2019 Toyota Supra to make dynamic debut at Goodwood

Disguised prototype set to tease crowds on the Festival of Speed hill climb

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The all-new Toyota Supra’s excruciatingly long gestation period is nearly over. But before we see one of the year’s most eagerly awaited new performance cars in full, Toyota is taking it to the Goodwood hill climb at this year’s Festival of Speed for its dynamic debut.

Although still covered in a body-disguising wrap, this is the first time we have seen a late full-body prototype in the metal, giving us all a better idea of what to expect when the car is finally revealed later in the year. In addition to this, one of our readers, Johnny Daly, sent in shots of a similar late-body prototype undergoing testing right here in the UK, giving us yet more insight into what the new sports coupe will look like.

Look beyond the swirly wrap and you’ll see that the expressive, dramatic bodywork first shown on the Toyota FT-1 Concept, and later the GR Supra Racing Concept, has remained mostly intact. While the Supra is paired in development with the new BMW Z4, Toyota has assured us that the differences between the two cars will be significantly more dramatic than the results of the GT86/BRZ project from 2012, amounting to not only different exterior styling and interiors, but also a more dynamically focused ethos for the Supra in comparison to the more laid-back BMW.

Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept

The Toyota GR Supra Racing concept first appeared at the Geneva motor show earlier this year and has now reached the Gran Turismo racing game franchise, giving fans the chance to get their first go behind the (virtual) wheel.

As for the actual concept car, it might look like a racetrack-only machine, but it does give us our best indication yet as to what the production Supra might look like. Complete with functional, production-specification lighting and glazing shared with late-cycle prototypes, peel back the stickers and take a few inches of width from the wheelarches and you’ll be looking at something very close to the production car next year.

The GR Supra Racing Concept – to give it its full name, for all Supras will be marketed under the Gazoo Racing sub-brand – isn’t said to conform with any racing formulae in particular, but that hasn’t stopped it from appearing authentic, all the same. Toyota lists the highlights and equipment that make up its ‘racing spec’, but doesn’t give any mechanical specifications or even a hint as to what lies under the brutal bodywork.

Speaking to Tetsuya Tada

The Geneva show gave us the opportunity to discuss the Supra further with the car’s chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada. While Tada and the company are still being cagey at this stage, the chat was encouraging, and helped to illustrate that despite the car’s co-development with the BMW Z4, Toyota’s effort will be a very different car to its Bavarian counterpart.

How much can you say about the differences between the Z4 and Supra?

Unlike the GT86 co-developed with Subaru, with BMW we first decided on the concept of the car that each company would like to develop separately. Once these concepts were clear we looked into which parts could be common between the two projects – and the number of common parts and elements are much fewer than many may imagine.

Presumably it’s going to share the engine architecture, so how has Toyota developed the engine, suspension etc differently from BMW? Is it a more focused car?

From our side Toyota wanted to make a pure sports car, and BMW has a slightly different direction. Engine calibration is quite different between the two cars. Even if the hardware is the same in some elements, the calibration is completely different – the driving experience will be very different to the Z4.

Which other models have been benchmarked, and is there any reference to previous versions of the Supra?

We looked into Porsches – the 911 for example. As for previous Supras, we’re aware that there’s a huge fanbase for previous Supras, so we’ve interviewed them to hear their expectations before we started the project. People told us they wanted a six-cylinder engine and a front-engined, rear-drive layout.

Will it be offered with a manual gearbox?

We’re still in discussion about these details, so we don’t know what the final production car will use yet.

Is there any likelihood of a hybrid powertrain?

We are considering not only hybrid but also other powertrain tech, EVs, fuel cells etc. We’re looking at all these possibilities for our future sports cars.

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