Not too long ago, Toyota president Akio Toyoda famously said that there will be no more boring cars from the automaker. And with the advent of models bearing the Gazoo Racing name such as the Supra and the 86, the company does seem to be following through on that promise.
Toyota isn’t new to motorsports, having ventured into the rough-and-tumble world of rallying back in the early 1970s. And the company has dabbled in various disciplines such as touring cars, stock cars and open-wheel vehicles long before there was Gazoo Racing. In recent times, the automaker’s works team has won multiple victories at Le Mans, and a single WRC constructor’s title in 2018.
This has led Toyota into creating two different formulas for that fun-to-drive experience. The GR Yaris, for instance, breaks the mold of Toyota’s usual approach to cars by starting with a race-ready machine and adapting it for road use. It crams an advanced four-wheel-drive system and a powerful turbocharged engine into a package that wouldn’t normally accommodate such a complicated layout. But the company managed to make it work, much to the delight of many who have been itching to get behind the wheel of a compact hot hatch with sports car-rivaling performance.
Extracting as much power as possible for less weight is, of course, the main goal of a high-performance vehicle. That purity of being is what the GR Supra possesses. It’s got the right size, the right amount of horsepower, and the right amount of zing that will keep its driver happy without being too much to handle. It is a car that forgives the novice and rewards the expert.
Of course, one cannot forget Toyota’s achievements in Le Mans—a race where attrition is rife, and finishing is already a victory in itself. The automaker’s successes in the grueling endurance event speaks volumes of how its engineering philosophy can literally and figuratively go the distance, even when pushed to the limits. And the benefactor of this technical excellence? The production cars.
Not everything with a Toyota badge has the actual goods to tear up the racetrack, but they do have what it takes to deliver on the GR promise. It could be a Vios getting a humble salaryman back home safely. Or a Hiace full of people steadily making its way up a mountain pass. Or a Hilux loaded with essential supplies crossing several rivers to get to a remote village. Or an Alphard allowing a company executive to get some work done in peace. It can be said that each of these humdrum goals could be different iterations of racing one’s ambition.
In that context, the goal isn’t always something that breaks the laws of physics. It can be as modest as standing the test of time—a target that is certainly worth reaching. And that’s the whole spirit of the Gazoo Racing mindset—to use the knowledge and experience from the racetrack to make ever-better cars. And it is in every single Toyota vehicle that still plies its trade on the road today.
And it can work both ways. Maybe the reliability of Toyotas of the past have somehow trickled down to the racing activities of Gazoo Racing, or the motorsport team may have something to do with the enduring quality of the automaker’s vehicles today. But whichever manner you look at it, the desire to simply reach a goal or finish a mission is embedded in each car with the Toyota badge.
This branded article was produced in partnership with Toyota Motor Philippines.