The latest GT300 spec original vehicle in the Autobacs Super GT series is the Toyota GR86 GT300, built by Apr Racing.
The GR86 GT300 was publicly unveiled on Friday at the Tokyo Auto Salon at the Makuhari Messe convention center, by representatives of both Apr Racing and Super GT newcomers Hayashi Telempu SHADE Racing, who will each enter the new car in the upcoming 2022 season.
This new vehicle is built to the vehicle specifications of the GTA GT300, utilizing the cab of the GR86 (ZN8) road chassis, with a lightweight body and advanced aerodynamics – features that contrast the GT300 regulation with the heavier, more powerful FIA have determined GT3 category vehicles.
The GR86 GT300 is powered by the naturally aspirated TRD 5.4 liter 2UR-GSE racing engine, which is also used in the Lexus RC F GT3, as well as in the Toyota GR Sport Prius PHV and GR Supra GT300 built in April.
The drivetrain, including the Hewland six-speed sequential transmission, shares the same specs as the GR Supra GT300, but the overall length, width and wheelbase are longer than the GR Supra. Compared to the Subaru BRZ GT300, the GR86 GT300 is 50 kilograms lighter (before the BoP weight is applied) and has a shorter overall length and wheelbase.
April will deploy one of these new vehicles in-house, with the number 30 car driven by the pro-am duo of gentleman racer Hiroaki Nagai and two-time GT300 champion Manabu Orido. In addition, April will also continue to use the hybrid-powered number 31 Toyota GR Sport Prius PHV.
Hayashi Telempu SHADE Racing, newcomers to Super GT through Super Taikyu, have also confirmed their entry with the GR86 GT300 – as well as a fascinating lineup of drivers anchored by veteran Katsuyuki Hiranaka and rookie Eijiro Shimizu.
Hiranaka, a ten-time GT300 class winner and a three-time runner-up in the championship, was one of SHADE Racing’s original drivers when they competed in the 2018 Super Taikyu Series. Fittingly, he will bring his vast experience – 17 seasons in total between GT500 and GT300 – to help SHADE Racing navigate the ultra-competitive GT300 category and try to win its highly anticipated first Super GT Championship as a driver .
Shimizu, who turns 19 in March, joined SHADE Racing last season and won the ST-4 class title alongside co-drivers Yuji Kunimoto and Keishi Ishikawa. He recently completed his second season in the FIA Formula 4 Japanese Championship, finishing eighth in the championship and scoring his first podium finish at Fuji Speedway, driving for Toyota affiliate TGR-DC Field Motorsport.
Both Apr and SHADE Racing have chosen different tire partners for 2022: the April 30 crew will continue to use Yokohama tires, but SHADE Racing will partner with Dunlop (Sumitomo Rubber) for their first season.
Feature image courtesy of Apr