Toyota And Gazoo Racing Show Off The New Supra In Geneva
When it come to sports cars made in Japan, few models command such reverence as the Supra. Along with the Nissan GT-R and Mazda RX-7, the Toyota Supra and its peers defined and were idolized by a generation of enthusiasts raised on Playstation and Paul Walker. Despite riding the wave of interest in putting stickers and fiberglass bodykits on these so-called “tuner” cars—a fad that thankfully crested many years ago—there is a timeless quality to this Japanese GT icon, and it has maintained a devout following made up of everyone from quarter-mile drag racers in Texas to time attack teams hot-lapping the circuits of Japan. All this attention is well-founded of course, for the last road car to wear a Supra badge on its butt (the MkIV, produced until 2002) is still one of the most versatile platforms out there thanks in large part to its bulletproof drivetrain headed by the infamous 2JZ.
The upcoming fifth-generation of the Supra road car is finally approaching after years of teases and concepts, and though we haven’t been shown anything in production guise yet, Toyota brought out a competition-spec version of the car they’re calling the GR Supra Racing Concept to the Geneva Motor Show. The “GR” in the name refers to Toyota’s Gazoo Racing arm, and while they’re primarily recognized for their involvement with the company’s hybrid LMP1 endurance prototypes, more recently they’ve begun to include specialty street car development too—perhaps GR editions will replace TRD-branded Toyotas in the future. No word yet on whether the new Supra will be campaigned in any factory racing efforts, but the hints are pointed in the right direction, and the name does have a history as a successful GT racer in Japan and abroad so it’s likely that we’ll see these on the track as well as the street in due time.
The car shown here in the striking red, white, and black Gazoo Racing livery and fitted with all manner of canard and wing looks a lot like the FT-1 concept we were introduced to in 2014, and from more than a few angles one can see echoes of the MkIV-generation Supra in profile and when viewed from the rear, that soft arch forming the top of the trunk in particular. It’s also kept its relative’s overall proportions, with the cabin set far back on the powerful haunches harboring a set of beefy tires, and even better is the fact that it isn’t bloated and filled with nondescript planes of bodywork in place of styling.
Details on the upcoming Supra are still sparse, but it seems like it will launch with a turbocharged inline-six (likely of German origin given their partnership with BMW on this platform) in keeping with the model’s legacy that was more or less built on its inline-sixes, and we know it will be sharing the underpinnings with BMW’s upcoming Z4. It’s suspension setup will be different from its Bavarian buddy though, and with Tetsuya Tada leading the project (he was also the chief engineer on the GT86), it’s bound to be a more approachable and enjoyable experience than say a modern Nissan GT-R. It won’t be competing with that car directly though, and the lighter, less powerful rear-wheel drive Toyota will probably fall closer to the 911 in terms of performance bracket. Tada-san says the Supra will have a perfect 50:50 balance and a lower center of gravity than the GT86, but besides a few hints at the car being receptive to modifications and all but confirming the lack of manual transmission options, not much was revealed. So, we’re one step closer to the seeing the Supra return for real—what do you think about the GR Supra Racing Concept? The street car to come?