Toyota created a stir at the North American International Auto Show with the reveal of the stunning FT-1 sports car concept which was first devised by Calty Design Research in the Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo game environment. The Toyota FT-1 represents the pinnacle of a long-running endeavor by Calty, which marked its 40th anniversary last year, to create the ultimate sports car.
FT-1 stands for “Future Toyota,” and the number “1” represents the ultimate. According to its designers at Calty Design Research, the FT-1 Concept builds upon Toyota’s rich sports coupe heritage dating back to the 2000GT, Celica, Supra, MR2 and most recently Scion FR-S. In addition, the concept draws inspiration from Calty’s more recent sports car concept work such as FT-HS (2007) and the Lexus LF-LC (2012).
The project started nearly two years ago and represents a labor of love by a passionate, dedicated and gifted Calty design team. “The FT-1 is a dream-project for a designer and car enthusiast like myself,” said Alex Shen, Calty’s Studio Chief Designer. “Our team was heavily influenced by Toyota’s sports car past, especially Celica and Supra, and we sought to capture some of that history. It is an aggressive, track-focused sports car concept with a presence that has been amplified for shock and awe.”
Traditionally, Toyota’s design decisions have been driven by consensus among a large group of stakeholders. Under Akio Toyoda’s stated directive to invigorate Toyota products with energy, passion and “Waku-Doki” (translation: a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement), the approval process has been streamlined. 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 design, with a powerful racecar look emphasizing the beauty of curvilinear form, is aimed to turn heads. The front features a boldly shaped fender and a sharpness suggesting powerful performance. Dynamic air-intakes at the front and exhaust ports and a retractable wing at the rear give physical form to the Toyota FT-1's optimum aerodynamic performance.
The front engine rear-wheel drive configuration locates the cockpit far rearward within the wheelbase to improve weight distribution and to help create classic sports car proportions. Meanwhile, cockpit's wraparound windshield and side glass openings are a distinct nod to the design of the legendary Toyota 2000GT.
The Toyota FT-1's interior design is aimed at enabling the driver to focus on and enjoy the driving experience. A delta-shaped display zone surrounds and integrates the driver to provide an exhilarating feeling of connectedness with the vehicle. The driver-focused environment is further enhanced by an F1-inspired steering wheel and a color heads-up display with vital information projected just above the steering wheel, thus keeping the driver's attention on the road. Furthermore, the A-pillars have been positioned as far back as possible to provide increased cornering visibility.