TOYOTA GAZOO Racing embodies TOYOTA’s commitment to overcoming every limit to make "ever-better" cars. To forge new technologies and solutions under the extreme conditions of motorsports, we will never stop innovating. We race our cars to push ourselves to learn from the toughest challenges. Competing on every kind of road, no matter what the challenge, inspires us to build "ever-better" cars. We're engineering TOYOTA's future DNA. We'll keep competing to bring the freedom, adventure and joy of driving to everyone.
Over the years, Toyota has been participating in many different forms of motorsport, including Formula One, the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race. These activities were conducted by separate entities within the company, such as “Toyota Racing”, “Lexus Racing” and “GAZOO Racing”.
Of those, “GAZOO Racing” in particular first entered the Nürburgring 24 Hours race in 2007 with two used Altezzas, supported by a team of mechanics that comprised employees selected from various departments within Toyota, under the belief that “the roads build the people, and the people build the cars”.
This was very much in line with the thinking of Toyota’s founder, Kiichiro Toyoda, who said already in 1952: “Car racing is more than just entertainment. It is vital to the development of the Japanese passenger vehicle industry. Just as athletes test their capabilities by competing with all their strength in the Olympics, automakers use racing as an opportunity to push a vehicle's performance to the limits and compete for supremacy, enabling them to discover new ways of advancing automotive technology.”
With this in mind, in April 2015, Toyota went back to the basis and united Toyota’s motorsports activities into “TOYOTA GAZOO Racing”, placing motorsports as a fundament in its commitment to make ever-better cars.
TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SOUTH AFRICA STORY
Interestingly, the official name was first used prior to that date, as a special dispensation to Toyota SA Motors, who entered two South-African built and developed Hilux race vehicles in Dakar 2015. In the hands of former Dakar winner Giniel de Villiers (partnered by Dirk von Zitzewitz), and local legend Leeroy Poulter (with Rob Howie beside him), the team was entered as Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa - a name it retains to this day. Since then, Toyota has amalgamated its World Rally Championship and World Endurance Championship campaigns under the same umbrella, as we are proud to form part of the global Toyota Gazoo Racing family.
Toyota has a long and proud racing history in South Africa, with many championship victories on the track, rally stages and cross-country races. Names like Serge Damseaux, Apie Reyneke, Kassie Coetzee, Mike White, Steve Wyndham, Charl Wilken and Duncan Vos are inexorably linked to Toyota SA Motors’ racing history. More recently, champions like, Anthony Taylor, Giniel de Villiers and Leeroy Poulter have been flying the flag for Toyota, ensuring multiple cross-country and rally championship titles.
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA continues to campaign cars in the South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS), as part of its development strategy for international races, such as the grueling Dakar Rally. At the same time, Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle compete for Toyota Gazoo Racing SA in the new-look South African National Rally Championship in their Toyota Etios R2. Toyota Gazoo Racing SA has its headquarters in Barbeque Downs, near the iconic Kyalami International Race Circuit.