Around the same time as Toyota was on its way to winning the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans, the automaker posted video of its coming Le Mans racer on track. Toyota announced the GR Super Sports concept at Le Mans last year, and just announced that it would campaign the race version of that car in the so-called Hypercar class created for the 2020/2021 World Endurance Championship. The show car in the video is our most updated look at what, in road-going trim, could be an all-wheel-drive hybrid with 986-horsepower or more.
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda shared wheel time with factory driver Kamui Kobayashi, both men running the prototype between the kerbing at Japan's Fuji Speedway. The exhaust soundtrack has been replaced by a rock soundtrack, so we have no idea yet what the coming treat will sound like. It appears there are two prototypes, one with a roof scoop, one without. Based on the rendered race car Toyota put out with the WEC announcement, our guess is that the race car gets the roof scoop.
The 2018 Geneva Motor Show, two months hence, will serve to intoduce the production Toyota Supra into the world. Rather, not the Toyota Supra, but the Gazoo Racing Supra; Toyota's new hi-po sportscar will retail under Gazoo Racing branding, after Toyota knighted Gazoo as the automaker's performance arm last year. According to Auto Express, the Supra will come in four trims: Supra, Supra GR, Supra GR Sport, and Supra GRMN (GRMN stands for Gazoo Racing tuned by Meisters of the Nürburgring). The report says a "significant gap in performance and price" and different suspension tunes are likely from bottom to top.
Last year, a leaked document made Supra watchers suspect three BMW-derived engines would serve the four-trim Supra range: the BMW 20i, 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder; the more powerful BMW 30i, 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder; and the BMW 40i, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder. Commenters suspected that only the two most powerful engines would come to the U.S.
Gazoo Racing is the motorsports organization that runs Toyota's Le Mans, World Rally Championship and Super GT teams. All of these were brought under one umbrella back in 2015, and since then Gazoo Racing has been increasing its influence and foothold within the Japanese automaker. Just a couple of months ago, Toyota announced it was launching a GR sub brand in Japan. At next year's Tokyo Auto Salon, the japanese automaker is set to reveal the GR Super Sport Concept.
The sole teaser image shows the outline of a sleek, closed cockpit racer that looks heavily influenced by Toyota's Le Mans prototype cars. Despite that, Toyota says the GR Super Sport Concept follows and is influenced by Toyota Gazoo Racing's rally efforts in the WRC. That makes it Toyota's second car in a year to trace a direct lineage to rally, after a 210-horsepower version of the Yaris hatchback.
Toyota’s recently announced Gazoo Racing (GR) model series is set to include a dedicated sports car platform, apart from beefed-up versions of the regular models.
So far, the GR series is a Japan-only affair but Toyota will soon expand its availability to other regions as well, including Europe but not North America. The company’s executives decided that Gazoo-tuned models destined for North America will be offered under the already established TRD (Toyota Racing Development) brand, AutoNews reports.
With the launch of the Yaris GRMN, Toyota's showing that it's getting serious – dead serious – about creating performance versions of some of its mainstream models. But that's not the end of it. In fact, as this latest announcement goes to show, it's just the beginning.
The Japanese automaker is aligning its performance offerings in a new hierarchy that's already yielding new performance models – in Japan at least, and soon for other markets as well.