You know you’ve got one hell of a race car when the organisers start giving your team handicaps, and that’s exactly what happened with this dominant 1979 Triumph TR8 IMSA GTO race car for sale with Grand Prix Classics. The story starts with a man called Bob Tullius, the head honcho at Group 44, the official factory USA racing effort for British Leyland. Group 44 had already seen its fair share of glory on American soil, with 13 SCCA National Championships, two Trans Am Championships, and a Trans AM Manufacturer's Championship under their belt before they started developing the car you see here.
Bob Tullius saw the aerodynamic, V8-powered TR8 and recognised its potential on track. Two TR8 racers were built, powered by a hearty 395 horsepower 3.9-litre fuel injected Rover V8. Weighing in at just over a tonne, this fire-breathing TR8 racer immediately proved Tullius’ hunch was correct, winning 1st in class and 7th overall at its debut race at the Watkins Glen 6 Hour, thoroughly trouncing the Corvettes and Camaros on their home turf. It would prove to be so successful, in fact, that the SCCA would have to hit the TR8 with weight penalties to try and level the playing field. As a result, Tullius entered the TR8 in the IMSA series, where it finished 1st in class and 6th overall at the Sebring 12 Hours. It would continue to the GTO class, eventually placing second in the IMSA GTO Championship.
In the end, this chassis would win 8 races, with its sister car claiming one victory of its own. Today, it remains in stunning original race specification, just as it left the racetrack after its final battle at the Sebring 12 Hours. This TR8 stayed with Bob Tullius and the Group 44 team until 2008. By 2019 it was sold to it’s fourth owner, who put the car through a complete mechanical restoration that finished in 2021. So, if you’re interested in competing in some historic racing yourself, why not do it in one of the most recognisable, successful, and original SCCA/IMSA racing cars of its era.