Toyota goes virtual and actual with new FT-1 sports concepts
By C.C. Weiss
August 19, 2014
Toyota kicked off 2014 by revealing one of the most radical concept sports cars in recent memory: the FT-1. Now, the Japanese automaker has stirred our senses with a second FT-1 featuring an all-new graphite paint job and leather interior. The updated concept car helps Toyota celebrate the introduction of an even more extreme FT-1 that exists in virtual form only: the FT-1 Vision Gran Turismo.
Both the graphite FT-1 concept car and the FT-1 Vision GT will be available next month to race in Gran Turismo 6 on the PS3. The Vision GT is an ultra high performance race car that imagines what the FT-1 could do if it were purposed for all-out track warfare. Like previous Vision Gran Turismo cars from other auto marques, the FT-1 Vision GT also shows how much fun car design can be when restrictions like financial constraints and real-world practicality are completely lifted.
"The design brief for this car was very simple: Take the FT-1 concept car and turn it into the most kick-ass, bad-ass super race car you can imagine," says Kevin Hunter, president of Toyota's Calty Design Research.
The Calty team didn't have to move heaven and earth to conform to that brief – the FT-1 is already arguably the most bad-ass car design of the year. To turn it into a "super race car," they affixed an extreme aero kit that practically scrapes the track below. The kit includes a front splitter, big, blocky rear diffuser and near take off-ready rear wing. Those parts join the already generous aero package the base FT-1 offers in the form of its many carved out intakes and vents, features that have been broadened on the Vision GT.
Toyota's press materials are devoid of details as to how the Vision GT's virtual powertrain stacks up in comparison to competitors like the 800-hp Aston Martin DP-100 or 503-hp Volkswagen GTI Roadster. We still don't even know what Toyota envisions in the standard FT-1 concept, so gamers will have to feel out its performance for themselves, which is half the fun anyway.
As fun as the Vision Gran Turismos have been to ogle, it has been a bit frustrating to continually see such cool designs that exist only as pixels on a TV screen. Toyota sidesteps this problem by launching the graphite FT-1 concept as the FT-1 Vision GT's debut partner.
The new FT-1 may be just a cosmetic makeover, but it gets us excited about the concept car all over again, creating a dilemma as to whether the car looks better in the graphite paint or original molten red. Too close to call for us, but you can compare both in our photo gallery and make up your own mind. The new FT-1 also gets a refaced interior, swapping the original black-red leather scheme for a saddle-colored leather design.
Toyota hasn't satisfied the inquisitive minds wondering if the FT-1 is a preview of the next Supra-level sports car, but it reiterates that the concept is a "spiritual pace car" for the future of its design, linking back to historically important models like the Supra, Celica, MR2 and 2000GT, as well as the current Scion FR-S. We'll have to wait to see if that relationship is one of official successor or not.
Toyota introduced the FT-1 Vision GT and graphite FT-1 at last week's Monterey Car Week festivities. The video below highlights the design process behind the FT-1 Vision GT.