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Constructor All American Racers
Chassis Front engine, rear drive.
Body Steel, hand-fabricated. Fiberite composite and aluminum paneling. Frame : hand-fabricated mild steel tubing and 4130 chrome moly tubing.
Suspension Front : double-A arm. Rear : independant rear. Lockheed 4-wheel disc. Monroe shock absorbers.
Gearbox 5 speed transaxle.
Dimensions
Wheelbase : 2514mm
Front track 1435mm
Rear track 1422mm
Engine 4 cylinder, dual overhead camshaft 8 valve. 2,1L 450hp at 8000rpm. Nippondenso fuel injection.


In 1985, things evolved as one car was entered in the GTO category. The car was a specially modified GTU car fitted with the turbocharged 4T-GT engine. It was no more than an evolution of the actual car, and it would serve as a basis for the later car. The team was rewarded with a victory at Laguna Seca for Dennis Aase. Chris Cord finished second in the GTU points standings with two victories at Lime Rock and Daytona. For 1986, it seemed that AAR had obviously made the choice to move up to the GTO category, in spite of the fact that they did not win any GTU Championship. They had built up a good experience and felt enough strong to move and fight against the big bangers. At that point, the AAR operation was geared towards various racing programs, but the Indy program ran into some difficulty, so they could flow people from this program into the GTO one. The rules that were used in the GTO class were relatively complex ones. In fact, a very wide range of engines were used in this class and a series of equivalency formulas was used in order to give everyone's chance to win. Then it was decided to develop the 4T-GT motor for the Celica GTO. It could produce around 475hp, which was quite reasonable for a GTO car. The chassis had been stiffened and improved in terms of workablity. John Ward worked on the chassis design and construction. The car was a front-wheel drive one, converted to rear wheel drive, and it was used with the redesigned chassis. AAR used every rules subtleties to make this car become a real winner. In 1986, Chris Cord and Dennis Aase earned some first and second place finishes, but Dennis Aase was finally fourth in the standings at the end. The biggest problem with the cars was that they were fuel-injected, and this kind of technology was new to the team. They had to roll up their sleeves, and new people came to help. The car which made its debut burned, due to the very high temperatures inside. It was at Riverside during a practice session. Very harsh beginnings, but later in the season, the car became very competitive, and won at Road America and Watkins Glen.

The car was probably much more advanced with twin-plug engine, Hewland transaxle that some competitors complained about its legality. In fact, the AAR drivers didn't care, and the crowds were pleased to see that the GTO battle now offered a third contender to Ford and Chevrolet. The next season seemed to be the good one, as for the competitors, who seemed to think that the Celica was the way to go, according to their technical choices. The season however began with a great disappointment. The team had entered the traditional 24 Hours of Daytona, and one of the Celicas was leading the category. Unfortunately, a shudder in the suspension forced the car to pit and the team could not really fix it. Leading by ten laps, Chris Cord and Steve Millen finished second, four laps down the Roush Racing winning Ford Mustang. The remainder of the season was then all AAR, whose cars captured their share of first and second place finishes. At the end, it was Chris Cord who won the GTO Championship, and it was the first major Championship for AAR. Toyota captured the manufacturers crown too. Chris Cord won at Riverside, Laguna Seca, Portland and Del Mar. But the team suffered setbacks early in the season as Dennis Aase had a very unfortunate season as he broke his leg and foot while testing the team's GTP car : he had to be replaced by Steve Millen, who broke his leg too at Miami, and then Willy T Ribbs took over. Willy T Ribbs won Mid Ohio, Road Atlanta, Summit Point and Watkins Glen. The very unfortunate beginnings seemed to continue at Riverside, when Chris Cord spun while starting from the pole. He had one of his best race ever to win in a very convincing fashion. Then the season was set for AAR. 1987 was undoubtedly a season to be remembered, quotes Dan Gurney, with the Manufacturers and Drivers title.

And 1988 seemed to be Toyota's too. But Lincoln Mercury now entered Merkurs, which were cars which used some of the same technologies the Toyotas used, and they won the Championship. AAR took five races at Mid Ohio, Road America, Sears Point, Watkins Glen and Del Mar, but Lincoln Mercury had gathered more points than Toyota, which took second, and they won the Manufacturers Championship. It was mainly due to the various cars entered by different teams. Dennis Aase was back in 1988, recovering from his accident, here at Sears Point, where he took a fourth place. Copyright Van Zannis Willy T Ribbs finished third in points. Then it seemed to be the time to move up to the GTP category. In retrospect, the whole thing appeared to be less fun to the team. They had approached Toyota, who did not look interested at first sight. Toyota Motor Sport people looked quite dubious about the engine capability to win races inside a GTP car. Yet, All American Racers had the men with the ability to build and race successful cars, and the years to come would be the GTP years. Many successes were to come by later.



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