The GR GT3 Concept could preview the next generation of Toyota’s race cars – and possibly the future of the company’s road-going sports cars.
Toyota’s Gazoo Racing performance division has revealed the GR GT3 Concept, a show car previewing the future of the company’s GT3 sports car racing efforts.
Specific details of the concept are few and far between for now, however the GR GT3 takes the form of a large, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive coupe, with a hardcore aerodynamics package aimed squarely at cutting lap times and winning on the race track.
Speaking at the virtual reveal of the concept at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota president Akio Toyoda confirmed the show car is not simply a concept, but rather has been developed as a functional vehicle that meets official GT3 racing regulations.
“Promoting “driver first” car development and with a desire to provide attractive cars that customers participating in GT3, which is the pinnacle of customer motorsports, would choose, [Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR)] has unveiled the GR GT3 Concept,” Toyota says in its press release.
“As was the case with the GR Yaris, by commercialising motorsports cars rather than simply adapting production vehicles for use in motorsports, TGR intends to use feedback and technologies refined through participation in various motorsports activities to develop both GT3 and mass-production cars and further promote making ever-better motorsports-bred cars.”
In order words, should the GR GT3 Concept make the trip from prototype to reality, it would be developed as a race car first, with a road-going version to follow – a reversal of the approach taken by most international manufacturers.
GT3 racing regulations mandate that at least 20 road-legal examples of the race car are produced within the first two years – hinting at a sixth generation of the Supra nameplate, should the iconic badge be affixed to the racing vehicle.
Details of the concept’s future beyond the Tokyo Auto Salon are scarce, however executives have hinted the design of the concept has been created with success in motorsport in mind.
“When we developed this car, the [GR] GT3, Morizo-san’s [Akio Toyoda’s racing name] first order was to develop a car that can win the race. That’s the only order I got from him,” Koji Sato, Toyota Gazoo Racing president, said at the concept’s reveal through a translator.
Sato and Toyoda added that much of the vehicle’s development will be conducted digitally, through virtual simulators – with the company’s racing drivers to ultimately define how the car performs and handles.
Toyota doesn’t field an entry in the GT3 racing category, though its GR Supra sports car participates in the lesser GT4 category, powered by a tuned 320kW version of the road car’s 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six engine.
While it doesn’t offer a vehicle tailored specifically to the category, GT3 cars can be entered into Japan’s Super GT300 racing class – a category into which Toyota has entered, with a more extreme, race-prepped version of the GR Supra.
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.