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Geneva show: Toyota Supra on its way

Count on it: The ‘90’ racing number on the doors of the GR Supra Racing is the codename for the fifth-generation Supra, following the A40, A60, A70 and A80 series produced from 1978 to 2002.

Gazoo Racing concept previews Toyota’s long-awaited Gen 5 Supra sportscar

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Toyota logo7 Mar 2018

By TERRY MARTIN

TOYOTA has previewed its reborn Supra sportscar with a GR Supra Racing concept unveiled at the Geneva motor show overnight.

In presenting the concept, Toyota Motor Europe president and CEO Johan Van Zyl said the long-anticipated, brand-boosting performance car – which is being developed alongside BMW’s new Z4 – would be launched “soon” but GoAuto understands that its international rollout will not take place until next year.

Toyota Australia is yet to confirm local launch timing or other specific details.

“Yes, the Supra is returning,” Dr Van Zyl said.

“This concept is a clear signal of our intention to bring back one of our most legendary sportscars to the market. This baby, developed by Toyota Gazoo Racing, is a thoroughbred designed for the racetrack – the best way of taking our ‘Supra hero’ into a new era.

“It has been made light, compact and, of course, fast. I think you will agree it looks amazing.”

Few concrete details on the production model have accompanied the concept, but the basic layout will be front-engine/rear-wheel-drive wrapped in a lightweight two-door coupe body for starters.

A roadster and other variants are anticipated down the track, and powertrain options remain the subject of speculation with various reports overseas suggesting anything from turbo-four to natural-breathing or even twin-turbo six-cylinder power motivating the new sportscar.

Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada told journalists in Geneva that the Supra would not simply be a clone of the new Z4, despite commonalities in platform and components, and was being developed to provide a high level of dynamic performance across a range of environments, from closed circuit racing to winding back roads and high-speed motorways.

The company also made a point of emphasising the use of “Toyota components” on the front and rear suspension of the concept.

The ‘90’ racing number on the door is the codename for the fifth-generation Supra, following the A40, A60, A70 and A80 series produced between 1978 and 2002, while the GR in the concept’s name refers to Gazoo Racing.

Lightweight composite materials are used across the striking bodywork, including the bonnet (complete with louvred air inlets), front and rear bumpers, front splitter and rear diffuser, side skirts, door mirror caps and the massive rear wing.

The windscreen and side windows are made from plastic and the doors are lined with carbon-fibre panels.

Other points of interest include the fitment of BBS racing wheels (with Michelin racing tyres), a high-performance braking package with Brembo Racing rotors and callipers, and a racing exhaust.

The “competition-focused” cabin has a racing dashboard and OMP-supplied driver’s seat (with safety harness) and quick-release steering wheel mounted on a racing column. The tiller also incorporates a paddle-shift system.

The competition spec also brings with it a full rollcage, fire extinguishers and specifically designed fuel and brake lines, pedal box, battery and wiring loom.

As GoAuto reported exclusively way back in August 2016, Toyota quietly laid the groundwork to resurrect the Supra name by applying for trademark protection for the moniker in June that year – the same month it lodged a similar application with the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

Toyota Australia vice-president sales and marketing Sean Hanley this week described Supra as “one of the most beloved Toyota cars of all time” and claimed that its nameplate “continues to command enormous respect”.

“There has been huge public interest in a modern revival of the Supra legend, and this concept points to a sportscar deserving of the famous name,” he said.

“Revealing a racing concept ahead of a production model highlights that motorsport is Toyota’s proving ground of choice for high-performance vehicles.

“The GR Supra Racing concept makes it clear Toyota is developing the Supra to be a true driver’s car.”

The Supra was introduced to Australia in 1983 – in third-generation guise – and Toyota says it sold 2895 Supras over the next decade.

In 1993, Supra was offered here in coupe and targa-top variants, both powered by a 174kW 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine and priced just above $70,000.

The fourth-generation version was released overseas that same year but not sold in Australia, which was amid “the recession we had to have”. Production ended in Japan in 2002.

The GR Supra Racing concept will be added to the Gran Turismo Sport video game next month, while some reports suggest the production version of the Supra will turn up at the Los Angeles auto show in November.

BMW presented a more production-oriented concept of its new Z4 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August last year.

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