Supporting Toyota’s Rally Activities
Ove Andersson was born in 1938 in Uppsala, Sweden. He took interest in motorsport through his father who owned a motorbike. After studying engineering in his hometown, he started to work at a car repair shop. He went on to complete his military service, and first took part a rally race driving a Saab in 1962. From 1963, he entered rally racing with a Sweden BMC factory team. By the following year, 1964, he was called by the Saab factory team, and competed in the Swedish Rally Championships. He finished the season in fifth place. The champions of the year were Harry Kallstrom and Bjorn Waldegard.
In 1965, Andersson again raced with a Saab factory team, Saab 96 Sports. He entered the European Rally Championship (ERC). The following year, Andersson changed his team to Lancia and competed in the ERC with a Fulvia. Andersson became well known after his contract with Alpine Renault. In 1971 at the Monte Carlo Rally, which was the first round for the International Manufacturers Championship (IMC), Andersson claimed the victory. From then on, he went on to win Sanremo, Austria and Acropolis. He played a big part in helping Alpine Renault win the title.
From 1973 Andersson contracted with Toyota. He drove a Toyota Celica and Corolla Levin that year in numerous races. Andersson commented looking back at his contract with Toyota, “Most drivers involved in rally racing were only able to get wild card contracts. I always hoped to stay in the world of rally racing, and that was when Toyota reached out to me. However, I knew being a driver and a manager at the same time would be a hard job, and I didn’t think it would last for so long.”
In 1973 Andersson visited Japan and tested the Celica and Corolla at the Asama Circuit. He commented that “The Celica should mount a 2000cc engine, over a 1600cc engine in order for the machine to have its best performance.”
In 1972 Andersson competed in the RAC Rally with a Toyota Celica 1600GT (TA22). The following year, he raced Portugal and Acropolis with the Celica, but as it was still under development. Andersson had to retire in most of the rounds. They were able to finish ninth in Austria, but there was a ten minute gap between the winner, the BMW 2002. The Celica had many obstacles to overcome.
However, Andersson and Toyota faced a turn in their progress when the Yom Kippur War broke out. The world was in an oil shortage, and motorsport racing was postponed worldwide. Fuel for motorsport racing was hard to gather as an effect of the war.
In 1974, Toyota announced that it would stop all of its motorsport racing. As a result of this decision, the Toyota engineering department for motorsport was dismissed. However, many were unsure whether it was the right decision to stop rally racing completely. Thus, the machines, parts and service cars were decided to be sent to Toyota Team Europe (TTE), which Andersson had just founded in Belgium. Thanks to this help from Toyota, Andersson was able to continue the team management and continue his development of machines. To help Toyota continue their rally racing, it is said that Dutch, British, Finnish and Portuguese dealers helped and offered to support the management costs for TTE.
Andersson was involved both as a driver and team manager, but his Swedish rally racing friends such as Waldegard, Hannu Mikkola joined as drivers, and Arne Hertz and Hans Thorszelius joined as co-drivers.
In the 1975 1000 Lakes Rally, Mikkola drove the Corolla Levin and claimed their first win in one of the European rounds.
In 1976, they changed machines from a Corolla to a Celica 2000GT (RA20). Andersson placed second in Portugal, retired in Acropolis but finished fifth in RAC Rally. This Celica had a 2L 18RG engine with a 16-valve car racing engine 152E. Schnitzer tuned the engine to 240 horsepower. However, although the engine was as strong as their competitors, the drive system was not developed enough as the other machines.
In 1979, the Celica and 16-valve 18RG engine’s authorizations were expired, so TTE entered the new Celica (RA40) and the 8-valve 18RG engine for the WRC. The 8-valve engine lowered the car’s horsepower to 180. For the team, it was a struggle and the best they could do was third place in Portugal throughout the season. However 1979 was a memorable season for Andersson and TTE as they moved their headquarter from Brussels to Cologne.
After getting the authorization for the Celica 16-valve engine in 1980, Andersson was able to place sixth in both Portugal and Acropolis. This was also the year Andersson decided to retire from rally racing as a driver. He became a full-time team manager for TTE. His last rally race was the 1982 Cote d’Ivoire.
TTE lead by Andersson was under the spotlight after winning the Safari Rally three years in a row from 1984 to 1986 with a Celica Twincam Turbo. After Group A was introduced, they entered their Celica GT-FOUR ST165 4WD rally car. Carlos Sainz won the WRC Drivers’ Championship Title in 1990 and 1992. In 1993, Juha Kankkunen won the championship title and TTE won the Manufacturers’ Championship Title. This was the year the team changed to TMG. The following year, 1994 was the year Didier Auriol won the Drivers’ Championship Title and the team won the Manufacturers’ Championship Title.
In 1997, they competed in the WRC with wild cards and came back to competing full season in 1998. After winning the Manufacturers’ Championship once again in 1999, the team moved on to prepare for competing in Formula One. While the team prepared for Formula One, Andersson worked as the team manager for TMG which was competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Andersson passed away on June 11th, 2008 after a car crash while he was competing in a vintage rally race in South Africa.
Ove Andersson Record of victory
|1967||Rallye de España (ERC)||John Davenport||Lancia Fulvia HF|
|1971||Rallye de Monte-Carlo (IMC)||David Stone||Alpine-Renault A110|
|1971||Sanremo Rally (IMC)||Tony Nash||Alpine-Renault A110|
|1971||Österreichische Alpenfahrt (IMC)||Arne Hertz||Alpine-Renault A110|
|1971||Acropolis Rally (IMC)||Arne Hertz||Alpine-Renault A110|
|1975||Rallye Nordland (ERC)||Arne Hertz||Toyota Corolla Levin|
|1975||Safari Rally (WRC)||Arne Hertz||Peugeot 504|
ERC: European Rally Championship
IMC: International Championship for Manufacturers