Toyota stunned the sports car world when it revealed the GR GT3 concept back in January. The striking all-black concept car seemingly previewed the Japanese giant’s plans to conquer GT3 racing with a purpose-built sports car.
That’s reportedly still the plan but a new leaked photo implies there could be a key change – the Toyota could become a Lexus.
A member of the website, Lexus Enthusiasts, posted what was claimed to be an image of the GR GT3 Concept at a recent US dealer event clearly wearing a Lexus badge on its nose. The image was quickly removed and there’s no confirmation if it was a genuine photograph, but there was already evidence to suggest the plan all along has been for this dramatic sports coupe to be a member of the luxury car family, not Toyota’s range.
The idea behind the car remains unchanged though, with the plan being to build a car suitable for GT3 racing that can then be developed into a road-legal sports car, similar to the Toyota GR Yaris – a unique three-door homologation special for its WRC campaign.
As we’ve previously written, using the Lexus brand for GT3 racing and for a potential Porsche-rivaling would make sense for the Toyota-Lexus group. Toyota is committed to the Le Mans Hypercar class which would leave the customer-focused GT3 category for the Lexus brand.
That would also make sense from a marketing perspective as Lexus is trying to compete against GT3 stalwarts such as Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG.
Lexus has also teased its return to the supercar space with a long-awaited successor to the V10-powered LFA, which ended production in 2013.
The GR GT3 is reportedly powered by a new twin-turbo V8 petrol engine that the Japanese conglomerate has been developing for several years.
Lexus has also teased an all-electric sports car, showing off the Lexus Electrified Sport concept at later 2021 as part of Toyota’s wider EV plans. So it’s possible it could offer both powertrain options to cater to the different customers racing and road-going supercars attract.