The Toyota GR Supra is still relatively new, but it has already touched several disciplines of motorsports. The GR Supra has a presence in Formula Drift, GT racing, and even NASCAR. However, Toyota just found a brand new playground for its halo car.
Toyota GR Supra funny car will race in 2022 NHRA season
Most car enthusiasts may think of the Toyota GR Supra as the type of car that would excel on a street or road course rather than a drag strip. The GR Supra’s 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder engine makes a respectable 382 horsepower, but that’s not nearly enough to make it a capable drag car.
Though, Toyota has a history of running “unconventional” vehicles in top fuel drag racing. Starting in 2012, the Camry was the Toyota representative in Top Fuel and Funny Car. Before the Camry, Toyota campaigned the Solara and the Celica.
The automaker recently revealed that the GR Supra would take over in NHRA Funny Car as the Camry retires.
“After 10 years of fielding the Camry in NHRA Funny Car competition, it’s really exciting for us to be moving to the GR Supra and ultimately the next generation of Funny Cars for NHRA,” said Paul Doleshal, group manager of motorsports for Toyota North America. “Our team at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) along with the design team at Calty worked hard to incorporate as many features from the production GR Supra into the Funny Car that J.R. Todd and Alexis DeJoria will drive in 2022.”
While it certainly seems to make more sense to go with a GR Supra than a Camry for drag racing, we could also understand how some may think the choice is a bit unorthodox.
The GR Supra Funny Car looks, well, funny
In reality, the Toyota GR Supra Funny Car is not actually a Supra. As with most Funny Cars, the exterior is merely a shell based on an exaggerated shape of a production car. Underneath Funny Cars are purpose-built, tube chassis vehicles that just barely have enough room for the pilot. Funny Cars are built that way so they follow strict rules enforced by the NHRA class the car runs in.
Designers have their hands full when sculpting a Funny Car shell as they have to communicate the brand identity of the car it’s based on while keeping everything aerodynamically sound.
In the case of the GR Supra, the first thing most will notice is how elongated the shell is. The car looks like a Supra that’s been stretched by a candy maker with a very long sloping front splitter and narrowed rear end.
The printed graphics certainly go a long way in communicating to the eye that the Funny Car is based on a GR Supra. There are hints of the Supra’s nose near the front at the end of the very long hood.
Does it have a Hemi?
Poking out from that stretched hood are intakes for the massive V8 engine that sits underneath. Ironically, despite the immense effort to ensure this car still looks like a Toyota, the engine is based on Chrysler HEMI V8, just like every other Funny Car in the series.
It seems odd, but the practice is more common than you think in motorsports. Sometimes what you see on track is not always what you can buy in the dealerships. However, automakers don’t mind if you end up thinking that anyway.