We’re not sure why Toyota Motorsport issued a news release about the MR2 Street Affair concept car — perhaps something was lost in the translation from German to English? — but that really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that even nearly two decades after the car was built, and 13 years after Toyota ended production of the MR2, the concept remains a cool idea.
Wait! Translation from German? Isn’t Toyota a Japanese company?
Yes, it is, but because of its involvement in racing in Europe — home ground of both Le Mans and Formula 1 — in 1984 Toyota established Toyota Team Europe in Cologne-Marsdorf. In 2001, TTE became Toyota Motorsport GmbH.
In 2001, Toyota Motorsport anticipated the launch of a spec racing series and produced the Street Affair concept to promote that idea.
According to the re-release of the concept story and photos, the Street Affair was Toyota Motorsport’s idea for an “extreme roadster” designed with “Formula 1 refinement.”
The concept was based on the W90 generation of Toyota’s mid-engine roadster.
It carried Toyota’s red-and-white color scheme from Formula 1. The body was fiberglass and featured a nose and front spoiler inspired by those on the Toyota TF102 F1 race car. The roaster’s windshield was raked for better aerodynamics.
To make the car lighter, there were no conventional doors, but “manholes” that could be opened for driver and co-pilot to step into their seats. The steering wheel was “U” shaped. There were no rearview mirrors; instead, a rear-mounted camera projected the rear view onto a screen on the dashboard.
Carbon fiber ducts fed cooling air to the mid-mounted engine. Although still a 1.8-liter, 16-valve 4-cylinder, turbochargers and a Remus racing exhaust boosted horsepower from a standard 140 to a Street Attacking 258. Power was fed to the rear wheels by a 6-speed paddle-shifted sequential transmission with electro-hydraulic clutch.
The car rides on aluminum wheels, 9.5 inches wide up front and 12 inches at the rear, with 345/30 ZR19 tires. Braking was upgraded by 14.56-inch 11.6s at the rear.
The car sprinted to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6 seconds and had a top speed of 249 km/h (155 mph).
The concept car was unveiled at the Essen Motor Show in December 2001.
Although the racing series did not launch, the concept did lead to the production of 100 examples of the special — and now highly collectible — Toyota MR2 Competition model.