Toyota’s Long-Awaited Follow Up to the Supra Has Landed

Since the end of the Toyota (NYSE:TM) Supra’s lifecycle in 2002, enthusiasts wondered when a worthy successor to the beloved sports car would come around and what it would look like. However, since then, Toyota hasn’t exactly held high-performance cars among its top priorities, instead focusing on more mass-market models to help spur sales and loosen up its profit margins. With the exception of its joint venture with Subaru (the blissfully fun but fairly low-key Scion FR-S), Toyota hasn’t made much indication that it was interested in reviving a Supra-style sports car until recently.

On Monday, Toyota unveiled the FT-1, a ”pure performance dream” concept model that was created by Calty Design, which is the U.S. base of Toyota’s design network, the company said. Right off the bat, this car appears to have been designed specifically as a Supra successor. And from early impressions, it looks like it’s a beast worthy of carrying on the Supra’s legacy.

Based on the concept images released, the FT-1 rides on a low-slung stance accentuated by some massive air inlets framed by what looks like a carbon fiber splitter. Large vents along the car’s swooping side profile also imply good things, and a slightly bubbled roofline indicate that the engineers took their time when it came to the FT-1′s aerodynamic profile.

Continuing around the front, the hooked headlights reminiscent of the new Lexus design language frame a sharp snout that looks not unlike the nose of an Formula 1 car. For those who were concerned that Toyota had lost its performance mojo, these new images should help quell those worries.

The story is similar around the back end, as well. The roofline is raked over a gratuitously large set of wheels until it meets a rather sharp-angled spoiler that is just big enough but isn’t obnoxiously present as it flows smoothly into the rest of the body. A large rear diffuser separates two sizable exhaust pipes, which mildly recall the setup on Ferrari’s F12 Berlinetta.

“The FT-1 is a dream-project for a designer and car enthusiast like myself,” said Alex Shen, Calty’s studio chief designer, in Toyota’s statement. “Our team was heavily influenced by Toyota’s sports car past, especially Celica and Supra, and we sought to capture some of that history.  It is an aggressive, track-focused sports car concept with a presence that has been amplified for shock and awe.”

Technical specifications have, naturally, remained undisclosed. However, from appearance alone, it’s apparent that the FT-1 — should it see production in a form close to this — will put Toyota back on the map as a pre-eminent force in the higher performance market. We can only hope at this point that better heads at Toyota prevail and the FT-1 gets the green light.

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