With the SEMA Show being such a huge trade convention, there are a number of manufacturers that bring cars out to display to potential customers.
Some companies have large display areas, which we’ll be covering here, others put their cars into separate exhibitions – such as Karma Automotive and Lordstown Motors who had their cars in the SEMA Electrified exhibit (which you can read about here: https://motorsportformentalhealth.com/2022/11/11/sema-electrified-2022/
The largest of the manufacturers booths was Toyota. It was split into three sections along one great big area: Gazoo Racing, which focused on the cars. TRD (Toyota Racing Development) which focused on trucks and overlanding. Then there was Lexus, which of course focused on Lexus products.
We’ll start at Gazoo Racing.
The GR Corolla is Toyota’s newest hot hatch. Sadly it’s not coming to the U.K, but we got the GR Yaris which the American market didn’t get. Swings and roundabouts I suppose.
It looks rather impressive as a rally car with the big rear wing and OZ wheels!
The GR Corolla was the official pace car for the 2022 NASA (National Auto Sport Association) Championships, a collection of grassroots time trial and circuit racing events.
The GR Supra was the star of the show at SEMA 2019, the year the car debuted. You can read about the Supras of SEMA 2019 here: https://motorsportformentalhealth.com/2019/11/19/the-supras-of-sema-2019/
Toyota brought along the “10 Second Twins” drag cars to SEMA 2022. The Supra has become quite a popular car in drag racing. TX2K run a class especially for A90 Supras and FL2K run a class for the B58/S58 engine which the A90 Supra shares with BMW’s Z4.
The GR86 is the evolution of the GT86 sports car.
Toyota have already launched the GR Cup North America. A 14 round series at 7 different tracks. The cars will be built to specification by GR in North Carolina and then sold on to teams.
It looks like quite an entertaining series to watch.
Toyota also featured Larry Chen’s build. Larry’s an automotive photographer and is the man behind a lot of the first still images I saw of Formula Drift as I was first getting into it back in 2009/2010 (rather than studying for my GCSE exams haha!)
Larry won this year’s SEMA Influencer of the Year award, which was really well deserved. He’s done an awful lot for car culture, and documenting car culture, over the years.
The RC replica in the window is cool! I keep debating building another RC drift car, going back to my D1RC roots. Maybe I’ll build one for my 30th birthday.
The TRD section of the stand was more focused on overlanding/off-roading lifestyle.
I’m not particularly familiar with Toyota trucks and haven’t really had much to do with overlanding so I can’t offer much commentary to be honest.
I’d imagine it’s very rewarding, and a great way to see a country. Maybe one day it’s something I’ll be able to properly explore.
Lexus is Toyota’s luxury brand.
They had a couple of SUVs on their section. I’m not normally the biggest SUV guy, but the purple one looks smart. If that’s a factory offered colour, it looks great!
The DSport IS 600 was originally a IS 350 F Sport, but has had a twin turbo LS500 engine swapped into it which has been tuned to 600hp. A six speed, paddle shifted, sequential gearbox sits behind the engine. Inside the typical Lexus luxury has been stripped out for bucket seats and a roll cage. Aesthetically, the Artisan Spirits widebody and Volk wheels give the car a much more aggressive look than its’ standard counterpart.
The highlight of the Lexus stand for me though was the Electrified Sport Concept.
It’s a look at what an all electric Lexus supercar may look like in the future.
The Nissan booth had quite a wide variety of cars.
Of course there were a few examples of the new Nissan Z (RZ34).
Chris Forsberg’s 2023 Formula Drift car. I’m looking forward to seeing some of these Zs in competition.
Nissan’s GT4 factory race car. This is a track only, GT4 specification race car available to buy by both private customers and race teams. Hopefully some of these make their way to Europe. I’d love to see one running!
The Nissan Ariya Surfwagon. I love the original woodies from the 1930s to the 1950s but the simulated wood panelling on cars from the 1970s and forward just doesn’t do it for me at all I’m afraid. This isn’t an exception. I can see what they were going for and I love the concept, but the wood is so clearly fake it just… would look better without it, in my opinion.
Christina Roki and Grant Sloan’s Frontier. Wide-bodied, lowered. For some reason I didn’t get any pictures of the rear, but it has a rear bumper delete which came out really well and a side exit exhaust.
The wrap is cool. It reminds me of the liveries on 1/10th scale RC touring cars. It looks like it’s going fast even though it’s standing still!
This was my favourite car/truck at Nissan though: a Datsun 510 pick up, in a BRE inspired livery, with a Nissan Leaf running gear. It looks amazing, is probably really fun to drive about town, it’s useful, the aerodisc wheels are brilliant, I love it!
The Dodge stand was pretty wild. It featured Tom Bailey’s Nitromethane fuelled, supercharged Hemi engined Durango.
I think I see a licence plate on the back of it. Can Nitromethane fuelled cars be driven on the road in the U.S? I know some state don’t require emissions tests, so do they regulate what type of fuel you use in your cars?
Funny car. I must go to see some top fuel dragsters. From what I’ve been told the noise is unbelievable and I can well believe that!
Here we have a beautiful classic Challenger race car.
The Charger and Challenger Hellcats are two fantastic cars. Nearly 700 factory horsepower in what are relatively practical, daily driveable cars is just brilliant. I’m so pleased that Dodge build these.
The last stand we’re going to look at today is VW’s.
The Golf R is a phenominal little hot hatch: Turbocharged 300+hp inline 4 with a choice of manual or DSG gearboxes and a Haldex four wheel drive system in a VW Golf which is practical and compact.
Pictured below is the Mk8 R.
The Golf R can trace its’ heritage back to this: The Mk4 Golf R32 with the 3.2 VR6.
I’ve actually been, on and off, looking at Mk5 R32s and Mk6 Golf Rs. As a useable car that can be modified for occasional track use I don’t think you can buy a better car for the money. If I ever found my ever elusive lottery win, I’d definitely have one to road trips to all the cool race tracks around Europe from Brands Hatch to Spa to the Nurburgring.
VW were continuing to convince me that it’s a good idea with this GTI with a roof box.
The Jetta GLI Performance Concept. A one off homage to the Jetta’s motorsport heritage.
Thanks for reading. There are a number of SEMA 2022 posts coming up, if you don’t want to miss them, please subscribe to the blog via email (from the box at the bottom of the page).
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By Richard Francis