Alonso helps Toyota launch GR Supra in Detroit

Alonso helps Toyota launch GR Supra in Detroit

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Alonso helps Toyota launch GR Supra in Detroit

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Two-time Formula 1 world champion and Toyota sports car star Fernando Alonso joined Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda on stage at the International Auto Show in Detroit today for the official launch of the new GR Supra model, sales of which are expected to start in Japan this spring.

The fifth-generation Supra — the first global Toyota GAZOO Racing model — ends a 17-year hiatus since the conclusion of production of the previous generation in 2002. Like its predecessors, the new Supra is front-engine and rear-wheel-drive powered by an inline six-cylinder engine. This time around, extensive attention has also been paid to the three fundamental elements of wheelbase, tread, and center of gravity with the aim of maximizing handling performance.

“Back in the day, I spent countless hours driving an old Supra at Nurburgring to become a master driver. Supra is like an old friend that holds a special place in my heart,” said Toyoda. “While other manufacturers were putting their beautiful new prototypes which they were going to introduce through the paces, I was driving an old Supra that was no longer in production. So even though Toyota had no plans to make a new Supra, just like a lot of other diehard Supra fans around the world, I secretly wanted to make it happen. The new GR Supra was born through testing at Nurburgring, and I can honestly say that it is a car that is fun to drive and better than ever.”

“It’s totally lit!” enthused Alonso after driving the first production model on stage to join Toyoda. “I did drive the Supra in Japan and I can tell you, your fingerprints are all over this car. The tuning you and your team did at Nurburgring really paid off. It really handles like a race car — I felt the cornering was great, it’s got a quick gearshift, fast acceleration, nice braking performance. The electronics are quite sophisticated. It’s like a race car you can drive quite comfortably”.

The 2020 Supra will feature a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six that will produce 335 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. The torque comes on strong from very low engine speeds, thanks to a combination of a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct fuel injection and continuously variable timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts. Engine response is further enhanced thanks to the inline six’s variable intake valve lift system that adjusts intake valve timing and duration.

The 8-speed automatic transmission delivers quick up- and downshifts and features paddle shifters for manual control when desired. Short ratios for the lower gears and a Launch Control function enable powerful acceleration with maximum traction. Toyota estimates 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.1 seconds. Top track speed will be electronically limited to 155 mph.

The 2020 Supra will offer two driving modes, Normal and Sport. Sport Mode provides track-driving capability by reducing intervention of the traction and stability control functions as well as sharpening throttle response, increasing steering weight, improving transmission shift crispness, more aggressive active differential tuning and amplifying exhaust sound.

For performance driving enthusiasts, the Supra will have an active differential that uses an electric motor and multi-plate clutches to control lateral torque. The active differential precisely controls torque distribution between the rear wheels, with stepless variable locking from 0-100 percent. The differential can control torque distribution between the rear wheels when cornering under both acceleration and braking, enabling greater momentum through a corner. The active differential is also effective at ensuring neutral handling by reducing both understeer and oversteer.

A race-going version of the Supra will appear in Japan’s Super GT series starting in 2020, when Super GT adopts Class One regulations that have been developed jointly with Europe’s DTM series.

In the United States, the Supra body will replace that of the Camry as Toyota’s race car in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year, as was announced last summer.

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