New 2018 Toyota Supra previewed by GR Racing concept

The star of Toyota’s stand at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show was the GR Supra Racing Concept, a race-inspired coupe that points the way to the next generation of Toyota Supra. The production model will become the fifth generation of the firm’s flagship sports car. It is being developed by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing performance division, and may well carry Gazoo’s badge, rather than Toyota.

Speaking at the Geneva show, Supra Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada said a front-mounted six-cylinder turbocharged engine powering the rear wheels was the configuration favoured by owners and aficionados of previous versions of the Supra. His comments tally with information recently leaked that the car would offer up 330bhp from an in-line six. 

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But standalone internal combustion may not be the only possibility in the future. He said: “We are considering not only hybrid, but other powertrain technology options, be it electric or fuel cell technology…for the future sports car”. 

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Toyota GR Supra concept Geneva 2018 rear

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But he played down suggestions that the Supra could borrow hybrid technology from the firm’s hybrid-powered LMP1 race car, suggesting as many lessons could be learned from Toyota’s other motorsport activities, such as WRC. He said his team was collecting ‘big data’ from the Yaris WRC to better understand what ‘fun to drive’ really means. 

However, the Supra still promises to be an uncompromising road car. Tada described the Supra, which has been benchmarked against the Porsche 718 Cayman and 911, as a “pure sports car”. He believes it will be “quite different” from the forthcoming BMW Z4, with which it is related. Both cars’ original concepts were visualised separately, before the common parts were defined. He said parts shared across both models will be fewer than many people imagine, and even then, many will be calibrated differently. 

While the show car features an automatic transmission, he revealed that a manual gearbox is still the subject of internal discussions. He continued: “We are aware there is a huge fanbase for the previous models around the world, so we made sure to interview them to hear their expectations and opinions before we started the project.” 

As a darling of the tuner scene, Tada expects the Supra to be modified by owners to their own liking – even if those modifications aren’t sourced from Toyota, Gazoo Racing or their official partners. He went as far to say that Toyota “wouldn’t interfere” where modifications are concerned as previous experience points to the kinds “appropriate” modifications owners make to their GT86s.

But the Supra may not carry a Toyota badge at all. Tada said: “It’s not our intention to change the brand of Supra, but we’ve created a new Gazoo Racing brand as part of the sports car offering. So from now on all the sports cars we’ll be developing and producing would be under this new brand.” 

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The Racing Concept shows how a competition Supra could look, and while the race car series is still to be decided, the show car is “under the category of LM GTE”. 

It uses composites for the extended front and rear bumpers, front splitter, rear diffuser, wing and bonnet, while the windows are plastic. The suspension uses original equipment components, but has a reduced ride height over the road car. BBS racing wheels with a centre-nut attachment hide Brembo Racing callipers and are wrapped in Michelin race tyres.

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Toyota GR Supra concept static front

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Inside, the driver sits low in an OMP race seat and is strapped in by a competition-spec race harness. Ahead of the racer is a quick release steering wheel, carrying a range of controls, while paddle shifts are mounted on the steering column. Carbon fibre panels line the doors, and there’s a race telemetry system fitted to the dash.

Toyota says a full roll cage, fire extinguishers, fuel and brake lines and other key components meet competition standards.

Toyota Supra engine, specs and spy shots

While the production version of the forthcoming Toyota Supra is still to be revealed, some of its powertrain details have already been leaked.

A scanned copy of Japan’s Best Car magazine, posted on the VW Vortex forum, revealed the hotly anticipated Toyota Supra will come with (in Japanese spec at least) a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six putting out 330bhp and 450Nm of torque, with an additional 50Nm available with overboost. On top of this, the 0-62mph time is quoted at 3.8 seconds, with power being put down via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, though whether there will be a manual option remains unclear.

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Production Toyota Supra spy front

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The leaked report also suggests that the new Supra is 4.38m long, 1.86m wide and 1.29m tall, with a 2.47m wheelbase. The six-cylinder variant is said to weigh just under 1,500kg. Previous reports have suggested that a 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder motor would also be offered, and shared with the next BMW Z4.

Insiders claim that the new Supra will come in four different states of tune; as the basic Supra, a Supra GR, Supra GR Sport and finally the Supra GRMN. Expect a significant gap in performance and price between the base Supra and the GRMN, with variations in suspension tune also likely.

The Supra’s sister vehicle, the BMW Z4, is expected in showrooms later in 2018, but performance division boss Shigeki Tomoyama hinted that the Gazoo creation may not arrive until the second half of 2019.

Do you think the Gazoo Racing Supra will be a success without Toyota badges? Let us know below...