Not only is Toyota’s achingly beautiful GR GT3 concept being developed as a race car, there’s a road version in the works as well. This confirmation comes straight from the top of Toyota’s World Endurance Championship race team.
Speaking with Motorsport.com, WEC team director Rob Leupen said that the GR GT3 will begin racing in Europe in 2026. It was previously thought that the sleek racer would target new WEC GT3 rules that go into effect in 2024 with a 2025 debut, but it now appears the launch will be delayed by one season. But there’s a good reason for the deferment, as Leupen told Motorsport.
“The date is in alignment with the road car side, which is following the philosophy of Toyota to have a motorsport-bred car on the road. This is moving forward at the moment.”
When asked a followup about whether the GT3 might fall under the Lexus marque, Leupen replied, “At the moment, it seems to be. It depends on how it develops within Toyota, but at the moment, yes.”
Toyota already has performance models in the portfolio already – the GR86, GR Yaris and Corolla, and the GR Supra. The GT3 would be entering a crowded lineup and have to slot in above the Supra. It would be a better fit for a Lexus to be racing alongside Ferraris and Aston Martins, and the GT3 would make an excellent successor to the RC (or bring back the SC!).
However, Lexus has plans to go all-electric by 2030 in North America, Europe and Japan. Will the GT3 fit with that plan? Perhaps the rumored twin-turbo V8 LFA successor will be the GT3 instead and a fully electric LFA will follow in the next decade.
The GR GT3 Concept made its surprise debut at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon, impressing onlookers with its menacing beauty. Its remarkable similarity to the also stunning Mazda RX-Vision Concept could not be ignored as well, giving us hope that Toyota may amortize costs by sharing the platform with Mazda. Toyota owns a 5 percent stake in the Hiroshima company, and the collaboration could give rotary engine devotees the long-awaited RX-9.
That would be the dream, and patent applications for both the Toyota and the Mazda have been found. But even if the Mazda doesn’t happen it’s likely the Toyota will. Homologation rules for GT3 require that race cars have at least 300 road cars built in their image.