Toyota Gazoo Racing is bucking the trend of electrification by committing to the continued use of internal-combustion engines in its future models.

    The motorsport division of Toyota specialises in producing performance cars for the Japanese brand under three separate labels: GR models are bespoke vehicles; GR Sport models are enhanced versions of regular Toyota models; and GRMN (Gazoo Racing Masters of the Nurburgring) models are limited-run flagship variants.

    While the GR Sport badge has appeared on hybrid models such as the Corolla Cross and C-HR, it hasn’t adorned a pure electric model – apart from a bZ4X concept – and no fully fledged GR has ever featured any form of electrification.

    Hybrid power is likely to make it into future hot Toyotas, but there are currently no plans for a GR EV according to Toyota Gazoo Racing president Tomoya Takahashi.

    “We want to use internal combustion engines as much as possible,” Takahashi-san told Australian media last week.

    “There may be a time in the future when engines are banned, but internal combustion engines aren’t bad, the enemy is carbon.

    “We are investing in future engines.”

    Back in 2022 the European Union agreed to ban the sale of new combustion-powered cars, SUVs and vans to private buyers by 2035. Looking closer to home, the Australian Capital Territory is planning to do the same in 2035.

    The current Toyota GR Supra, GR Corolla and GR Yaris are all powered by turbocharged petrol engines, while the GR86 sports car packs a naturally aspirated four-cylinder under the bonnet.

    Takahashi-san remained tight-lipped about any potential new products, but he made it clear that his company is looking to pursue avenues outside of electrification to produce environmentally friendly performance cars.

    “By using hybrid technology we can reduce carbon emissions, and we can also use carbon neutral fuels,” he explained.

    “We’re not sure about electrification and when it’s happening. Globally, there are discussions that cars won’t all be electric.

    “Nobody can see 10 years into the future. Our direction is multi-pathway, not only EV.”

    When questioned about the current wave of fast affordable electric vehicles hitting the market, the Gazoo Racing president stressed that GR is not focused on acceleration figures or lap times.

    “Our target is not to make fast cars, it’s to make fun cars,” Takahashi-san concluded.

    “There is a difference between a fast car and a good car. We want to make better cars.”

    Toyota was recently involved in the development of a simulated manual transmission for an electric car, however there are no plans to produce a ‘manual’ EV at this stage.

    Josh Nevett

    Josh Nevett is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Josh studied journalism at The University of Melbourne and has a passion for performance cars, especially those of the 2000s. Away from the office you will either find him on the cricket field or at the MCG cheering on his beloved Melbourne Demons.

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