Toyota, the renowned Japanese manufacturer, unveiled a prototype of its first GT3 car in almost ten years at last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon. With aspirations of competing in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours, Toyota showcased its commitment to the GT3 market.
Since then, the car has commenced track testing and was recently captured in action during a private test session at the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway earlier this year.
Initially, it was believed that the car would make its racing debut in 2025, a year after the WEC opens its doors to GT3 vehicles. However, due to unforeseen delays in the release of the road-going version based on the GR GT3, which is intended to coincide with the race model, Toyota has shifted its focus to a WEC debut in 2026.
Rob Leupen, Toyota WEC team director, confirmed the revised plans, stating, “It is common knowledge that we are developing a car, and this car will compete in Europe in 2026. The timeline aligns with the road car project, which adheres to Toyota’s philosophy of creating a road car derived from motorsport expertise. Progress is being made in this direction.”
Reports suggest that the GR GT3-based car may be branded as a Lexus, as the automaker has hinted at introducing a successor to the aging RC F GT3 on multiple occasions.
When asked about the potential Lexus branding, Leupen responded, “As of now, it appears likely. However, it depends on how Toyota’s plans evolve. But for now, yes.”
Leupen refrained from commenting on whether the new car would make its racing debut before entering the WEC in 2026, stating, “It will undergo testing. There is a clear strategy in place for Japan, so it is premature to make definitive statements at this stage.”
Should Toyota desire to accumulate race experience with the car before its official debut, participating in Japan’s Super Taikyu series as an unclassified entry remains an option.
In theory, Toyota should secure grid slots for its GR GT3-derived racer in 2026, as the WEC has announced that existing Hypercar manufacturers will be given priority in the allocation process.
Prior to this year’s Le Mans event, it was disclosed that each manufacturer would be offered a maximum of two entries, ensuring fairness and equal opportunities.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about GT3 racer
When is Toyota planning to debut its GT3 racer in the World Endurance Championship (WEC)?
Toyota is targeting a WEC debut for its GT3 racer in 2026.
What delays have affected the planned release of Toyota’s GT3 racer?
The delays are due to the planned release of the GR GT3-derived road car, which will be launched alongside the race version of the car.
Will the GT3 racer be branded as a Lexus?
At the moment, it appears likely that the GT3 racer based on the GR GT3 will be badged as a Lexus. However, it ultimately depends on Toyota’s plans and how they evolve.
Will the GT3 racer have a race debut before entering the WEC in 2026?
There is no confirmation about a race debut before 2026. Toyota is focused on testing and developing the car, and it is premature to make definitive statements about its race debut at this stage.
Will Toyota participate in Japan’s Super Taikyu series with the GT3 racer?
Participating in the Super Taikyu series as an unclassified entry is an option for Toyota to gain race mileage with the GT3 racer before its official debut.
Will Toyota have guaranteed grid slots for the GT3 racer in the WEC?
In theory, Toyota should have guaranteed grid slots for the GR GT3-derived racer in the 2026 WEC season, as the WEC has clarified that existing Hypercar manufacturers will be given priority in allocating places.
How many entries will manufacturers be offered in the WEC?
Each manufacturer will be offered no fewer and no more than two entries in the WEC, ensuring fairness and equal opportunities.