Toyota has confirmed that it will produce a hypercar and even teased the model in a recently released video. The Japanese automaker is producing such a vehicle so it can race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Starting in 2020, the series will introduce its new hypercar class, a segment that requires road-based models to have a production run of at least 20 units over two years.
The Toyota GR Super Sport will be the automaker’s entry in that new class, which will replace the current LMP1 category as the top class. A concept version was shown at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon powered by a 986-hp twin-turbocharged V-6 hybrid powertrain. However, the race car will be limited to around 750 hp and weigh roughly 2,425 pounds due to class regulations. Hybrid systems are limited to 200 kW and its location must be the same as in its road going counterpart or on the front axle in entries that aren’t based on production models. The powertrain is taken straight out of the TS050 race car that recently won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second time.
Much of the GR Super Sport’s styling remains true to the concept except for the addition of conventional side mirrors mounted on the front fenders. There are plenty of styling cues taken from the TS050 like the rear-mounted central fin, though that design feature isn’t as prominent as the one on the Le Mans-winning race car. The cockpit also appears to have smaller windows, and has a sweptback greenhouse with a rear wing mounted lower and closer to the body. Even the headlight pattern is different and the front air intakes appear wider than the TS050’s.
The last time Toyota created a road-going version of a Le Mans racer was in 1998 when it built the TS020 GT-One. It featured the same 600-hp 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-8 and six-speed sequential transmission as the race car. Versus the race car, the road-going GT-One rode higher, had a lower rear wing and included creature comforts like climate control and hazard lights. Toyota reportedly built only two examples of the GT-One, with one on display in Japan and the other at Toyota Motorsport GmbH’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany.
Expect production of the Toyota GR Super Sport to start sometime next year ahead of the 2020 Le Mans 24-Hour race and continue for two years.
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