Special liveries harken back to some of Toyota’s most memorable Le Mans racers

As an automaker that has a long and proud history racing at Le Mans, Toyota is celebrating the race’s 86th installment by dressing a trio of GT86 sports coupes in the colors of some of its most iconic LMP1 racers. In an intentional move, Toyota unveiled the three dressed up sports coupes, called the 86 Le Mans Heritage, on June 8, or the eighth day of the year’s sixth month: 8-6. The puns are heavy on these three special edition GT86 models.

What Makes the Toyota GT86 Heritage Cars Special?

Toyota Celebrates 86 Years of Le Mans By Dressing Up Its GT86 Models Exterior
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The first of these three 86 models pay tribute to the Toyota TS010 that raced back in 1992.

Toyota’s involvement in Le Mans dates all the way back to the 1980s where it raced with Group C cars prepared by race car manufacturer Dome. It had mixed results in the years it competed in the series, finishing as high as second place in the 1992 staging of the race. Toyota raced in Le Mans throughout the 90s, including late in the decade when it raced with the GT-One racer. The turn of the millennium saw Toyota’s involvement in endurance racing dwindle as it focused its attention on its Formula One team. It wasn’t until 2012 when the Japanese automaker returned to racing at Le Mans with the TS030 Hybrid. A future version of this car, the TS050 Hybrid, is the same car that literally came within five minutes of winning the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours before an inexplicable mechanical failure forced it to relinquish the lead to Porsche in the last lap of the race.

Needless to say, Toyota’s history at Le Mans comes with plenty of highs and lows. Despite the track record, the Japanese automaker is still celebrating its involvement in one of the world’s most iconic races by using the 86 sports car to celebrate 86 years of Le Mans racing. “The 86 gives us a great canvas on which to pay tribute to some of the amazing Toyota race cars that have thrilled the crowds at Le Mans,” James Clark, Toyota GB press relations manager, said. “Response to our earlier retro-liveried coupes was fantastic, and we hope these new cars – all strictly one-off creations – will generate the same kind of enthusiasm as we approach this year’s 24-hour race.”

Toyota Celebrates 86 Years of Le Mans By Dressing Up Its GT86 Models Exterior
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The second 86 pays homage to the 1998 GT-One, or as its known by its model code, the TS020.

The first of these three 86 models pay tribute to the Toyota TS010 that raced back in 1992. This was the same race car that Toyota used to finish second at the 1992 Le Mans 24 Hours race. The blue and white body is unmistakable, and the large “CASIO” sponsor decal on the hood and sides of the car give it that important nostalgic feel.

The second 86 pays homage to the 1998 GT-One, or as its known by its model code, the TS020. The blue and white livery that made the TS010 iconic was replaced with a predominantly red body with streaks of white scattered throughout the body. Sponsor decals also covered a lot of real estate on the body, none more prominent than Zent, an amusement company that developed pachinko halls in Japan.

The third and final 86 is the most recognizable of the three, thanks in part to its tribute of one of the most memorably LMP1 race cars that Toyota has developed. The 2016 TS050 was supposed to win that year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race. It dominated the entire race until a late mechanical failure robbed the team of winning its first-ever Le Mans title. The can’t-miss black-red-white color scheme is fully manifested on the GT86, right down to the distribution of the colors - black in front, white on the sides and rear, and red scattered throughout.

Toyota Celebrates 86 Years of Le Mans By Dressing Up Its GT86 Models Exterior
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The third and final 86 is the most recognizable of the three, thanks in part to its tribute of one of the most memorably LMP1 race cars that Toyota has developed

In addition to getting their own unique liveries, all three cars received serious aerodynamic packages in the vein of the Le Mans racers they’re paying tribute to. The massive fixed rear spoilers are impossible to miss. Toyota also lowered the suspension on all three cars by 40 mm (1.57 inches) to replicate the look and feel of the LMP1 racers and installed stainless steel Milltek sport exhaust systems to complete the tuning overhaul.

Unfortunately, all three Le Mans-inspired Toyota GT86s are not going to be put up for sale.

Further reading

2017 Toyota 86
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Toyota 86 - $26,255

Read up all about the 2017 Toyota 86 in our latest review.

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Read more Toyota news.

Press release

The 86th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours next week provides the perfect excuse for Toyota to prepare a trio of one-off versions of its own famous “86,” the GT86 coupe. Each car sports a different livery celebrating some of Toyota’s great Le Mans cars of the past. And what better date for the reveal than today, the eighth day of the six month.

Toyota GB challenged themselves to design the cars to appeal to enthusiasts with their eye-catching wraps and detailing. Each is inspired by a Le Mans race car famous for its thrilling exploits and carries forward a retro theme that previously saw six special GT86 finished in heritage liveries of some of Toyota’s race and rally car legends.

James Clark, Toyota GB Press Relations Manager, said: “The GT86 gives us a great canvas on which to pay tribute to some of the amazing Toyota race cars that have thrilled the crowds at Le Mans. Response to our earlier retro-liveried coupes was fantastic and we hope these new cars – all strictly one-off creations – will generate the same kind of enthusiasm as we approach this year’s 24-hour race.”

Keen-eyed race-goers might spot the cars at Le Mans next week. After their debut, they will be joining Toyota’s UK press and heritage fleet to make special appearances at events across the country this summer.

The first in the new series pays tribute to the Toyota TS010 of 1992, which was powered by a Formula 1-style 3.5-litre V10 engine capable of producing up to 700bhp. Next comes the 1998 TS020, or GT-One, a pure-bred Le Mans car that proved exceptional in qualifying and a record-breaker in the heat of competition. Completing the threesome is a GT86 inspired by the TS050 Hybrid, which came heartbreakingly close to winning Le Mans in 2016.

The cars are fitted with high-level Toyota accessory rear spoilers, in a nod to the high-downforce aero packages featured on the race cars. Vehicle vinyl specialist Funkee Fish reproduced the original liveries to match the shape and proportions of the GT86.

The sports car stance is enhanced with lowered springs that reduce the cars’ ride height by 40mm. Aftermarket alloys were chosen to replicate the designs of the original racing wheels, and a new stainless steel Milltek Sport exhaust system provides a finishing touch and an evocative sound.

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