One of the most overused phrases used to describe a new performance car that’s about to hit the market is: ‘It’s a racer for the road’. However, in this case, that is the absolute truth.
It’s a creation by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing team – the one that spends millions of pounds a year to develop high-tech hybrid machines capable of circulating a track for a day in the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance event – and is as close to the real thing as you’ll ever get.
Showcased today at the Tokyo Auto Salon motor show, the GR Super Sports Concept is unlikely to ever be made into a production model – but imagine nipping down to the shops in one if it was.
Racer with registration plates: This is the Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Super Sports Concept – a road-going version of the team’s FIA World Endurance racer
That quick blast to the nearest Sainsbury’s wouldn’t take long.
The car uses a 2.4-litre twin-turbo direct-injection V6 petrol engine linked to a super-advanced electric hybrid system that boosts power to a whole new world of performance.
Toyota is claiming 1,000 horsepower from the retrofitted endurance racer, and if it’s a match for the car that competed in last year’s 24-hour race it should be capable of a monstrous 205mph and more.
However, reliability might be a little scratchy, based on its recent performances on track.
In last year’s Le Mans race, just one of the team’s entries made it to the finish line – and that was after suffering serious mechanical gremlins in the early stages of the event. It eventually placed eighth overall.
And the year previous, Toyota’s chances of winning the event were dashed when one of its cars broke down in the final seconds of the race, relinquishing the lead to rivals Porsche on the very last lap – not quite the enduring reliability track record the Japanese brand has built up with its road cars over the years.
But it’s not all about performance and outright speed, Toyota says.
Toyota spends millions developing the high-tech hybrid race cars that are expected to race for 24 hours straight
As you can see from this side-by-side comparison, the racer (left) is very similar to the road concept (right). The big difference is the aerodynamic fin on the back of the competition machine
Toyota has equipped the road car with 18-inch wheels, indicators and a front number plate mount
In a statement released when the car was unveiled in Tokyo, the brand stated: ‘With its high-efficiency EV system and lean-burn engine, this next generation super sports car is engineered to deliver both exceptional power and environmental performance.’ Would it be Congestion Charge exempt? We’ll never know.
That’s because Toyota showcased the car as a visual representation of how the brand intends to use motorsport to feed technology directly from the track to vehicles we’ll be able to buy in showrooms in the future.
So despite fitting the Endurance racer with brake lights, indicators and number plate holders, don’t expect to see one sprinting along the outside lane of the M25 any time soon.
At the back, there’s a number plate holder too and a redesigned rear light cluster, not that any other cars would get close enough to you on the road to see them
The car is purely a concept showing how racing technology is handed down to production road cars we can buy from dealers
Strip the lightweight shell away and the skeleton is a mass of carbon fibre, high-tech suspension components and a next-generation hybrid powertrain
Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota Gazoo Racing, said: ‘Rather than developing production cars into sports cars, we aim to work out how to incorporate the know-how gained from racing and rallying into production cars.
‘This is how sporting competition contributes to Toyota Gazoo Racing’s efforts to make ever-better cars.
‘Thus, this is the starting point for Toyota’s completely new challenge to develop sports cars from active race cars.’
Toyota’s reliability track record at last year’s Le Mans 24 Hour event wasn’t good. Car number 9 seen here was the first of two to retire within 25 minutes of each other just 10 hours into the day-long event
This image shows what lurks beneath the svelte body of the race-bred road car. Turbos and gold-plated parts dominate the rear end
Toyota’s last remaining car went on to finish the race in 8th position at the Le Mans 24 Hour race in 2017
Toyota GR Super Sports Concept specs
Engine type: Twin-turbo, direct injection V6 petrol
Engine capacity (cc): 2,400
Max power (hp/kW): 1,000/735
Hybrid system: Toyota Hybrid System – Racing (THS-R)
Wheels: 18-inch x 13J
He added: ‘Although it will be some time before people will have the opportunity to get behind the wheel, I hope that the GR Super Sport Concept will give a taste of what we aim to achieve with our next generation sports cars.’
But not all car makers are following the same script when it comes to developing road-legal high-performance race-bred machines but never making them available for sale.
Just last month, McLaren announced the new £750,000 Senna – named after the famed F1 driver – is due to arrive later in 2018 and one was even snapped testing on the road close to the manufacturer’s Woking headquarters last week.
And Mercedes also confirmed last year that it will create a £2.4 million Project One hypercar that’s based on the F1 machine Lewis Hamilton piloted to the championship title last season.
Even if you wanted one, it’s highly unlikely that Toyota will create a full production version of the GR Super Sport
Instead, you can buy this. The phenomenal looking machine is the £750k McLaren Senna due later this year
Mercedes has also confirmed it will be making a £2.4 million ‘Project One’ hypercar using technology taken from Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One machine