TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Outlines 2018 Motorsports Activities

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Outlines 2018 Motorsports Activities

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing positions motorsports activities as the basis of its quest to create ever-better cars. From products developed through these activities to the establishment of the GR Garage (sales outlet), TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s motorsports activities have been promoted as a comprehensive method of increasing numbers of car fans.

In order to provide to a wider audience the anticipation and excitement of driving, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will engage in the motorsports activities in 2018 listed below.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will race as a manufacturer team under the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing name in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), and the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race on a global level, and domestically in the Japanese Rally Championship.

In the U.S., Toyota will continue to compete in NASCAR events. In South America, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will support Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd., who will participate in the following Dakar Rally. In domestic races, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will attempt to retain their championships in both Super GT and the Japanese Super Formula Championship. In its focus on cultivating young drivers who have the ability to compete in top racing categories throughout the world, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will continue to run the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Challenge Program for rallies, as well as the Toyota Young Drivers Program (TDP) for races.

Going forward, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will continue to work together with its affiliates to create ever-better cars through its motorsports activities. At the same time, through its products and its sales outlet, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing aims to satisfy the passion of car lovers, and bring the joy of cars to an even wider audience.

Outline of Toyota’s 2018 Motorsports Activities

1) FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)

  • TOYOTA GAZOO Racing positions the WRC series as an important platform to help promote its ever-better-cars initiatives, and started participating again in 2017.
  • TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will race the Yaris WRC (Japan name: Vitz) developed in Finland under the leadership of Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen.
    The engine is a 1.6-liter direct-injection turbo GI4A, developed at Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG).
Team name TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team (WRT)
Team chairman Akio Toyoda
Team principal Tommi Mäkinen (Finland)
Vehicle Yaris WRC (length: 4,085 mm; width: 1,875 mm)
Engine GI4A (1.6-liter direct-injection turbo with a maximum output of at least 380 horsepower)
Tires Michelin
No.
Driver / Co-driver
7
Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) / Miikka Anttila (Finland)
8
Ott Tänak (Estonia) / Martin Järveoja (Estonia)
9
Esapekka Lappi (Finland) / Janne Ferm (Finland)

2) 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 May 5, 2018, and concludes with the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 15–16, 2019.
  • The 24 Hours of Le Mans will be held twice–in Round 2, on June 16–17, 2018, and in Round 8, on June 15–16, 2019–while Round 4, the 6 Hours of Fuji, will take place on October 21, 2018.
  • TOYOTA GAZOO Racing is scheduled to compete in all 8 races with two of the improved TS050 HYBRID, developed and operated by TMG.
  • The THS-R(TOYOTA Hybrid System-Racing) powertrain, developed at TOYOTA Higashifuji Technical Center in Japan, not only follows the existing four-wheel regenerative/drive system, but also improves the reliability of the engine, electric motors/generators and batteries. These technologies will be leveraged to the mass-production hybrid and electric vehicles.
  • Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López will drive the No.7 car, while Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso, who will join as a newcomer, will drive the No.8 car for all races of the WEC. Anthony Davidson will continue to be part of the team as a Reserve and Development Driver.
  • TS050 HYBRID will be equipped with Michelin tires.
Team
Vehicle
No.
Driver
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
TS050 HYBRID
7
Mike Conway (UK)
Kamui Kobayashi (Japan)
José María López (Argentina)
8
Sébastien Buemi (Switzerland)
Kazuki Nakajima (Japan)
Fernando Alonso (Spain)

3) Nürburgring 24 Hours Endurance Race

  • TOYOTA GAZOO Racing positions the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race as the starting point of its activities aimed to make ever-better cars, and will participate for the 12th consecutive year in 2018. Through its participation in the race, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing seeks to activities aimed at developing its people and cars, and supports the development of Toyota’s commercial vehicles.
  • The 46th Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race (official name: 46. ADAC Zurich 24h-Rennen) will take place on May 12–13, 2018.
  • The newly developed Lexus LC will make its debut on the European motorsports scene at this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will enter 1 vehicle.
    Toyota mechanics and engineers developed a new Lexus LC to comply with the race regulations, and are currently putting it through a number of tests in preparation for the main event in May. The Lexus LC incorporates a number of advanced development technologies* that will be used in future sports cars and other commercial vehicles, and thereby aims to support the creation of ever-better cars.
Team TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
Vehicle / Class LEXUS LC/SP-PRO (planned)
Main Specifications Engine 2UR-GSE modified
Tires Bridgestone
Driver Takeshi Tsuchiya (Japan)
Takamitsu Matsui (Japan)
Naoya Gamo (Japan)
Yuichi Nakayama (Japan)

*The Lexus LC features the following advanced development technologies destined for future production vehicles.

  • Body technology (reducing weight, increasing rigidity)
  • Driver assistance technology (enhancing visibility, etc.)
  • Aerodynamics technology
  • Engine technology (increasing power by reducing friction, enhancing fuel economy, etc.)
  • Suspension technology (reducing weight, increasing rigidity, enhancing responsiveness, etc.)

4) NASCAR

  • Toyota will continue to compete in the NASCAR series through Toyota Motor North America and T.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 tires.

Toyota Teams and Drivers for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Team
No.
Driver
Joe Gibbs Racing
11
Denny Hamlin (U.S.)
18
Kyle Busch (U.S.)
19
Daniel Suárez (Mexico)
20
Erik Jones (U.S.)
Furniture Row Racing
78
Martin Truex Jr. (U.S.)

5) Dakar Rally

  • Toyota regularly supports Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body (TLC), which competes in the Dakar Rally with Toyota Land Cruiser 200.
  • At the Dakar Rally 2018 held in January this year, car No. 328 retired in the first half of the race. However, car No.337 finished in first place in the Production Vehicle Division, giving TLC its fifth consecutive victory and Akira Miura his first win.

Team Land Cruiser

Vehicle
Driver / Co-driver
Position in
Production
Vehicle
Division1
Position in
Diesel
Class2
Overall
Position
Car no. 328 Driver Christian Lavieille (France)
Retired in the first half of the rally
Co-driver Jean Pierre Garcin (France)
Car no. 337 Driver Akira Miura (Japan)3
1st
1st
25th
Co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter (France)
1 Includes gasoline and diesel classes
2 TLC competed in the diesel class of the production vehicle division
3 Toyota Auto Body Employee
  • Also, many teams including global Toyota group, are challenging the Dakar Rally with Toyota’s vehicles.
  • TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa (TGRSA) won second and third place overall, Hino Team Sugawara (Hino Motors) won nine consecutive titles in the truck category (less than 10 liters displacement class).

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa

Vehicle
Driver / Co-driver
Overall Position
Car no.301 Driver N. Al-Attiyah (Qatar)
2nd
Co-driver M. Baumel (France)
Car no.304 Driver G. de Villiers (South Africa)
3rd
Co-driver D. Von Zitzewitz (Germany)
Car no.309 Driver B. Ten Brink (Netherlands)
Retired
Co-driver M. Perin (France)

HINO Team Sugawara

Vehicle
Driver / Co-driver
Truck category
(less than 10 liters
displacement class)
Car no.521 Driver Yoshimasa Sugawara (Japan)
Retired
Co-driver Katsumi Hamura (Japan)
Car no.511 Driver Teruhito Sugawara (Japan)
1st
Co-driver Mitsugu Takahashi (Japan)

6)SUPER GT

(1) GT500 Class

  • 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.
Class
Team
Vehicle
No.
Driver
Tires
GT
500
LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S KeePer TOM’S LC500
1
Ryo Hirakawa (Japan)
BS
Nick Cassidy (New Zealand)
LEXUS TEAM LEMANS WAKO’S WAKO’S 4CR LC500
6
Kazuya Oshima (Japan)
BS
Felix Rosenqvist (Sweden)
LEXUS TEAM WedsSport BANDOH WedsSport ADVAN LC500
19
Yuji Kunimoto (Japan)
YH
Kenta Yamashita (Japan)
LEXUS TEAM au TOM’S au TOM’S LC500
36
Kazuki Nakajima (Japan)
BS
Yuhi Sekiguchi (Japan)
LEXUS TEAM ZENT CERUMO ZENT CERUMO LC500
38
Yuji Tachikawa (Japan)
BS
Hiroaki Ishiura (Japan)
LEXUS TEAM SARD DENSO KOBELCO SARD LC500
39
Heikki Kovalainen (Finland)
BS
Kamui Kobayashi (Japan)
Tire Brand: BS: Bridgestone; YH: Yokohama

(2) GT300 Class

  • In the GT300 class, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will enter 2 Toyota Prius and 3 Lexus RC F GT3 models.
Class
Team
Vehicle
No.
Driver
Tire
GT
300
apr TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT
30
Hiroaki Nagai (Japan)
YH
Kota Sasaki (Japan)
TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT
31
Koki Saga (Japan)
BS
Kohei Hirate (Japan)
arto-Panther Team Thailand arto RC F GT3
35
Nattavude Charoensukhawatana (Thailand)
YH
Nattapong Hortongkum (Thailand)
LM corsa SYNTIUM LMcorsa RC F GT3
60
Hiroki Yoshimoto (Japan)
YH
Ritomo Miyata (Japan)
K-tunes Racing LM corsa K-tunes RC F GT3
96
Morio Nitta (Japan)
BS
Yuichi Nakayama (Japan)
Tire Brand: BS: Bridgestone; YH: Yokohama

7) Japanese Super Formula Championship

  • The Japanese Super Formula Championship is the top category of Japanese formula racing.
  • Through TRD, Toyota will supply the two-liter four-cylinder RI4A direct-injection gasoline turbo engine for 11 vehicles in 6 teams.
  • All vehicles will be equipped with tires made by Yokohama Rubber.
Team
No.
Driver
P.MU/CERUMO·INGING
1
Hiroaki Ishiura (Japan)
2
Yuji Kunimoto (Japan)
KONDO RACING
3
Nick Cassidy (New Zealand)
4
Kenta Yamashita (Japan)
SUNOCO TEAM LEMANS
7
TBD
8
Kazuya Oshima (Japan)
carrozzeria Team KCMG
18
Kamui Kobayashi (Japan)
TEAM IMPUL
19
Yuhi Sekiguchi (Japan)
20
Ryo Hirakawa (Japan)
VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S
36
Kazuki Nakajima (Japan)
37
James Rossiter (UK)

8) Japanese Rally Championship

  • Through participation in the Rally Championship, the greatest of all rallies in Japan, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will continue refining its people and its cars toward the creation of ever-better cars.
  • Toyota staff will act as engineers and mechanics, and be involved in all aspects of participation from vehicle production to rallying.
Team
Vehicle
Driver / Co-driver
Engineers and Mechanics
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
TGR Vitz CVT
Tomoyuki Shinkai / Yuichi Ando
Toyota Employees

9) Customer Motorsports (GT3)

  • Through global sales and its customer support of the Lexus RC F GT3, LEXUS GAZOO Racing will enable customers from around the world to enjoy GT3 races, and contribute to enhancing the image of the Lexus brand. LEXUS GAZOO Racing will also provide feedback of technologies developed through its race activities to its commercial vehicles, and enhance the products.
  • From 2018, the Lexus RC F GT3 will appear in more GT3 races in the United States, Europe, and Japan, as listed below:
Region Series Class Team Number of
Vehicles
U.S.
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar
Championship
GTD
3GT Racing
2
Europe
Blancpain GT Series
Pro
Emil Frey Lexus Racing
2
VLN Langstrecken Meisterschaft
Nürburgring
SP9
TBD
TBD
Japan
SUPER GT
GT300
See “6) SUPER GT (2) GT300 Class”
3
Super Taikyu
ST-X
MAX Racing
1
Toyota Young Drivers Program (TDP)
  • This program supports young drivers to be able to compete in top racing categories around the world.
  • The program is dedicated to identifying new talent, and provides a framework to hone the abilities of participants, depending on their particular strengths.
  • Ryo Hirakawa will return to Super Formula, while Kenta Yamashita will step up to the Super GT GT500 class.
  • Ritomo Miyata, who has won the FIA F4 Japanese Championship for 2 consecutive years, will also participate in the Super GT GT300 class.

List of Toyota Young Drivers Program Participants for 2018

Driver
Race Category
Team
Remarks / 2017 Results
Kenta Yamashita SUPER GT (GT500) LEXUS TEAM WedsSport BANDOH •SUPER GT GT300
(5th overall in series)
•Japanese Super Formula Championship
(11th overall in series)
Japanese Super Formula Championship KONDO RACING
Sho Tsuboi Japanese Formula 3 Championship Corolla Chukyo Kuo TEAM TOM’S •Japanese Formula 3 Championship
(2nd overall in series)
•SUPER GT GT300
(3rd overall in series)
SUPER GT (GT300) Tsuchiya Engineering
Ritomo Miyata Japanese Formula 3 Championship Corolla Chukyo Kuo TEAM TOM’S •Japanese Formula 3 Championship
(4th overall in series)
•FIA-F4 Japanese Champion
SUPER GT (GT300) LM corsa

2018 Race Categories for Toyota Young Drivers Program Graduates

Driver
Race Category
Team
Kazuki Nakajima FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
SUPER GT (GT500) LEXUS TEAM au TOM’S
Japanese Super Formula Championship VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S
Kamui Kobayashi FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
SUPER GT (GT500) LEXUS TEAM SARD
Japanese Super Formula Championship carrozzeria Team KCMG
Hiroaki Ishiura SUPER GT (GT500) LEXUS TEAM ZENT CERUMO
Japanese Super Formula Championship P.MU/CERUMO·INGING
Kohei Hirate SUPER GT (GT300) apr
Kazuya Oshima SUPER GT (GT500) LEXUS TEAM LEMANS WAKO’S
Japanese Super Formula Championship SUNOCO TEAM LEMANS
Yuji Kunimoto SUPER GT (GT500) LEXUS TEAM WedsSport BANDOH
Japanese Super Formula Championship P.MU/CERUMO·INGING
Ryo Hirakawa SUPER GT (GT500) LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S
Japanese Super Formula Championship TEAM IMPUL
Yuichi Nakayama Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
SUPER GT (GT300) K-tunes Racing LM corsa

■ Formula Toyota Racing School (FTRS)

  • The school aims to discover and cultivate racing drivers to be able to compete in top racing categories both in Japan and around the world. It also seeks to widen the base of the motorsports pyramid in a healthy manner by educating people on correct driving skills.
  • Support for race participation in future seasons will be provided to students deemed to have the greatest driving potential.
    (FTRS dates for 2018 are undecided.)

■ FIA F4 Japanese Championship

  • TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will support young drivers competing in the FIA F4 Japanese Championship, which is the entry class formula category.
  • 7 events and 14 races have been scheduled.

12) 5 Continents Drive Project

  • Toyota began its 5 Continents Drive Project in Australia in 2014. with the same aim for “ever-better cars” as motorsports activities of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. Employees drive Toyota vehicles by diverse types of roads used by customers around the world, gaining experience and knowledge of road conditions that cannot be predicted or replicated on test courses. The understanding obtained in this exercise supports Toyota’s goal of creating “ever-better cars”, and cultivates expertise in employees.
    With the milestone year of 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympics and Paralympics approaching, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing continues to carry out its 5 Continents activities.
  • In 2017, Toyota conducted the fourth leg of its project in Europe. Taking as its theme, “learning from the roads, diversity and culture of the birthplace of cars”, around 140 Japanese and local employees drove over approximately 21,000 km of roads in 23 countries. A total of 500 employees have now participated in the project as a whole.
  • For the fifth leg of its project, Toyota plans to drive across Africa, the second largest and second most populous continent in the world. With its distinctive culture and climate, participants will experience harsh driving environments. The theme of the fifth leg will be: “Better understanding customer needs, local environments and what sort of cars will be optimally suited for the Africa of the future.”
Year
Continent
Distance driven
Number of days driven
2014
Australia
Approx. 20,000 km
72 days
2015
North America
Approx. 28,000 km
109 days
2016
Latin America
Approx. 20,000 km
84 days
2017
Europe
Approx. 21,000 km
85 days
2018
Africa
Approx. 15,000 km (planned)
Approx.2 months (planned)

13) GR Series and GR Garage

Overview

In its aim to create ever-better cars, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing refines people and cars through a variety of motorsports activities, such as the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race. The GR Series is a newly established series for sports cars that have been developed using the knowledge and knowhow acquired by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing through its motorsports activities.

Main Characteristics

  • Improved driving performance through increased body rigidity, specially tuned suspension, and other modifications
  • Sporty exterior and interior designs

Model Structure

  • GRMN: GRMN is the top tier of the GR series. Vehicles are sold in limited quantities and feature tuned engines
  • GR: GR vehicles are mass-produced sports models that possess the essence of GRMN
  • GR SPORT: Also available as minivans, GR SPORT vehicles offer drivers the chance to enjoy casual sports car driving experiences
  • GR PARTS (only for Japan as of now): Aftermarket GR PARTS will beprovided for customers to enjoy customizing their cars. The parts have been developed to improve driving functionality, and there are plans to add functional items to the line-up in the future.