TOYOTA, MOTORSPORTS & THE SPIRIT OF FUN-TO-DRIVE
TOYOTA, MOTORSPORTS & THE SPIRIT OF FUN-TO-DRIVE
Posted on November 30, 2022
Things like quality, reliability and durability come to mind quickly when you think of Toyota, but don't forget to add fun-to-drive to the list! With a presence in motorsports & a legacy of success dating back more than 60 years, Toyota has been just as focused on building-in track-bred performance as it has on building-in quality. More in that in a minute. First, let's dive in to what makes a vehicle fun-to-drive in the first place.
"FUN-TO-DRIVE", WHAT DOES IT EVEN MEAN?
Everyone has their own idea about what fun-to-drive means. Factors like horsepower, curve handling, and exterior design often make it on the list. Ultimately, what is fun-to-drive is how a vehicle makes you feel.
For Toyota, fun-to-drive is about emotional engagement. Designing and engineering vehicles that stir the senses and make you feel intimately connected and in total control. That comes from things like how fast a vehicle is off the mark, how precisely it responds to your driving inputs, and the feedback you get from the road.
Those in turn, rely on the interplay between a number of factors and forces. For example: vehicle weight, front-to-rear balance, centre of gravity, chassis stiffness, suspension set-up, and power-to-weight ration.
All of this just scratches the surface of what goes into making a Toyota fun-to-drive. While it starts with engineers and drawing boards, it's put to the test, honed, and perfected in the heat of competition.
TOYOTA GAZOO RACING (GR)
Motorsports have played a role in Toyota's vehicle development almost since the beginning. Racing pushes vehicles performance to the limit and promotes development of new technologies and solutions under the most extreme conditions.
Toyota, that mission is carried by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (GR), Toyota's global racing arm. Since 2007, TOYOTA GR has become on of the most dominant forces across global motor sports, including wins at the legendary Dakar Rally, the 24 Hours of Le Mans & World Endurance Championship, and the World Rally Championship (WRC).
BIRTH OF THE TOYOTA GR LINE
When it comes to engineering vehicles that require cars and drivers to act as one in a lightening quick fashion, there is nothing like the World Rally Championship (WRC). Toyota returned to the WRC in 2017, after an 18-year absence, led by the Toyota Yaris WRC, designed and developed by TOYOTA GR. The vehicle was an immediate winner right out of the starting blocks, both on the podium and with the public.
Beyond taking learnings from the track and applying them to everyday vehicles of every kind the idea was always to follow through with a line of TOYOTA GR sports cars. Track ready but street-legal. Developed with input from TOYOTA GR designers and engineers. Tested over and over again to ensure they deliver a driver-centric experience. From chills at start-up to thrills at every twist and turn. To date, two have made the grade, with a third set to launch.
The launch of GR Supra in 2019 for North America marked the return of a legendary nameplate and a new chapter in fun-to-drive Toyota sports cars. Boasting exceptional aerodynamics, a low centre of gravity, and almost perfect front-to-rear weight distribution, GR Supra delivers breathtaking acceleration and exhilarating handing dynamics. For 2022, GR Supra added a 255HP 2.0L twin-scroll single turbo engine to go alongside the original 382HP 3.0L powerplant.
Channelling the spirit of the famed AE86, the 2017 Toyota 86 was designed as an affordable 2+2 sports coupe and won an immediate following. To earn its GR badge, the Toyota 86 was rebuilt from the ground up to become the Toyota GR86. With its lower centre of gravity, longer wheelbase, stiffer chassis, larger engine, superb power-to-your drive to a whole new level.
The first-ever GR Corolla hit the streets this fall (September 2022). It's the street-legal hot hatch the rally fans and tuner fans alike have been clamouring for. Powered by a revolutionary 3-cylinder turbo engine, boasting an innovative front-to-rear all-wheel-drive system, along with a truly driver-focused cockpit, GR Corolla is ready to set hearts racing and pulses pounding. Beyond its obvious track credentials, innovative GR-FOUR AWD powertrain, and ample cargo room, with 300 horsepower, it also promises to be on fun-to-drive everyday sports car.
Fun to drive is not limited to the GR line. A focus on creating that emotional engagement between drive and vehicle can be seen across the Toyota lineup. From vehicles like Camry TRD and Tacoma TRD Pro, with fun-to-drive attributes tailored to each specific vehicle's segment and role. Of course, at the end of the day, what is fun to drive is up to you. If it brings a smile to your face as you go about your day, that is really what it is all about. Take a moment to explore the Toyota lineup and find the fun-to-drive ride that you've been looking for.