Apr reveals scrapped plans for new Prius SUPER GT car

Apr boss Hiroto Kaneso has revealed that his company’s original plan was to base its 2023 SUPER GT challenger on the recently-unveiled new Toyota Prius road car.

Apr reveals scrapped plans for new Prius SUPER GT car
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After struggling to make its front-engined Prius PHV GR Sport GT300 car competitive, apr made the decision to build an all-new model for the upcoming season, revealing its new Lexus LC500h on Friday at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

Kaneso revealed to Motorsport.com last summer that 2022 would be the final season of SUPER GT competition for the Prius, which had been campaigned by apr in various guises in the series since 2012.

At the time, he ruled out basing the company’s new challenger on the upcoming 2023 Prius road car (pictured top), citing time constraints related to the new model’s anticipated launch date.

However, speaking to Motorsport.com upon the launch of the LC500h, Kaneso revealed that apr had made an agreement with Toyota to base its new car on the 2023 Prius, only to have to change tack when the road car’s release was delayed.

“Since the new Prius is more sporty than its predecessor, we discussed it with Toyota and decided it would be the base for our new car,” said Kaneso. 

“However, due to the semiconductor shortage last year and the situation in Ukraine, the release of the road car was gradually pushed back further and further.

“If the new car had been released earlier last year, we would have been able to do it. It’s not that I wanted to get rid of the Prius, but it was impossible because of the timeline.”

apr LC500h GT

apr LC500h GT

Photo by: Motorsport.com / Japan

Against the backdrop of apr’s remit to promote hybrid-powered Toyota vehicles, Kaneso said that there was effectively no option but to adopt the Lexus LC500 as its base model.

“In SUPER GT, you are allowed to attach a hybrid system to any car,” he continued. “But for Toyota, doing so with an 86 or a Supra is meaningless from a promotional standpoint [because the road cars do not feature any hybrid options].

“We had only three options - the new Prius, the [Lexus] RC and the LC. With the Prius, we had the time constraints I mentioned earlier, and there is already the GT3 version of the RC, so we would overlap. And so, considering all of that, we chose the LC.”

Kaneso also clarified that running the existing Prius for another season when the replacement road model had already been released was not deemed palatable to Toyota.


The Lexus LC500 road car was initially launched back in 2017, and served as Toyota’s GT500 base model for three seasons before being replaced by the GR Supra for 2020.

Despite the model’s age, Kaneso described the LC as a “hidden gem” in the Toyota road car line-up and revealed that there had been plans for a high-performance ‘F’ version of the car at one stage.

“It’s a pricey car that’s out of reach for many people, and it’s been a bit buried by the release of the 86 and the Supra [road cars], but it’s fundamentally a performance car,” he said.

“Initially, there were plans to release an LC F road car, but eventually the plan changed to creating a new GT3 car [revealed last year as the GR GT3 Concept] and the LC F was scrapped, but we still want to promote this wonderful two-door coupe.”

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