It sounds crazy, but Toyota knows what it is doing here.
Usually, when Japanese automaker Toyota talks about research and development, it is referring to some sort of self-driving or EV drivetrain. Seldom does the research sound "fun," but it is just something that Toyota has to do in order to keep pushing technology and fuel efficiency further. That may all be about to change, because Toyota's latest project sounds way too fun to be true. According to Nikkei Asian Review, Toyota will spend $2.84 billion to develop new test tracks in Japan based on famous race tracks from around the world.
Toyota hasn't gone into the specifics of what tracks will be replicated, but it did make mention of the famous Nurburgring in Germany. The tracks will be built in the company's home prefecture of Aichi, and will include 11 different test tracks. Toyota has secured over 1,600 acres of land and plans to open facilities as soon as next year. The whole project is expected to be completed in 2023. The tracks are meant to replicate real driving conditions from around the world. One section will be based on the Nurburgring to test steering, braking and other car functions in harsh conditions. We assume that the Japanese ring will be smaller than the real thing.
There will also be a 5.3 kilometer track that features curvy, mountainous roads with 75 meter elevation changes between corners. Perhaps Toyota could even copy the famous Corkscrew from Laguna Seca. Toyota building new race tracks in Japan sounds like a fun concept, but the goal is to develop new cars that meet compliance standards. There had to be a catch right? We predict that Toyota will eventually use these new tracks to develop new sports cars, but for now that is not the plan.