Not A Drift Car: The JTCC Chaser

The Toyota Chaser, along with its relatives the Mark II and Cresta, are easily some of the most popular Japanese enthusiast cars of the 1990s. And while drifters love these turbocharged, rear-wheel drive sedans for their athletic chassis and endless power potential, the Chaser also played a short but exciting role in Toyota’s motorsport history.

JTCC-Chaser-02

The year was 1998 and by this time the once thriving Japanese Touring Car Championship was nearing its end. In previous years the JTCC had featured fierce competition between Hondas, Nissans, Mazdas, BMWs and more, but in its final season the grid had shrunk to less than nine cars and was an almost all-Toyota affair.

JTCC-Chaser-06

It’s a shame, because right up until the end the JTCC featured some of the coolest race cars of the 1990s. Case in point, the Esso Tom’s JZX100 Chaser which claimed the ’98 championship. I was pleased to see Toyota brought out this historic machine as part of a special motorsports display at its History Garage showroom in Tokyo.

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The car was driven by Masanori Sekiya and he piloted the Chaser to six victories over the 11 rounds of the ’98 season, picking up the season title by a significant margin.

JTCC-Chaser-05

While the production version of the Chaser was known for its turbocharged 1JZ-GTE, the touring car version was powered by a naturally aspirated 3S-GE race motor mated to a Hewland 6-speed sequential gearbox. Power was in the neighborhood of 310PS.

JTCC-Chaser-08

Along with that, the Chaser possessed all the exterior elements that make 1990s touring cars so damn cool. The ride height is low, the fenders are wide and the 18-inch center-lock O.Z. Racing wheels are big – but it still carries the unmistakable look of the production Chaser.

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This particular car also wears a tiger livery not too dissimilar from the one featured on the Esso JGTC Supra of the same period. Gotta love those bold ’90s liveries.

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The JTCC Chaser might not be one of Toyota’s most famous race cars, but it’s easily one of my favorites. It’s got everything that makes ’90s touring cars great with a uniquely Japanese twist. And the fact this platform would go on to become such a favorite of the drift crowd makes it that much better.

Now, when is someone gonna build a replica?

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia_media
mike@speedhunters.com

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21 comments

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1
mbretschneider

Amazing car! I love the sporty sedans of the 90s touring championships!

2
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Oh how I love the JTCC racers of years ago, much closer to the street cars they were based on than current Super GT monsters. Same as the Group A days, you could actually relate to what was on the track.
As for the replica, why not use this one? Yes it's a museum piece and probably worth its weight in gold but the cobwebs must be blown out of them on the odd occasion surely?

3
researchisyourfriend

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner
I like that outlook and agree completely; cars that you could actually relate to. When I see Super GT machines, I am awed but at the same time they do not inspire me in terms of modding my car or better yet what is possible with my car.

4

@Mike 
I took pictures of the same car during my visit in Pallete Town this April.
Seeing your pictures brings back memories. THX

5

This would be a fun livery on my Lexus! Thanks for the inspiration!

6
Gianluca FairladyZ

It will sound funny now.. But i loved that car on Gran Turismo 1 ;) There was the Chaser where you could buy the "race car modification". Then it transformed into exactly that car!

Nice...

7

No. No replica...
Well I wouldn't anyways... 

But, lets imagine... 

Australian V8 supercar series had allowed other car manufacturers to compete a decade ago, with their old rules where they were using oem car chassis as a base to build upon (none of this "car of the future control chassis" bullshit they have today)... 

Annnd you wanted to build a "replica" 2005 spec Toyota Mark ii JZX110 V8 Supercar.... The one that had the supercheap auto livery.

8
racerlordheiman

We need more articles like this to introduce minor race cars around 80's to 90's, such as JTCC, Super Taikyu and IMSA series.
The information are very few, and mostly because they're what makes Gran Turismo fun to play-remember the PS1 racing modifications?

9

racerlordheiman Racing Modification all cars!

10

racerlordheiman EXACTLY!!!! VERY good point man. I'd LOVE more articles and info on the 80's and 90's Race series and the car that raced in them. Specs, parts lists, builders, history, origins. Stuff like that is AWESOME and totally feature worthy. 80's and 90's Race Cars.... START YOUR ENGINES!!!!

11

One thing I really like about this type of race car - wheel arches are bigger to allow it to sit lower.  Have yet to see someone do this maybe it's too much work. Nice feature.

12

bluestreaksti Actually quite a few VIP and drift cars running bigger arches for a lower height.

13

Matt Khoun I was thinking more of a street/drift car replica with a similar paint scheme but I get what you're saying.

14

AirLift_Lucas Do it!

15

@MRS Very cool to see isn't it? Wish there was a place you could see all of Toyota's old race cars like Nissan's DNA Garage.

16

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Agree completely;

17

Mike Garrett I am seriously considering it! I posted this on FB yesterday and the best idea we have come up with so far is basically doing this livery, but with a tabby cat on the hood instead of a tiger! I hate coping people so I have to add a little personal flare.

18

Mike Garrett
Unfortunately Nissan's DNA Garage is not open to the public.
My favorite so far is the Honda Collection Hall in Motegi.
Also TAM is very impressive. I especially like that the focus is
not only on Toyota cars.

19

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner unless I'm mistaken this is for all intents and purposes a 2 litre supertourer, part of the most glorious era of touring cars in all history... at least I think so!!!

20

how about honda accord jtcc ?. its quite nice ..moreover in best motoring ( if im not mistaken ) ,there is a single race between best touring / gt cars in that particular year which including this accord..

21

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