Motorsports

Published on July 25th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Toyota Crown RS Spotted Testing

First debut for this new Toyota Crown Endurance Racer

Since the debut of the original Crown in 1955, the nameplate has been a constant and reassuring presence in the Japanese market. Despite this consistency, it has never failed to adapt to the needs of each era. The most recent redesign focused on injecting liveliness and fun into the Crown, with particular emphasis placed on style, customization, and performance. The Athlete and Royal series’ will see the most significant changes, while improvements will also be made to the Majesta series.

Toyota Crown RS
Photo: Naoki Hattori

Fresh from their victory at the Super GT300 class at the first round of the 2020 Autobacs Super GT Series on Sunday, the Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave racing team has been spotted hard at work testing a new race car on the same track a day later. 

The #52 Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave Toyota GR Supra won the Super GT300 class at the first round of the 2020 Autobacs Super GT Series, and came third overall alongside a 1-2 lockout by the Super GT500 category GR Supras. Thus capping off an overall Toyota 1-2-3-4 during the race on Sunday. 

Toyota Crown RS
Photo: Naoki Hattori

The main story however was the team were spotted testing their new Toyota Crown RS race car, supposedly built for the 2020 Pirelli Super Taikyu championship. Based on the stickers on the rear windows of the Crown, it appears that this racing car would be racing in the ST-3 class of the Super Taikyu Series.

Toyota Crown RS
Photo: Naoki Hattori

The ST-3 class consists of rear wheel driven cars with engine capacities of 2,001 cc to 3,500 cc. Other cars competing in the Super Taikyu ST-3 class includes Nissan 370Z, Lexus RC350 and Toyota Mark X. 

BHP

Sources say that the Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave Toyota Crown RS, to give it its full title, is based on the Toyota Crown RS, which itself is the souped up version of the Japan only Toyota crown luxury sedan. SuperGT regulations only allow little aerodynamic modifications so the body is still stock looking, discounting the massive rear spoiler of course. 

Toyota Crown RS
Photo: Naoki Hattori

As for the powertrain, this green racing Crown utilises a 2.0 turbocharged engine, supposedly the same 8AR-FTS inline-four as in the production Crown. Although this racing unit had some major fettling by the racing gurus at TRD, as evidenced by the massive racing sticker on the engine and the car being surrounded by TRD technicians all day. 

Weather conditions were poor on Monday but a full shakedown run was achieved and trackside observers commented that they could still hear the screaming engine and sequential gear clicks over the downpour. 

Toyota Crown RS
Photo: Naoki Hattori

The Toyota Crown, although active in drift championships, has not been seen in endurance racing for a long time. This is due to many teams opting for the similarly sized Toyota Mark X instead, like the #52 car that Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave still runs in the Super Taikyu Series. But perhaps due to the Mark X ceasing production last December, teams like GreenBrave are now switching to the Crown RS instead as a replacement for the Mark X in its racing fleet. 

Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave has yet to comment on whether this strikingly green Crown RS will replace the fan-favourite Mark X, or race alongside it for the 2020 series. What is known though is that this Crown RS will debut at the NAPAC SUPER TEC 24 Hours race in the Fuji Speedway scheduled for September this year. 

Opinion and Text by Joshua Chin

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