DETROIT—First devised by Calty Design Research in the Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo game environment, Toyota’s FT-1 concept sports coup leapt from the screen to the stage at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
According to its designers at Calty Design Research, the FT-1 Concept builds on Toyota’s 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 on the FT-HS and the Lexus LF-LC.
“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.”
The goal of this ideological shift is to develop future generations of products that better connect emotionally with Toyota’s global consumer base.
Traditionally, Toyota’s design decisions have been driven by consensus among a large group of stakeholders. Under Akio Toyoda’s directive to invigorate Toyota products with “Waku-Doki” (translation: a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement), the approval process has been streamlined to produce cars that generate a more satisfying ownership experience.
“Function-sculpting” design yields curved, muscular, expressive body forms seemingly shaped by the wind. Inlets, ducting, and vents are features of the exterior design that 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 front engine, rear-wheel drive configuration moves the cockpit far rearward within the wheelbase to improve weight distribution and create classic sportscar proportions. The wraparound windshield and side glass openings are a distinct nod to the design of the legendary Toyota 2000GT.
The interior features an F1 inspired steering-wheel in a low-slung cockpit with A-pillars set far back to optimize cornering vision and the cabin’s intimacy.
A delta-shaped display zone surrounds the driver, focusing on light-weight components such as composite seats covered with just the right amount of padding in only the areas that come into contact with the driver. A heads-up colour 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.