Toyota readies fast-car onslaught - 2021 Toyota GR Super Sport

Toyota readies fast-car onslaught - 2021 Toyota GR Super Sport

In a year of unexpected headlines, perhaps the most surprising is ‘Toyota hypercar nears production’.


A 1000HP LE MANS-INSPIRED ROAD CAR HERALDS A NEW ERA OF PERFORMANCE FOR THE MOST POPULAR CAR MAKER IN THE COUNTRY

Yep, Australia’s favourite car brand will soon have a model capable of shaming McLarens at your next track day. Dubbed the GR Super Sport, what you see above is a pre-production version of Toyota’s planned hypercar. Which begs the question, why is a brand mostly associated with practicality and affordability building a multimillion dollar bespoke vehicle for the world’s ultra-wealthy?

2021 Toyota GR Super Sport

It all has to do with Toyota’s growing GR road car sub-brand, and a little race in France. Short for Gazoo Racing, the same name of Toyota’s factory racing efforts, GR is the Japanese giant’s answer to the likes of BMW M Division and Mercedes-AMG, and the GR Super Sport is to be its new flagship model from 2021.

The rush to put the new halo model into production stems from new rules being introduced for the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year. Gone are the LMP1 regulations, replaced by a ‘Hypercar’ or LMH class. Developed by the ACO and FIA, the new rulebook will require the top-flight racers at next year’s endurance classic to have road- going equivalents. The homologation special is back, and this time Toyota can’t wiggle out by building just a single example and claiming the fuel tank doubles as luggage storage like it did with the GT-One in 1998.

By the end of 2021 Toyota is required to have built and homologated 25 examples of its Le Mans racer, with 100 needed by the end of 2022. Ergo, the GR Super Sport’s inception. The road-going car will have to share its powertrain and front axle with the LMH version, making the GR Super Sport quite literally a race car for the road.

The test car is essentially a TS050 LMP1 racer (which means it will share the prototype’s petite dimensions, see below right) with new lights, wheels, some mirrors, and a passenger seat. Powering the Japanese hypercar is the same unit that Toyota has used to win Le Mans outright three years in a row – a twin-turbo 2.4-litre direct-injection V6 paired with an eight-megajoule hybrid system which uses lithium-ion batteries. Working together, the hybrid powertrain produces 735kW in a package weighing less than a tonne.

Importantly, Toyota no longer refers to the GR Super Sport as a concept indicating what you see before you is a pre-production test model, not a pie-in-the-sky flight of fancy. There

is scope for the GR Super Sport drivetrain to be updated as the ACO and FIA nut out the finer details of the rulebook, but Toyota has been fully committed to putting the model into production for some time now. In 2018, Toyota Gazoo Racing president Shigeki Tomoyama said the company would “develop sports cars from active race cars.”

It’s that same race-to-road mentality which will bring a glut of new GR models to Australian roads soon to join the reborn Supra (see sidebar). Some of Australia’s most popular models are about to get much faster – each inspired by racing equivalents.

Toyota won’t be retracing the misguided steps of TRD, which was sullied by cheap sticker packs in its final days. Every GR-badged car will receive significant upgrades, with everything associated with going, stopping, and turning being uprated. In short, to be worthy of the GR badge there will be serious engineering done to improve performance.

To be worthy of the GR badge there will be serious engineering done to improve the performance of each model

Toyota Australia won’t officially confirm what is in the pipeline for Oz, but has told Wheels it is eager for as many GR models as it can get its hands on. While the GR Super Sport will certainly carry a seven-figure pricetag, it heralds a new era of affordable Japanese performance for Australian car enthusiasts.

09:11
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