Toyota announced the Supra will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2019, when it will make its competition debut at Daytona to begin a maiden voyage that will vault the iconic spots car back into the spotlight.
Rumors of the Supra's return have been circulated for years. Recent hints, have alluded to the return of Toyota's famed sports car, but the NASCAR announcement confirmed the speculation.
"When you talk Toyota and cool cars, the Supra is the first thing that comes to mind for many auto enthusiasts," said Ed Laukes, group vice president of Toyota Division Marketing. "The Supra's return in production form is huge news, but now we're also going to see this iconic sports car return to American motorsport. From a marketing perspective, it's important to have a race car that evokes the dynamism and character of its showroom counterpart. We're confident we've accomplished that with Supra, and we hope racing fans the world over will proudly cheer its success on track."
Using a familiar playbook that has led to race wins and championships, Toyota and TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development), the manufacturer's race engineering arm, worked hand-in-hand with Calty Design Research, Inc. to develop a Supra race car for NASCAR competition. Calty, Toyota's U.S. design studio, and TRD worked to match the styling and emotion of the Supra and build a race version that fits within NASCAR's competition template.
"We've had tremendous success working with Calty to develop race cars that match the look, feel and excitement of their showroom counterparts," said David Wilson, president of TRD. "We're confident Calty and TRD have developed another race car, Supra, that is capable of winning races and championships. For Supra to be racing in NASCAR just speaks to how important this vehicle is to us, and that we believe Supra can be a bona fide championship winner."
Calty has now worked with TRD over six vehicle designs to ensure consistency between production models and on-track Toyota race cars, while also improving on-track performance with each new build. The groups began work on the NASCAR Supra in 2017 and previously unveiled Toyota NASCAR and NHRA race vehicles in:
• 2013: Sixth-generation Camry for MENCS
• 2014: Tundra for NCWTS
• 2015: Seventh-generation Camry for NXS
• 2016: Eighth-generation Camry for MENCS
• 2017: Eighth-generation Camry for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
With the Supra announcement, Toyota races six different vehicle models across eight series in America. Toyota's racing lineup includes: the Camry, Supra, and Tundra in NASCAR; the Camry in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car competition; the Camry in ARCA Racing Series and regional touring series action; the 86 and Corolla Hatchback in Formula DRIFT; as well as engines for dirt midget racing and other series.
The Supra previously raced in both America and Japan, where it was a dominant force in Super GT competition and a contender in the IMSA Camel GT Series in the 1980s. It also made two appearances in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in the 1990s.
Toyota has fielded the Camry in NXS competition since 2007, tallying four manufacturer championships, while the Camry has earned two driver championships and 142 wins.
--- Toyota Racing ---