Toyota Gazoo Racing got our attention with the unveiling of the GR GT3 Coupe in the Tokyo Auto Salon last week but it also raised some eyebrows since it wasn’t based on any of the automakers’ existing production models or race cars. An article on Japanese Nostalgic Car highlighted the concept’s similarities with the 2020 Mazda RX-Vision GT3 and a possible connection between them, prompting us to dig deeper into this matter.
Let’s start by saying that both concept cars were racing-inspired design studies not destined for production. However, by looking at their photos we can definitely see some common features. The most obvious is the front-engined rear-wheel-drive proportions with a long hood, a coupe-style roofline, and massive aero components. The bodywork is different of course but the hardpoints appear to be nearly identical.
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A suspicious similarity is that the main character line on the profile of the Toyota has the same exact angle and height as the fender line on the Mazda. The door shut lines and the greenhouse are also quite similar. Some could say that the fender vents and the side-mounted exhaust pipes are the icings on the cake even though those are common features in GT3 racecars, along with enormous rear wings.
The fact that we are comparing renderings of a 3D model (Mazda) from 2020 with photos of an actual full-size prototype (Toyota) from 2022 makes it hard to be precise in this visual test. The perspectives are different which might be the reason for Mazda’s windscreen looking more heavily inclined and its front overhang looking slightly longer. Also, there is a nearly two-year gap between the two models so the design could have been significantly evolved in that period.
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In terms of platforms and powertrains, Toyota didn’t reveal any information besides the visible exhaust pipes hinting at an internal combustion engine. On the other hand, back in 2020, Mazda had envisioned a high-revving rotary engine for the RX-Vision GT3 producing a hypothetical 562 hp. Here we must take a moment and remind everyone that the concept was designed as a virtual racecar for Gran Turismo, based on the gorgeous RX-Vision from 2015. Over the years, a production version of the latter bearing the RX-9 name has been heavily rumored due to patent drawings, although reports have been contradicting and nothing has materialized so far.
Toyota and Mazda have been collaborating on various projects and have also fiddled with badge engineering for superminis in Europe and the U.S. This means that a racing-inspired sportscar sibling scenario doesn’t need to be science fiction, especially given the fact that Mazda probably wouldn’t be able to handle such an enormous R&D investment without help from another automaker. Our colleagues from Japan went as far as suggesting that the two concepts are sharing the same underpinnings, and more specifically Mazda’s upcoming RWD platform. It is true that Toyota doesn’t have an ICE-compatible platform suitable for a rear-wheel drive sporstcar, teaming up with Subaru for the GR86/BRZ and relying on BMW for the underpinnings of the GR Supra in order to share development costs.
Finally, the Japanese article also stated that the Lexus sports concept unveiled last month during Toyota’s massive concept rollout could be a sibling of the racecar concepts, although this one was clearly a BEV. In any case, only time will tell if Toyota and Mazda are cooking something interesting for petrolheads.