GAZOO: NEWS AND FEATURES FROM TOYOTA’S WORLD OF MOTORSPORT AND CAR CULTURE
GR Supra lines up for British GT Championship
A new Toyota GR Supra GT4 will line up in the 2020 British GT Championship, entered by Speedworks Motorsport.
The Cheshire-based team, which also campaigns the Toyota Corolla in the British Touring Car Championship, is among the first customers for the 430bhp race car, prepared by Toyota Motorsport GMBh (TMG). It will be driven in the upcoming GT series by Sam Smelt and James Kell.
The GR Supra GT4 is based on the road-going GR Supra, Toyota Gazoo Racing’s first global model, released in 2019. The three-litre in-line six-cylinder engine with single twin-scroll turbocharger has been tuned for higher power and is matched to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Performance elements include an Akrapovič exhaust system and body parts fabricated from a natural fibre composite, which help keep the car’s weight down to 1,350kg. The braking system is uprated with dedicated Brembo racing callipers – six-pot at the front and four-pot at the rear – and the OZ five-hole 11×18-inch wheels are shod with 305/660 Pirelli tyres.
By offering the GR Supra GT4 for sale to customer teams, Toyota Gazoo Racing demonstrates its commitment to helping others become involved in and enjoy motorsport. Anyone interest in finding out more about availability and pricing can contact TMG at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Double podium finish at the Circuit of the Americas
Toyota Gazoo Racing earned a double podium result in the six-hour Lone Star Le Mans race at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas on Sunday, the fifth round of the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The No8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley put in a flawless performance to take second place, but saw their lead at the top of the drivers’ world championship reduced. Third place was taken by the No7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López – a sound result given the crew were running with the maximum success handicap.
The full race story can be found here. Next stop in the WEC calendar is also in the USA, the 1,000 Miles of Sebring on 18-20 March.
Introducing Kalle Rovanperä – the history man
Kalle Rovanperä made history on Rally Sweden as the youngest driver to ever stand on a World Rally Championship podium. At just 19 years old, the Finnish rising star was giving a clear signal of his potential, right from the start of his first WRC season with the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team.
He certainly has the right pedigree to succeed as the son of former WRC hero Harri Rovanperä. With competition in his blood, he had mastered the art of drifting a car on ice by the age of eight and he was competing in rallies before he reached teenage. Even before he had a road licence, he was competing in events in Latvia, passing the wheel to his co-driver for the public road stretches between stages. At 15 he won the Latvian R2 class, then claimed the national open championship two years running.
His WRC2 debut came on Rally Wales GB in 2017 and took his maiden victory in Australia later the same year.
Kalle’s Swedish success included a storming performance on the final stage, where he was 3.7 seconds faster than any other driver. This prompted praise from team boss Tommi Mäkinen, who said: “It’s incredible what Kalle did, it was his first time on that stage in these cars. Everybody else had done it many times before, but he was just flying away from the rest.”
With British driver Elfyn Evans taking the rally victory and reigning WRC champion Sebastien Ogier coming home in fourth, Tommi reckons Toyota has a “dream team” for this year’s competition.
Kalle is co-driven by fellow Finn Jonne Halttunen. Their next outing will be the high-altitude test of Rally Mexico on 12-15 March.
Barrichello back – in a Toyota
Rubens Barrichello, the world’s most experienced Formula 1 driver with 326 race starts to his credit, will be back on track this year in a Toyota.
The popular Brazilian has been signed by Toyota Gazoo Racing Argentina for its squad competing in the national Super TC2000 touring car series.
The 47-year-old will be driving a Corolla alongside Matías Rossi Julián Santero and Mariano Altuna. First race date is on 1 March at the San Juan circuit.
GR in Japan
The Gazoo Racing stamp of sporting quality is relatively new to Europe, with models such as the Yaris GRMN, GR Supra and upcoming GR Yaris the pathfinders for Toyota’s competition-inspired road-going models, and GR Sport versions of Corolla and Yaris raising the sports style factor.
Cross the globe to Japan and the GR name is well-established across a wide spectrum of model types, from the diminutive Copen roadster to the vast Voxy people carrier. This Japanese-language web page gives you a taste of what is on offer.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing story
Toyota has been involved in international motorsport for more than 60 years but the relationship between its competition activity and its business of building cars for the road has never been closer. That’s thanks to the fundamental link that Toyota Gazoo Racing – the umbrella organisation for its worldwide sporting activities – provides between the pit lane and production line.
The experience gained from racing and rallying feeds directly into Toyota’s development of ever-better cars. And the skills of Toyota people are honed by letting them work shoulder to shoulder with the race teams at events such as the annual Nürburgring 24 Hours.
Above all that, Toyota Gazoo Racing is about generating a love of cars and the joy of driving, building excitement and interest through engagement with fans and enthusiasts and encouraging motorsport at grass roots level.
You can read more about the Toyota Gazoo Racing philosophy here.