In 1966 the first ever Suzuka 500-KM race was held. Toyota dominated the race with its Sports 800 race car. Not only placing in first but second as well, the race car beat the Honda S600 by almost 2 whole minutes. Weighing just 1279lbs with only 70-horsepower, Toyota’s Sport 800 was zipping around the track on a single tank of fuel while the competition was stopping for a refill.
With heavyweight contenders like the Lotus Elan, Datsun Fairlady, Honda S600, and Skyline GT, the winning Toyota Sports 800 really caught its competition off guard in ’66 but when Toyota’s Gazoo Racing team recently got their hands on the car, it had clearly seen better days.
This 1960s race car received a rarely seen restoration by the same factory that produced it. Rebuilding over half the body with new material, Gazoo Racing also reinforced the rockers and suspension mounting points, upgraded the ignition system, and updated its interior. Painted white, red, and black to match Gazoo Racing’s modern livery, the race car is stunning and due to the extra chassis and suspension reinforcement, and better ignition system the car performs better than it did in its hay-day.'
With the unveiling of the new Toyota Supra, expected to hit US dealerships in 2019, Toyota is really making headlines. But as exciting as this news is, with this restoration Toyota has proved it is not a one-trick pony. While the brands focus may be mainly on where they are headed, they clearly haven’t forgotten where they have come from and take great pride in their history. Toyota’s efforts in 1966 set the stage for their successful heritage in motorsports and the restoration of the winning Sport 800 pays perfect homage to that heritage.
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