GR Supra GT4 teams had an extremely successful start to the new season in Europe, Japan and the US. Customer teams currently lead the GT4 European Series and GT4 America, claimed victory at the Fuji 24 Hours and finished on the podium in the FFSA GT Championship and Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s customer teams had an intense and successful start to the new season: in 26 races across Europe, Japan and the US, the new GR Supra GT4 scored a total of eight victories and 18 podium finishes in seven different championships.
In the GT4 European Series, the French CMR (Classic & Modern Racing) team is fielding two GR Supra GT4 and started the year by finishing second overall in both races at Monza. At the second event in Paul Ricard, Stéphane Lemeret and Antoine Potty again finished second in race one before celebrating an overall win in the weekend’s second race. Thanks to these results, Lemeret and Potty currently lead the Silver standings going to the third event at Zandvoort. Their CMR team-mates Andrea Benezet and Wilfried Cazalbon have taken one class win and one second place in the Am category so far. Team SVC Sport Management is aiming for its first successes in the Am class in its first season with the GR Supra GT4 in the GT4 European Series.
Podium in France, bad luck in Britain
CMR is also racing two GR Supra GT4 in the French FFSA Championship for GT4 cars. Erwan Bastard and Antoine Potty claimed two podium finishes so far in the Silver class, one at Magny Cours and one at the Circuit d’Albi.
In the British GT Championship, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK GR Supra GT4 is driven by John Ferguson and rising star Scott McKenna. The latter, at 19-years-old, is the first member of the newly-created TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK Young Driver Programme. At Brands Hatch, the pairing retired early following a contact with a competitor and are now preparing for the second round at Silverstone on 26-27 June.
Fastest lap and a 1-2-3 at the Nürburgring
In the Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie (NLS), Ring Racing had a good start to the season by setting a new fastest lap time for the GR Supra GT4 on the iconic Nordschleife of 8mins 37.060secs. The team also celebrated its first NLS podium with Andreas Gülden and Michael Tischner taking second place in the SP10 class at round two. Toyotas also made it to the podium in the SP3 class. The GT86 CS-Cup of the Belgian team Pit Lane finished second at the round two, while the newly formed Crazy Monkeys team repeated this result at round three.
The Nürburgring 24 Hours even saw an all-Toyota podium in the SP3 class. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Team Thailand’s Toyota Corolla Altis secured first and third places in their class with Pit Lane’s Toyota GT86 CS-Cup in second. Ring Racing’s GR Supra GT4 finished sixth in the SP10 class after a lengthy repair stop in what turned out to be the shortest 24-hour race at the Nürburgring to date.
Snow and victory in Sweden, new teams ready to battle
In the Swedish Touring Endurance Championship (STEC), H&H Racing had an eventful start to the season. The opening race at Mantorp Park was red-flagged prematurely due to snowfall with the reigning TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Trophy Champion Alec Arho-Havrén and his team-mates Ortwin Herterich and Nils-Arne Holmudden lying fourth at the time in their Toyota GT86 CS-Cup. The team’s next outing in Sviestad saw a perfect result with the trio claiming pole position, setting the fastest lap and winning the four-hour race.
Meanwhile, other TOYOTA GAZOO Racing customer teams are getting ready for their first outings in 2021. The opening round of the DTM Trophy at Monza will see two GR Supra GT4s on the grid. Nico Verdonck from Belgium will take the wheel in the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Germany car, while Stéphane Kox will drive a second Ring Racing-prepared Supra. At the same weekend, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Sweden will make its competition debut with Hans Holmlund and Emil Skaras taking part in the GT4 Scandinavia season opener at Arena Fallförs. In the German Rally Championship (DRM), Jonas Ertz and his co-driver Maresa Lade will fight for points for the first time in the Gassner Motorsport-prepared Toyota GT86 CS-R3 at the Rally Stemweder Berg.
All these teams are part of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Trophy giving them a special incentive to compete with their GR Supra GT4 or GT86 cars. Within the Trophy, they can collect notable prize money for podium finishes in their respective class. An overall win with the GR Supra GT4, for example, is rewarded with EUR 5,000 while a second or third place is worth EUR 2,000. For a class victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Europe would even have paid EUR 10,000.
Second 24h win in Japan, championship lead in the US
Although it was developed in Europe, successes of the GR Supra GT4 are spreading around the world with more and more cars running in Japan and North America. In January, the 430hp race car made its US debut during the Daytona 24 Hours race week. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Latin America finished seventh in its first outing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. The first US victory did not take long either. In the Pirelli GT4 America’s first round at Sonoma Raceway, the newly formed Smooge Racing team secured its first victory in the Am class. John Geesbreght and Kevin Conway also beat their class rivals at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin and at Virginia International Raceway. Thanks to five podiums in six races, the team comfortably lead the Am drivers’ and teams’ standings.
In Japan, ROOKIE Racing scored a class win at the Fuji 24 Hours for the second year running with its GR Supra GT4. The team also won its class at the previous Super Taikyu Series’ rounds in Motegi and Sugo. At the season opener at Twin Ring Motegi, Hiroshima Toyopet Racing also scored a podium finish by coming third in the ST-Z class.