Toyota’s upcoming hypercar has made its first public appearance this weekend with the radically-designed GR Super Sport previewed at the Le Mans 24 Hours race on Saturday.
The limited edition vehicle, which is based on the Japanese maker’s LMP1 endurance racer, will go up against the Mercedes-AMG’ ‘One’ hypercar, which is also race-derived with its engine taken directly from the Formula One project.
No date has been confirmed for the souped-up Toyota’s arrival, but it has been reported it will be unveiled in 2023.
Hypercar debut: Toyota showcased its Gazoo Racing Super Sport hypercar mule at the Le Mans 24 Hours event this weekend
The GR (short for Gazoo Racing, which is the competition arm of Toyota) Super Sport concept was first showcased at the Tokyo Auto Salon motor show in 2018.
The debut of the pre-production model has been two years in the making, appearing at the Circuit de la Sarthe, where the legendary 24-hours race took place on Saturday and Sunday – with Toyota taking victory.
The road-going model will share design, proportions and components with the TS050 racing machine that took the chequered flag, using a similar 2.4-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol-hybrid powertrain as the endurance competition car.
Drive is sent to the rear wheels using a combination of the internal combustion engine and a supplementary electric power, while another two electric motors will power the front wheels.
The road car is expected to arrive before the end of 2023 and is broadly based on the endurance racer that won the famous Le Mans 24 Hours event over the weekend
Like the racer, the road-legal hypercar will feature a 2.4-litre V6 petrol engine and THREE electric motors, which combined can produce up to 1,400bhp
One of the electric motors supplements the internal combustion engine when sending power to the rear wheels, while the two remaining send drive to each of the front wheels
The Toyota GR Super Sport concept was first shown in Tokyo in 2018. The test mule used to circulate the Le Mans track has stayed true to this design, though the high-mounted exhaust outlets have now been shifted to the lower section of the car
The maximum power output of this setup is a staggering 1,400bhp, though it is unclear if this will be available for the road-going car, which could be restricted to 750bhp, as rules stipulate for the Le Mans race cars.
Toyota has previously promised a top speed in excess of 205mph.
The sequential gearbox is also likely going to be shared with the race car, though there will be modifications made to the suspension and chassis to ensure the vehicle is drivable on public streets.
In a statement released when the concept was unveiled in Tokyo, the brand stated: ‘With its high-efficiency EV system and lean-burn engine, this next generation super sports car is engineered to deliver both exceptional power and environmental performance.’
The pre-production car completed a parade lap of the iconic Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday, before the 24-hour race started
The design shows that the car is likely to have a targa-top roof section that can be removed and an aggressive top air intake
The proportions will closely mirror those of the TS050 LMP1 race car and the two will share parts, including a sequential gearbox
Takio Toyoda Team Chairman (far left) and drivers (left to right) Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland, Kazuki Nakajima of Japan and Brendon Hartley of New Zealand celebrate in front of their Toyota TS050 Hybrid race-winning car at the Le Mans 24 Hours race in Le Mans. The road-going Super Sport will be inspired by this very machine
While heavily camouflaged in a wrap that purposely hides a vehicle’s indents and shapes, the pre-production example is very much along the lines of the all-white concept revealed in Japan months earlier.
While the concept machine had a enclosed cabin, like the endurance racers have, the road car version has an open targa-top and showcases a more aggressive roof scoop.
Aerodynamic additions have clearly taken inspiration from the successful race car, though some modifications have been made for road use.
For instance, the race car’s top-mounted exhaust outlets are moved lower into the rear diffuser and the front splitter for the road car is slightly higher, likely so it can ride over speed bumps.
Speaking on the Super Sport’s pre-production debut, Toyota said: ‘The GR Super Sport epitomises Toyota Gazoo Racing’s commitment to use motorsport to make ever-better road cars for the enjoyment of customers, and it symbolises the ever-closer relationship between Toyota Gazoo Racing race and road car products.’
Toyota says the car it ‘symbolises the ever-closer relationship between Toyota Gazoo Racing race and road car products’
Former F1 racer and two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Alex Wurtz drove the car during the parade lap on Saturday
Aerodynamic additions have clearly taken inspiration from the successful race car, though some modifications have been made for road use. This includes more ground clearance with a raised front splitter
Former F1 driver and two-time Le Mans winner – now Toyota test driver – Alex Wurz drove the car on its parade lap on Saturday.
He said: ‘It was an honour to drive this development version of the GR Super Sport for the first time in public, and especially at a circuit like Le Mans which is so closely connected to this car.
‘The GR Super Sport was born at Le Mans so this felt like a homecoming. This was my first time to drive the car, so a demonstration lap doesn’t allow me to push the limits but I could already feel that the GR Super Sport has the potential for incredible performance.
‘I could feel the similarities between the GR Super Sport and the TS050 Hybrid in terms of performance, particularly the four-wheel drive and the hybrid system. But the engineers tell me this was only a small taste of the GR Super Sport’s true performance so I am super excited to drive it again one day in the near future.’
Toyota has remained tight-lipped about the hypercar for the last two years, with no suggestion of asking price or arrival date
Mercedes’ F1 car for the road: The German manufacturer said the £2.4million One hypercar is currently undergoing final tests before the full-production version is unveiled last this year
The Aston Martin Valkyrie has been co-developed with the Formula One Red Bull Racing team and is expected to cost between £2million and £3million
Naturally, comparisons will be made between the Toyota Super Sport and Mercedes-AMG’s F1-engined One hypercar and the forthcoming Aston Martin Valkyrie, which has been co-developed by the British brand and the Red Bull Racing Formula One team.
Each are estimated to cost £2.4million and up to £3million respectively, though no price has yet been hinted for the Toyota rival.
The Japanese firm has yet to announce an official launch date for the GR Super Sport. However, World Endurance Championship rules require all ‘homologated’ cars – which donates the road-going versions a racer is based on – to be built within two years of the competition machine lining up on the grid.
This means a road-going car would need to be on sale by 2023 to meet the regulations.