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

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.

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2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black series Lead 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series aims squarely at 911 GT2 RS

Mercedes-AMG has debuted their most track-focused car ever. Based on the svelte GT Coupe, the GT Black Series is aimed squarely at Weissach’s most potent offering, the track-honed 911 GT2 RS.

Just like the Black Series cars gone before, it’s obvious the GT is fast, even when the car is standing still. The aero package is wild – a towering rear wing and a bonnet that looks like it’s had a run-in with an axe murderer mean you won’t miss the GT Black Series on the road.

Unbelievably, the bulging, sinuous exterior of the Black Series makes the recently-confirmed-for-Australia GT R Pro appear remarkably tame.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black series Rear 3/4
The Black Series is basically a GT3 car for the road.

And there’s no need to worry, the added power is there to back up the car’s loony exterior. Although the twin-turbo four-litre V8 is based on the 430kW/700Nm GT R, Affalterbach has weaved some magic for the more potent Black Series.

In fact, the Black Series gets its own engine code as the changes are so severe. They include a flat-plane crank, new camshafts and redesigned exhaust manifold, larger turbine-wheels for the turbochargers, and GT3-car derived dry-sump lubrication. This all adds up to prodigious outputs of 537kW and 800Nm. Serious business.

Those power numbers might eclipse Porsche’s 991 GT2 RS’ 512kW and 750Nm, though historically we’ve seen the rear-engined monsters from Weissach perform better on the racetrack – though we’ll have to wait for the Nurburgring time, we imagine it will happen.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black series Motor
The Black Series’ V8 produces 107kW more than the GT R.

Straight-line performance isn’t as blistering as you might expect, though, with the standard-sprint taking 3.2 seconds – the same as a chunkier AMG GT 4-door – though 200km/h arrives in under 9 seconds and the Black Series will soldier onto a top speed of 325km/h. Impressive, given the aero addenda.

There are nine traction control settings – a familiar quirk to those who’ve experienced contemporary AMG products like the AMG C63 S – though the Black Series naturally gets a bespoke tune for optimal lap times.

“Form follows function”, says Mercedes, and at the front end, the Black Series moves to one single radiator inlet, instead of the three vents of the GT Coupe to optimise aerodynamics and cooling.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black series TC
Nine-stage traction control, more Racecar tech.

There’s also an adjustable carbon front splitter which can be trimmed to a ‘street’ or ‘race’ setting. The latter significantly increases front downforce as speed climbs to keep the front-end nailed to the blacktop.

And while those slats in the bonnet might look a little Fast and the Furious, engineers claim they optimise the flow of hot air escaping from the engine bay. Clearly, there are bright people at AMG – but, basically, they serve to increase the effectiveness of the rear wing by increasing downforce and reducing drag.

That huge rear-wing is mechanically adjustable between two settings to suit the front downforce trim, while the upper flap is active. It lays flat during heavy acceleration while acting as an airbrake to aid retardation, tech that was first seen on the futuristic Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black series Wing
The aero is functional, adding 400kg of downforce at 250km/h.

Dependent on driver mode, the flap will act differently, though it can be operated independently by a button in the cockpit. Including the new flat-floor and diffuser, AMG claims a total of 400kg of downforce at 250km/h for the GT Black Series.

Much of the aero addenda is carbon fibre – so are the bonnet, roof, boot, transmission mounts, and anti-roll bars to save weight. Additionally, the flat carbon-fibre floor-panel provides a more solid mounting for suspension components, providing crisper responses.

Race Car-derived spherical bearings are used instead of bushes, and the AMG adjustable coil-over suspension is adaptive and reacts to road conditions and driver input, and, for example, the system can off-set brake-dive by increasing damping pressure.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black series Front
There’s a lot of special stuff underneath the Black Series’ skin.

There is also camber adjustment on the front axle – a must for track driving and something often overlooked by less serious track specials.

The suspension boasts three adaptive settings, comfort and sport modes are optimised for road-use, while sport plus for racetrack use. AMG says the system will optimise itself on the fly, so even bumpier tracks like the Nurburgring Nordschleife or Wakefield Park should be driven in sport plus.

Even the tyres are specially designed for the GT R Black Series, french manufacturer Michelin developed their stickiest Cup 2 MO tyres – 285/35 19 at the front, 335/35 20 at the rear – to suit the car perfectly. There will be two compounds available with the softer best for cold climes, and the harder optimised for heavy track-use in warmer weather.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black series Cockpit
Topped off with an Alcantara-wrapped wheel with easy-to-reach controls.

As for the interior, well, it’s once again a place of business. AMG offers orange highlights for the cockpit, and the familiar multi-function steering wheel boasts straight-forward vehicle adjustments and is wrapped in Alcantara for maximum control on the track.

Additionally, a track package will be available that include a four-point roll cage, harnesses, bucket seats, and a fire extinguisher. Sparse numbers of the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series should land in Australia by early 2021, with pricing to be confirmed closer to arrival.

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2020 Audi R8 V10 performance quattro 2020 Audi R8 pricing and specification: sharper, faster, comfier

After revealing a facelift for the R8 supercar back in 2018, Audi has finally announced the car’s return to the Australian market, along with detailed pricing and specification.

Starting from $295,000 (driveaway pricing TBA), the updated R8 will arrive in dealerships by the 24th of July.

The supercar retains its most essential credentials – that 5.2-litre V10, mid-ship layout and all-wheel-drive – with the overall appearance sharpened, and general equipment levels increased for the 2020 R8.

2020 Audi R8 V10 RWD
The R8 V10 RWD Coupe, we like.

It’s a natural progression, and with the addition of a permanent rear-wheel-drive option for the R8 makes it a more compelling proposition for those cross-shopping the Porsche 911, BMW M8 Competition and Mercedes-AMG GT.

For 2020 the powertrain is unchanged, the naturally-aspirated 5.2-litre V10 will kick out 397kW and 540Nm in the V10 RWD variant. In the all-wheel-drive form, outputs climb to 449kW and 560Nm, where the Quattro system provides better traction. 

However all R8s use motorsport-derived technology like dry sump oil lubrication, preventing oil pressure surge, and allowing the engine to sit lower in the R8’s sleek shell.

R8 V10 performance quattro.
The V10 Performance Quattro gets a fixed rear-wing.

Outside the R8 has been treated to a nip-and-tuck; the three openings between bonnet and bumpers hark back to Group B days while the laser lights look crisper than ever before. Directly referencing the R8’s family lineage are the contrasting grey ‘blades’ on either side of the supercar.

While the RWD variants retain a more sophisticated exterior in line with the classic usable supercar, the V10 Performance Coupe gets a larger, fixed rear wing and rolls on lightweight milled wheels to reduce unsprung mass.

Offsetting the added weight of the all-wheel-drive system was a concern for Audi engineers. Keeping the two available coupes weighing the same 1,595kg, among other things, is an all-new carbon fibre reinforced plastic front sway-bar.

2020 Audi R8 V10 RWD Interior
Quite opulent for a supercar, we reckon.

While performance may be the headline grabbers, the R8 was always touted as an everyday rival to the Porsche 911, and the 2020 R8 gets more creature comforts to reinforce its famous usability.

As Audi Australia managing director, Paul Sansom put it: “The R8’s strength has always been its all-round versatility to adapt to its surroundings: on the racetrack, on sweeping country roads, or in everyday urban traffic”.

For $295,000 (driveaway pricing TBA) the R8 RWD Coupe and $316,500 (driveaway pricing TBA) Spyder get standard Nappa leather-upholstered heated seats, stainless steel pedals, MMI touchscreens, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, and red eight-piston brake callipers up front.

2020 Audi R8 V10 performance quattro Interior
While the V10 Performance Quattro gets carbon inlays and bucket seats.

Adding to the performance-focussed aesthetic on the $395,000 (driveaway pricing TBA) V10 Performance Coupe and $416,500 (driveaway pricing TBA) Spyder is a carbon trim package including interior inlays and signature blades. There’s also a pair of carbon-fibre bucket seats, and standard fit ceramic brakes touted to save 11kg.

Naturally, opting for the convertible option adds weight, though Audi claims mere 44kg. The convertible Spyder allows drivers to revel in the V10 warble; the roof can be raised or lowered in 20 seconds at up to 50km/h.

For 2020 the Audi R8 is definitely sharper looking and shaping up to be a better drive, too. At Chasing Cars we’re most looking forward to testing the “entry-level” R8 RWD Coupe when Audi’s supercar arrives on the 24th of July.

2020 Audi R8 V10 RWD
This might just be the ultimate daily supercar.
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2021 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro - 3 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro is fitter, faster and coming to Australia

From a global production run of 750 examples, Mercedes Australia has secured 15 units of the most focussed, track-honed AMG ever, the GT R Pro. Customer cars will be arriving in September and carry a sticker price of $452,900 (driveaway pricing TBA).

Naturally, the GT R Pro sees a host of upgrades to increase grip, feedback and driver enjoyment. Think of this as Mercedes-AMG’s answer to the proven Porsche 911 GT3 RS Recipe.

As you might expect, the GT R Pro was honed on Germany’s own Nurburgring Nordschleife where it completed a lap in just seven minutes and four seconds. Impressive, and according to the AMG besting the cooking GT R by some six seconds.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro - 4
The GT R Pro sure looks good fanging around Hockenheim.

In true AMG fashion, this brute sports a potent twin-turbocharged four-litre V8 with outputs of 430kW and 700Nm nestled under the bonnet. While the power figure comes in at 6,250 RPM, that lump of torque is on tap between 2,100-5,500RPM.

Incidentally, those figures are identical to the regular GT R Coupe, with Mercedes-AMG focussing on weight-loss and suspension tuning for the Pro variant.

The twin-turbo lump is similar to the one found in the AMG GT 4-Door, though that car makes an astounding 470kW and 900Nm.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro - 2
Need any more hints it’ll be quick?

Sitting behind that V8 is a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with specific tuning for the Pro, power is sent to the rear wheels where a trick limited-slip differential divvies up the kilowatts.

A set of 20-inch alloy wheels shod in Michelin’s super-sticky Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres do the job of putting that power to the road. The combination of weight-loss and sticker tyres means the GT R Pro should complete the standard sprint in 3.6 seconds.

Beneath said 20-inch wheels there’s a set of “fade-resistant” carbon-ceramic brakes optimised for track-use. 

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro - 6
Sticky tyres, a new rear diffuser and real vents. AMG means business.

Completing a lap of the Nordschleife that quickly requires more than just stickier tyres, though, and Mercedes-AMG has treated the Pro to bespoke coilover suspension which features external spring, rebound and compression adjustability to dial the car in for any track.

The front axle gets a carbon-fibre anti-roll bar where an aluminium item once sat, the rear bar is now adjustable and hollow, all in the name of saving weight.

All up, Mercedes-AMG has managed to save around 40kg from the already lithe AMG GT R. That doesn’t sound huge, but every little bit counts at this pointy end of manufacturing.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro - 1
The roof is made from carbon fibre and optimised for helmet use.

Carbon fibre is used extensively in the Pro’s body-work, and it isn’t just for show. A carbon front splitter adds downforce; there’s also a rear diffuser, lightweight bucket seats and mirrors made from the lightweight composite.

The devil is in the details – AMG engineers have optimised the GT R Pro for use with a helmet, the new carbon fibre roof shaped to accommodate the extra height. Also inside is a bolt-in roll cage and four-point safety harnesses. We’d prefer six-point items, though.

On the outside, the Pro doesn’t hide its performance credentials. Finished here in matte grey and highlighted with green decals, it looks the business. Extra care has been paid to aerodynamics, that equates to the canards, a re-profiled front valence and that massive rear diffuser.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro - 5
Carbon buckets and four-point harnesses. Don’t worry, there’s Apple CarPlay, too.

Mercedes-AMG says that GT R Pro will still be “able to be driven every day on the road”, but don’t expect to see one down at your local shopping centre any time soon. Make no mistake, this a proper evolution of the regular GT R.

The honed GT R Pro is available to order now for any track-fiends out there, with deliveries set to arrive in September this year. 

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2020 McLaren 765LT - 5 McLaren reveals 765LT with a long tail and oomph to spare

McLaren’s latest super series car, the 765LT, promises to be both vicious and exclusive. And you could be forgiven for thinking that Woking simply threw the previous 675LT name into a game of Boggle and hoped for the best.

But no, that number is courtesy of McLaren’s M840T four-litre, twin-turbo V8 that first appeared in the brand’s 720S revised to make, well 765ps – 563kW to us Australians – and 800Nm of torque.

McLaren claims this engine has roots in the beloved 90s F1 GTR Longtail featuring racecar tech including a flat-plane crankshaft which is lighter and allows a higher rev limit.

2020 McLaren 765LT - 2
Business at the back.

The 765LT will also employ a dry-sump oil system to keep the engine lubricated on the track.

Revised gear ratios arrive for the seven-speed sequential gearbox which McLaren claims to improve in-gear acceleration by 15 per cent compared to the 720S.

Performance stats are no less than respectable – 100km/h is dispatched in 2.7 seconds (identical to the 992 911 Turbo S) but the 765LT will soldier on to 200km/h in an astounding 7.2 seconds.

2020 McLaren 765LT - 4
Not the fastest way around a corner but that’s OK.

But, McLaren stands for more than straight-line statistics, and the 765LT makes some serious aerodynamic claims. By elongating the front splitter and extending the rear wing, McLaren says the 765LT will develop 25% more downforce than the 720S.

Drivers will be able to activate the rear wing with the cool-sounding Aero button in the interior and there’s a drag reduction system (DRS) lifted straight from Formula One that activates under full-throttle travelling dead-ahead.

It seems an odd thing to say about suspension set-up, but McLaren has “optimised the algorithms” for the 765LT’s hydraulically controlled suspension system with thanks to learnings from the Senna and Speedtail concept.

2020 McLaren 765LT - 6
What a profile.

Since McLaren’s first sports car, the MP4, was knocked down for chasing pure speed and control, Woking has been toiling to add driver feedback and involvement back into the 765LT.

That engagement comes partially from the flat plane crank and stiffened engine mounts but also by adding lightness. A program that has seen extensive carbon fibre use – obviously being a McLaren there’s already a carbon tub.

But chief engineer James Warmer says the team managed to nitpick 1.5 kilograms from the suspension’s helper springs, a further 1.4kg from a lightweight transmission tunnel and carbon fibre fenders that save 1.2kg.

2020 McLaren 765LT - 7
McLaren has shed 80kg from the 720S coupe.

Despite the extra 50mm of length and extra aero kit, this fastidious weight weenie-ism has saved 80kg compared to a 720S coupe for a kerb weight of 1,339kg, lighter than a Civic Type R.

The Woking philosophy certainly prioritises function over form and while the 765LT doesn’t exercise restrained beauty like Italian counterparts it’s still a striking vehicle. The extra length over the 720S has it appearing caricature-like as though it was just ripped from a Hotwheels packet.

A staggered set of 19-inch front and 20-inch of lightweight wheels add to a shape that looks like it was honed in a wind tunnel rather than in clay.

2020 McLaren 765LT - 1
No funny business in here, that’s a steering wheel meant for one thing, steering.

A spartan interior heavy in alcantara and carbon tops off the experience; one that is designed to offer maximum speed and thrills on the track.

McLaren has not detailed pricing for any market, though assume it will be out of reach of most buyers and north of $650,000 before on-road costs in Australia. A man can dream, though.

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