Toyota took just about everyone by surprise at the beginning of 2018 when it unveiled the GR Super Sport concept, signalling a road-going hypercar to complement its WEC racer. Subsequent news about the electrified flagship sports car have been few and far between, and the future doesn't look too bright either.
Citing Japanese media outlets, Racer magazine claims a pre-production prototype of the street-legal version was involved in an accident during a recent test at Fuji Speedway. The hybrid hypercar allegedly caught fire and sustained serious damages, prompting Toyota to abort the road car's development. The new report seemingly confirms the initial rumours from Japan as the GR Super Sport's fiery crash "may well bring the road car project to a premature end."
It should be mentioned the road car's possible demise does not negatively impact the LMDh programme as Racer points out Toyota is not obliged to sell a street-legal version. For the same reason, Peugeot has already announced it will not sell a road-going derivative of its 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar. Our colleagues at Motorsport.com reported recently the GR010 Hybrid race car successfully completed last weekend a shakedown with two cars at Spa-Francorchamps prior to this year's Le Mans endurance race set for 21-22 August.
As some of you will recall, Toyota released a video with the GR Super Sport shot at the very same Fuji Speedway in Japan back in June 2019, with the company CEO Akio Toyoda behind the wheel. In September 2020, it made its dynamic public debut by doing a demonstration lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe on the occasion of the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The road-legal GR Super Sport is supposed to have a twin-turbo 2.4-litre V6 engine as part of a hybrid powertrain with a combined output expected to surpass the 1,000-bhp mark after taking into account the electric motors. It's expected to be a coupe, possibly with a canopy section as suggested in a patent filed last year by Toyota with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
It remains to be seen whether the road car has actually been cancelled seeing as how it’s not that uncommon for prototypes to crash (and sometimes burn) during testing, much like it happened in June 2017 in the Alps with a test mule for the current-generation Audi A7 Sportback. It was the same story in July 2014 with an Honda NSX prototype at the Nürburgring, so the GR Super Sport is far from being the first test vehicle to go up in flames.
Toyota GR Super Sport concept
On the other hand, some would argue it’s a bit surprising Toyota green-lighted the development of a road-going version in the first place seeing as how the Lexus LFA supercar wasn’t exactly a commercial success. If a street car is still coming, it will serve as an indirect successor of the GT-One, originally conceived for GT1 racing before being adapted for LMGTP (Le Mans Grand Touring). Two road cars were made, but these weren't sold to the public as one is at the museum in Japan and the other is residing at the Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, Germany.
Provided the GR Super Sport with a number plate is still happening, it's going to cost hypercar money, per a statement made by Toyota Australia's spokesman Orlando Rodriguez: "It's probably at that hypercar sort of level. Pricing? It's going to be at that level." The company won't allow just anyone to buy one as those interested in paying potentially seven figures to sign on the dotted line must first fill out a questionnaire. Owning a Lexus LFA or a Toyota 2000GT will help, and so will having an FIA racing license.