Designing a car within the bounds of crash-test regulations is tough. Making a vehicle look good while still hiding all those crumple zones and impact bars and rollover-supporting A-pillars is a tall task. Toyota’s design team knocked it out of the park with the A90 Supra but didn’t quite nail it when transferring that same look to a NASCAR body. For their latest trick, they’ve tried to migrate it to a Funny Car shell. And, uh. Hoo boy.
The 2022 NHRA Funny Car season will be Toyota’s 21st year in the season, and they’re marking the occasion by shifting away from the Camry design they’ve used since 2012. In a vacuum, that makes sense: Promote your fastest rear-wheel-drive sports car with your fast rear-wheel-drive drag car. Unfortunately for Toyota, Funny Cars have a very specific body shape — one that makes the Supra design look like it’s refusing to take a serious photo at the family reunion.
Toyota said that this updated Funny Car continues its “commitment to race vehicles that closely resemble production vehicles.” If any Toyota employees think this Funny Car closely resembles a production Supra, I will gladly refer them to my ophthalmologist.
Beyond the styling, the updated Funny Car includes a number of safety improvements — reinforcing the idea that it’s much better to be in this car looking out, than outside of it looking in. Toyota claims the new car has better outward visibility, and more headroom around the driver’s helmet. However, they made no mention of the psychological safety of those in the car’s immediate area.
For anyone interested in seeing if the new Supra Funny Car is any better in person, its first race will be this coming February at the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, CA. Maybe bring some sunglasses. Like, really dark ones.