The very eagerly-anticipated Toyota Supra was recently showcased at Geneva as the Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept, one that will give rise to a road-going sports car co-developed in a joint project with BMW. The fifth-generation Supra will be ‘very different’ from the upcoming BMW Z4 that the Japanese car is been co-developed with, despite commonalities in areas such as the powerplant.

“Unlike the GT86 co-developed with Subaru, with BMW we first decided on the concept of the car that each company would like to develop separately,” said Supra chief engineer Tetsuya Tada in an interview with Evo at the recent Geneva Motor Show. “Once these concepts were clear we looked into which parts could be common between the two projects – and the number of common parts and elements are much fewer than many may imagine,’ he said.

Even though there will be common components in key areas such as the engine architecture, calibration will be ‘quite different’ between the two cars, according to Tada, and will result in a driving experience very different to that from the Z4, he said.

Where benchmarking is concerned, Tada said his team looked at Porsches, including the 911, while previous Supras were also taken into consideration and fans of the older cars were interviewed for their expectations prior to commencing the project; the common thread was a demand for six-cylinder engine in a front-engine, rear-drive layout, Tada said.

There is some conflicting news on the matter of the transmission, as Tada had earlier indicated that a manual isn’t on the cards as the firm thinks Supra fans don’t see it as “a huge requirement,” though this interview with Evo reveals that details pertaining to this are still in the discussion stage, rather than having been outright dismissed. Hybridity is a possibility too, though that speaks more for Toyota’s future sports cars as a whole rather than the Supra in particular.

Certain parallels with the development of the 86 are evident, too, as the company would like for customers to lay their own touch on the sports car. “Just as with the 86, we have the same message with the new car – we’d really like people to tune the car themselves,” Tada said.

“It’s difficult to define what is a brand or maker-approved modification. It was a concern we had with the GT86, but once it was launched on the market we learned that users on the market have quite high standards and respect the car, so the aftermarket developed on its own,” the chief engineer noted.

“I hope the same will happen with the Supra. With the GT86 we didn’t have to interfere too much into the market and what the users were doing – so as a brand we’re not likely to interfere with the market too much either,” he said.

GALLERY: Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept