Has Toyota cancelled its Ferrari-rivalling hypercar?
Thursday 12th August, 2021 - 8:23am
Reports from Japan have emerged that Toyota’s ground-breaking GR Super Sport hypercar has been cancelled. While the Japanese giant’s Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) program is unaffected, it’s believed plans for a road-going version of the car that competes at La Sarthe have been paused or cancelled altogether following a fiery crash in testing.
Toyota was the first to commit to the LMH regulations, which originally called for the race car to be based on a road-going hypercar. That led the company to show off the GR Super Sport concept back in 2018, which was effectively the TS040 prototype converted to road use. Subsequently the LMH rules have changed to allow pure racing cars into the category, which will be the tactic used by Scuderia Glickenhaus, Peugeot and Ferrari.
Toyota carried on development of the GR Super Sport road car, even bringing a prototype to the 2020 Le Mans 24-hours, which Alex Wurz demonstrated on circuit. The company also released a video in 2019 showing Toyota president Akio Toyoda driving an early prototype at Fuji Speedway. This was meant to be the halo model for the brand’s Gazoo Racing line-up of road cars that currently includes the GR Supra, GR Yaris and GR 86.
While the reports claim the program has been binned following a crash at Fuji Speedway that destroyed a prototype, there’s been no confirmation from Toyota itself. Prototypes are often damaged during testing and generally prove more of a setback than a dead-end.
Certainly Toyota has put extensive work into the GR Super Sport project, developing a road-legal version of the 2.4-litre twin-turbo V6 hybrid powertrain from the race car and designing and building a bespoke chassis and body.
Obviously a hypercar that would likely be priced at the very top end of the performance car market, potentially similar or even above the current range-topping Ferrari SF90 Stradale, Aston Martin Valhalla and Lamborghini Aventador would be new territory for Toyota.
Given the likely very high price and limited market for such a car, as well as the subsequent change of LMH rules which no longer the road car version, Toyota is using the crash as an excuse to cut a program that likely always struggled to make financial sense.
Until there’s official word from Toyota the fate of the GR Super Sport appears uncertain.