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95 Imsa Throwback

Matt DiBenedetto’s Darlington scheme honors Toyota’s IMSA GTO program

Soon after TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) was established 40 years ago, Toyota began its undeniably successful journey in American motorsports.  It’s widely known that Toyota’s racing heritage began with Ivan “Ironman” Stewart in off-road racing. What you might not know is that beginning in 1983, Toyota joined forces with the legendary Dan Gurney and All-American Racers (AAR) to field Celicas in the IMSA GTU (under three-liter) category – winning 10 races in three years (1983-85).  In 1986, Toyota and AAR moved to the over three-liter category with turbo-charged GTO Celicas and would capture 15 race wins (1986-88), as well as the 1987 driver’s championship with Chris Cord and the manufacturer’s championship the same year.  This championship-winning IMSA GTO program carried the classic red, orange and yellow striped color scheme which is synonymous with Toyota performance reputation in American motorsports.  The design pre-dates the infamous AAR Toyota Mark Eagle III, as well as all of Toyota’s other racing endeavors – Open Wheel, Midget Cars, Formula Drift, NHRA and NASCAR – which have combined for more than 1,500 Toyota wins.

— Leavine Family Racing —