Is this the long-rumored Toyota Prius GR Race Car?
All of a sudden, sluths on Twitter and the rest of the internet are seizing one detail of one spooky image from Toyota’s Gazoo Racing. In a mostly-overlooked new release from Toyota announcing that it has a new website for its Le Mans race team, there’s a photo that doesn’t show what should be obvious. Instead of showing a full race car for the 100th running of Le Mans, it’s just a bumper and some headlights with a Toyota Gazoo Racing plaque on the front.
Ask anyone, and that sure looks like a redesigned 2023 Toyota Prius front end, complete with eight fog lights, and it has a GR badge.
Could it be a Prius race car?
Toyota’s Gazoo Racing is the official race team for Toyota. This year the team will compete in the 100th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Like the class-winning 2020 car the team ran, the No. 7 an dNo. 8 Toyota cars in the premier class this year will be the GR010 HYBRID cars. These are purpose-built prototype cars that have an engine like a Formula 1 cars that combines a super high tech KERS system with a turbocharged gas motor.
Toyota has been using the GR moniker on several of its car to boost awareness of the Gazoo brand. The Supra was renamed the GR Supra, and there’s a even a GR Corolla and GR86 sports car. Gazoo is trying some fun things this year with a hydrogen-engine race car demo, and it will release, “A concept car equipped with vehicle technologies that have been developed through numer0us challenges in motorsports participation will be exhibited,” the company said.
But that one picture sure looks like a Prius
That grille and those lights are identical to the updated for 2023 Prius, to our eyes. It would be a surprise. The Prius is, after all, a car with a certain following and that following isn’t known for racing cars, let alone performance hyper-mileing. Maybe there’s a reason that Toyota hid the rest of the car behind the garage door? Several internet sluths are trying to figure out the mystery car.
A GR Prius could go a long way to improving the model’s coolness factor. And, why not tune the motor from a hyper-efficient engine into a cranked up roided out muscle beast by turning all that bottled-up electricity free? To us, it makes sense, and it would be fun to see a Prius mixing it up in the lower classes of the 24 Hour with Porsches and BMWs.
Gazoo Racing turned the Corolla up to 11 with the GR Corolla
The GR Corolla is what happens when you turn the folks at Gazoo Racing loose to tune a Corolla hatchback. This little monster gets the magical 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder from the GR Yaris. It makes a stunning 300 horsepower and only comes with a six-speed manual transmission hooked up to an all-wheel drive platform.
Toyota went far too long with boring cars in its lineup, and now it’s showing us that it, too, can bake some excitement into its cars. Sure, it goes up against the Volkswagen Golf R and the Honda Civic Type R. But, when compared to the GR Supra and GR86, this thing is quick. It beats the GR86 coupe to 60 mph by more than a second. It’s not nearly as quick as the 2023 Toyota Supra 3.0, but it’s also about $10,000 less.
Now, let’s make this a thought exercise: what would the GR team do with a Prius?