Did a Patent Just Leak the Toyota GR GT3 Sports Car?
I’m not sure what they’re piping into Toyota’s HQ right now, but it’s currently riding a performance hype train. One year after the overhauled GR86 dropped, the automaker is bringing out a manual Supra and the GR Corolla hot hatch. However, there could be yet another sports car joining Toyota’s stable. If a newly-released patent proves accurate, the Toyota GR GT3 Concept might be hitting the road for real.
The Toyota GR GT3 Concept swooped on the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon with a racing wing
Earlier this year, Toyota showed off several cars at the Tokyo Auto Salon. One, the GRMN Yaris, was a full-on production car. Others, though, like the bZ4X GR Sport Concept, were, well, concepts. And joining the bZ4X on stage was the Toyota GR GT3 Concept, a wild-winged vision of a race car.
Toyota still hasn’t released any details about the concept’s drivetrain, though we do know it has an internal-combustion engine. How? Peep the side-exit exhaust poking out just behind the front wheels. In addition, the GR GT3 Concept sports typical race car aero, including a rear diffuser, front dive planes, and of course, that big wing. And, like many dedicated race cars, it has center-lock wheels.
Ostensibly, the Toyota GR GT3 Concept was a vision of Gazoo Racing’s future. In other words, an advertisement for Toyota’s motorsports and performance division’s desire “to develop GT3 and mass-production cars and further promote making ever-better motorsports-bred cars.” Furthermore, like the GR Yaris, the GR GT3—and cars like it—wouldn’t be adapted road cars, but rather race cars homologated for road use.
And it seems like Toyota might already be trying to make that last point a reality.
A new patent shows a potential production version minus the wing
When Toyota first showed the GR GT3 Concept, it claimed a prototype would be running laps by the end of 2022. But a recently-published European Union patent suggests that’s just the first step in making a road-legal version, Car and Driver reports.
Now, the sports car in Toyota’s trademark filing isn’t 100% identical to the GR GT3 Concept. The biggest change is swapping that enormous wing for a small spoiler, presumably for safety, performance, or visibility reasons. However, the car in the patent does have the concept’s canards, rear diffuser, and long-hood-short-deck proportions. It even has a side-exit exhaust. So, although Toyota is investing in electric sports cars, the one in the patent images is likely ICE-powered.
It’s worth keeping in mind that trademark filings don’t always result in production cars. But it’s also worth remembering that GT3 race cars are based on street-legal cars. The Lexus RC F GT3 race car, for example, borrows several key components from the RC F road car. Although the actual GT3 cars aren’t road-legal, the cars they’re based on must be. So, if Toyota is serious about taking the GR GT3 Concept racing, it must build a road-legal version. And to homologate the race car for GT3, it must build a certain number of street cars.
Will the Toyota GR GT3 be a production sports car or a Lexus race car?
As of this writing, it’s too early to tell when a production GR GT3 could arrive. It’s also too early to tell if the hypothetical road-going sports car will bear a Toyota badge. Although the concept version is a Toyota product, the final version might end up with a Lexus badge.
Although the current Lexus RC F GT3 race car is a decent performer, the road car wasn’t developed with racing in mind. As a result, the GT3 version is a bit, um, porky. The next-gen version, though, will be designed with racing in mind from the start, Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson told Car and Driver. He also hinted that this RC F replacement “will draw heavily” from the GR GT3 Concept, Car and Driver says.
Still, if these patent images do portend a road-legal GR GT3, it shows that Toyota is serious about expanding its sports car selection.
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