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

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

This can be a bittersweet tale of somewhat vehicle that went up towards giants and misplaced, however got here away a hero.

I take advantage of the phrase ‘hero’ in additional of a philosophical sense, as a result of despite the fact that the SARD-engineered MC8-R race vehicle by no means got here with regards to a podium, it stands as a champion to many, for causes I can endeavour to give an explanation for.

The automobile I’m about to turn you these days is the one-of-one MC8, a vehicle constructed to homologate the Toyota Workforce SARD MC8-R for Le Mans in 1995.


Within the early ’90s, with the loss of life of Workforce 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 course. The previous, similar to its rival, the Nissan Skyline GT-R LM, looked like an obtrusive selection, however to fulfill the Le Mans rulebook, the GT-spec Supra used to be powered via a 2.1L turbo 3S-GTE engine.


The second one access from Toyota used to be somewhat extra not likely. They selected a SARD-developed MR2 to head head-to-head with the likes of the McLaren F1, Kremer K8 Spyder and Ferrari F40 LM. In an effort to stand an opportunity, Toyota and SARD would want to fortify the little mid-engine MR2 significantly. However wouldn’t it be sufficient?


Toyota Workforce SARD constructed a couple of vehicles for festival use, however they simply had to construct one road-going model to fulfill the homologation necessities. That makes this vehicle the one road-legal, stretched, V8-powered MR2 on the earth. It disappeared in a while after Toyota and SARD completed racing in 1997, however resurfaced 15 years later.

The MC8’s present proprietor, Mr. Y, purchased it a couple of years in the past, and after a protracted procedure bringing it as much as present avenue and protection requirements, put the original vehicle again at the boulevard.


As for the unique vehicles that competed at Le Mans, the primary ’95 vehicle used to be scrapped, and the ’96 vehicle used to be up to date for the 1997 season and joined via some other new MC8-R. A type of ’97 season race vehicles stuck hearth, and hearsay has it that the fire-damaged system used to be salvaged and became a avenue vehicle, however that hasn’t been showed.

The only-surviving ’97 Toyota Workforce SARD MC8-R works vehicle is owned via a non-public collector in Aichi Prefecture, or possibly Gifu. On the time of writing, additional investigation is wanted, however it’s a vehicle that I for one would love to peer.


To make sure that the MC8-R can be solid on the consistent prime 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. Necessarily, SARD constructed a tube body to fortify the rear of the auto, however saved the vast majority of the entrance part of the chassis untouched.

This used to be the primary GT system to be changed from a avenue vehicle via having its whole rear segment changed with a tube body. It’s one way Porsche borrowed for its massively a success 911 GT1.


One more reason for stretching the MR2 used to be to suit a 4.0L 1UZ-FE V8, which at the time used to be discovered within the Lexus LS 400 and Toyota Aristo. It used to be a courageous transfer from SARD, however a decision sponsored up via the reliability of the venerable quad-cam 32-valve V8. The engine used to be evolved with GT500 packages in thoughts, despite the fact that it by no means made an look in that sequence.

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


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

Unfortunately, regardless of how cool the auto seemed, or how ridiculous the power-to-weight ratio used to be, the MC8-R had worse good fortune than a black cat strolling below a ladder on Friday the thirteenth.


On its first look at Le Mans in 1995  it didn’t set up to complete the race because of take hold of failure. In 1996, SARD switched from a 6-speed Hewland transmission to a 5-speed March Engineering unit, however the more potent gearbox used to be the least in their issues. Even after losing round 200kg, the auto certified in mainly the similar position as the former yr, then got here 2d to closing on race day.


Taking into account the contest, it’s now not unexpected; even the mighty GT-R and NSX best got here fifteenth and sixteenth respectively out of 25 finishers. The little MC8-R used to be up towards vehicles just like the McLaren F1 and the Porsche GT1

Coincidently, take note I stated that Porsche borrowed SARD’s thought to make a rear tube body for his or her 911 GT1? Smartly, bet which Porsche completely wiped the ground that yr… If Albert Einstein copied your homework, I feel you’ll chalk that up as a fairly large win.


In ’97, after dropping much more weight and pumping up the flexibility, issues nonetheless didn’t move smartly for the MC8-R at Le Mans. Regardless of the staff’s best possible efforts, they didn’t qualify and in the end gave up attempting.

The vehicles went directly to race in a couple of Japan championships, however with none actual good fortune there both. It’s a disgrace, as a result of the MC8-R used to be a good recipe for an excessively cool race vehicle; in all probability Toyota Workforce SARD simply had their attractions set too prime…


As a avenue vehicle, the MC8 is an absolute pleasure, so in all probability that is the place it will have to had been evolved extra. Possibly, like such a lot of marques, the homologation specials are in reality higher than the race vehicles they’re modelled on.

I’m positive if the SARD MC8 used to be constructed as a limited-run manufacturing vehicle, it could have offered like scorching truffles. No less than there’s this one despite the fact that, and fortunately Mr. Y is using it at the streets of Japan as a reminder that dreaming giant is every so often extra vital than successful.

Toby Thyer
Instagram _tobinsta_ kingdom

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