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High-performance Toyota HiLux GRMN is coming: Japanese giant planning genuine Ford Ranger Raptor rival


Toyota has confirmed plans for a high-performance version of its top-selling HiLux as the Japanese giant looks to expand its broader go-fast family.

The company’s Gazoo Racing arm has recently been transformed from purely a marketing department to an engineering house - not unlike Mercedes' AMG or BMW's M Division - and Toyota has made no secret of its intention to set the team to work on more of its line-up.

And the HiLux is one the go-fast list, with Toyota Gazoo Racing president Shigeki Tomoyama telling media attending the 24 Hours of Le Mans - a race Toyota just won for the second year running - that he wanted a road-going performance HiLux bred off the brand's Dakar winner.

The race-modified HiLux claimed victory in the 2019 Dakar Rally, and Tomoyama says he wants to to leverage that success into a road-going product.

It's a logical step, given the brand has also announced plans for a World Endurance Championship-inspired, road-going GR Super Sport; a race-bred model required to ensure Toyota qualifies for the events like Le Mans in coming years. The WEC demands companies produce at least 20 road-going versions of their race cars within two years of competition.

Tomoyama's comments mirror those made at the launch of the all-new Supra in Spain, where Toyota executives told CarsGuide that, having already turned their attention to the Supra and the Yaris (with the international-only GRMN), their focus would now shift to the rest of the range.

"We cannot talk about future plans, but we can talk about intention. And our intention is of course to have more products and more derivatives, and this will be discussed car by car and model by model, based on whether it fits the purpose, and if there is a demand," says Toyota's senior manager of product communications, Vincent Dewaersegger.

"But of course there is the intention - that's why we created the company. But I can't really comment much more than that, because it will be revealed in the course of the product launches. As general company, the intention is to develop more (Gazoo) cars and more models.”

The moves form part of a broader performance makeover for Toyota, with Australian executives pointing to Japan, where the company is rolling out three new badges for its models; GR Sport, GR and GRMN, as a preview of what's to come here.

The idea is to offer three distinct levels of sportiness. The GR Sport-badged cars are restricted to cosmetic upgrades, the GR cars will offer more performance than their regular counterparts, and the GRMN badge will be reserved for the brand’s most hotted-up models.

Can Toyota rattle the Raptor with a Gazoo-stamped HiLux? Let us know in the comments.