By on July 23, 2019

Toyota GAZOO Racing showed their Supra GT4 Concept at the Geneva motor show in March, but the word “Concept” must be emphasized. While they are planning to bring the car to market, and parading it on the media accounts, the entire program is very early in its development. With no existing sales and support team based in the United States, let’s investigate what it will take to bring the GT4 to IMSA and SRO GT America competition in the U.S.

GT4 is an international homologation specification that is owned by the SRO Motorsports Group and adopted by race sanctioning bodies around the globe. The Supra GT4 will be entering a class that includes entries such as the Aston Martin Vantage, Audi R8, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, McLaren 570S, Mercedes-AMG GT, Porsche Cayman, and — of course — the BMW M4. (Read More…)

By on February 20, 2019

This one is sure to set tongues wagging and keyboards clacking. The return of the mighty Supra nameplate is — depending to whom you speak — either an abomination the likes of which the motoring world has never seen, or a wonderful harbinger of all things fun and sporty.

For the record, your author is in the latter camp. Don’t @ me.

Three trims of the are new Supra available at launch: Base 3.0, Premium 3.0, and a Launch Edition. Is the entry-level model worth a mention? Or should one proceed directly to one of the more expensive options?

(Read More…)

By on February 10, 2019

Considering the Toyota Supra was revealed to the world just a few weeks ago, it feels slightly premature for the manufacturer to start releasing special editions of the model. However, we’ve heard it’s important to strike while the iron is hot in business and the Supra is certainly operating well above room temperature. It would be silly to think Toyota would cool its heels after two years of teasing the Supra just because it finally went on sale.

Now that you can buy the coupe, Toyota wants everyone to know that they’ll also be able to purchase snazzy upgrades for it through the performance catalog and released the GR Supra Performance Line Concept TRD over the weekend as a reminder. Like the BMW M Performance Parts Concept that appeared over the summer, the Supra exists to show the world what’s possible when the full force of the TRD catalog is harnessed.

Unfortunately, engine upgrades aren’t currently a part of that equation. Like the M Performance car, the TRD Supra receives no improvements to its powertrain. Instead, Toyota showcased a festival of spoilers and fins aimed at optimizing the coupe’s aerodynamics.  (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2019

Built for current Toyota patriarch Akio Toyoda, the Century GRMN celebrates both the man and his desire to create a more emotive and performance-driven automaker. With the V12 gone, the standard Toyota Century is powered by a direct-injected, 5.0-liter V8 with a two-stage electric motor and nickel-metal hydride battery. The powertrain is good for a claimed for 375 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, delivered silky smooth.

Painted white (below the break), the GRMN prototype nixes some chrome trim and adds black ground effects, subtle red stripes, and applicable badging. But Toyota never bothered to tell us what Gazoo Racing actually did to improve the car. Presumably, suspension and engine upgrades abound. But, as the car was meant as a one-off gift for Toyota’s president, we never heard about them.

Then, at the Tokyo Auto Salon, a second one appeared — casting doubts that this car doesn’t have aspirations for a super-lux market that’s currently thriving.  (Read More…)

By on December 28, 2018

Ten years ago, Toyota fielded a solid lineup of passenger vehicles that were about as exciting as lukewarm tap water. However, the company has since embarked on a quest to change its trajectory and spice things up. Phase one included revision to the firm’s design language. Phase two involved tapping into the brand’s performance heritage and utilizing Gazoo Racing to help develop performance variants of existing models in Japan.

With models like the Supra making a return and other re-imaginings of performance icons in the works, things are now clipping along at full steam over at Toyota. Unfortunately, not all of its upcoming offerings make sense. While the TRD versions of the Camry and Avalon do more to bolster dynamics than sport-inspired appearance packages offered by other manufacturers, next month’s debut of the TRD Prius is utterly bewildering. These aren’t the first models that come to mind when one imagines Toyota injecting more pep and attitude into the brand.  (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2018

Toyota has been exceptionally vocal about its desire to spice up the brand and, for the most part, it has delivered. Expressive, sometimes polarizing, designs have begun populating its lineup as company president Akio Toyoda endlessly talks up the merit of sporting vehicles. While other chief executives focus solely on promoting mobility, he’s discussing the importance of building fun-to-drive cars.

The company’s motorsports group, Gazoo Racing (GR), has even started cranking out tuned versions of the brand’s road cars. However, none of them have made it to North America — nor will they. Despite all of Toyoda’s seemingly earnest talk of performance models, the United States hasn’t seen it manifest into anything tangible.

Considering Toyota also decided not to offer GR models in the U.S., and with cost-cutting measures making the 86 coupe a potential candidate for discontinuation, Akio’s grand vision doesn’t look particularly robust in the West.  (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2018

While the returning Toyota Supra should be big news, the endless parade of teasers without any real information has left everyone feeling burned out. We previously announced that the vehicle would debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week. But Toyota later clarified that the car we would see wouldn’t be the production version and remain camouflaged, resulting in rage-induced nose bleeds at automotive-media outlets across the globe.

Our expectations couldn’t be lower but we still had to check and see if any new information could be gleaned from the event. We definitely got a better look at it but technical specifications remained elusive. We did learn a thing or two, though. (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2018

It’s understandable that an automaker would want to prolong the unveiling of a hotly anticipated model. After all, building suspense is essential when marketing a vehicle that’s exciting but lacks broad appeal. This is why Dodge was so fastidious in its debut of the Hellcat and Demon, parsing out just enough information to keep us fed without ever letting us get full.

By contrast, Toyota’s preliminary marketing of the Supra started with as few details as possible and has continued starving us of all meaningful information. That’s partly because the vehicle is a sister car to the new BMW Z4 — and sharing details of one model means giving away the goods on the other. Despite this, Magna Steyr (tasked with manufacturing both vehicles) isn’t building two identical models with different badges. The Supra’s chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada, describes the Supra as a pure sports car where practicality and comfort are almost not considered.

That sounds very exciting, so it was a relief when we learned the car will finally see daylight at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this week. Unfortunately, Toyota clarified on Monday that the vehicle we’ll see wouldn’t be a production vehicle and will remain wrapped in red camouflage.  (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2018

Toyota’s return of the Supra has to be the most exciting vehicle nobody knows anything about right now. We know it was co-developed with BMW using the same platform as the new Z4 and we have a pretty good idea of what it will look like in production form. But the void of technical specs has left us digging for any morsel of information that might sustain us.

A new morsel has come in and it might be disappointing to those of you living outside the bonds of reality. The new Supra will not be an easily affordable automobile.

This shouldn’t be incredibly surprising. The Supra Mark IV wasn’t exactly automotive history’s greatest bargain. In the late 1990s, you could purchase a Mustang SVT Cobra and a Honda Civic DX for what it cost to acquire a base-model Supra. So there is no reason to assume the forthcoming edition will be intended for 86 or BRZ shoppers that recently received a modest pay increase from Best Buy.  (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2018

Despite being off the market for 16 years, the Toyota Supra remains relevant as the brand’s most famous performance machine. That’s partially because the automaker never built a worthy successor but, even if it had, the Supra had already cemented its identity as an absolute monster before ending production in 2002.

You’ll find countless hours of footage where the model embarrasses high-end exotics in straight-line speed, usually thanks to heavy modifications. Likewise, its appearances in film and video games saw it coveted by automotive enthusiasts well before they learned how to drive.

That puts a lot of pressure on the automaker to deliver something that can live up to the hype; as a result, Toyota’s been very cagey on the Supra’s progress. However, we now have something resembling a production vehicle. The Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept is a hypothetical track version of the roadgoing fifth-generation model we’ve yet to see. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2017

toyota prius phv gr sport

Toyota is attempting to morph itself into an edgier, bolder, and sexier brand — to varying degrees of success. However, much of the company’s makeover has been purely cosmetic. The exception is Gazoo Racing, the automaker’s motorsport division and new in-house performance arm behind Toyota’s GR-series passenger cars.

Interestingly, Gazoo literally means “image” in Japanese and some of the upgraded models have been about little else. Still, some of the limited edition cars look like hoonable maniacs when compared to the base unit. The supercharged Yaris GRMN (Gazoo Racing Masters of Nürburgring) with over 200 horsepower is a prime example.

Aiming to go more mainstream, Toyota has decided to unfurl a range of GR and GR Sport models that won’t be handicapped by limited production numbers. Among them is the bewildering Prius Prime GR Sport, a hot hatch variant of the economy-minded hybrid. Toyota has officially lost its mind.  (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2017

Toyota Yaris GRMN

Despite having a rich history in motorsports, Toyota is one of the last automakers that springs to mind when you think about present-day performance. But Toyota has been rebranding itself with edgier designs and additional attitude lately. It says it’s ready to bring forth a fully-fledged performance lineup for later this year — perhaps something akin to Lexus’ F cars.

The automaker already offers a performance lineup under its Toyota Racing Development label in North America and Gazoo Racing in Europe and Japan. However TRD has focused largely on off-roading, while Gazoo has trickled in from legitimate racing to develop small G-badged road cars with more moxie and a few extremely limited edition Gazoo Racing Meister of Nurburgring (GRMN) units with engines to match the aggressive visuals. (Read More…)

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