Toyota has confirmed that it will produce a hypercar, and even teased the model in a recently released video. The Japanese automaker is producing such a vehicle so it can race in the new “hypercar” class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new class, which is expected to launch under a different name and which will replace the current LMP1 category as the top class, will begin competition in 2020 and will feature entries based on roadgoing models with a production run of at least 20 units over two years.
The Toyota GR Super Sport will be the automaker’s entry—the GR standing for Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s in-house motorsports arm—and a concept version was shown at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon powered by a 986-hp twin-turbocharged V-6 hybrid powertrain. However, the race car will be limited to around 750 total horsepower and weigh roughly 2,425 pounds due to class regulations. Hybrid systems are limited to 200 kW (335 hp) of extra thrust, and the components’ locations must be the same as in its roadgoing counterpart, or on the front axle in entries that aren’t based on production models. The powertrain is taken straight out of the TS050 race car that recently won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second time.
Much of the GR Super Sport’s styling remains true to the concept except for the addition of conventional side mirrors mounted on the front fenders. There are plenty of styling cues taken from the TS050 like the rear-mounted central fin, though that design feature isn’t as prominent as the one on the Le Mans–winning race car. The cockpit also appears to have smaller windows, and has a sweptback greenhouse with a rear wing mounted lower and closer to the body. The headlight pattern is different and the front air intakes appear wider than the TS050’s.
The last time Toyota created a streetable version of a Le Mans racer was in 1998, when it built the TS020 GT-One. It featured the same 600-hp 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-8 and six-speed sequential transmission as the race car. Versus the racer, the GT-One rode higher, had a lower rear wing, and included creature comforts like climate control and hazard lights. Toyota reportedly built only two examples of the GT-One, with one now on display in Japan and the other at Toyota Motorsport GmbH’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany.
Expect production of the Toyota GR Super Sport to start sometime next year ahead of the 2020 Le Mans 24-Hour race and continue for two years.