Revival of the fittest: Toyota Supra coming to NASCAR Xfinity Series

Zack Albert

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Toyota plans to bring the iconic Supra nameplate back in a big way in 2019, announcing Thursday that the model will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series starting next season.

Toyota unveiled the dynamic race car prototype Thursday night in the Toyota Injector at Daytona International Speedway, where it will debut in the Xfinity season opener next February. The road-going Supra will hit showrooms starting with the 2019 model year, returning to production for the first time in 17 years.

The Supra replaces the venerable Camry, which will continue as the automaker’s vehicle of choice in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Supra will soon go head-to-head against its performance-car brethren in Chevrolet’s Camaro SS and Ford’s Mustang.

“When you talk Toyota and cool cars, Supra is the first thing that comes to mind for many auto enthusiasts,” Ed Laukes, Toyota Division Marketing’s group vice president, said in a statement. “Supra‘s return in production form is huge news, but now we‘re also going to see this iconic sports car return to American motorsport.

“From a marketing perspective, it‘s important to have a race car that evokes the dynamism and character of its showroom counterpart. We‘re confident we‘ve accomplished that with Supra, and we hope racing fans the world over will proudly cheer its success on track.”

A sports-car version of the new Supra debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The NASCAR rendition is built with design help from Calty Design Research — a longtime Toyota design studio — to conform to stock-car specifications. A distinctive, swoopy nose helps give the car its identity.

The Xfinity Supra marks the sixth race car produced by Toyota Racing Development in collaboration with Calty in the last six years. The manufacturer indicated in a news release that the two groups began work on the NASCAR Supra project last year.

“When Ed (Laukes) told me they were bringing Supra back, I almost didn‘t believe him,” said Kyle Busch, who has competed in Toyotas for Joe Gibbs Racing since 2008. “I figured he was messing with me, but Toyota did it and this is a big deal for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Supra is an iconic cool car, and to have it racing in NASCAR to highlight Supra‘s return speaks to how important this is. I‘m hoping to be the first guy to get Supra to Victory Lane, but I‘m sure there‘s a few other Toyota drivers thinking the same thing.”

This story will be updated.


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