Toyota has confirmed that the 986-horsepower (1,000 DIN hp) Gazoo Racing Super Sport Concept will enter production. At a press conference ahead of the 86th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Gazoo Racing president Shigeki Tomoyama revealed that development has already begun, hinting at a return to the glory days of GT1 road cars.
First announced by Toyota at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January, the concept was billed as the basis for the next generation of Toyota sports cars. It’s essentially the 986-horsepower twin-turbo V6 hybrid powertrain of Toyota’s TS050 Le Mans race car, but wrapped in a much prettier carbon fiber skin.
Ostensibly, the car exists because in 2020 the FIA (the organizers of Le Mans and the World Endurance Championships), will usher in a new era of top class racers. The sweeping new regulations promise sleeker cars with more “marque cachet,” and stress that “Aerodynamics cannot take precedence over aesthetics.” However, Tomoyama gave another reason at the Le Mans press conference:
“As the automotive industry is approaching an era of big changes, we will continue our passion for making cars that are truly exciting. No matter how electronics and digital technology will continue to transform vehicles, we will make sure that our cars will not become just another commodity.”
In the 1990s, Le Mans homologation rules mandated that the top level GT1 race cars needed to be based off of road cars. Automakers bent those rules, creating the race cars they wanted originally and then making a small number of road-going versions of those racers. That’s how the world got dream machines like the Toyota GT-One, Nissan R390 GT1, and Porsche 911 GT1, even if some were never really intended to be sold to the public.
So far, the automakers that have signed on to and indeed helped define the 2020 FIA rules are Toyota, McLaren, Ford, Ferrari, and Aston Martin. Toyota has been the only one to show what an actual car might look like. There’s no word on when the street-legal version might debut, only a vague promise from Tomoyama:
“We started this project because we believe that creating a super sports car that delivers the same appeal as the TS050 Hybrid greatly adds to Toyota’s involvement in WEC. And at some point in the near future, customers will have a chance to get behind the wheel of this incredible machine and experience its astonishing power and driving performance.”