Toyota Gazoo Racing commits to new hypercar class at Le Mans
Creation of a new top-rung class means Toyota will face the Aston Martin Valkyrie at La Sarthe with the hybrid-powered Super Sport prototype
A production version of Toyota Gazoo‘s GR Super Sport Concept is set to be entered into a new hypercar-based class at the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race from 2020.
New rules announced by the FIA will allow hypercars such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie and McLaren Senna to race in competition form from 2020 onwards. Toyota’s hybrid concept, revealed last year, looks close to the form that will be adopted by such models and is likely to be part of this new pack.
Homologation rules dictate that the top-rung Le Mans hypercars must be strongly related to roadgoing equivalents, meaning reigning LMP1 champion Gazoo Racing will soon reveal a road-going version of last year’s concept.
The company says: “Both road and race car are undergoing design and intensive development at the company’s technical centres in Toyota City, Higashi-Fuji and Cologne.” The model’s name has yet to be confirmed.
First shown at last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, the concept is based on the company’s World Endurance Championship prototype racer, the TS050 Hybrid. The concept features the same carbonfibre structure as the racing model and has a 2.4-litre V6 petrol engine with electric assistance behind its cockpit.
The road-going version of Gazoo Racing’s concept will sit above the new Supra. Gazoo, Toyota’s performance and racing arm, also recently introduced the Yaris GRMN hot hatch, which marked Gazoo’s arrival in Britain and serves as its entry-level model.
Gazoo president Shigeki Tomoyama said: “If the e-Palette concept [an autonomous pod that was revealed in Las Vegas] 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.
“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.”