Toyota plans outrageous Ferrari rival
TOYOTA'S Gazoo Racing performance is planning put a $1 million supercar in showrooms alongside a high-performance HiLux and warmed-over hatchbacks.
Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota's Gazoo Racing arm, confirmed plans for a layered performance range to rival the likes of Mercedes-AMG in "a project which will be conducive to the transformation of Toyota".
The manufacturer took its second victory at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race on Sunday, where the Japanese brand reaffirmed its commitment to the race.
New rules encourage marques to go racing with road-going supercars the public can buy, a return to the sport's roots in the spirit of legendary cars such as the McLaren F1.
Toyota says it will compete with a hybrid "hypercar" at Le Mans in 2021 before introducing a road-going version of the race machine.
Aston Martin will join Toyota on the 2021 Le Mans grid with a racing version of its V12-powered Valkyrie hypercar - a car the British brand previously promised would be the fastest-ever road car around a racing circuit.
"Aston Martin has amazing history at Le Mans. It is a part of the company's DNA," Tomoyama says.
"I hope to create a similar link.
"Like Ferrari, Porsche and Audi, that is my dream," he says.
At least one example of Toyota's road-going Gazoo Racing Super Sports will come to Australia, with company spokesman Brodie Bott confirming that Toyota Australia has placed an order for the hybrid machine.
As with the Mercedes-AMG Project One that features the same type of engine as Lewis Hamilton's championship-winning F1 car, Toyota's Gazoo Racing Super Sports will pack a turbocharged hybrid V6 engine derived from the Le Mans race car.
"First will be the car we are racing," Tomoyama says.
"In the future we will study a lot from the race field, and put the know-how in a road-going car - in the future."
The win on Sunday, sell on Monday approach is likely to be followed by a Gazoo Racing HiLux ute benefiting from lessons learned en route to victory in the 2019 Dakar Rally.
"We won Dakar first with HiLux as Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa," Tomoyama says.
"We would like to realise the actual product of Gazoo Racing. Dakar is one of the stages to realise that."
Asked whether the Gazoo Razing HiLux would be a road or race machine, Tomoyama says: "I hope both … A racing HiLux and a customer commercial product."
The new Toyota Supra will be first Gazoo Racing, or "GR" model offered by Toyota Australia. European enthusiasts already have access to a supercharged, rally-inspired Yaris sold as the Yaris GRMN (Gazoo Racing Masters Nurburgring), which could be joined by a hot Corolla to rival the VW Golf GTI.
The Gazoo family will also include "GR Sports" models likely to be similar to VW's R-Line or Hyundai's N-Line, bringing a degree of personalisation if not race-bred performance.