Toyota Supra racer debuts in Geneva, but don't expect a manual
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Yes, you've probably heard about this one by now...
Overnight, Toyota broke the internet and revealed their latest sports car concept; the Gazoo Racing Supra Concept. No, it's not the production version that you'll be able to buy from the showroom, but it is line-in-the-sand bonafide proof that the Supra nameplate is back — ending years of speculation.
Since it's a racer, there's limited amounts of data we can extract from it. It's front engined, with power sent to the rear wheels. The aero kit is 'comprehensive', and aided by a ride-height that's lower than low.
What we can tell is that the majority of speculative online renders are pretty close to the reality of what the Supra will look like. The guards and headlights, even on this racing variant, have been toned down since the first concept car was released a few years ago — to the acclaim of pretty much everyone.
The new chit chat among motorsport circles is whether this will become part of Toyota's global racing programme. Many hope that it will be homologated into the GT3 sphere, to take on Japan's Super GT GT300 series — and possibly other GT classes, too.
Missing information? Engine is the biggie — though anyone hoping for a riotous 2JZ engine to magically appear under the bonnet was probably already pushing their luck anyway. Then there's basically everything else concerning the road-car side of things, like interior design or fuel consumption or number of cup holders. All of this despite the Supra's BMW cousin, the Z4, being revealed in concept form way back in August last year.
But there was one nugget of information that leaked out. In an interview with Autoblog, Toyota global chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said that a traditional manual transmission is most likely off the table — telling the publication that "Supra fans don’t think it’s a huge requirement."
Autoblog's reporting treats this news as gospel, and it does align with rumours that had been spreading prior to this launch. A dual-clutch or ZF eight-speed automatic transmission will undoubtedly be quicker than a manual transmission, and most likely much more popular with the people who will actually buy these cars as well. As much as that pains me to say.
The other factor is that the BMW Z4 version of the Supra most likely won't come with a manual, given that a majority of the German marque's new models are self-shifting.
Nonetheless, manual shifting or not, the Supra remains one of the most highly anticipated cars from Japan. Toyota, please stop teasing us...