What Is It?
Toyota FT-1 Concept
What's New About This Model?
The Toyota FT-1 Concept is a design study of a flagship high-performance sports car. It was designed by Toyota's California-based design studio, Calty Design Research.
When Does It Go on Sale?
There are no plans to put the FT-1 into production, though Toyota's current sports car range could easily accommodate such a vehicle. Today the company's sole sports car is the entry-level Scion FR-S. Its supercar, the Lexus LFA, is no longer in production, leaving room in the automaker's lineup for a successor, or a less-expensive, Supra-like vehicle.
What Configuration Does It Have?
The FT-1 is a four-seat, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car. Surprisingly, no hybrid hardware was mentioned, so this is apparently a purists' sports car with a focus on light weight. A trendy transparent engine cover reveals the engine, which remains of unknown provenance.
As the FT-1 sports 2+2 seating, a Toyota badge (and not a Lexus badge) and looks capable of housing an inline six-cylinder power plant, the FT-1 is highly suggestive of a latter-day Supra. The BMW-Toyota sports car collaboration announced in late December leads to tantalizing speculation. It's not too hard to imagine BMW's proven, powerful inline-6 taking residence in the FT-1's engine bay.
Which Cars Influenced Its Styling?
Hints of the iconic Toyota 2000GT can be seen in the shape of the FT-1's side glass and curvaceous side elements, while the wraparound windshield was inspired by the Lexus FT-HS concept from 2007. The nose's central protrusion and prominent ducting recall pure motorsport cars like Toyota's TS030 LMP1 endurance racecar. Look closely and you can see the Scion FR-S and Lexus LFA in the car's general proportions.
Toyota's withdrawal from Formula 1 racing in 2009 might explain why no explicit links to F1 were mentioned, though the inspiration for the rear foglight is unmistakable.
Why Did Toyota Build It?
Acknowledging the company's previous consensus-based, low-risk design approach, the FT-1 represents a far more passion-oriented philosophy for Toyota. It is intended to set the tone for the company's future design projects, which promise to be bolder than past efforts.
What Does It Look Like in Person?
The Toyota FT-1 is one of those cars that really needs to be seen in the metal in order to appreciate the full impact of its form. It's truly stunning with the benefit of the third dimensions. This is not a sprawling, massive supercar: rather it looks shrink-wrapped and taut, compact but not toylike. Drown in retro it does not, as the FT-1's nods to the past are subtly and cleanly integrated and the styling confidently goes its own way.
I Want To Drive It, but How?
On January 14 Toyota will make the FT-1 available on Gran Turismo 6 for the Sony PlayStation. It's said to be faster than the LFA around Fuji Speedway in the hands of Akio Toyoda, Toyota's president.