Суббота, 28 января, 2023
ДомойAutomobileSARD MC8: The One-Of-One Le Mans Homologation Particular

SARD MC8: The One-Of-One Le Mans Homologation Particular

It is a bittersweet story of somewhat automotive that went up towards giants and misplaced, however got here away a hero.

I exploit the phrase ‘hero’ in additional of a philosophical sense, as a result of though the SARD-engineered MC8-R race automotive by no means got here near a podium, it stands as a champion to many, for causes I’ll endeavour to elucidate.

The automotive I’m about to indicate you immediately is the one-of-one MC8, a automotive constructed to homologate the Toyota Workforce SARD MC8-R for Le Mans in 1995.


Within the early ’90s, with the demise of Group C, Toyota determined to make a transition from purpose-built race vehicles just like the TS010 to production-car-based GT machines for Le Mans.

Toyota selected the JZA80 Supra and SW20 MR2 fashions to headline this new path. The previous, very like its rival, the Nissan Skyline GT-R LM, appeared like an apparent selection, however to fulfill the Le Mans rulebook, the GT-spec Supra was powered by a 2.1L turbo 3S-GTE engine.


The second entry from Toyota was somewhat extra unlikely. They selected a SARD-developed MR2 to go head-to-head with the likes of the McLaren F1, Kremer K8 Spyder and Ferrari F40 LM. So as to stand an opportunity, Toyota and SARD would want to beef up the little mid-engine MR2 significantly. However would it not be sufficient?


Toyota Workforce SARD constructed just a few vehicles for competitors use, however they solely wanted to construct one road-going model to fulfill the homologation necessities. That makes this automotive the one road-legal, stretched, V8-powered MR2 on this planet. It disappeared shortly after Toyota and SARD completed racing in 1997, however resurfaced 15 years later.

The MC8’s present proprietor, Mr. Y, purchased it just a few years in the past, and after a protracted course of bringing it as much as present street and security requirements, put the distinctive automotive again on the avenue.


As for the unique vehicles that competed at Le Mans, the primary ’95 automotive was scrapped, and the ’96 automotive was up to date for the 1997 season and joined by one other new MC8-R. A kind of ’97 season race vehicles caught hearth, and hearsay has it that the fire-damaged machine was salvaged and become a street automotive, however that hasn’t been confirmed.

The only real-surviving ’97 Toyota Workforce SARD MC8-R works automotive is owned by a personal collector in Aichi Prefecture, or possibly Gifu. On the time of writing, additional investigation is required, however it’s a automotive that I for one would love to see.


To make sure the MC8-R could be steady on the fixed excessive speeds that Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans calls for, SARD reinterpreted the rulebook and lengthened the MR2 round 400mm from the rear wheel arches. Primarily, SARD constructed a tube body to help the rear of the automotive, however saved the vast majority of the entrance half of the chassis untouched.

This was the primary GT machine to be modified from a street automotive by having its full rear part changed with a tube body. It’s a method Porsche borrowed for its vastly profitable 911 GT1.


One more reason for stretching the MR2 was to suit a 4.0L 1UZ-FE V8, which at the time was discovered within the Lexus LS 400 and Toyota Aristo. It was a courageous transfer from SARD, however a selection backed up by the reliability of the venerable quad-cam 32-valve V8. The engine was developed with GT500 purposes in thoughts, though it by no means made an look in that sequence.

The MC8-R race vehicles had been fitted with a twin-turbo system from SARD’s catalogue, however the road-going MC8 model wasn’t handled to any compelled induction.


In race trim, the MC8-R was a correct power-to-weight champion. In 1995, it weighed 1,273kg (2,806lb) and made 580PS. Within the following years, weight was trimmed right down to 1,061kg (2,339lb) after which right down to 1,000kg (2,204lb) in 1997, whereas energy went from 580PS to 664PS respectively.

Sadly, regardless of how cool the automotive regarded, or how ridiculous the power-to-weight ratio was, the MC8-R had worse luck than a black cat strolling underneath a ladder on Friday the thirteenth.


On its first look at Le Mans in 1995  it didn’t handle to complete the race on account of clutch failure. In 1996, SARD switched from a 6-speed Hewland transmission to a 5-speed March Engineering unit, however the stronger gearbox was the least of their issues. Even after dropping round 200kg, the automotive certified in principally the identical place because the earlier yr, then got here second to final on race day.


Contemplating the competitors, it’s not stunning; even the mighty GT-R and NSX solely got here fifteenth and sixteenth respectively out of 25 finishers. The little MC8-R was up towards vehicles just like the McLaren F1 and the Porsche GT1

Coincidently, keep in mind I mentioned that Porsche borrowed SARD’s thought to make a rear tube body for his or her 911 GT1? Nicely, guess which Porsche completely wiped the ground that yr… If Albert Einstein copied your homework, I believe you may chalk that up as a fairly large win.


In ’97, after shedding much more weight and pumping up the ability, issues nonetheless didn’t go effectively for the MC8-R at Le Mans. Regardless of the staff’s greatest efforts, they didn’t qualify and finally gave up making an attempt.

The vehicles went on to race in just a few Japan championships, however with none actual success there both. It’s a disgrace, as a result of the MC8-R was a good recipe for a really cool race automotive; maybe Toyota Workforce SARD simply had their sights set too excessive…


As a street automotive, the MC8 is an absolute pleasure, so maybe that is the place it ought to have been developed extra. Possibly, like so many marques, the homologation specials are literally higher than the race vehicles they’re modelled on.

I’m certain if the SARD MC8 was constructed as a limited-run manufacturing automotive, it could have offered like scorching muffins. At the least there’s this one although, and fortunately Mr. Y is driving it on the streets of Japan as a reminder that dreaming large is usually extra vital than successful.

Toby Thyer
Instagram _tobinsta_



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