The Toyota GR Super Sport first debuted in 2018 as a concept car that will eventually be the basis for an upcoming production hypercar. Today, however, is the first time that we get to see the pre-production prototype of the GR Super Sport as it made its public debut at the ongoing 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Toyota GR Super Sport is based on the Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 racecar that won the 2018-2019 Le Mans season. The TS050 LMP1 racecar is also currently competing at this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Toyota GR Super Sport completed a demonstration lap before participating in the opening ceremony to return the Le Mans trophy for this year’s race. The car was driven by former F1 and Toyota Gazoo Racing driver Alex Wurz.
Alex Wurz says, “It was an honor to drive this development version of the GR Super Sport for the first time in public, and especially at a circuit like Le Mans which is so closely connected to this car. The GR Super Sport was born at Le Mans so this felt like a homecoming. This was my first time to drive the car, so a demonstration lap doesn’t allow me to push the limits but I could already feel that the GR Super Sport has the potential for incredible performance. I could feel the similarities between the GR Super Sport and the TS050 HYBRID in terms of performance, particularly the four-wheel drive and the hybrid system. But the engineers tell me this was only a small taste of the GR Super Sport’s true performance so I am super excited to drive it again one day in the near future.”
The production Toyota GR Super Sport will be used as a basis for a race-honed version that will compete in next year’s new Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) class. The new LMH class was designed to attract more car manufacturers by allowing racecars that are close to their production hypercars. While the two versions must share a number of similarities in their hybrid powertrains or chassis, LMH racecars in most cases could still feature dedicated platforms.
According to LMH rules, a minimum of 25 production cars fitted with the same engine and 25 cars fitted with the same energy recovery system (ERS) of the race car would have to be produced by the end of a car manufacturer’s first season. The amount rises to 100 by the end of the second season. So it could be safe to say that Toyota will be producing this minimum amount of GR Super Sport hypercars.
Toyota announced during the preview of the concept that the GR Super Sport is being developed with a 986 hp twin-turbo V6 hybrid powertrain, but this was prior to the announcement of the finalized rules. For the 2020/2021 season, the total system output of the hybrid powertrains should only be up to 670 hp, with the front electric motors having a limit of up to 268 hp. It is now known whether Toyota will stick to their original plan with the production version or whether they will match the LMH requirements. Additionally, this powertrain setup essentially makes the LMH cars all-wheel drive (AWD).
It’s certainly an exciting time right now for Toyota fans with Toyota now showcasing to the world that it is developing a hypercar for homologation purposes for the upcoming LMH class in the 2020/2021 24 Hours of Le Mans season. We certainly couldn’t wait to see the final production version of Toyota’s hypercar in the metal.