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Toyota Prius set to disappear from SUPER GT in 2023

Toyota’s Prius model is set to disappear from the SUPER GT grid next year as constructor apr is working on an as-yet unknown successor.

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The Prius has been part of the Japanese sportscar series’ lower GT300 class since it was first introduced in 2012, complete with a hybrid system, but it will be replaced by a new Toyota model currently being developed by apr for 2023.

Apr boss Hiroto Kaneso revealed that the new car will be unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon next January, and clarified that it will not be based on the forthcoming 2023 Prius road car.

“Toyota wants us to keep [the exact model] a secret for now, but development is ongoing,” Kaneso told Motorsport.com. “What I can say is that it is a Toyota, with hybrid power. 

“Because of the way the regulations are, we’re not going to do the same thing again. It’s not a GR86, not a Supra, not a Prius, it will be something brand new, something that will be fun to look at, like, ‘wow, look at that!’”

Kaneso also confirmed that there will only be a single example of the new Toyota model next year, joking that “other teams won’t want it!”

The Prius (pictured in 2015) was competitive in GT300 in its original mid-engined guise

The Prius (pictured in 2015) was competitive in GT300 in its original mid-engined guise

The Prius first used by apr in 2012 featured a mid-engine layout, and took the team to back-to-back runner-up championship finishes in 2015-16 with Koki Saga and Yuichi Nakayama, and third place in 2018 as GT500 champion Kohei Hirate partnered Saga.

But the introduction of a front-engined version of the Prius for the 2019 season to comply with new regulations heralded a major slump in competitiveness.

The revised model failed to score a point in its first season and has largely struggled ever since, although the #31 car of Saga and Yuhki Nakayama won last year at Autopolis following a Balance of Performance break that was reversed for the very next race.

After three seasons of running two Priuses, apr removed the hybrid system from its #30 entry upon the front-engined model’s 2019 introduction, and for the current season replaced the non-hybrid Prius with the new GR86 GT.

Apr is running two different models of car this season for the first time since 2015

Apr is running two different models of car this season for the first time since 2015

This car has proved more competitive than the sole remaining Prius so far in 2022, scoring its first podium finish last time out at Suzuka last month with Manabu Orido, Hibiki Taira and Yuta Kamimura sharing driving duties.

By contrast, Saga and Nakayama have yet to finish inside the points this year, having taken a best finish of 11th at Fuji.

Apr produced three GR86s this season, with its own entry complemented by additional cars run by Inging and new-for-2022 SUPER GT team Shade Racing.

Asked if he expected the number of GR86s on the grid to increase next year, Kaneso revealed that another company besides his own is planning to build its own version, without naming the firm in question.

  • Stream every qualifying session and race of the 2022 SUPER GT season only on Motorsport.tv.
Shade Racing (pictured at Okayama) also scored its best finish of 2022 at Suzuka with seventh

Shade Racing (pictured at Okayama) also scored its best finish of 2022 at Suzuka with seventh

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