After years of spy pictures, concepts and teasers, Toyota has confirmed the return of the Supra nameplate with the unveiling of its new racing concept at the Geneva motor show.
The Supra shares underpinnings and powertrains with the upcoming new BMW Z4, allowing the two companies to split the cost of engineering and validation. This collaboration has allowed both companies to develop sports cars which, in normal circumstances, mightn’t have been financially viable.
The motorsport-inspired Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept is clearly not an exact representation of the production model, but it represents a strong indication of how the new rear-drive, front-engined sports car will look.
Toyota says the Supra will be a performance car for road and track, suggesting its BMW-derived engine lineup – which will likely include four and six-cylinder turbo options – will produce enough grunt to exploit the chassis underneath.
The large “90” number on the concept’s doors is Toyota’s way of marking this the fifth-generation Supra, following the A40, A60, A70 and A80 model lines produced between 1978 and 2002.
Confirmation of the Supra is great news for Toyota Australia, which has seen local success with the 86.
Local vice-president for sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, highlighted Toyota’s recent push to more closely link its racing and road-car programs.
“Revealing a racing concept ahead of a production model highlights that motorsport is Toyota’s proving ground of choice for high-performance vehicles,” Hanley said.
“The GR Supra Racing Concept makes it clear Toyota is developing the Supra to be a true driver’s car.”
“Supra is one of the most beloved Toyota cars of all time and its nameplate continues to command enormous respect,” he continued.
“There has been huge public interest in a modern revival of the Supra legend, and this concept points to a sports car deserving of the famous name.”
How much of this track-ready Supra will make it to production remains to be seen. Regardless, the concept carries a focus on lightweight design, running with a plastic windscreen and plastic mirrors, along with carbon-fibre doors and composite bumpers.
The bonnet, front splitter, rear diffuser, side skirts, mirror housings and the large rear wing are also composite.
The car pictured here rides on centre-locking BBS wheels, wrapped in Michelin racing tyres. There are Brembo brakes hiding behind, also developed with a focus on racing. There’s also a race exhaust summing up the cars appeal.
Inside, a full roll cage, OMP racing dashboard and race seats accentuate the car’s purpose. There’s no need to worry about airbags or steering wheel volume controls, as Toyota has fitted a quick-release wheel, with paddle shifters poking out the sides.
The concept is the product of Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s motorsport organisation and the brains behind performance-focused GR-branded cars.
Toyota won’t confirm an exact release date for the road-going Supra, it says the last car previewed with a GR concept – the C-HR Racing concept, in Geneva 2016 – arrived in showrooms almost exactly a year after its show-car debut.
That suggests we have around 12 months to wait before the Supra starts showing up alongside Camrys, Corollas and C-HRs.
Toyota Australia will accept the car with great enthusiasm when it becomes available to our market.