Toyota Racing Development has put its full support behind the GR Supra GT4, which is set for a customer rollout in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and Pirelli GT4 America next year.
The new-for-2020 GT4 contender, developed by Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, debuted in European competition earlier this year, with Riley Motorsports having been announced as the first U.S.-based customer team.
According to TRD general manager Tyler Gibbs, Toyota’s North America-based competition arm has been fully on board since the project was given the green light globally.
“David Wilson [TRD President] and I were in Germany two years ago, in 2018, when they revealed the project to us and asked us if we’d be interested in partnering in North America,” Gibbs told Sportscar365.
“We told them we’re all in. It’s been developing since then.
“We’ve been really involved with them for a year now. It was last September/October when we saw the car and began to understand what was going on in detail.”
TRD has established a customer support network, including a parts truck and systems engineer that will be trackside at IMSA and SRO America events next year.
It will be completely independent of TRD’s trackside support of the Lexus RC F GT3 and be a “100 percent customer program” consistent with GT4 regulations.
The first U.S.-based race car was on site during last weekend’s IMSA event at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, with plans to also showcase the car during SRO Motorsport Group’s Indianapolis 8 Hour event next month.
Gibbs, who was on-site at Road Atlanta, said they’ve been in talks with additional prospective customers beyond the already-confirmed Riley entry that will run under the Toyota Gazoo Racing – Latin America banner.
“From our side, if we could have thee or four cars [in IMSA] that would be a huge success for us,” he said.
“Bill is working to have a second car. We know there are a number of owners who would like to purchase a car and have a team run it. Bill has a turn-key solution for that.
“There are other customers too as we’re not tied solely to Bill.”
Gibbs said the first two race chassis are set to arrive in mid-November, with the initial batch to be allocated to IMSA customers.
He explained that a specific allocation for the North America market hasn’t been confirmed and will depend on the number of GR Supra GT4s that will go to Asia, which is on a similar launch timeline.
“With [SRO America’s] season starting a little bit later than the IMSA season, we’re trying to meet the demand for IMSA customers first and then we’ll go to SRO America customers,” Gibbs said.
“We’re really optimistic about it. When you look at how it’s run in the French GT championship, British GT, SRO endurance, it’s been very, very reliable.
“We’ve had good speed. We’re not dominant but we’ve run second a number of times.
“We think this is going to be a really good car for North America where we have some of these longer races. We really think it will be suited to that.
“GT4 racing in the states has really become popular. You look at how popular it is in IMSA and how many manufacturers there are.
“You look at it globally and what they’re doing in SRO. For us it’s a perfect time to get in and participate.”
Riley: 100 Percent Focus on GR Supra GT4 in Pilot Challenge
Bill Riley has confirmed that his team will put their full weight behind the GR Supra GT4, thus ending its involvement with Mercedes-AMG in Pilot Challenge.
Dylan Murry and Jim Cox, who have driven the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT4 for the past two seasons, are expected to move to a new class for 2021.
“It’s going to be an exciting program for us,” Riley told Sportscar365. “It’s been great working with TRD and Toyota so far and I’m really looking forward to next year.”
The North Carolina-based team had previous ties with TRD after running several NASCAR races with a Toyota Camry in 2007 in partnership with D’Hondt Motorsports and also doing some chassis work in NASCAR, according to Riley.