A few weeks ago, Toyota’s Gazoo Racing motorsports division introduced the GR and GR Sport editions for some of its mainstream models for the Japanese domestic market. The GR/GR Sport trims are visually distinguished by a new grille design, unique painted brake calipers and special badging.
It seems that this effort by Toyota is just the beginning of a possible hardcore performance sub-brand for overseas markets. A report from the US markets suggests that new GR sub brand line will also spawn a dedicated sports car platform in future. How these cars will be produced and named is probably the task of the hour as Toyota looks at a befitting nomenclature besides engineering solutions.
The acronym GR stands for Gazoo Racing, a name that is of Japanese origin. Gazoo was launched in 1998 as a website for Toyota dealers in Japan, but the venture eventually led to an in-house subsidiary and race program within the company. The name is derived from gazo, which means “picture” and “zoo” in Japanese. For non-Japanese markets, it is widely believed that Toyota Racing Development (TRD) will be roped in as the retail face for the GR programme..
Gazoo Racing’s president, Shigeki Tomoyama said that the first phase of GR is to modify existing cars with sportier body stiffening measures and suspensions. “In its next phase,” Tomoyama continued, “We will get a designated sports car platform and eventually — finally — we want to introduce a pure, genuine sports car, which can compete against top-class world competitors.” If Toyota decides to create one, it will go solo this time.