Toyota GR86 chief engineer says no more GR cars are planned

Toyota GR86 chief engineer says no more GR cars are planned

Well, it was nice while it lasted. Toyota had seemed to just be getting its mojo back with the Gazoo Racing sub-brand. GR has been on a roll in recent years, with rapid-fire releases of driver-oriented performance cars like the GR Supra, GR Yaris, GR86 and GR Corolla. Unfortunately, if the GR86’s chief engineer Yasunori Suezawa is correct, fans shouldn’t hold their breaths for another.

Speaking through a translator to Australia’s Drive about future GR models, Suezawa said, “There is [sic] none left actually, so this [the GR86] is the last.” It’s not clear if he meant the absolute last ever, full stop, or if there are no longer any more in the works at the moment. It’s also possible that future sports cars may not fall under the Gazoo Racing brand. It was less than a year ago that Toyota showed what appeared to be a concept for an electric sports car with a mid-“engine” profile. 

Suezawa went on to pitch the GR Sport lineup, which dresses up more pedestrian models with sportier wheels, aero bits and sometimes suspension tuning á la BMW’s M Sport or Mercedes’s AMG-Line. “For the GR [performance brand], basically this [the GR86] is the last,” he said. “But we have a GR Sport [brand] that we will be [widening] with models like the Corolla, Yaris Cross and C-HR.”

That’s small consolation for those expecting a revival of, say, the MR2. It also calls into question whether there will be successive generations of the current crop of GR-branded cars. If the GR86 follows in the footsteps of the previous generation, it might have a nine-year lifespan. The GR Supra’s fate will probably be tied to the BMW Z4’s. The GR Yaris and GR Corolla will likely depend what the next generation brings for the non-GR variants of those cars, and whether Toyota sticks with WRC. 

It would come as a shock if Toyota let Gazoo Racing just peter out. Not because enthusiasts love the GR brand necessarily, but because Toyota has made such a big deal about unifying its sport models and racing activities under this one banner. As long as interesting products keep coming, though, Toyota can call them whatever they want.