Toyota signals GT3 intentions with GR GT3 Concept launch

Toyota has signalled a clear intention to enter the GT3 arena with the unveiling of the GR GT3 Concept on Friday at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

Toyota signals GT3 intentions with GR GT3 Concept launch

Teased by Toyota last week, the GR GT3 Concept acts as a precursor to what would be the Japanese marque's first full GT3 offering under its own brand.

It is not based on any particular existing Toyota model, featuring a much longer front end and more  aggressive posture compared to the marque's current top sports model, the GR Supra.

While a timeframe for the release of the car was not specified, Toyota Gazoo Racing president Koji Sato revealed that a working prototype would be ready by the end of the year.

That raises the prospect of the car being made available to customers in time for the World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours switching from GTE cars to the global GT3 platform in 2024.

Toyota says its GR GT3 Concept is intended to promote its 'driver-first' ethos in the GT3 arena and "provide attractive cars that customers participating in GT3, which is the pinnacle of customer motorsports, would choose".

It also represents an inversion of the usual GT3 philosophy: instead of being based on a road car, it will be used to help further the development of the brand's future mass-market offerings.

Toyota GR GT3 Concept

Toyota GR GT3 Concept

Photo by: Motorsport.com / Japan

Up to now, Toyota's involvement in GT3 racing has been limited to its Lexus sub-brand, with the RC F GT3 having first raced in 2015 before being made available to customers in 2017.

However, the car has increasingly dropped out of favour in recent years, and none were entered in last season's GT World Challenge Europe -  even if a small number of RC Fs continue to race in series such as the IMSA SportsCar Championship's GTD class and Super GT's GT300 division. 

Loyal Lexus squad Vasser-Sullivan Racing has committed to running a car in IMSA's new-for-2022 GTD Pro class, with Ben Barnicoat signed from McLaren to join fellow Briton Jack Hawksworth

A replacement Lexus GT3 model had been rumoured to be in the works, but the GR GT3 Concept is likely to supersede this. The existing car is homologated through 2027.

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