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With the launch of the Lexus LFA and Toyota GT 86, Toyota seems to be back in the sports car game. And now the Japanese auto giant is proving its cars are more than just fun-to-drive and shiny sheetmetal, with each car winning its respective class at this weekend’s Nurburgring 24 Hour Race.
And for now, Toyota won’t be offering a supercharged or turbocharged variants of its greatest new sports car, but Gazoo Racing has decided to build its own GT 86 using both forced induction technologies. The result is the Gazoo Racing Sport FR Concept, using a twincharger system that makes 320-hp and 310 lb-ft of torque and is most certainly a complete blast to drive.
Gazoo Racing has been partnering with Toyota for a few years now, and we should point out that its GT 86 twincharger is simply a concept for now. On the outside, a styling package gives the Toyota GT 86 a more aggressive and sportier profile while the parts maker also equipped it with its own brakes and suspension.
One can only hope that something like that makes it to market, even in limited quantities. The interesting thought is whether Toyota will take note of what Gazoo Racing has done – or better yet, has been working with Gazoo Racing to determine the pros and cons of each method of forced induction. With how much fun the Scion FR-S already is, a twincharged version might just be perfection.
GALLERY: Gazoo Racing Sport FR Concept
Toyota is extremely proud of its new GT 86, and out in Japan, its motorsports partner Gazoo Racing has built a pair of GT 86s to compete in the famous Nürburgring 24 Hours race.
The race will take place from May 17th to the 20th and Gazoo Racing will also be fielding a Lexus LFA in the competition. Before one of the GT 86s compete in the Nürburgring race, however, it will make its way to the Japanese Rally Championship. Both custom Gazoo Racing Toyota GT 86s will be on display at the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK from June 29th to July 1st.
It appears that the GT 86s will have around 200-hp and will be equipped with a six-speed manual for the race. We’re excited to see how well it does during the grueling endurance classic.
Watch a video of the Gazoo Racing Toyota GT 86 below
Ever wonder what the next Toyota Supra will be like? So do we.
Could it be some sort of high-tech hybrid, using all-wheel drive with an electric motor for the front wheels and a gasoline or gas-electric hybrid drive for the rear? We suppose so.
You know… something like the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II (above)? Um, well, yea. But let’s not start any rumors. OK?
First unveiled at the Nurburgring 24 Hour race in the summer, Toyota has recently displayed the hybrid sports car concept at both the Tokyo Motor Show and now at the Tokyo Auto Salon, hinting just how serious they are about keeping it in the public’s eye.
When it was first shown Toyota said it, “has long conducted active research on applying hybrid technologies to racing and sports cars” and said the GRMN vehicle is, “the next step in the evolution of these efforts.”
Just exactly when the next next step will be is anyone’s guess. Whatever Toyota decides to build and whatever they call it, knowing the company’s hybrid expertise and newfound passion for performance cars, we bet it’ll be supra…. er… super.
GALLERY: Toyota GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II
Before the Toyota GT 86 was even officially revealed, the new sports car was out on the track competing. This particular car, on display for the first time at the Tokyo Auto Salon, was raced at the grueling Nurburgring 24 Hour Race in the Fall.
A mildly modified version of the factory car, it sports the obvious race goodies like a roll cage, while other upgrades include some lighter wheels with stickier tires, some tiny carbon fiber mirrors and an aero kit complete with a big rear spoiler – something we’d really like Toyota to offer as a factory or dealer option.
GALLERY: Gazoo Racing Toyota GT 86
Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2013 Scion FR-S Review here and discuss this story at FR-Sforum.com
Hybrids are increasingly becoming the car of choice in Japan and as a result the country that’s responsible for popularizing electrified motoring is also the Mecca for hybrid tuning.
Yes, some performance shops are working on adding more power to hybrid systems, but as with the rest of the auto industry, the majority of tuning is dedicated areas outside the engine bay. And with the Prius being the best selling car in Japan, it’s the one that gets the most attention.
Built by Toyota‘s motorsports partner Gazoo Racing, the Prius G Sports Concept is a look at a future sports package that the company is considering. Debuting at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the modifications are minimal and look to consist of a set of 18-inch wheels to improve handling and an aero kit.
Toyota won’t say for sure, but look for this kit or perhaps a full production model based on this car to launch in Japan in the coming months.
GALLERY: Toyota Prius G Sports Concept
It’s not even for sale in North America yet, but over in Japan they’re already hard at work modifying the all-new Toyota Vitz – sold here as the Yaris.
A marked improvement on the current model in the style department, the G Sports team at Gazoo Racing have customized this little hatch with a selection of accessories including a complete aero kit. Of note is an aggressive race-inspired rear diffuser, as well as a subtle roof spoiler. As expected, there’s a lowered suspension, plus a set of 18-inch light weight wheels for this sub-compact.
Toyota isn’t one for building driver’s cars, but the G Sports line is helping give enthusiasts a reason to buy Toyota products – or at least they are in Japan. However, as it stands, this package is still just a concept.
GALLERY: G Sports Concept Vitz
Over a year ago, Toyota introduced a limited edition iQ GRMN in Japan, with a supercharger strapped to the tiny car’s 1.3-liter 4-cylinder to produce 116-hp. Now GRMN (a special line of cars produced by Gazoo Racing) has released a Racing Concept based on that model.
The vehicle has just been put on display at the Tokyo Auto Salon, which is taking place over the weekend in Japan.
With a wide body and a roll cage this tiny hatch (roughly a foot longer than a Smart car) is ready for the track. A full compliment of aerodynamic parts is also included, made entirely of carbon fiber. And let’s not forget a stunning set of 17-inch wheels with some 205-wide tires.
GALLERY: GRMN iQ Racing Concept
We were huge fans of G Sports’ Mark X Sports Concept back at Tokyo Auto Salon and are glad that those lucky photographers and writers out in Japan got a chance to see it up close and personal. Dino Dalle Carbonare is no stranger to AutoGuide, having worked with us back in the Modified Mag days and has reported on the Toyota Mark X from G Sports’ over at SpeedHunters.
Just as we assumed, Gazoo Racing’s variation of the Mark X is built off the 350S version of the Mark X that sports the 3.5L V6 powerplant in our American-based IS350 and GS350. None of the performance has been altered in their concept, so it still sports a modest 318-hp and 280 ft-lbs of torque.
But the aggressive exterior styling is what has us loving this car. The front end is just menacing, and the contrasting carbon fiber shade is a nice touch. Subtle yet functional carbon fiber hood outlets are awesome along with the vents on the rear bumper. There’s even more carbon fiber in the rear diffuser.
It’s worth noting that the interior sports suede-clad Recaro seats full of red accent stitching and tons of carbon fiber accents.
What’s just most exciting about all of this is how Gazoo Racing will help bring Toyota back to the spotlight with its performance-based models and hopefully we’ll be seeing G Sports out in America one day.
Check out many more pics of the G Sports Toyota Mark X sports Concept at the link below:
Having failed to complete the grueling Nürburgring 24 Hour endurance race last year, Gazoo Racing took home the SP8 class victory (18th overall) at this year’s around-the-clock race at the 12.9-mile Nordschleife in the #50 Lexus LFA.
In a field of over 200 cars including privateers and full-on factory efforts and with some very stiff competition from Aston Martin, the Gazoo Racing LFA’s battled heavy traffic and the constantly changing weather conditions the Nürburgring is famous for on their way to taking the checkered flag and the SP8 class win. Based in Japan and with a driver’s lineup drawing from the Japanese Super GT series, Gazoo Racing has certainly done Toyota and the Lexus brand proud with their performance at the Green Hell this past weekend, which leads us to wonder if/when we’ll start to see the LFA popping up in other racing series. We’d love to see Lexus enter the fray in the FIA GT1 World Championship, a series Nissan seems to be getting some very good value from with their GT-R entries.
Coming in second in the SP8 class was the Aston Martin Rapide, which even topped the V12 Vantage in 3rd.
For a full photo gallery go to Gazoo Racing, but in the meantime enjoy a few photos of the LF-A at the Ring after the jump.
[Source: Gazoo Racing]
Gazoo Racing is fielding a pair of Lexus LFAs this weekend at the famed 24 Hours of Nürburgring race. These V10 racecars are out to prove a point; the Lexus LFA is a true contender on and off the track and a genuine entry in the supercar world.
Despite unsuccessful entries in the past with the LFA at Nürburgring, Gazoo Racing is paving the way during the qualifying sessions. The two cars, #50 and #51, are heading their class after the second round of qualifying. The #50 car set a time of 8:50.034 and will be driven in the race by Kinoshita, Iida, Wakisaka and Ohshima. The #51 car, set to be driven by Hahne, Krumbach and Lotterer, is in second with an 8:53.156. Third place came in fashionably late with a 9:11.909 effort from the Aston Martin V12 Vantage driven by Porritt, Meaden, Mathai and Cate.
It looks like all the testing sessions has really paid off for the Gazoo Racing team. We’ll be keeping our eyes out this weekend on how well the LFAs will maintain their status at one of the most famous race in the entire world.
[Source: Gazoo Racing]
GALLERY: Gazoo Racing Lexus LFAs
Easily the most talked about vehicle at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon was the G Sports FT-86 Concept. With the FT-86 already garnering its fair share of attention, the G-Sports model is a high-performance version of the concept, from a new performance division.
The G Sports or G’s division will essentially take parts from the looks-based Modelista line of products as well as from the TRD performance based line of products to create a full line of parts (and possibly even models). Toyota will also reportedly work with it’s Super GT race team, Gazoo Racing, to develop the cars. According to a report by Inside Line, customers will be able to choose different package “levels” depending on budget and how significant of a performance enhancement they are looking for.
The G-Sports FT-86 model shown in Tokyo featured plenty of light-weight carbon fiber body panels, new wheels and was rumored to even have a turbocharged and intercooled version of the Subaru-sourced boxer 4-cylinder expected in the production car.
Toyota has not said if the new G’s line of high-performance parts will be available outside Japan.
GALLERY: Toyota FT-86 G Sports
How much could possibly be reported out of Toyota’s Tokyo Auto Salon booth? With G Sports and Gazoo Racing sharing the real estate it’s no surprise there’s plenty to see. Along with the FT-86 G-Sports Concept, Toyota displayed a pair of Gazoo Racing cars: the iQ-based FR Hot Hatch with a widebody and stylish flat black accents as well as a track-ready MR-S roadster. Toyota’s MR-S never got the cult following that its predecessor the MR2, but it was nice to see a tuned MR-S nonetheless.
Two additional concepts from G Sports were also present in the booth with the Mark X (aka, Lexus GS) being converted from a mundane commuter sedan to an aggressive street prowler while the G Sports Prius Concept took the car’s aerodynamics to the extreme, covering up the rear wheels in order to reduce drag as much as possible.
GALLERY: G Sports Prius Concept
GALLERY: G Sports Mark X Concept
GALLERY: Gazo Racing FR Hot Hatch and MR-S
500hp racers set to take on Nürburgring 24 Hour race this weekend
Ahead of the world famous Nürburgring 24 Hour race this weekend, Lexus has released a set of photos of not one, but two LF-A models that will compete for the title.
Last year Lexus brought an LF-A test mule out to the race but announced that it wasn’t technically competing, which is a good thing considering the car didn’t make it far.
This year the automaker is back and have increased their odds with not one but two LF-A models, both running in the Division 2 SP8 class for close to production models. Lexus has also employed the expertise of Gazoo Racing, which runs Lexus cars in the Super GT series in Japan. One of the cars will be co-piloted by Toyota’s new CEO Akio Toyoda.
The LF-A features a 4.8-liter V8 with around 500 hp and uses a paddle-shift sequential gearbox.
The production version of the car is expected to debut at the Tokyo Auto Show this Fall.
Lexus may be looking for an outright win at the Nürburgring 24 but this year it may be even harder than in the past. Not only will there be the usual fleet of BMWs and Porsches, but Audi has announced plans to run four R8s.
The Nürburgring 24 Hour race starts this Saturday (May 23rd) and runs until Sunday.
GALLERY: Lexus LF-A N24 Racer
After an embarrassingly dismal experience at last year’s Nürburgring 24 Hour race, Lexus is once again set to take on one of the world’s most challenging endurance races with it’s LF-A sports car.
The car will run in the Division 2 SP8 class, meaning that the race car will be close to the production car – which is expected to be officially introduced at the Tokyo Auto Show in the fall..
What we know about the car is that it is powered by a 500hp 4.8-liter V10 engine, with a rear-mounted transaxle that is actuated by a paddle-shift sequential manual gearbox.
For the race the LF-A race car will be equipped with a roll cage, fuel-cell, rear spoiler and additional aerodynamics. Otherwise the “engine, powertrain and frame specifications differ little from those of the base vehicle.”
Lexus intends to use the race to further develop and test the vehicle before it sees production and has hired on the experts at Gazoo Racing (which run Lexus teams in Japan’s Super GT series) to assist in the Nürburgring 24 Hour effort.
The Nürburgring 24 Hour race runs from May 23 to 24th.
Will Lexus have better luck this year?
Official release after the jump: