You’ve probably only just seen pictures of the Toyota FT-1 concept, but I’ve driven it at Laguna Seca. I’ve hit 160mph on the straight, drifted it through the corkscrew and hit a barrier head-on. Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?
From today you’ll be able to download the FT-1 as Gran Turismo 6 update and drive it from the comfort of your sofa – we had a go in a specially-designed gaming pod on the Toyota stand. The question is, did I learn anything more about how this front-engined, rear-wheel drive sports car will drive?
No, not really, but it wasn’t a completely futile exercise. The big question mark is what engine is under the transparent panel in the bonnet.
Normally you’d be able to see the technical spec when you select the car in the game, but Toyota has cunningly cut that part out. However, all the signs point towards an in-line six-cylinder.
The stretched longitudinally mounted engine cover, the howl of the engine through the speakers (as opposed to the bassier note of a V8) and the fact that the Supra – the FT-1’s spiritual predecessor – always used a six-cylinder engine seem fairly conclusive to me. As for the handling, it felt lairy and rear-wheel drive – in other words a more powerful and focused version of the GT-86.
Whether Toyota takes the leap and brings the FT-1 from virtual to reality still remains to be seen, but all the ingredients are there. It’s been in development for two years already, Akio Toyoda himself signed off the project after drive it in GT6 and Toyota has heritage in this segment that most manufacturers can only dream of.
My money’s on Toyota giving it the green light, and sooner than you might think.