Toyota Gazoo Racing has fast become the performance division of Toyota, much like AMG is the performance division of Mercedes-Benz. However It is not the first time that Toyota has dived into the performance segment, in fact Toyota was the first Japanese manufacturer to develop a sports car, one which took on the best that Europe had to offer.
It was called the 2000 GT and since its introduction in the late 60’s Toyota has given the world a few very special models, probably the most iconic is the Supra. The 90’s and early 2000’s however saw a dip in excitement from Toyota with a strong focus on reliability and value for money. This led to what some consider being very mundane automotive products. However, in the last few years the automotive giant has rekindled its love fair with motorsport.
One of the big reasons for this new found love for motorsport is the fact that Toyota’s current President AKIO Toyoda in indeed a racing driver. He race—primarily in rallies on public roads—he also takes part in the 5 Continents Drive. By taking to the road and handling vehicles himself, Akio embodies the Toyota philosophy: “Roads build people, and people build cars.”
Toyota Gazoo Racing participates in numerous motorsport events which include Le Mans, Endurance and Rally. Here on home soil Toyota Gazoo Racing is best known for its participation in the SACCC Series as well as the infamous Dakar Rally.
As with many racing programs, much of the development finds its way into the cars that you can find on the showroom floor. Motorsports initiatives have given Toyota broad perspective and deep experience, which the company has applied to the development of numerous production cars. Some of these model line-ups are ideally suited for passing on the special motorsports DNA, particularly Toyota’s GR Series. GR series sportscars are packed with technologies and pumping with the passion of motorsports. Drive one and the thrill is yours.
Now it is worth mentioning that the GR touch is not only applied to road cars, in fact one of the first products available with a GR badge here in South Africa was in fact a Hilux. Toyota will be adding more GR treatment to a few of its utility vehicles as well as SUV models in the coming months. We have heard reports of a possible GR Hilux and Fortuner. With the possibility of the next generation Ford Ranger Raptor getting the impressive Volkswagen 3.0-litre V6, Toyota just might drop their new 3.3-litre turbo diesel into a special edition Hilux. According to Creative 311 out of Japan which was quoting dealer sources reported that the new 3.3-litre diesel V6 engine will produce a whopping 230kW and 687Nm, and will pair with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
It is also reported that the new Land Cruiser 300 will also get GR treatment to compete with some of the fast European SUV models like the BMW X5 50d, Mercedes-Benz GLS 400d and the Audi SQ7 as well as the Range Rover Sport.
South Africa should see the introduction of the LC300 GR later next year but as for the GR Hilux and Fortuner, that is still to be confirmed. We do hope that those two models are confirmed, a 700Nm Hilux, that’s what dreams are made of.