Work on Toyota/Lexus’ new GT3 car is “well underway” according to Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson, who stated that branding for the next-generation model has not yet been finalized.
The car, based on the GR GT3 concept unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon last year, has continued development in Japan although a timeline for its race debut has not been confirmed.
Speaking with Sportscar365 last month at Daytona, Wilson said there’s both a “hope” and “reality” to the launch schedule, which, although unconfirmed, is believed to point towards a 2025 debut.
The yet-to-be-named car would succeed the Lexus RC F GT3 in Toyota/Lexus’ GT racing division, which has served as the company’s GT3 entry since its launch in 2017.
“I just got back from Japan two weeks ago, talking to our colleagues over there,” Wilson said.
“What gives me a lot of optimism is that this current car we’re racing, which wasn’t built to be a GT3 car, we had zero influence on what that became.
“We inherited it and we put a tremendous amount of work into turning it into a sporty and competitive car.
“The cool thing that from before the lines were drawn on paper, we’ve been a party to the development of this new car.
“We’ve achieved a level of credibility because we’ve done more with the Lexus RC F than any other distributor globally; we’ve had more success. That’s garnered us a tremendous amount of respect.
“What’s cool is that when we’re having a dialogue and we’re pushing in a certain direction, they’re listening to us.
“Sometimes that can be culturally challenging but ultimately what we’ve done on track speaks for itself and that gives me hope and optimism.”
Wilson wouldn’t be drawn on an exact timeframe for when the new car would debut, which is believed to be largely dependent on the production car launch.
“As far at the timeline goes, we’re not ready to draw a line in the sand,” he said.
“There’s what we hope and where reality is. Hopefully later this year we’ll shed a little bit more specifics on that.
“Part of it is that we’re chasing a moving target. We’re pushing hard because what we don’t want is a car that would have been competitive last year but in ‘x-number’ of years…
“The Corvette [Z06 GT3.R], I have no idea, but it terrifies me. It’s going to be a good car. General Motors are putting a lot of resource behind their motorsports programs globally.
“The new Mustang is going to be a good car. So we’ve got some real competition.
“That’s good because it’s driving us to push harder and to be better. That’s the definition of competition.”
Toyota “Still Working” on GT3 Car’s Branding Strategy
While unveiled under Toyota’s performance sub-brand GR, Wilson is hopeful that the car could be attached to the Lexus brand in order to continue the luxury automaker’s DNA in motorsports.
“We’re still working on branding strategy,” he said. “You have Lexus, you have GR, you have Toyota. I’m hoping there’s some Lexus.
“Ask me [at the start of the Lexus RC F GT3 program] and my definition for success was building a foundation for Lexus and competing against brands that have been competing for 100 years.
“For our company, what’s critical is the long-term commitment to this. To build performance as a real attribute, you have to be on the race track arguably for decades for that to truly soak into the DNA of your brand.
“What I love is that in only six/seven years, we’ve moved the needle.
“It starts with our dealer body because our culture, whether it’s Toyota or Lexus or GR, is to make sure our dealers are happy and give them product that they can embrace.
“Our Lexus dealers and what Jeff Bal [senior motorsports manager] and his team have done over the past couple of years has been unprecedented.
“Our Lexus Racing Experience [was] filled with Lexus dealers that [flew] in from all over the country [at the Rolex 24]. They’ve embraced this.
“Six, seven years ago, we were pushing on the rope. We hoped we could do it in a manner but I’m very proud of what we’ve done to engage our dealers, to engage our fans, because that’s put this brand awareness on a fast track.”