Geneva Motor Show - A new generation Supra was one of the most anticipated cars at this week's show, and though it didn’t unveil the production version Toyota teased a racing prototype.
The Japanese automaker got back into the rear-wheel drive sports car league with the 86 back in 2012, and now the more powerful Supra represents the next step. The GR Supra Racing Concept revives the name and spirit of the most celebrated model in Toyota’s sportscar heritage and confirms Toyota’s commitment to bringing a roadgoing Supra back to the market next year.
Developed jointly with BMW, the roadgoing Supra coupe will be built alongside the next-generation Z4 on a common rear-wheel drive platform.
The GR Supra Racing Concept revives the heritage of one of Toyota’s most famous sports cars, which built a reputation both as a formidable performer on the road and as a successful machine on the racetrack, dominating Japan’s top-level GT racing series.
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The Toyota Supra still enjoys an iconic status among sports car aficionados, 16 years on from the end of production. Its enduring popularity has been helped by its success as a popular model in the Gran Turismo driving simulator on PlayStation consoles, and as a starring car in the first film in The Fast and the Furious movie series.
The Supra badge first appeared in 1978 on a larger and more powerful version of the second generation Celica before becoming established as a successful model in its own right. Known as the A40, the original Supra was followed by three further generations: the A60 in 1981, A70 in 1986 and A80 in 1993.
The front engine/rear-wheel drive GT sportscar remained in production until 2002, and in its final generation it was Toyota’s most powerful production model.
The Supra’s reputation was greatly enhanced by its success in motorsport. Most notably, the fourth generation Supra, introduced in 1993, became the dominant force in the All-Japan GT racing – today’s Super GT series – winning the GT500 class four times.
The Supra also competed in American IMSA sportscar racing in the 1980s and twice appeared at Le Mans in the 1990s.
The GR Supra Racing Concept is a compact, two-door coupe with a front-engine/rear-wheel drive configuration and employs advanced lightweight materials in its construction.
Created by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division, the car gives us a good glimpse at what the production version will look like even through all those busy motorsport-derived accessories and decals.
The racing plumage includes a massive rear wing, wide front and rear bumpers, front splitter and rear diffuser, and side skirts – all of which are made from lightweight composite material, as is the bonnet which features louvered air inlets.
The concept’s chassis features lowered front and rear suspension, BBS racing wheels with centre-nut attachment and Michelin racing tyres. The braking system uses Brembo Racing callipers and discs and there is a racing exhaust.
The cabin is entirely competition-focused and is fitted with a racing dashboard and OMP driver’s seat and safety harness. OMP has also supplied the quick-release steering wheel, mounted on a racing column and equipped with a paddle shift system. The doors are lined with carbon fibre panels and the dashboard includes a racing display.
Competition safety requirements are met by a full roll cage and fire extinguishers.
The large “90” race number on the doors is a historical reference to Supra’s codename and a big visual clue to the fact that this concept heralds Supra’s return in a fifth generation.
Toyota doesn’t reveal what’s under the bonnet but it’s rumoured to be BMW’s 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol straight-six with 240kW on tap. It’s said to be paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and be good for a 0-100km/h time in around four seconds.
The GR Supra Racing Concept is to be featured in a new update of the Gran Turismo Sport video game, scheduled for release in April 2018.
The roadgoing Supra is expected to go on sale in South Africa in the first half of next year.