TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Press Conference:GAZOO Racing Company President Shigeki Tomoyama's Speech at TOKYO AUTO SALON 2020
Jan. 10, 2020
Last year was particularly fruitful for Toyota GAZOO Racing. We started the year by achieving overall victory at the Dakar Rally. In the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), we secured both the team and the driver championships, and we won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second consecutive year.
Having clinched the manufacturer's title in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2018, in 2019 we won the driver's title―our second championship in two years. Meanwhile, in Japan, we won series titles in the Super GT, Super Formula, and Japan Rally Championship.
GR Yaris Our policy at GAZOO Racing Company is to use motorsports to refine our knowhow and personnel with the aim of launching world-class production sports cars. We carried out the first part of this policy last year when we resurrected the GR Supra for the first time in 17 years.
Indeed, at the end of last year, the GR Supra won THE GOLDEN STEERING WHEEL 2019, one of the most prestigious automotive awards in Germany. Germany is one of the automotive world's powerhouses; the fact that the GR Supra overcame BMW, Porsche and other automakers to win the sports car category indicates that its outstanding performance has been recognized in Europe, perhaps the center of the automotive world.
This goal also resulted in significant changes to the car's production lines, as well as its development process. Toyota took the opportunity presented by development of the GR Yaris to establish a new GR factory―a line dedicated to producing GR sports cars. These measures have enabled us to produce highly rigid bodies―essential for sports cars―and to realize highly accurate assembly, both of which are difficult to do on standard production lines. In addition, the lines are capable of catering to multi-type, small-lot production―which is commonplace when producing cars in low quantities―without reducing productivity.
From mass production to thoughtful multi-type, small-lot production...
Pre-order "First Edition" model
We are planning to commence sales around summer of this year but, in order to cater to our customers' expectations, we intend to begin accepting pre-orders in Japan starting today.
The model on display here is, in fact, a "First Edition" model available only to those who pre-order. We developed this limited-edition version to commemorate the launch of the GR Yaris, and it features, among other things, a matt-black rear spoiler and wheels. This limited-edition model will be available for pre-order in Japan on the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing website from today until June 30. We are also planning to offer invitations to advance test-drive events and special gifts to customers who place pre-orders.
The GR Yaris is Toyota's first 4WD sports car―and first WRC homologation model―in 20 years, since the Celica GT-FOUR dominated rallies around the world during Toyota's WRC Golden Age. Now that we have entered the era of CASE*3, some people may question whether it is necessary to develop such a sports car.
Jan 25, 2020 at 20:39