Eagle 987 Champ CarHide Text
Eagle 987 Champ Car
In deciding to take a risk and break away from the pack by creating a viable alternative to the nearly standard Reynard Champ Car chassis employed by the bulk of the field in CART's highly competitive FedEx Championship Series, Dan Gurney's All American Racers sought to craft an American-built entry that would provide significant improvements in both aerodynamic efficiency and engine-cooling capability. While accomplishing those ends, the AAR design staff, headed by now-departed Gordon Kimball, produced a quite physically attractive, organic-looking car - complete with a patriotic graphic scheme and a '90s version of the classic Eagle beak. Last September, it also became, through favorable circumstances, the first Toyota-powered machine ever to lead a Champ Car race when Alex Barron kept it ahead of the pack in Vancouver for a dozen laps before misjudging a braking point and spinning out.
The 987 is seen here in superspeedway configuration, complete with the mandated "Handford Device" that is CART's latest attempt to curtail the escalation of lap speeds on its larger ovals. Gurney has repeatedly characterized the effort to forsake the ubiquitous Reynard and build this latest Eagle as "betting the farm;" and by taking the path less traveled, he recognizes that the best way to keep from losing that bet is to "get result on the race track." Toward that end, the forthcoming Eagle 997/Toyota will be an evolution of the car shown here - designed by David Bruns to rectify the problems discovered during testing and racing of the 987 - and Gurney is confident that it will all turn out to be successful.
CONSTANT PROGRESS The "D" version of Toyota's RV8 engine has begun to generate competitive horsepower outputs, the result of TRD's unending development program. The new Eagle's gearbox is Reynard's standard transverse six-speed sequential-shift unit.
The 987 cockpit is spartan, with chassis-adjustments on the left of the seat and gearshift at right. Buttons on steering wheel control various functions of the Toyota engine (below)
The Hanford Device attached to the rear wing dominates the rear view of this superspeedway-spec Eagle.
The graphically enhanced beak-shaped nose of the latest AAR design is modern update of the very first Eagle's classic "beak".