**Hybrid cars and other production models benefit from motorsport learnings**
**Toyota’s most successful year in global motorsport**
**Local rally team wins driver and manufacturer titles**
Toyota is set to bring ever-better driver engagement to its production vehicles based on technologies developed during a stellar motorsport season that has resulted in a clutch of titles in local and international competition.
Toyota’s advanced hybrid systems and vehicles as diverse as the compact Yaris and “unbreakable” HiLux delivered the company’s most successful year for motorsport across multiple formats on the world’s rally roads, desert dunes and race circuits.
Locally, Toyota took out manufacturer and driver honours in the 2019 Australian Rally Championship (ARC) while immense global success included two Le Mans 24 Hour race victories in the space of 12 months, the World Rally Championship driver’s trophy and the brand’s first overall victory in the Dakar Rally.
Toyota’s string of motorsport triumphs – and their relevance to its production models – is the theme of a new brand-building advertising campaign developed in Australia.
Launched this week through a TV commercial, the communication explores the links between Toyota vehicles competing in the extremes of motorsport and the cars sold through dealerships including hybrids, Yaris and HiLux.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Australia driver Harry Bates became the youngest champion in ARC history and, teamed with brother and runner-up Lewis Bates, delivered a fourth ARC manufacturer’s trophy to Toyota in their turbocharged Yaris AP4 rally cars.
The 2018 and 2019 victories at Le Mans with the TS050 Hybrid race car resulted in TOYOTA GAZOO Racing winning a second World Endurance Championship (WEC) while the drivers’ title went to Toyota’s Sébastien Buemi alongside two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso and Japanese star Kazuki Nakajima.
Toyota’s Yaris also featured in the closely fought World Rally Championship with Estonian young gun Ott Tänak securing the first Toyota driver title in 25 years – a fitting complement to the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team’s victory in the 2018 manufacturers’ title race.
At the gruelling Dakar Rally earlier in the year, Toyota scored its first overall victory with a TOYOTA GAZOO Racing HiLux driven by Nasser Al-Attiyah, who will be striving to defend the title in Saudi Arabia next month.
In the United States NASCAR Cup Series, Toyota won its third title in four years and Toyota Camry driver Kyle Busch captured his second title with the team setting a single-season record with 19 victories. Toyota also earned its 11th Truck Series manufacturer’s championship.
Toyota Australia Chief Marketing Officer Wayne Gabriel said the company was proud of its motorsport success, especially by the Bates brothers and the entire Neal Bates Motorsport team.
“The final round of the championship, Rally Australia, was cancelled due to devastating bushfires that continue to affect much of NSW – and our thoughts are with those communities,” Mr Gabriel said.
“At the same time, it is important to congratulate the team for its stand-out performances throughout the year, including victory for Harry in all five completed rounds of the championship,” he said.
Mr Gabriel said the influence of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing now extended far beyond the thrill of competition success with its expertise – and the GR initials – now being applied to Toyota’s road cars.
“Our participation at the highest levels of motorsport through TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has led to the introduction of the GR brand, resulting in production cars like the GR Supra that are inspired by motorsport and engineered for the road.
“GR elevates Toyota’s sports-car credentials and embodies Toyota’s commitment to making ever-better cars that are precision-engineered to provide the best possible driving experience.
“Through motorsport, we are capturing technical improvements and making them accessible to Toyota’s customers by developing cars that people love to drive.
“Motorsport also enables us to create fans and public enthusiasm for the Toyota brand, attracting people that we haven’t been able to reach in the past.”