F1 Champ and Le Mans Winner Fernando Alonso Helped Unveil the 2020 Toyota Supra in Detroit
When debuting the most highly anticipated car of the decade, just call on your in-house star driver to take care of the light work.
Toyota, at last, unveiled its self-dubbed "worst kept secret" Monday morning by displaying the 2020 Supra at the Detroit Auto Show. While a heap of previous leaks showed us the fifth-generation Supra's styling a month ago, we now know the most important specs—335 horsepower, 365 pound-feet of torque, and 50:50 weight distribution. Developed in partnership with Toyota's Gazoo Racing Division, the new Supra features plenty of competition-derived details meant to evoke confidence and other flashy buzzwords from its driver; in the case of the car's reveal, that driver was Fernando Alonso.
The two-time Formula 1 world champion accompanied Toyota President Akio Toyoda on stage in Detroit. Alonso, who achieved ultimate success in the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours with Toyota Gazoo's LMP1 program, did his part by giving a testimonial of the Supra's performance first-hand. He continued the trend of celebrity drivers assisting in new car reveals that was started by Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes-AMG One last year.
After all, who better to give a stamp of approval than someone of Alonso's caliber? He's won the fabled Monaco Grand Prix twice; defeated Michael Schumacher while putting a stop to his longest-lasting reign of F1 dominance; and tackled various disciplines from open-wheel cars to high-tech endurance prototypes.
Toyota placed a major emphasis on motorsport throughout the Supra's debut, explaining that racing had a sizable influence on the car's development. It was tested extensively—where else—on the Nurburgring (though no official time was given), and knowing the automaker's R&D skills, we suspect the Supra will drive as good as they say it does. Active suspension and an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission are only a couple of features that found their way from the race track to the road, and the Supra's construction is inherently rigid to ensure top-notch handling and control.
While it's doubtful we'll see 'Nando racing a Supra any time in the next year, the car's perfectly balanced, rear-wheel-drive platform seems to lend itself to more than a few international racing series. It wouldn't be unreasonable to expect a future variant capable of competing in these leagues, and a stock car version of the 'Yota is already slated to hit the NASCAR Xfinity Series field in 2019.
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