With a lot of teasers going on from FT1 concept in 2014, to now, and with racing project announcements in NASCAR stepping stone entry with Toyota USA's dedicated car, and other sports car racing field based on the European-released GR Supra racing concept, you'd wondered when the actual near-production models will appear to the public. Well the day has sort of arrived at Goodwood Festival of Speed this past weekend, and it briefly ran up the famous hill-climb with what's supposedly a production trim engine.
Here's some photos that our contributor provided, and it does look promising!
A brief history of what the engineers have been upto with this for the last several years, as he told the Japanese media in an interview and with a few days spent periodically, throughout the process in person myself.
Chief Engineer Tada has spent the past several years on this project, and with various stages of collaborative efforts for this vehicle to be produced with BMW and their production facility resources.
It seems to have been quite struggle at the start, when Mr.Tada approached BMW. He was suddenly called upon to go figure out what can be done with the next Supra, and BMW as a partner.
Pulled from an event on short notice in Spain at the time during a 86 related event, he was thrown into a corporate jet to get to a meeting that day in Germany.
There he was met with colleagues from Toyota at the BMW corporate valut office with executives, and sat through the meeting of what was to become the next sports car project, after the 86.
Tada san has been very close in his career with one of his mentor, the then Chief of the A80 Supra. But, that project was a long time ago. What would become of this next one?
And this time, it was his turn to make it from scratch. Quite unexpectedly at first, but going back to all his years, and also doing a ton of research personally to seek a concept of what the next A90 should become.
With all due respect to the world of Supra fans, who are extremely diverse depending on the era, region, and age group, he's very familiar with American hero that is of the A80, and the venerable and unbeatable 2JZ-GTE engine in the realm of aftermarket.
Surely with the experience he had with the 86/BRZ project and with all due criticisms and accolades alike, it still managed to become one of the most pure, accessible, and well-loved sports car in this modern era where roads are ruled by SUV's and Hybrid Eco mobiles.
This has been a very long road with breaking cultural barriers for both BMW and TOYOTA to collaborate effectively, but more on this later when I write up a longer, more detailed story later on.
What's become of this is a very pretty car but that isn't nearly as simple as sorting through BMW parts bin and constructing a Supra skin over it. It was quite a bit more to the point that TOYOTA has expended just as much funds as creating one of their own cars.
But the beauty and the result of the process goes much, much further and again, more on this later. I'll periodically write a bits and pieces account for the process of the collaboration, unofficial of course but personal, as told by the CE.
For now, please enjoy what our friends at Goodwood has provided me, and to share with fans and enthusiasts of driving pleasure and sports cars.
Moto Miwa, Club4AG
Photo credits: Zeeshan
There seems to be a diffuser of pretty carefully calculated airflow, and CE has mentioned that it will be pretty extensive on the production model that will be one of the major contributing factors to the stability at high speeds at levels beyond cars with a short wheelbase.
Moreover, that is what they have worked on extensively so that the foot print can be so wide and short, for superb precision and agility, while attaining a very stable high-speed cruise.
Roof structure shape seems to be similar to the 86, though here is one of the places where this car will differ greatly from a BMW Z4.
And considering the ultra light weight of the car, perhaps we can expect this panel to be of some resin hardened lightweight material? Hint...
HUD, yes, BMW's hardware again, but expecting a bit of twist in models for some regions. That's a detail we have to wait and see, Tada san says.
The HUD might be one of the more interesting elements of the new A90 Supra, in terms of "connected driving" that Gazoo Racing is very much influencing on this car.
Telemetry, Data Logging, Driver Assist, performance driving assist, and other elements of the near infinite ways a car can be connected to the cloud and a wealth of on-board information possible today.
Unfortunately the interior was all covered up with blanketing sheet and no details could be observed. I do see a BMW Automatic shift lever, though I do assume this can be any form of 2 pedal manual too.
I suppose the interior has more details to be finalized and shown more dramatically at a more official introduction.
Here I'm noticing the wheel studs to be the typical BMW bolts, rather than the usual Toyota stud+nuts arrangement. BMW has a saying this being a more solid and simpler connection to the hub assembly, but from my experience, it makes the chore of mounting wheels a little trickier without the guide of studs to rest on.
The car itself as I understand from Mr.Tada, that it will have a shorter wheelbase than the existing Toyota 86, while slightly longer and wider overall.
But not by a whole lot, and this will be a very light and compact body, he stresses, with linear high speed stability that is uncharacteristically good for a car with such short wheelbase and wide track.
He also says the aerodynamic properties were something studied very meticulously for the 86, and this will feature even more refinements, as Toyota was free of constraints on this regard to shape the body and all under panels.
Again that big front vent below the headlight... This is a brake cooling vent that can be optionally installed for track users avid and in need of such devices for racing around on Sunday track venues.
Big side mirrors are something inevitable under European regulations in meeting the minimal side mirror size requirements. But again Tada san assures that the element of aerodynamics were well accounted and placed and shaped precisely where it is slippery through the wind, and directs air where it is supposed to go.