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Jim Trueman during practice at the 1986 Indy 500

Truesports[1] was an automobile racing team founded by Jim Trueman[2] based in Hilliard, Ohio. The team is best known for winning the 1986 Indianapolis 500 and back-to-back CART championships in 1986 and 1987. The team won 19 points-paying Indy car races.

The word "Truesports" is a portmanteau of the surname "Trueman" and the word "sports" or perhaps the word "motorsports." The primary crew chief of the team was Steve Horne, who would later start Tasman Motorsports.

In 1993, the team was absorbed into what is now Rahal Letterman Racing.[3]

Contents

Racing teamEdit

Early yearsEdit

Jim Trueman himself started racing sports cars in 1962. In the 1970s,[1] Trueman met up with Bobby Rahal,[4] and they entered the Can-Am series. After several seasons in Can-Am, Trueman and Rahal began to look towards the CART series and the Indianapolis 500.

 
Bobby Rahal celebrates victory for Truesports at Mid-Ohio in 1985.

In 1981, Trueman sponsored the car of owner/driver Vern Schuppan in the Indianapolis 500 through his Red Roof Inn motel business. The car came home third. Starting in 1982, the Truesports CART team was founded with Bobby Rahal driving. Rahal won his first race midway through the season at Cleveland. He followed that up with another win at Michigan, a second-place finish in the season standings, and clinched the CART rookie of the year award.

In 1983 and 1984, Truesports continued to succeed with Rahal behind the wheel. They won three more races, and placed 7th at the 1984 Indianapolis 500.

In 1985, Truesports secured the sponsorship of Budweiser. Rahal qualified for the front row at Indy, but early in the race, mechanical problems ended their day. Later in the season, Rahal made a strong charge in the championship points standings. He had a stretch of three wins over a five race span, and placed third in the final points standings.

Concurrent with their primary CART effort, Truesports ventured into IMSA racing on several occasions in the mid-1980s. In 1982, Trueman and Rahal finished second at the 12 Hours of Sebring. The duo also teamed up to race in the 1982 24 Hours of Le Mans with Garretson Developments, who Rahal won the 1981 24 Hours of Daytona.

Championship seasonsEdit

 
The Truesports March 86C driven by Bobby Rahal to the 1986 Indy 500 and CART championships
 
1986 Indy 500 winning car.
 
1988 Pocono 500 winning car.

Truesports racing entered 1986 with considerable anticipation. The highlight of the season was a victory at the 1986 Indianapolis 500. After a two-year battle with cancer, team owner Jim Trueman succumbed to the disease eleven days after the Indy 500 victory. The team dedicated their efforts to Trueman's memory, and Rahal went on to win six races, and the 1986 CART championship.

For 1987, Steve Horne and other members of the Trueman family had assumed day-to-day operations of the team. Truesports switched from March to the Lola chassis, and remained with the reliable Cosworth DFX powerplant. Several of the top team in CART (Penske, Patrick, and Newman/Haas) had moved to the more powerful Chevrolet-Ilmor. Despite this, Truesports continued to see success on the track.

Hoping to win back-to-back races at Indianapolis, Rahal qualified second. Having switched to the Lola, he enjoyed a comfortable month, while many competitors (particularly those in March and Penske chassis), were experiencing a tumultuous time getting their cars up to speed. Race day, however, ended early for Rahal due to an ignition problem. Rahal won three races during the season, and clinched his second consecutive CART title.

Also in 1987, Truesports won the ARS Championship with driver Didier Theys. ARS was the precursor to the modern day Indy Lights series.

ChangesEdit

For 1988, Truesports switched to the Judd engine. It was known to be underpowered but very reliable and competitive in the 500-mile races due to its high fuel economy. Rahal finished 4th at Indianapolis, second in the Michigan 500, and won the Pocono 500. The Pocono win, however, was the lone win of the season, and Rahal chose to leave the team at the end of the year.

In 1989, Truesports signed rookie Scott Pruett as driver. Pruett won co-Rookie of the Year at Indianapolis, and had one second-place finish (Detroit). He went into the Detroit race with a decided advantage. He was one of few drivers in the field familiar with the Detroit street circuit (previously a Formula One course), and had won the SCCA Trans-Am Motor City 100 (a support race for the Formula One event) in 1987.

In March 1990, Pruett was seriously injured in a preseason testing crash at West Palm Beach, Florida, an IMSA street course. Raul Boesel drove as a replacement for the entire season. His best finish was 6th place. Pruett spend the entire 1990 season on the sidelines in physical rehab.

Chassis programEdit

 
1991 Truesports 91C-01 chassis

In 1985, Trueman and Rahal traveled to Italy to meet with Ferrari and made a demonstration run for them with a March 85C-Cosworth. Later, Ferrari built their own Indy car chassis, the Ferrari 637, and Truesports seemed poised to become the first team to compete with it. The chassis partnership, however, never materialized, and was instead merely a bargaining tool by the Ferrari Formula One team.

Starting in 1990, Truesports began exploring an in-house chassis building program. The Truesports All-American chassis was set to debut for 1991 CART season. Unlike the in-house Penske and Galmer chassis of the time, which were assembled in England, the Truesports chassis notably was constructed entirely in the U.S. The fabrication work was based out of their Hilliard, Ohio shops. In addition, the design team utilized a rolling road wind tunnel at the Aeronautical and Astronautical Research Laboratory at nearby Ohio State University.[5]

Don Halliday did the primary design for the program. In 1990, the team drove the entire season in year-old cars Lola to save cost. When Pruett returned from injury in 1991, he drove the Truesports 91C-Judd machine to a respectable first season.

In 1992, the chassis was further developed, and was powered by the dominant Chevy Indy A engine. Pruett, however, still failed to win any races. Longtime sponsor Budweiser announced they were pulling out and switching to King Racing for 1993. Midway through the 1992 season, facing escalating costs, the team announced they were going to abandon the in-house chassis project. Steve Horne resigned in June.

DemiseEdit

Although it was not openly revealed at the time, the association with Ferrari (and subsequent cancellation of the chassis/engine program) in the late 1980s had a lasting effect on the team. Though Rahal was defending champion of both the Indy 500 and the CART title, the team was not offered a lease in 1987, nor 1988, for the Chevy Indy V-8. The lack of a competitive engine was a direct reason that Rahal left the team. Rahal's 1988 win at Pocono was the team's final triumph.

After a slumping 1992 season, the Truesports organization decided to reorganize its assets. The team's physical assets, headquarters, and chassis program was first leased, then eventually absorbed into the Rahal-Hogan Racing team, co-owned by former Truesports driver Bobby Rahal. The remainder of the Trueman family businesses operated separately.

In 1993, Rahal-Hogan Racing attempted to restart the Truesports chassis program. It was rebranded the R/H chassis, and quickly scored a second-place finish at Long Beach. The success was short-lived however, as the chassis proved uncompetitive on superspeedways. The team was dealt a massive blow when Rahal failed to qualify at Indianapolis a month later. The following week they switched to the more conventional Lola, while team driver Mike Groff attempted to salvage a season out of the R/H. By the end of the year, the chassis project was abandoned permanently.

CART DriversEdit

 
Truesports members holding the Borg-Warner Trophy at their 1986 Indy 500 victory parade.

ARS DriversEdit

Business venturesEdit

  • Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - bought by Jim Trueman in 1981 and owned by the Trueman family.
  • The Mid-Ohio School - A comprehensive driving and riding school, focusing on high performance, defensive driving, fleet training and competition licensing, since 1993
  • Truesports Choice - A high performance automobile parts company
  • Truepower - engine development organization
  • Trueperformance - A high-line collision repair facility

Complete Racing ResultsEdit

PPG CART Indycar World SeriesEdit

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Pts Pos Pos
1982 PHX ATL MIL CLE MCH MIL POC RIV ROA MCH PHX
March 82C Cosworth DFX   Bobby Rahal (R) 19 18 20 1 3 2 3 15 3* 1* 5 2nd 242
1983 ATL INDY MIL CLE MCH ROA POC RIV MDO MCH CPL LAG PHX
March 83C Cosworth DFX   Bobby Rahal 4 20 5th 94
2 21 6 19 5 10* 5 1 2
Chevrolet V8 3 9 7 DNQ
1984 LBH PHX INDY MIL POR MEA CLE MCH ROA POC MDO SAN MCH PHX LAG CPL
March 84C Cosworth DFX   Bobby Rahal 5 14 7 7 14 Ret 11 14* Ret 2 3 2 2* 5 1* 1* 7 3rd 137
1985 LBH INDY MIL POR MEA CLE MCH ROA POC MDO SAN MCH LAG PHX MIA
March 85C Cosworth DFX   Bobby Rahal 3 27 9 20 25 28 6 4 4 1* 10 1* 1* 6 2* 3rd 133
10 27
  Ludwig Heimrath, Jr. (R) 8 26 58th 0
1986 PHX LBH INDY MIL POR MEA CLE TOR MCH POC MDO SAN MCH ROA LAG PHX MIA
March 86C Cosworth DFX   Bobby Rahal 3 16 18 1 6 20 3 15 1 10* 14 1 1* 1 5 1* 3 8 1st 179
1987 LBH PHX INDY MIL POR MEA CLE TOR MCH POC ROA MDO NAZ LAG MIA
Lola T87/00 Cosworth DFX   Bobby Rahal 1 23 2 26 2 1* 1* 2 3 3 5 23 2* 5 1 7 1st 188
  Didier Theys (R) 2 17 30th 6
1988 PHX LBH INDY MIL POR CLE TOR MEA MCH POC MDO ROA NAZ LAG MIA
Lola T88/00 Judd AV   Bobby Rahal 1 16 2 6 12 2 5 5 2 1 18 2 12 4 18 3rd 136
4 5
1989 PHX LBH INDY MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH POC MDO ROA NAZ LAG
Lola T89/00 Judd AV   Scott Pruett 3 11 DNS 10 5 2 5 6 3 6 17 8 19 8 6 4 8th 101
1990 PHX LBH INDY MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH DEN VAN MDO ROA NAZ LAG
Lola T89/00 Judd AV   Raul Boesel 8 18 8 6 6 18 20 13 10 9 28 19 9 10 8 11 12th 42
19 28
  Geoff Brabham 21 19 41st 0
1991 SFR LBH PHX INDY MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH DEN VAN MDO ROA NAZ LAG
Truesports 91C Judd AV   Scott Pruett 11 5 24 12 13 17 8 23 17 4 13 5 5 4 17 18 7 10th 67
19 12
  Geoff Brabham 21 20 44th 0
1992 SFR PHX LBH INDY DET POR MIL NHA TOR MCH CLE ROA VAN MDO NAZ LAG
Truesports 92C Chevrolet 265A   Scott Pruett 10 18 7 9 30 19 10 11 6 25 5 7 9 4 9 10 14 11th 62

IndyCar winsEdit

# Season Date Sanction Track / Race No. Winning Driver Chassis Engine Tire Grid Laps Led
1 1982 July 4 CART Grand Prix of Cleveland (A) 19   Bobby Rahal (R) March 82C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 2 26
2 September 26 CART Michigan International Speedway (O) 19   Bobby Rahal (R) (2) March 82C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 5 29
3 1983 August 29 CART Riverside International Raceway (R) 2   Bobby Rahal (3) March 83C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 4 21
4 1984 October 14 CART Phoenix International Raceway (O) 5   Bobby Rahal (4) March 84C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 2 75
5 October 21 CART Laguna Seca Raceway (R) 5   Bobby Rahal (5) March 84C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 2 74
6 1985 September 1 CART Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (R) 3   Bobby Rahal (6) March 85C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear Pole 83
7 September 22 CART Michigan International Speedway (O) 3   Bobby Rahal (7) March 85C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear Pole 70
8 October 6 CART Laguna Seca Raceway (R) 3   Bobby Rahal (8) March 85C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear Pole 70
9 1986 May 31 USAC Indianapolis 500 (O) 3   Bobby Rahal (9) March 86C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 4 58
10 1986 July 20 CART Streets of Toronto (S) 3   Bobby Rahal (10) March 86C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 2 15
11 August 31 CART Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (R) 3   Bobby Rahal (11) March 86C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 4 10
12 September 7 CART Sanair Super Speedway (O) 3   Bobby Rahal (12) March 86C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 3 137
13 September 28 CART Michigan International Speedway (O) 3   Bobby Rahal (13) March 86C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 8 24
14 October 12 CART Laguna Seca Raceway (R) 3   Bobby Rahal (14) March 86C Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 2 86
15 1987 June 14 CART Portland International Raceway (R) 1   Bobby Rahal (15) Lola T87/00 Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 3 56
16 June 28 CART Meadowlands Street Circuit (S) 1   Bobby Rahal (15) Lola T87/00 Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 2 68
17 October 11 CART Laguna Seca Raceway (R) 1   Bobby Rahal (17) Lola T87/00 Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 3 31
NC October 31 CART Tamiami Park, Miami (S) 1   Bobby Rahal Lola T87/00 Cosworth DFX V8t Goodyear 2 28
18 1988 August 21 CART Pocono 500 (O) 1   Bobby Rahal (18) Lola T88/00 Judd AV V8t Goodyear 3 32

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Truesports History Truesports taurtoisemotorsports.com
  2. ^ Trueman, Jim Jim Trueman and Truesports taurtoisemotorsports.com
  3. ^ Shaffer, Rick (August 23, 1992). "Demise of Truesports team saddens IndyCar fraternity". The Indianapolis Star. p. 70. Retrieved April 15, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  4. ^ Bobby Rahal in Truesports Bobby Rahal Driver - .taurtoisemotorsports.com
  5. ^ Historic Background: Aerospace in Ohio