Ahead of the Tokyo Auto Salon later this month Toyota has put out a teaser of its upcoming GT3 race car, based on an as-yet-unseen sports car. This silhouette is too low and long to be Supra based, and too muscular to be GR 86. In profile this new race car looks a lot more like a Mercedes-AMG GT than anything currently in the Toyota lineup.
It would make sense for Toyota to jump into the GT3 racing waters, however, as pretty much every other automaker in the world is already there. Lexus has a two-car RC F GT3effort in IMSA, as well as a few running in Japan’s Super GT, but nothing specifically Toyota-branded. This new racer would see Toyota eligible for dozens of racing series all over the world, including prestigious races like the Daytona 24, Sebring 12, Nurburgring 24, Spa 24, Bathurst 12, and many others.
The great thing about GT3 regulations is that it mandates cars racing to that spec need to be road homologated sports cars. Toyota won’t need to build hundreds of thousands of these cars to receive homologation for the class, but at least some will need to be produced for the street. Even if Toyota wants to run a de facto factory effort, similar to what it does with Lexus (and competitors like Chevrolet and Acura do for their efforts), it will need to build at least some for customers to purchase and drive on the road.
There’s no telling quite yet what will power this racing machine, but it does have a very long hood, which points to a traditional front engine/rear drive setup. I’m personally hoping for something weird, like a high-revving naturally aspirated V12. The road going car could certainly be electrified to provide more environmentally friendly power output. Acura, for example, sells the NSX exclusively as a hybrid, but the GT3 homologated version is exclusively powered by burning gasoline.
Whatever the case, it’s nice to see Toyota focusing on performance driving once again. The company that once had one of the most enthusiast-friendly lineups in the world across the late 80s and early 90s seemed to have given up on performance in recent years, but it’s coming back. Hopefully this car means we’ll have three proper sports cars under the Toyota nameplate, in addition to a pair of hot hatches available globally once the Corolla GR drops. Yeah, we’re getting back to a new golden age of performance!