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JAY RAMEY

Toyota's 'Super Sports Car': Will it be for the road?

Toyota brought the GR Super Sport Concept to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, promising a new hybrid hypercar for the track.
Jay Ramey is an associate editor with Autoweek, an affiliate of Automotive News.

Toyota's high-performance division has hatched plans to produce a "Super Sports Car" for the upcoming hypercar class in the World Endurance Championship, with a hybrid powerplant and an eye-watering horsepower output.

The car, intended as a production version of the GR Super Sport Concept shown in January at the Tokyo Auto Salon, is expected to feature a version of the hybrid powertrain used by the TS050 Hybrid that won Le Mans.

The production Super Sport is expected to be powered by a 2.4-liter biturbo V-6 engine and a Toyota racing hybrid system to produce 986 hp. The so-called hypercar class, which will likely be formally renamed soon, will feature race cars with kinetic energy recovery system, or KERS, hybrid systems, in addition to other advanced technology.

"Competing in the World Endurance Championship -- one of the most demanding motorsports series -- and racing at Le Mans -- one of the most iconic races -- helps us to advance the development of our world-leading hybrid electric technology and enables us to transfer the knowledge we gain into our production cars," said Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Gazoo Racing Co., Toyota's motorsports and sports car division.

"As the automotive industry is approaching an era of big changes, we will continue our passion for making cars that are truly exciting," Tomoyama said. "No matter how electronics and digital technology will continue to transform vehicles, we will make sure that our cars will not become just another commodity."

It's not lost on anyone that in addition to being a race car, the production version of the GR Super Sport could also be a road car, given the fact that it will face racing versions of the McLaren P1 in the World Endurance Championship. Whether a road version will be produced is the question of the hour -- Toyota hasn't made it known one way or another -- but such a machine could be a successor to the similarly exclusive (and pricey) Lexus LFA that was the brand's halo car.

"We started this project because we believe that creating a super sports car that delivers the same appeal as the TS050 Hybrid greatly adds to Toyota's involvement in WEC. And at some point in the near future, customers will have a chance to get behind the wheel of this incredible machine and experience its astonishing power and driving performance," Tomoyama added.

The new World Endurance Championship class will get going in 2020, with a number of manufacturers including Ferrari, Ford, Aston Martin and McLaren expected to field challengers.

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