Toyota Gazoo Racing North America’s (TGRNA) Toyota GR Cup Race Series Featuring the GR86 Completes 14 Events at Seven Prestigious Circuits
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 31, 2023) – The Toyota GR Cup Race Series wrapped up the 2023 season with Tyler Gonzales of Copeland Motorsports locking in the points championship and taking the top spot on the podium. He was joined by TechSport Racing teammates Gresham Wagner and Spike Kohlbecker in second and third place, respectively.
Toyota Gazoo Racing North America’s (TGRNA) GR Cup Series provides amateur drivers and teams the opportunity to compete at some of the most iconic racing venues in North America while providing Toyota engineers with real world data to support the design of future vehicles. The inaugural Toyota GR Cup season proved a huge success by any measure.
“This series exceeded all of our expectations,” said Nick Miller, manager Motorsports Special Projects at Toyota Motor North America. “We set an internal goal of 20 cars at the first race and managed to finish the season with 31 drivers on-grid. The racing provided some real excitement with great wheel-to-wheel racing action,” Miller said.
The GR86 Cup Car on display at SEMA is based on the track-inspired engineering found in every Toyota GR sports car. While all GR86 Cup race cars are modified for competition, all began as production models shipped directly from the factory in Japan to TGRNA’s facility in North Carolina for race upfit. GR Cup Car bodies remain largely the same as any street-going GR86 but are made race-ready with a handful of modifications for increased performance.
Starting with its outward appearance, the GR86 benefits from aerodynamic enhancements in the form of custom bodywork by Stratasys®, a TGRNA–designed splitter, a carbon fiber rear wing, and a few other exterior tweaks. Inside the cabin, a roll cage lends to chassis stiffness for improved handling while providing the driver with a fortified cockpit, while OMP® safety equipment positions the driver securely behind the wheel. The chassis is then lowered with TGRNA–designed suspension components to ensure even sharper handling, while fuel capacity is increased with the addition of a 22-gallon fuel cell.
Improving driveline performance started with a motorsports-oriented ECU, courtesy of a Bosch®. Spent gasses leave the engine through a custom, higher flowing Borla® exhaust. A SADEV® 6-speed sequential transmission transforms torque at the crankshaft into forward motion, while large-diameter Alcon® brakes help to rein in speed. Together, these components were selected to level the field, limit set-up variability, and maintain as much series consistency as possible.
“We take an engineered vehicle designed to spec for the road and then apply our resources to make it race ready,” said TRD executive commercial director, Jack Irving. “It’s a marketing effort for us. It’s a development opportunity for drivers. We’re supporting grassroots racing. There’s big value in it, and there’s a lot of responsibility with that too,” Irving said.
The series presents a possible next leap in the performance-driving progression for GR owners who take advantage of the complimentary one-year National Auto Sport Association® (NASA) membership that comes with the purchase of any GR sports car. The program also includes one complimentary track day at a NASA® High Performance Driving Event, giving GR owners performance driving experiences under the tutelage of expert instructors.
Looking ahead to the 2024 season and beyond, Toyota has set a goal of turning Gazoo Racing into the premier performance brand in the United States within a decade, and the Toyota GR Cup is a big part of that thrust. For 2024, the GR Cup series will continue to include 14 events at seven prestigious American racetracks. Kicking off in April at Sonoma Raceway®, the series continues on with races at Sebring International Raceway, the Circuit of the Americas, Virginia International Raceway, Road America, the newly added Barber Motorsports Park, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway®.
“We should start our first race next season with about 40 cars on–grid, the most we’ve ever had. We’re excited to welcome even more drivers into the GR Cup fold, and know the racing is going to be even more epic than before,” Miller said.
The GR86 Cup car is featured in the Toyota 2023 SEMA Show exhibit (Central Hall, Booth No. 22200) at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Oct 31 – Nov 3, 2023.
The GR86 Cup car is a specially built race car for use only on closed courses. The GR86 Cup car is not certified to meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and is illegal to drive on public roads.
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Toyota Product Communications