Toyota used March's 2019 Geneva International Motor Show to present a Supra GT4 race car concept, but the automaker didn't say if the car was headed for production.
That changed on Thursday when Toyota announced that it will launch a GT4 race car based on its fifth-generation Supra sports car in time for the 2020 motorsport season.
Handling the development is TMG based in Cologne, Germany, the same skunk works responsible for Toyota's TS050 Hybrid LMP1 and previous Formula One cars. Also involved in the development are Akrapovic, Pirelli and Ravenol.
At the reveal of the Supra GT4 concept, Toyota said the car packed the road car's 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 engine and drew benefits from the balanced chassis and low weight. The automaker explained that the relationship between the wheelbase and wide track gave the Supra GT4 concept a "golden ratio" of 1.55, which Toyota said is ideal for stability and agility. Balance of performance adjustments across GT4 classes make these kinds of attributes key to delivering an edge to teams.
The major exterior differences between the GT4 concept and road car are the front diffuser and rear wing. Toyota developed the parts especially for the Supra GT4 concept to reduce aerodynamic drag and ensure optimal downforce on the track. The parts aren't carbon fiber as you might expect. Rather, they're made from hemp and flax as an environmentally friendly approach to racing. OZ racing wheels also replace the road car's standard wheels.
Underneath, the suspension geometry is identical to Supra road car, but the GT4 concept includes competition springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars. Beefy Brembo brakes ensure the GT4 concept bites when the driver needs it most on the track. The engine has upgrades, too. A new ECU increases power by an undisclosed amount, and the car gets motorsport-specific driveshafts and a limited-slip differential. Most of these upgrades should feature on the production Supra GT4, too.
Toyota Supra GT4 race car concept
The GT4 category is popular with private race teams around the world due to its low cost and ease of entry. GT4 cars are eligible to participate in a variety of races across the globe, including the Super Taikyu Series in Japan, the GT4 European Series and the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring in Europe, and the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series in the United States.
Although the new Supra is only just hitting the market, versions are already competing on the race track. For example, the Supra already participates in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in North America and, from 2020, is scheduled to compete in Japan's Super GT touring car series. Unfortunately, we won't see the Supra enter the highly competitive GTE class of the World Endurance Championship, as Toyota has stated that the car doesn't meet the requirements.
Full specifications on the Supra GT4, including the sales price, will be announced later this year.