DID YOU KNOW THERE'S A BABY GR SUPRA DRAGSTER IN EXISTENCE?
Since Toyota and Gazoo Racing started showing off with the release of the GR Supra, the motorsport world has been on the receiving end of some amazing new cars like the follow-up GR Yaris and the GR Corolla, and even the world of drag racing benefited. Well, there were already some Toyota drag racing collaborations in the NHRA thanks to more than 20 years of competing professionally in the series. This new venture was aimed at youngsters who are just starting out with drag racing in the junior classes. What you see here is a Jr. Roadster for a class established by Half Scale and Antron Brown, and this half-sized Supra dragster was developed by Toyota and TRD, U.S.A. The lil car was created to compete in the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League, an idea conceived to encourage families interested in getting their kids involved in drag racing at a young age to look at this as an additional class option. “The motivation behind developing the GR Supra Jr. Roadster nearly two years [a bit longer now] ago was primarily around the concept of giving families an alternative to the already-popular Jr. Dragster class within NHRA,” said Paul Doleshal, group manager, Toyota Racing. “With the Jr. Roadster, it has a shorter wheelbase compared to the dragster and therefore can ideally fit in the bed of a Tundra and taken to the racetrack. Our TRD engineers have worked closely with Antron Brown, who fields Jr. Dragsters, to ensure that the new Jr. Roadster is ready for a class of its own and we hope that our other OEM partners in NHRA will design their own bodies for the cars and we can see them all competing very soon.”
This GR Supra body was unveiled in November 2021 for the Funny Cars of J.R. Todd and Alexis DeJoria to compete in the 2022 season, and they were joined by Ron Capps. It was decided to use the GR Supra body as the look for the new Jr. Roadster purely based on the excitement and fan reaction that’s been seen since the big daddy GR Supra Funny Car started to compete. “The Jr. Dragster class has really been a pivotal piece of NHRA since its inception,” said Antron Brown, Toyota Top Fuel driver. “My kids have raced them and several of my competitors got their start racing them or have kids or family members of their own competing. The addition of the Jr. Roadster class is important for so many reasons, but the primary objective for all of us that have been involved in its development was to give families an option that doesn’t require a trailer or additional costs to bring the car to the track and these will give them that opportunity.” NHRA’s Jr. Dragster class started in 1992 and has been a popular launch point for young racers starting their careers in drag racing. The class competes at over 130 NHRA member tracks across the USA on any given week. Even current Toyota Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers got their start behind the wheel of a Jr. Dragster including J.R. Todd, Shawn Langdon and Justin Ashley. “It’s truly thrilling to see a new vision like the GR Supra Jr. Roadster from Toyota and have that be a future option for young racers,” NHRA President Glen Cromwell said. “The GR Supra delivered an impressively innovative body style into the Funny Car ranks last year, and for our young competitors in the Jr. Dragster ranks to have the chance to match their favorite racers is a great opportunity. Toyota continues to show its strong commitment to drag racing and the importance of providing exciting options to our young racers and the future of NHRA drag racing.”
Jr. Dragsters are half-scale versions of Top Fuel dragsters and are often fitted with a single-cylinder 5 hp motor that can get the diminutive drag cars up to 85 mph with 8th mile passes below 8-seconds.
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