Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: Toyota Press | posted January 14, 2014 07:59
The FT-1 gets inspiration from the 2000GT, Celica, Supra all the way to the 86.
FT stands for 'Future Toyota', and the number '1' represents the ultimate and that basically explains everything about the Toyota FT-1. It is Toyota's ultimate expression of a coupe design, building upon their rich sports coupe heritage dating back to the 2000GT, Celica, Supra, MR2 and most recently Scion FR-S. It also draws inspiration recent sports car concept work such as FT-HS (2007) and the Lexus LF-LC (2012).
Its designers describe it as "an aggressive, track-focused sports car concept with a presence that has been amplified for shock and awe."
Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda’s directive is to invigorate Toyota products with energy, passion and 'Waku-Doki' (translation: a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement). This new approach aims to produce cars that connect more deeply with customers, generating a more satisfying ownership experience that complements Toyota’s legendary reputation for quality, dependability and reliability.
The exterior is expressed through a 'function-sculpting' design language yielding curved, muscular, expressive body forms seemingly shaped by the wind. Inlets, ducting, and vents are features of the exterior design that help reinforce its track–ready nature with elements of purposeful airflow management. At higher speeds a retractable rear wing deploys and tilts forward to create additional downforce. The body’s athleticism is expressed with taut surfaces and dramatic fender forms that seduce the eyes when covered in an unapologetically red hue.
The front engine rear-wheel drive configuration locates the cockpit far rearward within the wheelbase to improve weight distribution. This design element also helps create the classic sportscar proportions one would expect from a vehicle poised to dominate even the most challenging road course. The cockpit’s wraparound windshield and side glass openings are a distinct nod to the design of the legendary Toyota 2000GT.
The interior is a focused, highly functional 'place of business' that locates the driver at the controls behind an F1 inspired steering-wheel. The intimate, low slung cockpit has its A-pillars set far back to help optimize cornering vision and sensation of the cabin’s intimacy. A delta-shaped display zone surrounds and integrates the driver to provide an exhilarating sense of being connected to the vehicle. The cockpit’s sense of minimalism adds to the purposefulness of the driver-focused environment with an emphasis on light weight components such as the composite seat covered with just the right amount of padding in only the areas that come into contact with the driver. A color heads-up display keeps the driver’s attention on the road ahead, with vital information projected just above the steering wheel within the driver’s line of sight.
Toyota hasn't released the technical specifications of the FT-1 but is is assumed that it is a well-balanced front-engine, rear wheel-drive layout that is powered by a high-technology, high performance internal combustion engine.
Calty Design Research, the people behind the FT-1, worked with Polyphony Digital, creators of the popular Gran Turismo driving simulator, to bring the FT-1 to life in a virtual world that captured the excitement, passion and performance conveyed by the concept model. Toyota executives were offered the opportunity to take FT-1 for a timed lap around a computer-generated Fuji Speedway. Behind the wheel of the concept, Toyota president Akio Toyoda, an accomplished race car driver, completed the virtual circuit faster than his best real-world lap time at Fuji in his LFA. From that moment, he was convinced and the concept was approved to be built in model-form for the international auto show circuit.
Beginning January 14, the stunning Toyota FT-1 concept will be available as a downloadable vehicle for PlayStation®3's Gran Turismo 6 (GT6) real driving simulator. Race fans and the gaming community can experience FT-1 exclusively in GT6, where the FT-1 was created digitally to realistically demonstrate what a production FT-1 could achieve.