‘Will they, or won’t they?’ This is the question on everyone’s lips after the Toyota unveiled a very GT3-esque racing concept Supra at the Geneva Motor Show. Further fanning the flames of speculation, is comments by Toyota’s sales and marketing boss, Sean Hanley – who made it clear the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour was on his wish list.
“Supra has a very, very strong heritage in Australia,” he commented, before adding, “the Supra was a dominant force in the Japanese GT series for a number of years, it would make sense to tackle the 12-hour and compete against the likes of Porsche, Lamborghini and Ferrari. I wouldn’t rule out the potential to look at the 12-hour at some point.”
Add to this, the commitment from Toyota’s global boss Akio Toyoda, to expand its motorsport involvement through Gazoo Racing (the performance arm he helped set up) and a 12-Hour debut becomes a very real possibility.
Officially called the GR Supra Racing Concept, Toyota was very cautious not to refer to it as a GT3 endurance racer. However, one look at its configuration and specification, quickly tells you that it’s built very closely to GT3 guidelines. Especially its wide-guards, massive rear wing, elongated front splitter, huge rear diffuser, bonnet vents and numerous winglets – they’re all pure GT3. So too are its BBS centre-lock wheels, wide Michelin slicks, Brembo brakes, OMP Race Seat, paddle shifter, F1-style steering wheel, carbon fibre interior panels, Lexan side windows and dry-break fuel system.
So, will they, or won’t they? Come early February 2019 at Mount Panorama, we’ll all know the answer to that question. And if Toyota commit to the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour, that just might be the motivation direct-competitor, Nissan Australia needs to pull their race-winning Nismo GT-R GT3s out of retirement. Stay tuned.