Toyota unveils new GR GT3 Concept at Tokyo Auto Salon
The prototype GT3 racer forms part of Toyota’s “driver-first” business model – and we could soon see a version of it on the public roads
Toyota had a packed show stand at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, launching everything from a new GR Sport trim-level for the bZ4X electric SUV to a more focused version of the GR Yaris. And, sitting off to the side of the company’s road cars was this – the GR GT3 Concept.
The GR GT3 Concept racer was designed to compete in the entry-level class of racing series such as the Australian GT Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours. However, the class rules stipulate that GT3 racers must be based on production cars.
Toyota has that covered, though, because it says the GT3 Concept falls under the same business model as the GR Yaris. The brand says it will “commercialise its motorsports cars, rather than simply adapting production vehicles for use in motorsports.”
So, the GR Yaris was designed for rallying – and it spawned a production variant to meet the homologation rules of the racing series. The same strategy is expected of the GR GT3, with a road-going model following closely behind the racer.
We have yet to receive any information about what’s powering the GR GT3 Concept. All we know is that it’s some form of combustion engine, as hinted by the exhaust poking out of the side skirt, just behind the front wheel. Given the length of that bonnet, we also expect the engine has been pushed as far back in the chassis as possible, for better weight distribution.
It’s possible that Toyota called on BMW for the more powerful Competition version of the turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine found in the Supra. In the M3 Competition, the unit develops 503bhp and 650Nm of torque, which just squeaks above the 500bhp minimum figure required to be eligible for the GT3 class.
However, sticking with that figure would make the GR GT3 Concept one of the slowest cars on the grid, so Toyota is likely to have fitted a few performance parts and a new tune for the ECU to push the engine’s output up to a more reasonable 580bhp, and allow the racer to keep pace with the likes of the Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO and the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO.
Either way, the Toyota GR GT3 Concept certainly looks the part. There’s an aggressive aero package, with a low front splitter with dive planes, an enormous rear wing and vents above the front wheels to expel turbulent air from inside the wheelarches.
Toyota’s usual five-lug wheels have been shunned in favour of centre-locking replacements, for quicker pit-stops – and they’re shod in grippy Bridgestone Potenza racing tyres. Hiding behind the alloys, there’s also a set of grooved brake discs and racing calipers.
Inside, we expect the car to have all the usual GT3 mod-cons, such as an FIA-approved racing seat and harness set-up, a full roll-cage, next to no interior trim and a steering wheel with more buttons on it than an Xbox controller.
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