The Impact of Toyota in Motorsport RacingBy maigne on August 15th, 2018
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What are some of the greatest racing circuits that Toyota has entered?
- Le Mans
- Formula One
Ever since its introduction to motorsports in the early 1970s, Toyota has always been an active participant in quite a number of significant racing events. This is ultimately a testament to the genuine passion that Toyota has for all things that have to do with automotive vehicles.
Toyota’s competitive spirit as a brand has given birth to everything from the most ferocious racing vehicles to everyday practical compact cars like the Toyota Wigo here in the Philippines. Let’s take a look at some of the monumental motorsport events that Toyota took by storm:
Rallying and Toyota
Toyota’s mark in motorsport history dates back to the latter parts of 1972, when the Swedish racer, Ove Andersson drove for Toyota Motors during the RAC Rally of Great Britain. Andersson eventually moved from Sweden to Belgium and his team became officially known as Toyota Team Europe.
Toyota’s first rally win in motorsport racing came about at the 1975 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland. This was when Hannu Mikkola and his co-driver Atso Aho won the entire event in a Toyota Corolla! Three years later, the team moved to a new base in Western Germany. And in the 1980s, Toyota continued to see continuous World Rally Championship success.
Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship
It was also during the 1980s that Toyota began focusing their efforts on the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans with prepared Group C cars. The Toyota team achieved 2nd place in the 1992 race and competed in their first World Sportscar Championship in 1994.
Toyota began recruiting staff for their Le Mans pursuits in 1997 with the aim of starting a Formula One team. In the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship, Toyota won the Manufacturer’s Championship and Toyota drivers Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi won the Driver’s Championship in the Toyota TS040 Hybrid.
NASCAR Cup Series
In the world of NASCAR racing, the Toyota Tundra is the main contender for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series while the Toyota Camry is the challenger in the Monster Energy NASCAR series as well as the Xfinity Series. But, Toyota made its first introduction to the world of NASCAR ranks with the V6-Celica in 2000.
Robert Huffman played a great role in assisting Toyota to become a legitimate competitive force in the series by placing 2nd in the championships for both 2001 and 2002. It was the following year in 2003 that Huffman broke through and became Toyota’s first NASCAR Champion.
Although Toyota never managed to win a Formula One race, the team scored a point in their first race in Australia, and in 2004, designer Mike Gascoyne was put in the team to improve results. Under the eyes Gascoyne, Toyota gained 4th place in the Constructor’s Championship of 2005.
Akio Toyoda eventually announced Toyota’s withdrawal from Formula One, mainly citing that the decision was due to the economic environment.
Whether it’s a heavy-duty van like the Toyota Hiace or a compact hatchback like the Toyota Wigo here in the Philippines, Toyota Motors is a company whose mission to thrive and excel in the global automotive industry with a strong competitive hand is directly embodied by their car’s stunning performances on the world’s most legendary racetracks.