Kurt Verlin
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Toyota Sweeps Super GT Weekend with ‘Different Dimension’ Engine

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Toyota GR Supra GT500
Photo: Toyota

The Toyota GR Supra made its Super GT debut at the iconic Fuji Speedway this Sunday, the first round of the 2020 Super GT Series, and it could have hardly had a better start.

The new GR Supra won both the GT500 and GT300 classes, with Ryo Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy winning from pole position in the former. It wasn’t a close win, either. Not only did the #37 GR Supra breeze to victory, but it was also followed by no fewer than four more GR Supras as Toyota swept the top five.

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The automaker’s closest rival was the #100 Honda NSX-GT, which finished in sixth place, nearly 25 seconds behind the winning car. Honda driver Naoki Yamamoto was so floored by the performance of the Toyota that he said the car must have an engine “in a different dimension,” and likened its qualifying performance to “witchcraft.”

“From the Sepang test onwards, I knew the Supras were focusing a lot on long runs, and that they were running well, so I thought they might show their strength in the first race,” Yamamoto told Motorsport. “But finally, they were even stronger than I had expected.”

“The engine seems to be in a different dimension. The aerodynamics and the shape of the body are different, so it could be due to drag, but all the same it’s hard to believe that a 10km/h difference is all down to the body.”

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While the GR Supra GT500 dominated the field, the GR Supra GT300 had to work a little harder for its victory, though victory it did enjoy. A Mercedes-AMG GT3 had been controlling the first part of the race until a slow pit stop, after which Hiroki Yoshida and rookie Kohta Kawaai took the lead and held off a charging Nissan GT-R. Toyota took the final stop of the podium in that race too with the #5 Toyota 86.

Super GT will be returning to Fuji in a little over a week for the second round of the season. Toyota’s rivals will have a lot of work to do if they hope to finish on top this time.