Toyota Supra joins NASCAR at the request of it’s designer
Rumors have circulated since March. Now, it’s official. The Toyota Supra is set to make it’s debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the 2019 season.
Tada-san is the chief engineer for the new Toyota Supra. He’s also the man that’s behind the car coming to NASCAR.
“His vision was actually to see it on the race track. When he first came to us and showed us the preliminary design we asked if he wanted to see it in NASCAR. He’s been 100% supportive and been involved, every single step of the way,” stated Ed Laukes, Group Vice President of Marketing at Toyota Motors North America.
“The Camry will still race in the Cup Series. It’s been the best selling car in America for the last 16 years. We’re still very bullish on sedans in the car business. So, we believe that the Camry will still play an important role and stay in the Cup Series,” stated Laukes.
Since Toyota joined NASCAR via the truck series. Years later, they placed a sedan on the track via the Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup Series
“This is truly a landmark occasion and opportunity for Toyota and TRD USA. We’ve been absolutely dedicated to bringing Supra and Toyota back to American motorsports. It really speaks to how important NASCAR is to our company,” stated David Wilson, President Toyota Racing Development.
“It’s going to be a little bit different seeing something other than just Camry out there on the race track.”
Kurt Busch sits at the top of the board in all-time NASCAR Xfinity Series wins, 92. All of the Toyota wins have been in a Camry. He’s eager to be the first in a Supra. But, Christopher Bell has other plans.
“I’d certainly like to think that I could be the first one to put it in victory lane. I love the look of the Supra already. I can’t wait to see what happens on the street as well, with Supra,” Kyle Busch stated.
“Well, I did beat him to the drivers seat in that thing. I did drive it first. It would be pretty cool to be the first driver to victory lane in the Supra. Kyle’s won his fair share of races,” Christopher Bell rebuttals Busch’s comment.
This move comes as NASCAR is making some changes in the Xfinity Series. The flange fit composite body rolled into the series full-time in 2018. Is it possible we’ll see that move in the Cup Series as well?
“We are working with the other OEM’s as well as NASCAR on the future of composite bodies as it relates to the Cup Series,” David Wilson commented.
Note: The 1993 Toyota Supra pictured above from the Fast & Furious film sold for $185,000 in a 2015 Auction
The Toyota Supra has a cult like following. For some that stemmed from scenes in the original Fast & the Furious (the good one). For others, it comes from the Gran Turismo video game. But, either way there’s an entire generation of car guys that grew up as a fan of the Toyota Supra.
But, you couldn’t get one because they didn’t make them anymore. That all changes in 2019.
“There’s Supra fan clubs, all over, especially in California. The reaction has been extremely positive. NASCAR has really served us well from a Camry perspective. We’re still in the car business. Some of the other guys have decided they’re going to be in the SUV and Truck business. Toyota is still going to be in the car business,” stated David Wilson.
“The Camaro and Mustang both started in the Xfinity Series. You never know, long term. But, right now, our current plans are to stay with Camry [in the Cup Series],” stated Ed Laukes.
The Toyota FT-1 started the rumors of Toyota bringing a sportscar to NASCAR racing. That FT-1 concept car was the first step of the new Toyota Supra. That design is partially where the new Supra comes from and Tada-san was one of the men who worked on that concept.
The Toyota Supra will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2019.
A Toyota Supra production car is set to be released in 2019. However, the release date of the production car has yet to be announced.
NASCAR Toyota Supra announcement
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