Some Success Stories May Not Have a Smooth Start
Tanaka GCR-1 #8 Racecar shown
Tanaka entered the Group C racecar with this, the GCR-1, for 1990 until the end of 1992. The GCR-1 was engineered by Tanabe Racing, Tanaka’s new race team. Tanaka raced for one goal, to win a championship. The car was originaly designed for 1985, but the engineering took a heck of a long time. In 1990, the GCR-1 made its debut at several races. The GCR-1 was okay, but the thing is that the GCR-1 is very hard to drive with over 800HP going to the rear wheels with tons of turbo lag. The cars climbed through the leaderboard until finally in 1991, the #8 car was in podium position. By that time, the drivers knew how to control this beast. Then at 1992, the #8 car driven by Nakaya Akura won a race at Suzuka Circuit. The team was very proud of this achievement and this exact car was then stored away inside the Tanaka Museum in Tokyo after the 1993 Championship was cancelled.
Tanaka GCR-1 #5 Racecar shown
This is the #5 car. This particular car raced at the 24 hours of Le Mans. There were also the #2 and the #4 car at there. Three of them was used to race at Le Mans. In 1991, #4 car was totaled. Then in 1992, the #2 car was totaled as well, leaving only the #5 car, However, it finished in 3rd at the same year. The car didn’t do as well as Tanaka thought to be. They have plans to race it again for 1993, but the championship was cancelled. That’s the end of Tanaka’s Group C story.
This is the bare bones chassis of the Tanaka GCR-1. It is has a carbon-fibre tub with push-rod suspension for the front and rear of the car. The engine is a 3.5 litre twin-turbocharged V12 (called the ‘XX35MPEFI-A1 T/R’) producing 804HP and 607lb-ft of torque. However, it has tons of turbo lag. In fact, peak power is at 7800RPM and peak torque is at 6500RPM. That means that drivers must shift into a lower gear than usual, or constantly pressing the clutch. It is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission going to the rear wheels.
This is the High Downforce version, the one that the #8 car is. It featured an extreme body kit with all the complete lips, canards, splitters, diffuser and a massive rear wing. They are equipped with 20-inch magnesium rims wrapped aroung very T H I C C racing slicks (let’s just pretend because it is actually semi-slicks…). Brakes are 3 piston vented for the front and smaller 4 piston vented brakes for the rear. It has a fully-clad undertray. The interior has only 1 seat and no radio at all. The car also has no traction aids, just like what the rules said. It can do 1.34 g’s (on a 20m radius circle) and 1.61 g’s (on a 200m radius circle). It can do 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds and has a top speed of 196mph. This one is the most recognizable one.
This is the low downforce version. The wing is now smaller and the canards are now gone, therefore create less downforce and less drag. This version was used by the #5 car. This one is exclusively made for Le Mans. Other than that, it is the same as the High Downforce version. It can do 1.32g’s (on a 20m radius circle) and 1.30 g’s (on a 200m radius circle). It can do 0-60mph in 5 seconds flat and can do 229mph.
The effects of he GCR-1’s victory
The GCR-1’s victory have made an impact to car sales. Global car sales have increased by 5% and the company has increased their cool factor. The GCR-1 is one of the most significant car for Tanaka because most other Tanaka models in the 80s were boxy and boring, the GCR-1 stood out from all of them and lead Tanaka to become cool again. This has encouraged Tanaka to build cool cars in the 90s. The GCR-1 inspired the Tanaka TR2 Turbo, the 2nd gen Tanaka Trinity and Tanaka’s supercars of the 2000s until now. The GCR-1 is now a legend.