Toyota has big plans to put its Le Mans-winning technology on the road, coinciding with the upcoming introduction of the new top “hypercar” category in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Its Toyota Gazoo Racing subdivision introduced the GR Super Sport Concept at the Tokyo Auto Salon last year, and now the team has released a video showing the car out on the track.
The concept at the tuning trade show was simply a mockup, but the company did promise a production version at some point. So it’s good to see that development has progressed to the point that it could be put through its paces at the Fuji Speedway – in the hands of none other than Toyota president Akio Toyoda, together with Toyota Gazoo Racing boss Shigeki Tomoyama.
Even with the swirly camouflage, we can see that the show car’s race-ready design has been carried over almost unchanged, with a prominent nosecone and large front and rear fenders that house the massive wheels and tyres, plus huge vents that lead out of the front wheels. There’s also a teardrop-shaped glasshouse and a stabilising fin, leading to the sizeable rear wing.
However, we do see a number of tweaks that have already been made. One can now spot the triple hexagonal headlights, along with proper wing mirrors that replace the concept’s side-view cameras. We also get our first glimpse of the interior of the car, although it looks to be in its early stages with plenty of carbon fibre, race-spec switches and dials and a small display for the rear-view camera.
The Toyota GR Super Sport Concept was shown at the Tokyo Auto Show last year
Toyota has already confirmed that the car will share plenty of parts with the championship-winning TS050 Hybrid race car, including a 2.4 litre twin-turbocharged petrol V6 and a version of the Toyota Hybrid System-Racing (THS-R) to deliver a total system output of around 1,000 hp.
The company will be required to build at least 20 cars to conform with the WEC’s new “hypercar” regulations to be introduced in the 2020-2021 season, which Toyota already committed to on the eve of the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend. The new race cars, which will be based on road-going machinery, will feature a power output of 750 hp and weigh 1,100 kg, with an optional hybrid system not exceeding 270 hp.
There will also be restrictions on the how a four-wheel drive hybrid system is deployed to pare back the traction advantage compared to two-wheel drive entries, while a GTE-style Balance of Performance (BoP) system will also be employed to keep racing close.
Aston Martin will also be contesting with a works-prepared version of its new Valkyrie. Exciting times.