The Le Mans TR7 story starts back in 1977 from a redundant Left Hand Drive TR7 that had been used by Janspeed as a development vehicle for British Leyland Motorsport. Jan Odor brought the car from BL, planning to modify it for Modsports racing but by the time the necessary parts had been gathered together, a change in the modsports rules thwarted the project. Instead the car was restyled with racing body panels and fitted with a turbocharged Rover V8 engine.

At this time Jan Odor was seriously planning to develop this car into the Group 5 Silouette Class, dominated by the Porsche 935 but progress was slow till the ADA (Anglo-Dutch-American) Engineering helped on the scene. ADA Ian Harrower and Chris Crawford were seasoned campaigners at Le Mans and keen to race this all British sportscar. Negotiations entered and deal struck with Janspeed loaning the car to ADA who would finance the project, whilst Janspeed carrying on the development of the engine. This Rover 3500 V8 engine had a pair of Rotomaster Turbo-Chargers fitted and Twin 2in SU carburettors, providing well in excess of 500bhp from 3619cc. This engine development programme was an ambitious job, with special attention paid to the interchange cooling and belt driven ancillary oil pump to keep al the vital bits cooled. The suspension was largely unaltered but fitted with Bilstein Dampers and Formula One brakes, covered by 15in Compomotive wheels. (10in wide front & 14in wide back fitted)

This TR7 Turbo was entered into the 1980 Le Mans 24 hour race, first Triumph at Le Mans for 19 years and taking over 3 years from the purchase from BL Motorsport. ADA had tried to raise necessary sponsorship from British motor industry including BL but was very pitiful, causing this British Motorsport Tragedy with this car arriving with no serious track testing undertaken beforehand. This car failed to qualify despite being timed at 201mph on the Mulsanne Straight but had previously achieved only 175mph due to drive shaft vibration plus minor problems.

Undeterred ADA entered the Triumph TR again in 1981 and employed Derek Bell for testing and the car was entered in the Silverstone 6 hour race beforehand. Initially running well after previous testing comments from Derek Bell that the car as it stood was not anything like good enough. It unfortunately crashed heavily and with only having one car that couldn’t be repaired in time for Le Mans race, so the entry was withdrawn.

Final entry was in 1982 by ADA but this was withdrawn again this time due to lack of funds, which has been the Achilles heel for both Janspeed / ADA. A sad conclusion to the last TR entry at Le Mans.

At the end of 1983 the car was purchased by the British Sports Car Centre, in Goldhawk road, West London and then the car was sold abroad. I believe the Car is still in existance. 

Jim Johnson