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2021 Toyota Gazoo Racing Super Sport goes public at Le Mans 24 Hours

5 months ago

Toyota’s first road-going hypercar since the very limited TS020 GT-One  – called the GR Super Sport – has broken cover at the Le Mans 24 Hour race which took place this weekend, nearly three months behind schedule due to the global pandemic.

In a stunning display of dominance, Gazoo Racing stomped to both class and overall victory in TS050 hybrid race car, also marking the third year in a row the Japanese brand has achieved this feat.

It is the race car that inspired this road-going hypercar that first emerged on the hallowed grounds. But, like the GR Yaris, the GR Super Sport can trace its roots back to the fiery heat of competition.

2021 Toyota Gazoo Racing Super Sports Front
Familiar Gazoo Racing camouflage, worn only by the most special vehicles

That’s because, from the 2021 season, the rules will change for Le Mans and endurance racing. Since the introduction of the Le Mans Prototype rules, the top-flight race cars have had less and less to do with road counterparts.

Although that doesn’t mean there’s been no outward inspiration from the far-flung Prototypes in that time, Audi’s success with the R8 race car spawned the eponymous supercar, and we can’t forget the Porsche 918 tie-in.

Still, the new rules will usher in a much wider raft of competitors, including this GR Super Sport. But there are more like the Aston Martin Valkyrie, with other competitors like Alpine and Peugeot’s entries yet to be revealed. 

2021 Toyota Gazoo Racing Super Sports Skrraaaat
Toyota needs the GR Super Sport to stay competitive.

Appearing for the first time in real life in the now quite recognisable Gazoo Racing camouflage first seen on the GR Supra, we can get an idea of the sort of customisation that may be available.

The Targa style roof suggests that there may be a mix of GR Super Sports offered, including the more track-focused fixed-roof variant previewed in the initial Super Sport concept.

That 2018 concept suggests a pretty impressive powertrain, combining a twin-turbo 2.4-litre V6 with a hybrid system for claimed outputs of 735kW. The road-going version will likely take advantage of the TS050 race car’s drivetrain layout.

2021 Toyota Gazoo Racing Super Sports Side
Hybrid and all-wheel-drive, just like a RAV4 only spicy.

You could think of it as a reverse RAV4 hybrid just really, really, really fast. The petrol-electric hybrid powertrain sends most of the power to the rear wheels, which makes sense with the mid-engined layout. But an electric motor can be fitted to the front axle.

In the technical regulations of the race series, the front motor’s outputs are limited to 200kW; not necessarily the case for the road-going version.

As for what we think of the looks, there’s a saying in design that functionality brings beauty, and we believe that’s the case here. Toyota’s hypercar really does look like a racing car for the road. It’s hard to see the detailing under that camouflage pattern, but this is a vehicle that will sell on performance alone.

2021 Toyota Gazoo Racing Super Sports Skrrt
The road going car is still a way off, though.

Although no production date of the road car has been confirmed, we will see the racing version of the GR Super Sport debut for the start of 2021 endurance series. 

Encouragingly, Gazoo Racing factory driver Alex Würz said of the GR Super Sport “I could feel the similarities between the GR Super Sport and the TS050 Hybrid in terms of performance, particularly the four-wheel drive and the hybrid system”.

It might be out of reach for most, but it’s so encouraging to see a brand such as Toyota – certainly under its Gazoo Racing name – making exciting vehicles.