Toyota will launch a one-make race series built around its GR86 sports car in the U.S. in 2023.
The automaker plans to reveal more details in the summer, but has confirmed the new series as the GR Cup. GR are the initials of Toyota’s Gazoo Racing motorsport department, and the GR Cup will be run by Toyota Gazoo Racing North America.
Toyota also confirmed there will be seven rounds in the inaugural season, all of them in the U.S. Similar series could potentially open in other regions should the U.S.-based GR Cup prove popular.
Several automakers currently offer one-make race series, though these tend to be exotic brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche. As a result, the cost of entry tends to be steep.
Teaser for 2023 Toyota GR86 GR Cup race car
With pricing for the 2022 GR86 starting at $28,695, including destination, the cost of entry for the GR Cup will likely be more affordable than something like the Ferrari Challenge or Lamborghini Super Trofeo. This should make it a popular avenue for up-and-coming drivers to hone their skills before tackling more challenging series.
The rear-wheel-drive GR86 is powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4 that’s rated at 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Toyota quotes a 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds with the manual and 6.6 seconds with the automatic. The race cars running in the GR Cup won’t be completely stock, though. A teaser shot shows the race car with a roll cage and a carbon-fiber rear wing.
Toyota said the series will enable its engineers to validate the performance of the GR86 when pushed to the limits, and that lessons learned from the program will benefit future sports car development at the automaker.
The news comes just as Toyota adds a new model to its growing GR lineup in the form of the 2023 GR Corolla. The hot hatch combines 300 hp, a 6-speed manual, and all-wheel drive, and is due to start sales later this year.