Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division has revealed its next move in the world of motorsport, with the GR ‘GT3’ targeted at customer racing in the World Endurance Championship
The Gazoo Racing GT3 is a bespoke racing car developed by Toyota’s GR performance arm for customer racers to take on the long-standing GT racing names of Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz.
Toyota Gazoo Racing is showing a static GT3 prototype at Tokyo Autosalon alongside the Yaris GRMN, though according to GR brand president Koji Sato, there will be a functional “pilot model” testing before the end of 2022.
Development will continue with learnings from the GR Yaris, Akio Toyoda only handing Sato-san one directive for the GT3: “to develop a car that can win races”.
Motor racing equates to prestige – and as Toyota has found with the GR Yaris hot hatch, it can also sell cars. The old adage of win on Sunday, sell on monday seems to apply for the GR Yaris, with 6-12 month wait times reported for that car.
The GR GT3 race car will sit a rung below the GR010 hypercar in Toyota’s homologation hierarchy and allow the Japanese carmaker to compete in another category at future endurance race events while selling customer racing packages like Porsche.
To qualify for existing GT3 regulations, manufacturers are required to base their race cars on “existing mass production models”, meaning that the Gazoo Racing GT3 will need to have a road car spinoff to race in the global GT3 series.
In concept form, the GR GT3’s styling, ethos and proportions could carry into future Toyota sports cars just as the 2014 FT-1 concept did into the Supra coupe.
Toyota has not confirmed engine details for the GT3, but the free class regulations mean any configuration from inline four-cylinder to V12 is possible as long as the power output falls between 385-450kW (500-600 hp).
Most manufacturers settle on a petrol V8, including the Mercedes-AMG GT, McLaren 650S and BMW M8 GT3 cars. Porsche has unsurprisingly retained its flat-six layout in the GT3 R, so really Toyota could go in any direction for the GR GT3.
The reason for the GR GT3’s lengthy bonnet is to push the engine behind the front axle for optimal weight distribution, a feature that the Supra-Z4 twins get close to, though with a car developed specifically for racing it can be pushed further.
As can the aerodynamic efficiencies, the most obvious feature of the GR GT3 is that monstrous rear wing that pokes its head above the roof line, jutting rear diffuser and the dramatic vents on the front fenders.
Toyota didn’t provide comment on this, though the Supra is used in production-based GT4 class in endurance racing, as class head Supra engineer Tetsuya Tada is familiar with after competing in the 2019 24 hours of Nurburgring against a host of challengers including Porsche Cayman GT4s.
The Supra also features as a race car in the Japanese Super GT series, though in the GT500 class it bears little mechanical similarity to the road car with its 485kW 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine and tube-frame chassis.
Like Mercedes-AMG did with the GT coupe supercar, the Gazoo Racing GT3 concept will provide a perfect base for Toyota’s racing engineers to develop a GT3 race car based on consistent regulations to compete with Ferraris, McLarens and Porsches across the globe.
There are also GR Sport spinoffs in the case of the C-HR small SUV, and more products on the way including an all-paw GR Corolla and Nurburgring-honed GR Yaris GRMN. This growth means a halo supercar to homologate this GT3 race car may very well emerge from Toyota in the future.
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