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).
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.
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.
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.
– 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 6 teams and 6 vehicles through TRD.
– In the GT300 class, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will enter 2 Toyota Prius and 3 Lexus RC F GT3