A Dodge Viper must have grudgingly revved past the gates of Akio Toyoda’s residence; or he could have been introduced to the some diabolic game on the Playstation; or he just paid a nostalgic visit to the Toyota museum of racing records. Whatever the trigger, the result was a brief from the global chief of Toyota for the engineers and designers at Calty Design (United States of America), demanding a revolution and more heart-pounding design! Those who planted a stethoscope on their meeting door would have heard the beats of a future Supra… wishful thinking perhaps!
Anyway, Toyota turned enough heads at the North American International Auto Show (Detroit) with the stunning FT-1 sports car concept that took shape in the Sony PlayStation gaming environment of Calty Design Research. For more than 40 years, Calty has been designing and adding design value to Toyota’s racing concepts and even the recent 86.
The FT-1 Concept builds upon Toyota’s rich sports coupe heritage highlighted by the 2000GT, Celica, Supra, MR2 and the 86. The concept has also been inspired by Calty’s recent sports car concept work such as FT-HS (2007) and the Lexus LF-LC (2012).
Started nearly two years ago, the project builds on the returning race spirit of Toyota. Traditionally, Toyota’s design decisions have been driven by consensus among stakeholders, but as Toyota’s Chief Engineer pointed out at the time of the 86’s UAE launch, Akio Toyoda’s directive to invigorate Toyota products with energy, passion and “Waku-Doki” (not to be confused with ‘walkie-talkie, this refers to a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement) has left the approval process streamlined, more personalized and should help in developing cars that connect more deeply with customers.
The exterior design has an undeniably powerful racecar look. The front features a boldly shaped fender and dynamic air-intakes while exhaust ports and a retractable wing at the rear stand out in the Toyota FT-1’s optimized aerodynamics. The front engine rear-wheel drive configuration pushes the cockpit back on the wheelbase to improve weight distribution and create classic sports car proportions.
The FT-1 focuses on driver engagement inside as well, with a delta-shaped display zone that surrounds the driver. An F1-inspired steering wheel, a color heads-up display, and pushed-back A-pillars ensure road information and visibility are always unhindered.
While we have to wait to know if actually climbs the assembly line, the concept can be experienced virtually and the FT-1 can be downloaded and driven on Gran Turismo 6 by the gamers, right now!