TOYOTA GAZOO RACING READY FOR THE TRACK AND SPECIAL STAGE IN 2018 RACE AND RALLY PROGRAMME
Toyota Gazoo Racing know that motorsports provides the experience and know-how to build ever-better cars, an ethos that has helped deliver a series of sports-focused road-going cars, including the new Yaris GRMN – the first GRMN model to be built and sold in Europe.
Motorsport activities also build excitement in and interest around the Toyota brand, helping create legions of new fans around the world. The coming year’s competition programme will bring the anticipation and excitement of driving to an even wider audience.
Toyota Gazoo Racing will compete as a manufacturer under their own name in both the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). At world level, they will also take part in the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race; domestically they will participate in the Japanese Rally Championship.
In the USA, Toyota will continue to compete in the top-flight NASCAR stock car racing series, while in South America, the Toyota Gazoo Racing will support Toyota Auto Body in its participation in the next Dakar Rally. The Dakar Rally also attracts many teams fielding Toyota vehicles and in 2018 Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Hilux won second and third place overall
In Japan’s domestic racing, Toyota Gazoo Racing will be defending their titles in both Super GT and the Japanese Super Formula Championship.
They will also continue to foster promising new talent in the Toyota Gazoo Racing Challenge Program for rallies and the Toyota Young Drivers Program for circuit racing.
Building new fans will be supported by a range of different customer events series, including one-make racing series for the Toyota GT86 and Vitz (Yaris) models.
In the Japanese market, Toyota Gazoo Racing announced nine models and 11 versions for its GR series of road-going cars, which use technologies and knowledge gleaned from motorsport activities. In addition, as demonstrated by the GR Super Sport Concept revealed at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January, Toyota is engaging in a new concept of creating commercial sports cars that are based on its racing models.
Outline of Toyota’s principal 2018 motorsports activities
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
- Toyota Gazoo Racing position the WRC series as an important platform to help promote its ever-better-cars initiatives, participating again since 2017.
- Toyota Gazoo Racing will compete with the Yaris WRC, developed in Finland under the leadership of Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen.
- The engine is a 1.6-litre direct-injection turbo unit (GI4A), developed at Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG).
|Team name||TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team (WRT)|
|Team chairman||Akio Toyoda|
|Team principal||Tommi Mäkinen (Finland)|
|Vehicle||Yaris WRC (length: 4,085mm; width: 1,875mm)|
|Engine||GI4A (1.6-liter direct-injection turbo with a maximum output of at least 380hp)|
|No.||Driver / Co-driver|
|7||Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) / Miikka Anttila (Finland)|
|8||Ott Tänak (Estonia) / Martin Järveoja (Estonia)|
|9||Esapekka Lappi (Finland) / Janne Ferm (Finland)|
FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC)
- The FIA World Endurance Championship has taken place every year since 2012.
- 2018–2019 is set to be a “Super Season” that begins with Spa-Francorchamps on 5 May, 2018, and concludes with the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 15–16 June, 2019.
- The 24 Hours of Le Mans will be held twice—as Round 2, on 16–17June, 2018, and as Round 8, on 15–16 June, 2019; Round 4, the 6 Hours of Fuji, will take place on 21 October, 2018.
- Toyota Gazoo Racing are scheduled to compete in all eight races with two of the improved TS050 HYBRID cars, developed and operated by TMG.
- The THS-R powertrain, developed at Toyota’s Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Japan, improves on the existing four-wheel regenerative/drive system by adding a significantly enhanced engine, electric motors/generators and batteries. Toyota plans to use these advanced technologies in the development of its mass-production hybrid and electric vehicles.
- Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López will drive the No7 car, while Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso, who will join as a newcomer, will drive the No8 car for all WEC races. Anthony Davidson will continue to be part of the team as a reserve and development driver.
- The TS050 HYBRID will be equipped with Michelin tyres.
|TOYOTA GAZOO Racing||TS050 Hybrid||7||Mike Conway (UK)|
|Kamui Kobayashi (Japan)|
|José María López (Argentina)|
|8||Sébastien Buemi (Switzerland)|
|Kazuki Nakajima (Japan)|
|Fernando Alonso (Spain)|
Nürburgring 24 Hours Endurance Race
- Toyota Gazoo Racing position the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race as the starting point of their activities aimed at making ever-better cars, and will participate for ta 12th consecutive year in 2018. Through its participation in the race, Toyota Gazoo Racing seek to engage in activities that will develop their people and cars, and support the development of Toyota’s road-going vehicles.
- The 46th Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race (official name: 46. ADAC Zurich 24h-Rennen) will take place on 12–13 May, 2018.
- The new Lexus LC will make its debut on the European motorsports scene at this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race, with one car entered by Toyota Gazoo Racing.
- Toyota mechanics and engineers have prepared an LC to comply with the race regulations, and are currently putting it through a number of tests in preparation for the race.
|Team||TOYOTA GAZOO Racing|
|Vehicle / Class||Lexus LC / SP－PRO (planned)|
|Main Specifications||Engine||2UR-GSE modified|
|Driver||Takeshi Tsuchiya (Japan)|
|Takamitsu Matsui (Japan)|
|Naoya Gamo (Japan)|
|Yuichi Nakayama (Japan)|
- Toyota will continue to compete in the NASCAR series through Toyota Motor North America and R.D U.S.A., Inc…
- Toyota will compete with the Toyota Camry in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The Toyota Camry and the Toyota Tundra will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, respectively.
- All vehicles will be fitted with Goodyear tyres.
Toyota Teams and Drivers for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
|Joe Gibbs Racing||11||Denny Hamlin (US)|
|18||Kyle Busch (US)|
|19||Daniel Suárez (Mexico)|
|20||Erik Jones (US)|
|Furniture Row Racing||78||Martin Truex Jr. (US)|
- Toyota regularly supports Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body (TLC), which competes in the Dakar Rally with Toyota Land Cruiser 200.
- At the Dakar Rally 2018 held in January this year, car No337 finished in first place in the Production Vehicle Division, giving the Toyota Land Cruiser its fifth consecutive victory and Akira Miura his first win.
- Many teams field Toyota vehicles, including Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa, which won second and third places overall in 2018 with their Hilux. Hino Team Sugawara (Hino Motors) have won nine consecutive titles in the category for trucks with engines of less than 10-litre capacity.
Team Land Cruiser
|Vehicle||Driver / Co-driver||Position in Production Vehicle Division||Position in Diesel Class||Overall Position|
|Car No328||Driver||Christian Lavieille (France)||Retired in the first half of the rally|
|Co-driver||Jean Pierre Garcin (France)|
|Car No337||Driver||Akira Miura (Japan)||1st||1st||25th|
|Co-driver||Laurent Lichtleuchter (France)|
Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa
|Vehicle||Driver / Co-driver||Overall Position|
|Car No301||Driver||N. Al-Attiyah (Qatar)||2nd|
|Co-driver||M. Baumel (France)|
|Car No304||Driver||G. de Villiers (South Africa)||3rd|
|Co-driver||D. Von Zitzewitz (Germany)|
|Car No309||Driver||B. Ten Brink (Netherlands)||Retired|
Hino Team Sugawara
|Vehicle||Driver / Co-driver||Truck category
(less than 10 litres
|Car No521||Driver||Yoshimasa Sugawara (Japan)||Retired|
|Co-driver||Katsumi Hamura (Japan)|
|Car No511||Driver||Teruhito Sugawara (Japan)||1st|
|Co-driver||Mitsugu Takahashi (Japan)|
(1) GT500 Class
- Super GT series is the top category of Japanese car racing.
- In 2018, Lexus Gazoo Racing will continue to enter the Lexus LC 500.
- Lexus Gazoo Racing will support six teams and six cars through TRD.
|1||Ryo Hirakawa (Japan)||BS|
|Nick Cassidy (New Zealand)|
|WAKO’S 4CR LC500||6||Kazuya Oshima (Japan)||BS|
|Felix Rosenqvist (Sweden)|
|WedsSport ADVAN LC500||19||Yuji Kunimoto (Japan)||YH|
|Kenta Yamashita (Japan)|
|LEXUS TEAM au TOM’S||au TOM’S LC500||36||Kazuki Nakajima (Japan)||BS|
|Yuhi Sekiguchi (Japan)|
|38||Yuji Tachikawa (Japan)||BS|
|Hiroaki Ishiura (Japan)|
|LEXUS TEAM SARD||DENSO KOBELCO SARD LC500||39||Heikki Kovalainen (Finland)||BS|
|Kamui Kobayashi (Japan)|
Tyre Brand: BS: Bridgestone; YH: Yokohama
(2) GT300 Class
- In the GT300 class, Toyota Gazoo Racing will enter two Toyota Prius and three Lexus RC F GT3 models.
|30||Hiroaki Nagai (Japan)||YH|
|Kota Sasaki (Japan)|
|31||Koki Saga (Japan)||BS|
|Kohei Hirate (Japan)|
|arto RC F GT3||35||Nattavude Charoensukhawatana
|Nattapong Hortongkum (Thailand)|
|LM corsa||SYNTIUM LMcorsa RC F GT3||60||Hiroki Yoshimoto (Japan)||YH|
|Ritomo Miyata (Japan)|
|K-tunes Racing LM corsa||K-tunes RC F GT3||96||Morio Nitta (Japan)||BS|
|Yuichi Nakayama (Japan)|
Tyre Brand: BS: Bridgestone; YH: Yokohama