Toyota GAZOO Racing, the in-house brand responsible for motorsports activities administered by Toyota Motor Corporation, has recently announced its schedule for 2016.
Under the Toyota GAZOO Racing team name, Toyota will participate in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race and the Japanese Rally Championship. WEC 2016 will see the debut of the new Toyota TS050 Hybrid race vehicle, with which the team will aim to recapture the series championship and achieve its first win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this June.
The TS050 Hybrid utilizes a new hybrid system developed at Toyota’s Higashi-Fuji Technical Center. In the 2016 Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race, Toyota will celebrate its tenth year of participation by entering three cars: the Toyota C-HR Racing, and the Lexus RC F and RC.
According to Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative of Middle East & North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation, “Motorsports events offer a crucial means of conveying the excitement of driving, and are at the heart of Toyota’s efforts to foster a greater following of car fans and enthusiasts. By taking part in these activities under the umbrella of Toyota GAZOO Racing, Toyota can focus on developing its people and improving its products, thereby contributing to the creation of better, more advanced cars.”
Mr. Yoshitsugu added, “Know-how from our advanced hybrid race cars is already in use to enhance Toyota’s road car hybrids, and the WEC’s focus on fuel economy and road-relevant technology is expected to see further technology transfer from track to road. We greatly appreciate the support from our customers who have always backed our racing efforts over the years.”
In the U.S., Toyota will continue to compete in NASCAR events, while in South America, Toyota will support Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd., who will participate in the Dakar Rally in early 2017.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Toyota will participate in the Super GT and Super Formula series, both of which are in the top tier of motorsports events within Japan, and will also compete in the Super Taikyu series with the 86 coupe.
In 2017, Toyota will return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Preparations are on-going, with a rally vehicle based on the Yaris compact hatchback currently being developed to meet FIA 2017 regulations.
As part of its initiatives to cultivate young drivers who hope to compete in high-level international racing events, Toyota will continue to run the Toyota GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program for rallies, and the Toyota Young Drivers Program (TDP) for races.
Toyota will also actively try to raise awareness of automotive culture, creating a new generation of car enthusiasts in the process. Key to these efforts will be a wide range of participative, informal motorsports events targeting participation by ordinary customers, such as the Toyota GAZOO Racing 86/BRZ Race, Toyota GAZOO Racing Netz Cup Vitz Race and Toyota GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge.
Furthermore, Toyota will continue to share information about upcoming races, rallies and events by utilizing digital platforms and social networking sites. Toyota will also share updates on its line-ups of tuned and performance models, such as the GRMN and G’s series, which have been adapted based on racing and rally experiences.
A new logo for Toyota GAZOO Racing activities has also been announced, along with a unified colour scheme that will be implemented for all vehicles that race in WRC, WEC, the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race and the Japanese Rally Championship.