish of second, which would stand until the victorious TS050 in 2018.
For the 2023 classics race, Perrodo crossed the line in — appropriately enough — second behind the 2006 Pescarolo C60 of Emmanuel Collard, before finally taking a Le Mans win in the subsequent sprint race, with a remarkable fastest lap time of 3:47.107.
Images courtesy of Toyota.