Sports Cars

Toyota's GR Super Sport Concept is a racecar with street ambitions

Based on its TS050 WEC hybrid racer, Toyota may actually build a supercar for the streets that looks a lot like this.

Toyota

Outside of occasionally letting its freak flag fly with green cars like the Prius and Mirai, Toyota is generally regarded as a pretty straight-laced automaker. But company president Akio Toyoda has been on a much-publicized quest to infuse the company's products with passion and driving engagement, and you can't get much more passionate and engaged than this GR Super Sport Concept, which was just unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

Developed by Toyota's Gazoo Racing arm, the GR Super Sport Concept is based heavily on the company's TS050 racecar that competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship series. Powered by a lean-burn, 2.4-liter twin-turbo V6 engine backed by a hybrid system, total drivetrain horsepower is quoted as 986 horsepower, the same as in the company's endurance racer. 

Presuming the power split between the engine and electric motors is the same as in the racecar, electric motors account for about 493 of those horses, and power is routed through a six-speed sequential gearbox.

The GR Super Sport Concept's hybrid electric drivetrain packs nearly 1,000 horsepower.

Toyota

Strip away the carbon-fiber bodywork (which is arguably better-looking than that of the TS050), and the GR Super Sport Concept is just as pretty -- at least if you're an engineer or a motorsports buff. Peeling away the car's skin fully reveals the pushrod-style front and rear double wishbone suspension, tidy cockpit and massive 18x13-inch wheels.

As part of Akio Toyoda's drive to imbue Toyota with more spirit, the company has been pushing to develop its Gazoo Racing performance division into a global brand, complete with sporty GR-monikered versions of Toyota models that are said to be headed to the US. In fact, rumors persist that the upcoming Supra sports car revival will wear some sort of Gazoo Racing badge.

Either way, Toyota sounds quite serious about turning the GR Super Sport Concept into a production car. It's been racing at Le Mans with hybrids for five years, and as Gazoo president Shigeki Tomoyama said at the car's unveiling, "...this is the starting point for Toyota's completely new challenge to develop sports cars from active race cars." He continued: "We are currently running this bare chassis and making various enhancements, with the aim of developing a sports car that will more directly convey the TS050's appeal while offering easier handling."

As Tomoyama notes, "The purpose is not just to win races, but to contribute to developing world-leading hybrid technology and EV systems." So even if you never get the chance to lament that you can't afford to park a GR Super Sport production car in your garage, your next Toyota may just have a little bit of its technology inside.