History is repeating itself in many ways.
This is exactly how Toyota chose to show the Lexus LFA to the world; first, as a thinly veiled concept/race car, then as the final production car a short time after. And that’s exactly how the new generation Supra is being shown to us today, revealed only hours ago at the Geneva Motor Show.
This as exciting as it gets, but at the same time we are still left with a sense of wonder, trying to figure out by copious amounts of educated guessing what the final road car will look and feel like. As cool as a wide-body carbon fibre race car is, to people like you and me it will be the final production car that will really get our juices following.
While Toyota was a little short on actual facts and data about the race car itself, there is much that we can gauge from just looking at the series of PR images that have been released.
There’s no hiding the fact that Toyota has penned a very recognisable shape, a silhouette that in some areas even throws a few visual JZA80 cues into the mix. The long hood line to house the BMW-sourced straight-six turbo engine, merging into a well proportioned hatchback rear. It just looks modern, aggressive and well… right. There’s even an R35 GT-R-like roof and glasshouse design which combines to make it look like a junior supercar.
Squint a little and you can see some JZA80 in the front end, too.
The protruding F1-hinting nose, the Lexus-like LED projectors – the closer you look, the more you discover.
And just like me, you are probably wondering about a GR or TRD special version that will eventually have to be made. Can you feel it? That’s proper excitement brewing out of a Japanese car company. When was the last time that happened?
Looking at the stripped-out modern race car cabin, there’s very little that will link it to the finished production car. We can sort of get an idea of what the main dashboard will look like, a twin binnacle layout, one for the main dash instrumentation and the central one for the LCD infotainment/navigation screen. Judging by the edgy design of the door pulls we can expect the trim to carry a similar theme.
Much like the ZN6 (GT86/BRZ/FRS), the Supra will be a Godsend for the aftermarket, especially in the domestic market of Japan where tuners and parts manufacturers have been racking their brains trying to figure out what to modify next.
The race car runs Michelin slick-clad BBS center-lock race wheels, hiding the latest offering from Brembo’s motorsport line up. Maybe these are relationships that will span right down to the production car; BBS Japan did make the wheels for the Lexus LFA and Brembo is a popular choice for many manufacturers.
The race car sports massive fender flares and carbon fiber extractors, none of which will make the final production version.
We quite like the center-exit exhaust.
Consider this one of the best previews of an eagerly awaited car that you could possibly get. It’s also a great marketing move from the folks at Toyota and a wake up call for the rest of the Japanese manufacturers, who in comparison now seem like they’ve gone to sleep or have simply forgotten what the world wants to see from them.
Dino Dalle Carbonare