This car marks the start of Toyota’s efforts to cash in on its big-budget F1 involvement. In a spot of uncharacteristic enthusiasm for the road-car side of its business, the Japanese car maker has empowered its German-based Motorsport division to develop a series of performance-enhancing kits for existing Toyota models.
First up is a turbocharger conversion for the already highly rated MR2. Set to be offered through official Toyota channels in the UK, it aims to answer criticism that the little two-seater lacks the power to fully do its mid-engine chassis justice.
For the transformation, which is likely to set you back around £4000 when official sales get underway later this year, Toyota Motorsport starts with the MR2’s standard mid-mounted 1.8-litre four-cylinder motor. It then adds a Garrett turbocharger, air-to-air intercooler and more free-flowing stainless steel exhaust to boost power by around 40 per cent to 195bhp at 6000rpm and torque from 126lb ft to a stout 184lb ft at 3500rpm.
The upgraded engine does wonders for the MR2’s straight-line performance. With just 990kg to shift – 20kg more than the standard car – the blown four-pot hurls the little two-seater to 62mph in 5.9sec – 2.0sec inside the standard car – and on to 145mph, making it only slightly slower than a Vauxhall VX220 Turbo.