The Toyota GR Supra funny car has always looked a bit, well, funny. But shrink it down to about half its regular size, as Gazoo Racing has done for its latest drag racer, and it looks so tremendously weird that it’s almost cute again. It’s just as well, since the GR Supra Jr. Roadster is meant to introduce young drivers to the sport of drag racing.
The NHRA already has a Jr. Dragster series that’s been around since 1992. The series races at over 130 tracks across the country in cars that resemble pint-size Top Fuel dragsters. Many pro NHRA drivers have used it as a stepping stone to the big leagues. With the mini GR Supra, Toyota is working on a Jr. Roadster class that will be even more accessible to beginners.
One of the ways the Supra Jr. Roadster lowers the entry bar is its size. It has a much shorter wheelbase than a Jr. Dragster car, and engineers at TRD USA made sure it could fit in the bed of a Tundra. This should ease the task of getting to and from events because teams would no longer require an additional trailer for the race car.
Toyota unveiled its 11,000-horsepower, full-sized GR Supra NHRA racer in November 2021 to take the place of its Camry-boded car. It promptly went on to win the 2022 funny car title, with Ron Capps clinching the championship in his NAPA Auto Parts blue-and-yellow liveried GR Supra.
“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,” said NHRA President Glen Cromwell.
Prospective drivers can purchase the Supra Jr. Roadster at Half Scale Dragsters. A number of different parts, from ballast bars to a variety of complete engines can be found there as well. Toyota has been working on the Jr. Roadster class for two years, and hopes that other manufacturers will join the nascent series to foster the next generation of racers.