Toyota participated in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring from 2007 to 2014 under the nomenclature of GAZOO racing. Then, in April of 2015, Toyota GAZOO racing was conceived as a way to unite the activities of GAZOO Racing, Toyota Racing and Lexus Racing. The goal was to put all three under the same roof, with a focus on creating better car and bringing in an increasingly wider range of enthusiasts. Now, as we work our way through the first month of 2016, Toyota has released some rather interesting news.

Just today, it has been announced that Toyota GAZOO racing has entered the Lexus RC and Lexus RC F into the 24 Hours of Nürburgring for 2016. That’s not the most interesting part, though. Remember the 2014 Toyota C-HR Concept from 2014 Paris Motor Show? Or, how about the second iteration of it that debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show? Well that concept, in what will be the closest form of a production version we’ve seen so far, will debut at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring this year as the Toyota C-HR Racing.

In all reality, that is pretty wild news. Since the first concept debuted back in 2014, certain aspects of it – primarily the drivetrain – has been kept a closely guarded secret. In 2015, the concept was shown with a design that was closer to being ready for production, but we were still left wondering just want was hidden under the hood. With the press release that flew off the printer today, Toyota included a rendering of the Toyota C-HR Racing, but the real details are still filed away in Toyota’s room of classified information. At least now we’re getting to see what the drivable variant of the C-HR will probably look like, even if it is designed solely for the race track. I really wish we knew just what the “full-hybrid powertrain” under the hood was all about, but until Toyota decides we’re worthy of that information, we can at least speculate. That said, let’s take a gander at the C-HR, what we see in the newly released image, and make a few predictions while we’re at it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota C-HR Racing.


2016 Toyota C-HR Concept II High Resolution Exterior
- image 646149

Note: 2016 Toyota C-HR Concept II pictured here.

When the C-HR first Debuted back in 2014, it introduced a totally new, but bold design language. And, as you can see, that design language is still very much a part of the rendering of the C-HR racing. Designed as a compact crossover that would be slated to compete against the likes of the Nissan Juke, the C-HR had to have such a radical design. We thought we would see a production version before a racing version, but sometimes Toyota likes to throw us a curve ball.

In comparison to the 2016 C-HR Concept, the C-HR Racing is very similar.

In comparison to the 2016 C-HR Concept, the C-HR Racing is very similar. Up front, the huge air dam still sits at the bottom of the fascia on top of a rather thin spoiler that should provide at least a little downforce. In the concept version the corners of the fascia hard sharp cutouts for fog lights, but in this rendering, it looks like the fog lights have been left out to make war for air vents. Surrounding the big Toyota emblem and extending under the headlights a small opening provides air flow. This design either indicates a very low sitting radiator, a really small cooling system, or a lack of a radiator all together. The hood carries a similar design, but the sides aren’t raised as much, nor are they as sharp as what we saw on the concept.

The rear isn’t visible in the rendering, but it looks like those protrusive taillights remain a part of the C-HR Racing’s rear design.

Moving to the sides, the wheel arches are still very well pronounced, giving the C-HR Racing a wide-looking stance. Those arches aren’t quite as dominating in the front, but as we move closer to the rear, the body is almost identical. Even those extreme side skirts remain and were probably designed with aerodynamics in mind from the beginning. The rear, side windows are still virtually nonexistent, with the rear corners coming to a sharp upward point.

The rear isn’t visible in the rendering, but it looks like those protrusive taillights remain a part of the C-HR Racing’s rear design. That massive bench-looking spoiler is either mounted to the inner edge of the taillights or on what would be the rear deck/hatch – assuming the C-HR ever had a rear opening back there to begin with. We do know the styling of the rear end on the 2016 concept was extreme, so expect it to be toned down a bit for the racing version to accommodate for better aerodynamics. I kind of expect the rear end to be smoother on the racing version, something similar to the Chrysler Spitfire from the mid-2000s.


2016 Toyota C-HR Concept II High Resolution Exterior
- image 646145

Note: 2016 Toyota C-HR Concept II pictured here.

Expect a roll cage to outline the interior, and that infotainment screen will likely provide most of the important information to the driver.

At this point, the interior of the C-HR is one of those classified secrets. We do have a little to go off of, however. Back with the first concept was announced, Toyota did provide an image of the interior that resembled something similar to the Nissan Juke. By that I mean the center console was pushed forward, probably leaving floor space between the front seats. The center stage was relatively simple with a digital display in the middle that would likely control the HVAC system, and what appeared to be a six- or 6.5-inch infotainment screen. The steering was somewhat oval shaped with thumb controls on the side spokes. The Instrument cluster was also small, with a massive gauge protruding from the middle. This description is probably similar to what we’ll see with the C-HR Racing, but it will obviously be prepped for the track instead.

Expect a roll cage to outline the interior, and that infotainment screen will likely provide most of the important information to the driver. Otherwise, the steering wheel should have a different design to accommodate the C-HR’s racing nature. The rest of the interior will probably be absent, as weight control for C-HR Racing will be an important factor to its performance. Expect all of the common racing equipment normally found in race cars of this nature.


2016 Toyota C-HR Concept II High Resolution Exterior
- image 646143

Note: 2016 Toyota C-HR Concept II pictured here.

And we come to the biggest secret of all – the drivetrain. Back in 2014, Toyota didn’t say much. In fact, all it said was that “It uses a new, full-hybrid powertrain that will deliver significantly improved fuel efficiency.” With the debut of the second concept, Toyota was still relatively silent, saying that the car had a “new and more compact full hybrid powertrain with lighter componentry.” So what is lurking under that vented hood in the C-HR?

The one major thing I’ve noticed about both C-HR concepts is that neither appeared to have exhaust pipes in the rear. To me, that is a huge hint as to what is going on in the powertrain department. Everyone knows about Toyota’s fascination with hybrid technology and hydrogen-powered vehicles like it’s Mirai FCV. Considering the limited range of battery-powered vehicles – except the Tesla Model S, of course – it’s not likely that Toyota would use a battery-powered drivetrain for the C-HR racing. But, what about a hydrogen-powered drivetrain? Everyone knows that is Toyota’s vision for the future, and given the lack of exhaust pipes, it’s quite possible that there is a combination of electric motors and a hydrogen fuel cell hidden beyond the metal. Of course, that is just speculation on my part, but I wouldn’t put it past Toyota, and it would make sense as Toyota is continuing to push the concept of hydrogen as a fuel.


At this point, so little is known about the C-HR racing, it isn’t an easy task to really call out any specific competitor. If the C-HR is ever dropped onto showroom floors as a production model, it will clearly wage war against the Nissan Juke. As more details emerge about this year’s 24 Hours of Nürburgring and the C-HR Racing, we’ll be sure to update this section and compare models that are competing in the same class.


2016 Toyota C-HR Concept II High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 646148

Note: 2016 Toyota C-HR Concept II pictured here.

To be honest, I’m a bit surprised that the first official debut of a pavement-going C-HR will be at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. That is a major way to make the debut of what I consider to still be an experimental model. In the end, you’ve got to give it to Toyota for its confidence and ability to keep secrets. If there is some amazing, newly developed drivetrain hidden under the hood, it could shock the world as that Toyota rips around the Nürburgring. I can tell you one thing – I’ll definitely be watching for all the details on this one. After being kept in the dark for so long, this concept better bring something new and fantastic to the table in terms of performance and capability.

  • Leave it
    • Drivetrain is a complete secret
    • Curious about the rear end
    • Where’s the road-going model?

Press Release

Toyota GAZOO Racing announces the entry of three vehicles―a Toyota C-HR Racing*, a Lexus RC, and a Lexus RC F―in the 44th 24 Hours of Nürburgring endurance race to be held in Germany from May 26 to 29, 2016.

The 24 Hours of Nürburgring plays an important role in Toyota’s motorsports activities for building ever-better human resources and vehicles under intense racing conditions. Beginning in 2007, the 2016 event marks the 10th year of Toyota’s participation in the race under the banner of GAZOO racing.

When asked to look back over the last ten years, team representative Akio Toyoda said, "I remember GAZOO Racing first taking on the challenge of the Nürburgring in 2007 in an Altezza like it was yesterday. There are so many memories running through my mind–the interaction with the roads of the Nürburgring, whose characteristics seem to change with each shift in the weather, the meeting and parting with new and valuable friends. But, the one thing that remains the same is the unforgiving conditions of the circuit and the intensity of the racing. Every year, we use these conditions to hone both our team members and our cars. I have experienced this approach at first hand over the last nine years and, for me, this is the real meaning of motorsport."

"I also think that the commitment we show under these harsh conditions has a positive impression on our customers. That’s why Toyota, under the banner of Toyota GAZOO Racing, will continue to take part in motorsports–to build ever-better cars, boost the number of vehicle enthusiasts, and bring a smile to the faces of our customers around the world."

Toyota GAZOO Racing was started up in April 2015 to unite the activities of GAZOO Racing, Toyota Racing, and Lexus Racing under the same roof. It continues to work toward the creation of ever-better cars through motorsports by developing stronger human resources and attracting a wide range of vehicle enthusiasts.

Outline of Participation in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring

Team representative
Akio Toyoda

Team name
Toyota GAZOO Racing

Toyota C-HR Racing

We decided to take on the new challenge of creating ever-better cars using a crossover rather than a pure sports car.
We want to accelerate the building of ever-better people and vehicles under the harsh and unique conditions of the Nürburgring, and apply these experiences to future vehicle development.

Chief mechanic
Akihiro Osaka (TMC)

Masahiko Kageyama, Kumi Sato, tbd*

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder:
Related Manufacturers