THE racing arm of Japanese car maker Toyota has been busy, very busy; developing not only a new World Rally Championship contender, but also unveiling its direction for next-generation sports cars.
The GR Super Sport Concept car was revealed at the Tokyo Auto Salon today, and has been developed by Toyota GAZOO Racing, incorporating hybrid technology from Toyota’s TS050 Hybrid race car that competes in the World Endurance Championship (WEC).
The newly revealed concept is composed of mostly the same main parts as the TS050 Hybrid, reflecting Toyota GAZOO Racing’s aim to ensure that technologies and know-how acquired in motorsport are fed back into new production vehicles.
Beneath the beautifully flowing and original form are a 735kW 2.4-litre twin-turbo V6 engine and a Toyota Hybrid System-Racing (THS-R) powertrain, which have been honed through competition racing.
With its high-efficiency electric-vehicle system and lean-burn engine, this next-generation super sports car is set to deliver ultimate power and environmental performance as part of Toyota’s plan to develop sports cars from active race cars.
“Rather than developing production cars into sports cars, we aim to work out how to incorporate the know-how developed through races and rallies into production cars,” GAZOO Racing Company president Shigeki Tomoyama said.
“Although it will be some time before you all have the opportunity to get behind the wheel, I hope that the GR Super Sport Concept will give you a taste of what we aim to achieve with our next-generation sports cars.”
Toyota’s continued participation in the WEC is seen as a highly beneficial and necessary project in terms of developing cutting-edge hybrid systems and EV systems.
Mr Tomoyama compared the GR Super Sport Concept with Toyota’s e-Palette Concept, a new shared mobility model for communities, unveiled at this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
“If the e-Palette Concept is the next generation of the horse-drawn carriage, the GR Super Sport Concept would be the polar opposite as the next-generation racehorse. Its appeal is more personal, like that of a much-loved horse to its owner.”
Meanwhile, over in the UK, Toyota GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has shown off improved cars and a revised driver line-up for its second championship season, which begins with the famed Rallye Monte Carlo on January 25-28.
The team’s turbocharged Yaris WRC cars have better aerodynamic balance and upgraded engine cooling, while the driver line-up now includes Estonia’s two-time WRC event winner Ott Tänak, who joins Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi.
Toyota’s return to world rallying saw it finish third in the manufacturer championship last year, with Latvala fourth in the drivers’ standings.
The wraps came off the new Toyota Yaris WRC cars at the Autosport International show in Birmingham, England, revealing a revised front aero package, including a new bumper and fenders, to better balance the car by increasing front down force.
The updated cooling system will be a benefit in the hotter rallies of the 13-event WRC calendar, which concludes in November with Rally Australia. The 2017 red-and-white car livery has been continued with minimal change.
Team principal Tommi Mäkinen said the team is ready to build on its pleasing first season.
“We saw last year that the Toyota Yaris WRC was already capable of winning rallies,” he said. “This was a great achievement by the team, but the competition also allowed us to discover areas where we can improve.”