1996 TOMS Toyota "Lumpy" LMP

Text and images courtesy Andy Thorby
1996 Toyota LMP1 conceptThe project was funded by the Toyota Motor Sports division as a low-key "toe in the water".  The budget was very tight (<$500k), and there was never any intention on the part of Toyota to race it, although we at TOM'S had hopes, particularly after it tested promisingly.
1996 Toyota LMP1 conceptThe only engines Toyota could provide was existing examples of the 2.1 liter turbo motor in Group C spec: this was because all their resources were taken up with the new Champcar engine.  I'd had experience of that engine in Group C in '88, and felt that the key to economy and reliability was adequate cooling, which the Group C Toyota never had.  The gearbox was based on the Peugeot Group C X-trac unit. The tub was extremely strong, stiff (>50,000 lb-ft/degree) and simple.  The complete car weighed 790 kg, without lights but with heavyweight bodywork.  We ballasted it with a 5 mm thick stainless steel floor beneath the monocoque.
1996 Toyota LMP1 concept
1996 Toyota LMP1 conceptThe budget didn't permit any scale model wind tunnel work, so the aerodynamics were best guess.  The aerodynamic aim was simply reducing the lift over the upper body, particularly the front, without increasing the drag.  Hence the reflex curve to floor of the radiator duct entry, and the flat surfaces to the nose and the front fenders.  I wanted a simple bodywork set, so I eliminated the usual tortuous front brake ducting by feeding upright-mounted scoops direct from the big rad. ducts.
1996 Toyota LMP1 conceptThe car was christened "Lumpy" (LMP1), although its official name was TOMS Toyota LMP.  It tested three times, if I remember rightly.  Tom Kristensen certainly did one of those and maybe more.  It was totally reliable and, as far as we could judge without a direct comparison, quick. The fuel consumption was certainly much better than the Toyota 88C with the same engine.  It was then sent over to Cologne and covered in a tarpaulin at TTE.
This picture poses an interesting epilogue.  In the RTN shops as an Audi R8C is assembled prior to Le Mans '99;  notice what hangs on the wall?
1996 Toyota LMP1 conceptThe post script came 7 years after this initial article, March 2009, in one of my less and less frequent contacts with Andy Thorby.  Someone had inquired with me about, realistic or not, looking into purchasing Lumpy as a starting point for another project.  I put him in touch with Andy and Andy did some digging.  The finale was simple, according to Thorby,

"I've made inquiries about Lumpy, and it appears that Toyota in Cologne destroyed it after doing whatever they did with it."  

So as of March 2009, as far as anyone knows, Lumpy was no more...
ęCopyright 2014, Michael J. Fuller