If you would like to watch the reveal of GAZOO Racing’s brand-new HQ at Zwartkops Raceway, please view the Youtube video below:
We are all yearning to drive better cars in better ways. But where do these better cars come from? A big factory? A garage in another country?
There is a division in Toyota that aims to make better cars by pushing their limits. This is Toyota GAZOO Racing, Toyota’s motorsport group! Where better to push the limits than on the racetrack competing against other cars’ workmanship?
Dominating global rallies and racing events, GAZOO Racing has a vision of pushing the limits for the creation of better cars. Not only for their next opportunity to show off at a rally or race, but to dominate the road as well, with their GR and GR-S Toyota models.
With their motto of “Roads build people and cars”, GAZOO Racing didn't gain any success by just sitting around and doing nothing. All of its wins came from extreme racing conditions through the years which still serves as the flesh and blood for building cars for the future.
Every race is a testing ground. After every win or loss, GAZOO Racing uses the feedback gained from the race to better enhance its future vehicles. Race cars and road cars alike. This is what makes them the best.
Not just racing without a goal or just for the sake of racing. Racing with a purpose and clear goal. This goal has endeared for over 60 years and motivated the whole of Toyota to push the limits more and more.
Where did this world-renowned racing power originate? Let’s have a look!
How else did GAZOO Racing start but with a race?! It makes perfect sense that a racing division had its birth during a race. It was during the 2007 Nürburgring 24 Hours race in Germany, that Toyota Vice President Akio Toyoda decided to enter a racing team led by veteran test driver Hiromu Naruse and some Toyota employees.
This team was entered as private competitors, and not affiliated with Toyota as they raced with more than just Toyota cars. Thus, they couldn't use the factory-backed name “Toyota Racing”.
Instead, they decided to go with the name “Team GAZOO”. Yes, it sounds goofy when you first hear it. In Japanese it can be translated to “picture or image”, which ties into the image/vision that Akio Toyoda had to make better cars by breaking the limits on the racetrack.
Team GAZOO continued to race in various events after their first race. In 2009, when Akio Toyoda was promoted to president of Toyota, a welcome decision was made to promote GAZOO Racing, often shortened to GR on badges and official documents, as Toyota’s performing and tuning division.
In 2015, the Toyota and Lexus motorsport racing divisions moved under the GAZOO Racing banner. Renamed to Toyota GAZOO Racing and Lexus GAZOO Racing, this rebranding started a new era of performance and motorsport!
GAZOO Racing is still breeding performance beasts both on the track and on the road. Let’s swiftly explore their motorsport division.
1973 birthed the start of today’s World Rally Championship (WRC), which consists of 13 rallies around the world selected into a series where contestants compete for the World Championship. This championship has been going on for 40 years!
Not only that, it has been the apex of rally racing and even rivals F1 racing in global popularity. Such a feat is not something to be simply brushed off. Even more impressive is Toyota GAZOO Racing’s role in it.
Because of the different WRC terrains consisting of real roads with hairpin turns, icy patches, potholes, uneven roads and more, GAZOO Racing finds it the perfect testing ground to break the limits.
Learning how to navigate all of these terrains is essential to developing the next generation of Toyota sports cars. The extreme conditions of this world-class event are the ideal place to develop high-level technologies and use that feedback for the protection of new vehicles.
Since 2017 Toyota GAZOO Racing has secured various rally victories, manufacturers’ championships, and drivers’ plus co-drivers’ championships.
Most recently to the writing of this blog in 2023, Toyota GAZOO Racing received a perfect four-star finish on WRC’s toughest rally for the second year in a row. There is a reason that “racing” is part of GAZOO Racing’s name! Read of their full success here.
GAZOO Racing is not only part of one world championship racing event! Not a mere one-trick pony, the GAZOO Racing team also contends in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). This championship is a world endurance race run by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).
The races are held in a very interesting format where prototype cars and GT cars race together. Can you imagine the spectacle? Definitely, a combination that will make cameras flash.
Like every other race, there are some well-rounded regulations and rules. The most important one is that each race must be at least six hours long. The longest race of the 2023 season is the 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans.
Officially started in 2012, but historically in 1953, this championship is an all-time favourite because of its different types of races in which specific classes of race cars participate in. The 2023 WEC will feature three classes: Hypercar, LMP2 and LMGTE Am. GAZOO Racing will compete for three titles in the Hypercar class.
Success is not just a word for the GAZOO Racing team, it's a lifestyle! Don’t believe it? Read all about their recent domination in the 6 Hours of Monza race here.
Their legend doesn't stop here. From the harsh track to the unpredictable road, let’s explore the GR and GR-S road car models.
DNA is the essence of life. Everything has some sort of distinct attribute that makes them unique or similar. Humans, animals and plants all have them. They are not the only ones! Would you believe me if I told you that cars have DNA too?
Styles, parts, engine types, personality and more form the DNA of a vehicle. The Toyota GR Range does not have the DNA of road cars, but their blood runs deep in motorsports. This is what makes them so significant and puts them above other vehicles.
Described as “Pure Sports”, the GR Range is the ultimate result of years of Toyota GAZOO Racing motorsport testing. As mentioned before, the racing events are testing grounds for GAZOO Racing to make better cars.
This is not limited to only making cars for the next event, but also implementing new and better technologies in Toyota road cars.
Obviously, they are not ordinary cars but sports cars, ranging from coupés to even hatchbacks! GAZOO Racing brings old favourites back in a brand-new and improved style such as the Toyota GR Supra and Toyota GR86.
Available in four thrilling models, the GR Range will take your breath away!
Four models, is this all that GAZOO Racing produced? You may have asked. No. There are five more Toyota GR models classified as GR-S or GR-Sport variants. They are the:
These models are exclusive sport variants of the Corolla Cross, Land Cruiser 300 and the Toyota Hilux Double Cab filled with innovation straight from the track enhancing the basic model into something way more interesting and powerful.
If you would like to know more about the GR Range, please read our blog about the topic. All of the GR models are available for a life-changing test drive at your nearest approved CFAO Motors Toyota dealership.
Old Toyota sportscars laid the foundation for the modern-day GR line-up. GAZOO Racing respecs this and decided to reproduce and resell spare parts for old-school Toyota sportscars, making sure that they can continue to be racing legends!
All available parts are listed in the GR Heritage Parts section of GAZOO Racing’s website. Work hard, race harder! This is the essence of GAZOO Racing. They embody this fact by working with their suppliers to reissue and reproduce GR spare parts so that you can continue Toyota’s racing legacy by having fun in your Toyota sportscar.
GAZOO means “image” in Japanese and through GAZOO Racing's picture/vision of filling garages with better cars, it came to mean “garage” to their team.
Yes. Toyota South Africa has a long and proud racing history with many victories and rallies behind their name.
Break the limits to make the next generation of sportscars. This is the motto of Toyota GAZOO Racing! With a proud history in motorsports and still dominating rallies and events, GAZOO Racing uses the track as a testing field to improve both racing and road cars!