Promoted | Video: We drive the Toyota GR Supra to Monte Carlo

Watch the highlights of our trip across France, as we explore the roots of Toyota’s new GAZOO Racing performance brand at Rallye Monte Carlo...

In January, we took the Toyota GR Supra on an epic journey. We wanted to learn all about Toyota’s new GAZOO Racing performance brand, and a road trip to Rallye Monte Carlo seemed like the perfect justification.

With former rally driver and FIA World Rallycross commentator Andrew Coley at the wheel, we visited the historic pitlane at Reims, conquered the snowy passes of the Hautes-Alpes, went behind-the-scenes with Toyota GAZOO Racing at Rallye Monte Carlo, and set the style in the heart of glamorous Monaco.

Find out more about the Toyota GR Supra at toyota.co.uk/supra

Styling it out in Reims

Toyota’s dramatic fifth generation re-imagining of its sports car icon was ideal for this trip. A two-seat, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive ‘grand tourer’, it boasts the style to turn heads on the autoroute and the Riviera, with tight confidence-inspiring handling and responsive power that thrill on tight, vertiginous, winding Alpine roads. 

Inside there’s room for a weekend’s luggage, behind a two-seat interior that is as cossetting and practical on long journeys as it is driver-focused in the twisty bits. Perfect for a long trip across Europe.

Pulling into the iconic classic 1960s pitlane at Reims after our first 100 miles of French roads, we had a chance to admire the GR Supra’s powerfully modern take on classically pure sportscar style. 

Its low-slung profile – a long bonnet, blending into a pushed-back two-seat interior with a double-bubble roof – is pure 2000GT. The distinctive grille evokes classic Supra styling, while the muscular haunches that frame imposing 19” forged alloys blend into a sharp-edged modern rear.

Powering down the autoroute

Once back on the road, the 3.0-litre straight six settled down nicely at pace. When we did need to pass the French lorries that tend to linger on the inside lane of the autoroute, the twin-scroll turbo delivered incredibly direct response from low rpm at an impressive rate.

The driver-focused interior (inspired by the cocoon of single-seater race cars) felt incredibly cosseting with its race-inspired leather sports seats – especially when the heated seats and dual-zone automatic air conditioning were cranked up to provide Mediterranean warmth, compared with the cold January air outside. It almost seemed a shame to open the windows for the péage toll booths.

Equally, the low, slim horizontal dashboard provided the perfect view of the road ahead, with the 8.8-inch high-definition digital dashboard, 8.8-inch central multimedia display and optional head-up display giving us access to all the info we needed.

Conquering the Alps

Rather than taking the autoroute directly to Monte Carlo, we traced the D1091 round the north-east of the Hautes Alpes, taking a brief detour up the pass to Alpe d’Huez. A regular stop on the Tour de France since 1952, this road boasts 21 hairpin bends, and an average 8.1% gradient that peaks at 13% as it climbs 1,860m to the resort. 

It’s nice and wide, but the vibe is pure Rallye Monte Carlo – drystone cliff wall on one side, concrete barriers that provide scant protection from a vertiginous cliff drop on the other. In the middle there’s a snaking ribbon of asphalt, with twists, kinks and hairpins that truly let the GR Supra shine.

The 335bhp and 500Nm from the Toyota GR Supra’s turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six was perfectly balanced with its lightweight chassis, while the single twin-scroll turbo delivered impressively direct response from lower revs – helping us punch our way out of tight hairpins and conquer steep inclines without ever feeling breathless. 

Flicking through the eight-speed automatic’s short-ratio lower gears, the GR Supra’s ability to sprint from one bend to the next proved truly impressive, while responsive Brembo brakes easily bled that pace off for the next bend.

Trendsetting in Monaco

As we got higher, the road only got steeper, twistier and more fun, highlighting the GR Supra’s cleverly considered underpinnings. Toyota’s engineers took great effort to place the modern Supra’s engine further back in the chassis for optimum 50:50 weight distribution, while the wheelbase and track width were honed to match the golden 1.55 ratio for a sportscar of this size. 

The chassis is also more rigid than that of the Lexus LFA supercar, with a centre of gravity that is lower than the Toyota GT86 coupe – all providing a better base for the race-inspired suspension.

Finally, descending the twisty mountain roads into Monaco and easing through the narrow streets of the principality, the Toyota GR Supra fit the Monte Carlo mood perfectly. It’s a classic case of ‘less is more’, with compact Euro city-friendly dimensions that helped us thread our way through the tight streets and close-packed crowds of tourists and glamorous residents, and style that turns heads.

Our trip ended with the official start of Rallye Monte Carlo on the Quai Albert of Monaco’s harbourfront, with the Toyota GAZOO Racing World Rally Championship drivers headed out for the first night stages. But while our journey was over, GAZOO Racing’s journey is only just beginning. If the next cars from GAZOO Racing’s imagination are anything like the Toyota GR Supra, then we’ve got even more exciting things to come.

Find out more about the Toyota GR Supra at toyota.co.uk/supra