Hot on the heels of yesterday’s GR Corolla announcement, Toyota has dropped the news that it will be in the thick of things during this year’s racing season. The single-make GR Cup will launch into motorsports competition around the United States with a season made up of seven events.
Toyota has been quick to remind everyone it’s well into the throes of shedding its ‘beige Camry’ image, pumping out cars like the Supra and GR Corolla, not to mention recently re-upping the GR86 with a second-gen model. It’s that car which will take center stage in these spec events, helping to reinforce the message that all Gazoo Racing vehicles are hotbeds of track-based engineering.
For readers whose subscription to Motorsport Thesaurus Monthly has lapsed, we will remind you that single-make series racing, otherwise known as one-make racing, is a category of sport in which all drivers compete using identical (read: homologated) cars from the same manufacturer.
In this new Toyota GR Cup, the GR86 has been designated as the rig of choice. Since all cars on the grid are (technically) the same, racing of this type puts a large emphasis on driver skill and car setup, permitting race enthusiasts the chance to compete in a real championship scenario. In other words, this competition is designed to level the playing field between racers who have wads of cash and those operating on a relative shoestring. History teaches us this doesn’t always pan out, but it is the intent.
Some will say these race efforts are designed to build fans for Toyota vehicles and the GR brand, and those people have a point. After all, strapping into a race-bred GR86 and turning a wheel in anger on the track is sure to create a few converts. The same can be said for those watching in the stands or on a digital broadcast. However, it also allows Toyota engineers to process some learnings on track, with the end goal of translating some of those lessons to road cars.
Win on Sunday, sell on Monday – that might be a phrase from the days of Junior Johnson but there’s a case to be made it has a shadow of truth in the 21st century as well. More information about the program, including potential track dates, is scheduled to be released later this summer.
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