BERNAT LÓPEZ / ©RACERZ
Toyota is bringing a true two-door car to NASCAR’s second-tier Xfinity series next year. The automaker has unveiled the new Supra-branded car it will compete with in 2019. The entry is based on the upcoming reboot of the Supra that is being co-developed with BMW and will replace the current Camry-based car in the series.
The NASCAR version wears bodywork that resembles the roadgoing coupe, which has yet to be revealed, but is built on the same spec chassis design as the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang it will be racing against.
The Toyota Supra has quite a racing pedigree, but this icon of Japanese performance has always been more Fast and the Furious than Ricky Bobby. It has never had any previous association with NASCAR; Toyota has only been racing since 2007, long after the Supra went out of production. Co-developed with BMW, the new Supra is expected to be a sports car more suited to road courses than NASCAR ovals.
The Xfinity Supra wears a pointy-nose fascia and exterior lighting designs that originated with Toyota’s 2014 FT1 concept. Of course, underneath, you’ll find a NASCAR-spec tube-frame chassis, a carbureted pushrod V8, and a four-speed manual transmission. Really, this car is a Supra in name alone; NASCAR’s standardized body template doesn’t quite mimic the fastback shape of the Supra we expect to hit the streets soon.
Toyota’s new Xfinity entry was designed from the ground up by Calty Design Research of Newport Beach, California alongside Toyota’s North American racing division. Previously, Calty has built Toyota NHRA drag cars and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars, so it’s no stranger to building top-level race cars.
The Supra replaces the Camry, which has been fielded in the Xfinity Series since 2007, racking up four manufacturer titles and 142 wins in the process. Currently, four Xfinity teams use Toyota-branded cars. According to Toyota, it will keep the Camry for next year’s top-level Monster Energy Series – there’s no word on whether the Supra will eventually replace that car as well.