Le Mans-winning Porsche leads Team Taisan Japanese auction
Legendary Japanese racing outfit Team Taisan is selling off several of its iconic cars, including its 2000 Le Mans 24 Hour GTLM class-winning Porsche 911 GT3-R
There are racing liveries which have become iconic in the general automotive world. Rothmans on both Le Mans Porsches and Williams F1 machines of the late 1980s, Gulf and the Ford GT40, 555’s blue and yellow on the Subaru Impreza. There’s also the signature black and red of Yokohama and Advan, made famous by Team Taisan in their homeland, Japan.
Some significant vehicles formerly belonging to Team Taisan are now going on sale with BH Auction at Suzuka tomorrow, November 17, led first and foremost by a Le Mans class-winning racer.
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Team Taisan secured LMGT class victory at the 2000 Le Mans 24 Hours with a Porsche 911 GT3-R, despite it being their first ever appearance at the famous French endurance race. Previous experience with Le Mans machinery might have helped; they also scored the final ever race victory for a Porsche 962C at Fuji Speedway six years earlier.
It was similarly successful when redeployed for domestic racing, winning the GT300 class of the Suzuka 1000KM, the most prestigious event on the Japanese racing calendar.
Currently sporting its Le Mans-winning livery, BH Auctions suggests it’s in ready-to-run condition, and is expected to set the winning bidder back in the region of ¥35m- ¥45m ($310,000 – $400,000, £241,000 – £310,000).
Joining its Porsche stablemate is an example of Nissan’s Skyline R32 GT-R Group A racer which raced in the 1991 Japanese Touring Car Championship, the forerunner for what is now known as Super GT. Though Team Taisan had to take a back seat in the championship race to two fellow titans of Japanese motorsport running Skyline R32s – the Calsonic-liveried Team Impul and Masahiro Hasemi’s eponymous team – this Skyline is an icon in its own right.
Keiichi Tsuchiya, possibly the ultimate figurehead of Japanese petrolheads and referred to as ‘Drift King’ around the globe, raced this Skyline in period. Australian racing legend Mark Skaife also raced this car more than once, including at the 1991 Macau Guia touring car race.
Interestingly for a collector racing car the Skyline is expected to be worth less than new – such was the R32 GT-R’s advanced design it cost ¥55m ($487,000, £379,000) for customers to buy, yet it’s expected to sell for only ¥38m to ¥48m ($336,500 – $425,000, £262,000 – £330,000). A potential bargain for budding historic racers, perhaps?
Lastly, what might be the most unusual car you could imagine to see racing domestically in Japan, a 1994 Ferrari F40 raced by ex-Formula 1 driver Oscar Larrauri and a race winner in the Japanese GT Championship is expected to fetch between ¥65m and ¥75m ($576,000 – $665,000, £448,000 – £517,000).
Despite its history as a racing car this F40 is road legal, originally purchased as a road-going original from Maranello. Though modifications have been made to the chassis, aerodynamics and exhaust – including an F40 LM-style bonnet intake and a customised rear wing – the F120A V8 engine is said to be original and untouched. That ‘40’ number plate, along with 40 being its racing number in JGTC, are the icing on the cake.
Also in the auction as separate lots are two spared F40 engines, a spare 911 GT3-R engine and even the front bodywork from Taisan’s Group C Porsche 956. You’d better get a move on if you want one of these though, as the auction happens tomorrow! All the auction listings are available on BH Auction’s website.
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