The stunning Toyota GR GT3 Concept gives us hope that the RX-Vision will be built

The Toyota GR GT3 Concept has just been unveiled at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon, signaling the Big T’s intention to enter the GT3 class of touring car racing. The car is absolutely gorgeous, hands down the best looking Toyota in the carmaker’s entire portfolio right now, and that’s because it’s essentially a reskinned Mazda RX-Vision. This is a significant development is so many ways.

The Mazda RX-Vision was an achingly beautiful concept from the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. It was the closest Mazda has ever gotten to an official admission that they were working on a rotary-powered flagship.

However, you can sometimes tell what car companies are saying by what they’re not saying, because something soon changed. Mazda spent the dough to ship it to the US ahead of the LA Auto Show in 2016 (air-freighting a car costs about $50,000), but it was never shown to the public. That’s because Mazda didn’t want thousands of tire-kickers asking about an RX-7 revival when the company knew it most likely wouldn’t be able to deliver.

It was quiet for a few years, then the the RX-Vision was resurrected purely in the realm of fantasy. It was modified in 2020 as a race car in Gran Turismo as the RX-Vision GT3 Concept, but that car only ever existed as a bunch of ones and zeros. As long time Gran Turismo players know, there are plenty of fantasy race cars in the game that don’t have a real world counterpart. But now, the RX-Vision GT3 actually lives, sitting in Makuhari Messe as a Toyota.

That in itself is Amazing Point No.1, the fact that this fantasy car was actually built as a life-size car. It shows that perhaps there was far more thought put into the RX-Vision GT3 Concept than it originally seemed. It wasn’t just, in Gran Turismo tradition, a matter slapping a giant wing and aero kit onto an already rendered car.

Amazing Point No.2 is that the GR GT3’s presence seems to strongly indicate that Toyota will be using Mazda platforms. Thus far, it’s only been rumored that Toyota, which owns 5 percent of Mazda, might use Mazda’s upcoming RWD platform for some of its vehicles. Here’s the first solid proof.

Just last month, Lexus unveiled an electric concept that also looked eerily similar to the RX-Vision. We theorized that perhaps Lexus had intended to build its own concept version of the RX-Vision, but made a sudden decision at the last minute to call it electric. We weren’t 100 percent sure, though, and it looked juuust different enough to give us pause. Add Lexus’s claim of pure battery power, and we simply couldn’t be sure.

With the GR GT3 Concept, however, there’s no mistaking its origins. The roofline, the door cut lines, the fender arches, they all match too perfectly to the RX-Vision. That leads to Amazing Point No.3, the growing possibility that the RX-Vision itself will be real.

We know Mazda is coming out with a rear-wheel-drive platform, we’ve seen patent filings, and now there’s at least two, possibly three if you count the Lexus, variants of the RX-Vision running around in the real world. Concept cars almost always have only one copy. For a company to build two, as Toyota did with the Lexus LC, is rare, and that model actually made it into production. Three is unheard of.

And, it seems that the car will be developed into an actual race car. That means the Toyota GR GT3 will likely use some form of Mazda’s straight-six. Now all we need to know is if the Mazda version will come with the I6, as the sedan and SUV built on the same FR platform will, or the triple-rotor engine that Mazda is working on. If Toyota’s infusion of cash and hybrid tech is what it takes for the RX-Vision to manifest, it’ll be a win, especially for enthusiasts.

Some images courtesy of Toyota, Mazda.

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6 Responses to The stunning Toyota GR GT3 Concept gives us hope that the RX-Vision will be built

  1. KiKiIchiBan says:

    Would love to see this racing in Le Mans GTLM class

    • dankan says:

      The GTLM class is going bye-bye, possibly as early as next year. GT3 might replace it, but SRO and the FIA/ACO don’t play together very nicely at times.

  2. j_c says:

    Very interesting development. I’m also seeing the Mercedes AMG GT3 in it, which is also a fantastic car.

    Hopefully, unlike the Supra or GR86, this kind of platform sharing means different engines from each company. I can see Mazda’s version with the straight 6 (pray for 3 rotor?), and Toyota’s with their V8 or electric.

  3. speedie says:

    I cant decide if Toyota is helping the development of cars by using other makers design platforms, or is just taking advantage of them to save money: BMW (Supra), Subaru (GR86), Mazda (Yaris). If the GR GT3 does help Mazda bring the RX-Vision to production I would assume it would have the rotary hybrid system discussed in your previous post. I would also assume that the “normal” Vison Coupe would have the soon to be released straight six.

  4. dankan says:

    The only challenge I see is that GT3, which is the category this is named for, requires a STREET-LEGAL PRODUCTION CAR for this to be based off. SRO do not allow purpose built race cars into their series’. The other manufacturers wouldn’t accept it either. So, they will need to do a production version first, which would be nice. Nicer still would be the original Mazda RX-Vision, which was probably the best looking Japanese car since the FD3S. If Mazda get to make a moon shot exotic rotary car, and then Toyota goes boring and uses their twin-turbo V6, or something, fine, that’d fit. But given the very limited lifetime of such a car, a version packed full of batteries, running in the FIA’s upcoming electric GT series makes more sense, especially as there is no “customer” electric race car yet. So they wouldn’t be stepping on anyone’s toes and would have the market to themselves, unless Porsche get there first with an electric Cayman GT car…

  5. Tom Westmacott says:

    Thinking about it, the idea of Mazda creating their own brand-new FR platform and I6 engine is surely hugely over-ambitious and would bankrupt the company… *unless* it can be a shared effort with Toyota. The US market has no plans to ban internal combustion, and Toyota is the number one carmaker Stateside. A new FR platform and straight-six engine would perfectly underpin high-end, high-margin premium saloons, coupes and SUVs with Lexus and Toyota badges. In many ways the straight six turbo hybrid is the perfect replacement for the beloved V8 engine – equally powerful, equally responsive, and (unlike others’ V6s) equally smooth, too.

    And of course once the basic platform and engine are in mass production, there’s nothing to stop Toyota putting the GR GT3 on roads and tracks worldwide, nor Mazda bringing the RX-Vision to life.

    With Toyota’s huge recent profits, and Mazda’s finely-honed sense for driving dynamics, everything’s in place for the plan to come together perfectly.

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