A next level of Supra is coming.
It's no secret that Toyota is planning to unleash hardcore racing versions of the 2020 Supra, which have been previewed over the years by several concept cars. The GR Supra Super GT concept previewed the Supra that will compete in Japan's GT 500 class next year to replace the current Lexus LC racer, while the GR Supra GT4 previews a potential GT4 racing version of the Japanese sports car. This month, we'll finally get to see a GR Supra race car in action at this year's grueling Nurburgring 24 Hours Race. Gazoo Racing will also be entering a Lexus LC race car at the event.
Visually, the racing Supra looks nearly identical to the Toyota Supra GT4 concept, although the bodywork has been toned down to look less aggressive. Compared to the standard road car, the Supra race car features front and side splitters and a giant rear wing. If it's based on the GT4 concept, it should have a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six closely related to the production car. Toyota says the car has been further refined to prepare for this year's 24-hour endurance race after competing in the VLN Endurance Championship Nurburgring last autumn.
Last year, Toyota Gazoo Racing entered the Nurburgring 24 Hours Race with a single Lexus LC and managed to achieve its minimum target of completing the race. However, the team was forced to carry out pit work that lasted over four hours, ending the race with "very disappointing results." To improve its chances this year, Toyota says it has "reviewed from the ground up the way we make cars and carried out numerous tests."
The Supra will be racing in the SP8T class, which is a fairly open class that allows body modifications. SP8T is specifically for cars with up to 4.0 liters of displacement and forced induction. This will be the third VLN race the 2020 Supra has competed in. So far, the Supra has only managed to finish one of them, so it will be interesting to see if Toyota has made enough improvements to help the car cope with the 24-hour Nurburgring race.
Intriguingly, Toyota says "the cars competing at the race will incorporate and refine parts and advanced technologies intended for future road cars," implying that we could see a hardcore track-focused Supra in the future featuring parts developed for the race car. This would reaffirm comments made by Gazoo Racing chief Tetsuya Tada last year that a lighter, track-focused Supra is in development.