At the NHRA Finals meet last week at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, Toyota unveiled its 2022 Drag Supra GR Funny Car. Some may be surprised Toyota is involved in drag racing. But if you’re into NHRA Championship drag racing you know that it has won almost 140 Top Fuel races, and 43 Funny Car races. And that is since first appearing in 2007.
The Toyota Supra GR Funny Car is the first new body in 10 years
In the Funny Car class, Toyota fielded a Camry body starting in 2012. Before that, it campaigned a Celica and Solara body. Granted, these look nothing like any Toyota vehicles made. But nothing in Funny Car racing looks remotely like its production counterpart.
Basically, NHRA Funny Cars use vague production-looking fascias to be allowed to call them a certain model. Then, the rest of the body is almost exactly like all competitors’ bodies from there. NHRA has a set envelope and other specific body features every manufacturer must follow. As in NASCAR, this almost eliminates tricks giving anybody a slight edge. Though rules can always be “interpreted.”
Funny Car Champion JR Todd helped in the Supra GR body design
Toyota’s West Coast design studio Calty Design, worked with TRD Motorsports team members to tweak the specifications making it a Supra GR. Of the many stylistic enhancements and over two years of development time, the team also concentrated on some safety features to improve on the previous Camry bodies. With input from Toyota Champion Funny Car driver JR Todd, there is now better visibility from the cockpit. They also created more space around the driver’s head for extra safety foam.
“It’s been a really unique experience getting to work with the engineers at TRD on the new GR Supra Funny Car,” said Todd. “To be a part of the work to try to make these cars as safe as possible for us as drivers means a lot to me. We all worked together on some of the issues we’ve faced for some time including visibility. That said, I’ve had some big moments in my DHL Toyota Camry including my first U.S. Nationals win and championship. Toyota’s support of NHRA, Kalitta Motorsports, and myself specifically means a ton, and I hope we can deliver even more success to them with this new GR Supra.”
Kalitta Motorsports will run two Supras in 2022
Kalitta Motorsports is the racing facility of drag racing stalwart Connie Kalitta. His Kalitta Air flying service helps to support the effort. Kalitta Air contracts with the US government, other countries, and private industry. If you recall, it was the only aircraft allowed in the air during the aviation shut down after 9/11. It is one of the elite flying services in the world.
Toyota has won six Top Fuel championships and three Funny Car championships. Next year the two Supra GR Funny Cars will be driven by JR Todd and Alexis DeJoria. The 2022 NHRA season starts where the 2021 season ended, at Pomona’s Fairplex Park. Racing begins in the middle of February.