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Toyota reveals vision for next-generation sportscars

Sporty Spice: Pairing a 2.4-litre twin-turbo V6 with a Toyota Hybrid System-Racing (THS-R) powertrain, the GR Super Sport Concept develops 735kW of power.

GR Super Sport Concept packs 735kW, previews upcoming Toyota hybrid sportscars

Toyota logo12 Jan 2018

By JUSTIN HILLIARD

TOYOTA shared its take on the future of sportscars at the Tokyo Auto Salon this week, revealing the GR Super Sport Concept which packs a motorsport-derived hybrid system.

Developed by Toyota Gazoo Racing, the petrol-electric set-up pairs a 2.4-litre twin-turbocharged direct-injection V6 engine with a Toyota Hybrid System-Racing (THS-R) powertrain for a combined power output of 735kW.

By incorporating hybrid technology from the Toyota TS050 Hybrid racecar that competes in the World Endurance Championship (WEC), the GR Super Sport Concept signals the Japanese car-maker's intention to develop sportscars from racecars, according to Toyota Gazoo Racing president Shigeki Tomoyama.

“Rather than developing production cars into sportscars, we aim to work out how to incorporate the know-how developed through races and rallies into production cars,” he said.

“Although it will be some time before you all have the opportunity to get behind the wheel, I hope that the GR Super Sport Concept will give you a taste of what we aim to achieve with our next-generation sportscars.”

As such, through the combination of a highly efficient electric-vehicle (EV) system and a lean-burn engine, the show car is able to offer the type of optimum power and environmental performance expected in future models.

The first of these next-generation sportscars to feature hybrid power could be the long-rumoured Supra that is currently being co-developed alongside BMW’s Z4 successor.

Therefore, Toyota’s continued participation in the WEC shapes up as an important undertaking, allowing the company to hone its hybrid and EV powertrains ahead of production.

Toyota says fuel economy-enhancing technologies and other developments from competitions like the WEC have already made their way into current models.

Styling-wise, the GR Super Sport Concept is a clear derivative of the mechanically related TS050 Hybrid, complete with its low, wide racecar shape, albeit with smoother, more passenger car-like body panels.

The racecar’s most polarising feature – its droopy-looking headlight design – is not present on the show car which goes without any front lighting.

Rolling on 18-inch wheels wrapped in 335/40 Bridgestone Potenza semi-slick tyres, the GR Super Sport Concept looks ready to tear up both racetrack and road.

Mr Tomoyama said that the e-Palette Concept from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week and the GR Super Sport Concept are indicative of the respective extremes of future vehicles.

“If the e-Palette Concept is the next generation of the horse-drawn carriage, the GR Super Sport Concept would be the polar opposite as the next-generation racehorse. Its appeal is more personal, like that of a much-loved horse to its owner,” he said.

“Despite the differences between the two concept models, both are electrified vehicles equipped with the latest IT technologies and are set to become safe and environmentally friendly connected cars.”

The e-Palette Concept is a shared mobility vehicle for communities that resulted from Toyota’s collaboration with companies including Amazon, DiDi, Mazda, Pizza Hut and Uber.

“Even as electrification and IT technologies accelerate, the availability of different types of cars, including polar opposite models like the GR Super Sport Concept and the e-Palette Concept, means that they will never become a commodity,” Mr Tomoyama added.

“Furthermore, it is an unchanging fact that people want to travel freely, access distant places, and to get there quicker than everyone else in attractive vehicles. The feelings that one has for a car that can do all this are rich and heart-pounding.”

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