Toyota GR GT3 Concept: a long, lean racer with road aspirations

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Toyota and Lexus trundled into the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon with a bundle of modded gear. There are two especially racy bits — one, the GRMN Yaris we've already covered, and this, the Gazoo Racing GT3 Concept that is philosophically, if not aesthetically, related to the Yaris.

Toyota believes it can provide more enjoyment for customers by commercializing race cars than by making customer cars racy. So instead of turning one of its road cars into a GT3-class competitor (Toyota does sell a Supra GT4), the GT3 Concept could be a customer potential race car that, as required by GT3 homologation rules, would become a road car.

Toyota Gazoo Racing President Koji Sato said the competition division will make a prototype GR GT3 at some point this year. That doesn't mean the exercise will go beyond this one-off, but Gazoo did also say, "TGR intends to use feedback and technologies refined through participation in various motorsports activities to develop both GT3 and mass-production cars and further promote making ever-better motorsports-bred cars," so its seems we will feel the effects of this somewhere.

Based on the form factor of long, low hood and truncated, sloping rear, we could draw a line from the GR GT3 Concept to the Lexus Electrified Sport concept the luxury arm showed in December. Inspired by the LFA, that road car concept was claimed to hit 60 mph in the low 2-second range and be able to run about 435 miles on a charge. But we think it makes a lot more sense to draw a line from the GR GT3 Concept to Mazda's RX Vision GT3 concept from March 2020. We're not accusing GR of copying, but Toyota and Mazda are tight, and these two concepts could be confused for different skins on the same chassis in a video game. We'd be happy to see both make it to GT3 competition as it means there'd be street-legal versions, and frankly, this is probably a better path from circuit to street than the LMDh endurance racing hypercar that Gazoo Racing has toyed with turning into a street-going customer option.

Elsewhere on the carmaker's Tokyo Auto Show stand, there was a racy on-road concept from Toyota and two off-road focused concepts from Lexus. The Toyota bZ4X GR Sport Concept turns the battery-electric crossover into a Friday L.A. nightclub hopper with a matte black exterior on big wheels in low-profile tires, and sport seats inside. The Lexus NX PHEV Off-Road Concept starts with the Lexus NX 450h+ that hit the market in November, stands it up on a small lift and knobby tires, and puts a roof tray on top. The Iron Oxide exterior hue is accented with plenty of matte black accents.

Lastly, Lexus brought its hydrogen-powered side-by-side to the show; the recreational off-roader was first shown virtually last December.

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