Toyota is taking a leaf from the development book for its now legendary Lexus LFA supercar, planning a racing campaign for its new 2017 C-HR SUV before it makes the leap to showrooms and public roads.
The C-HR first appeared as a concept in late 2014, offering a first look at the model long anticipated to be Toyota’s rival to the Nissan Juke, a hugely popular offering in Europe. A second evolution of the C-HR appeared one year later, bringing a more production-friendly look to the concept.
Now, Toyota and its motorsport arm Gazoo Racing - a partnership made complete in April last year - have confirmed that the team will attack this year’s 24 Hours of Nurburgring race with a Lexus RC, a Lexus RC F and the C-HF SUV.
“We decided to take on the new challenge of creating ever-better cars using a crossover rather than a pure sports car,” the carmaker said in a statement this week.
“We want to accelerate the building of ever-better people and vehicles under the harsh and unique conditions of the Nürburgring, and apply these experiences to future vehicle development.”
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, a familiar sight on the track himself, said the campaign will mark 10 years of participation in the 24 Hours of Nurburgring.
"I remember Gazoo Racing first taking on the challenge of the Nürburgring in 2007 in an Altezza like it was yesterday. There are so many memories running through my mind–the interaction with the roads of the Nürburgring, whose characteristics seem to change with each shift in the weather, the meeting and parting with new and valuable friends.
“But, the one thing that remains the same is the unforgiving conditions of the circuit and the intensity of the racing. Every year, we use these conditions to hone both our team members and our cars. I have experienced this approach at first hand over the last nine years and, for me, this is the real meaning of motorsport."
"I also think that the commitment we show under these harsh conditions has a positive impression on our customers. That's why Toyota, under the banner of Toyota GAZOO Racing, will continue to take part in motorsports–to build ever-better cars, boost the number of vehicle enthusiasts, and bring a smile to the faces of our customers around the world."
The C-HR is expected to make its production debut at March’s Geneva motor show. CarAdvice will be on the ground to bring you all the news.