• May 19th 2010 at 8:27AM
  • 73
It might seem redundant to call a racing series that bills itself as the pinnacle of motorsports "elitist" but that's precisely what Toyota's Senior Managing Director for motorsports, Tadashi Yamashina, said during this weekend's 24 Hours of Nurburgring. Toyota withdrew from Formula one at the end of the 2009 season and according to Yamashina the automaker isn't likely to ever return.

According to Yamashina, Formula One has become so disconnected from mainstream fans over the past two decades that it makes no sense for the company to be involved in the sport. When Akio Toyoda took over as CEO last year he decided that Toyota's racing activities should be in series where the average fan is more directly involved. That means we'll see Toyotas running in venues like NASCAR and GT racing. Perhaps we'll see Toyota in the American Le Mans Series one day. We know the series would certainly welcome more hybrid racers.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago

      Poor Toyota. Sob, sob - if they were successful in F1 I bet they'd be singing a different song.

      Yes F1 is elitist, as are most big time top of the heap forms of racing. You either build teams that can compete or you don't. If you don't, you go broke trying. Or get out before you do.

      Yep, it's rocket science alright.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota embarrassed themselves in F1. They spent and spent, and weren't competitive. So NOW the sport is "elitist". Whatever.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah, because NASCAR is so Toyota. Maybe they could have 'Toyota Racing Beige' as an official color which would at least give the cars ONE thing in common with street versions.

      *goes back to watching the last two seasons of WRC on Hulu*
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wait, WRC is on Hulu!? Now I'll never get anything done.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Toyota Racing Beige", that's a good one !
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hahahahahahahahahaha!!! Toyota Racing Beige... classic!
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1 for Toyota racing beige.

        F1 is elitist no doubt and that's part why i actually like it. Plus it have not stopped me seeing 3 races on the track and enjoying every second of the atmosphere. Actually for us watching F1 what does the elitis part of F1 really even mean?

        Only thing this comment does is to make Toyota looking like sore losers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you don't make sports cars, why would you run in Formula 1?

      It isn't so much that F1 is elitist, as much as it was wrong of Toyota to use its marketing halo to [try to] sell more Camry and Corolla models.

      If Toyota team members got the cold shoulder at tracks regularly, maybe its because the snobs from Ferrari, Mercedes and even Renault - companies that still make pure sporting cars - called BS on Toyota's marketing push. Toyota hasn't made a world-class sports vehicle since the Supra left production, while Renault has a fully functional skunkworks that extracts the stellar results from prosaic hatches regularly.

      I'm glad to see them go.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder if he was making that statement while sitting in a Lexus LF-A...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great! So when will their F1 car be up on ebay?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ask Stephan GP, I think he bought the lot.... and wasn't granted an entry.
      • 5 Years Ago
      People outside of Dubai still care about F1?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hrm F1 by far world watched motorsport. Example season 2008 attracted 600 million audience gobally per race.
      • 5 Years Ago
      F1 elitist ?? i'm shocked !
      • 5 Years Ago
      There's some saying I'm trying to think of here, and I think it involves two types of cookware to boil water...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I agree completely with this guy, F1 is boring to watch, and the cars are ugly to look at.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fair enough, you enjoy looking at cars going around an oval track.
        I find that boring.
        To each his own.

        But F1 is much more popular than any other motorsport in the world and the reason is because it is elitist.
        Only the best of the best survive, and Toyota ain't on the same level of the rest, simple as that.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Bolide Italiano, I have never watched a Nascar, redneck motorsports, race in my life. But Juan Pablo Montoya has 1 spring cup win in Nascar (on a road course) out of over 100 starts. Yet he had 7 wins in F1 in 95 races. Your argument is flawed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The best description of F1 I ever read was "high speed parade". F1's extremely high barrier to entry and compete is obvious. In fact, "F1" and "elitist" in the same sentence is almost redundant.

      Toyota could easily field cars in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT (IS-F), and the American Le Mans (LFA), where they would get much more attention and brand recognition in a market they need to re inspire.

      Personally I'd prefer to see a lot more racing real cars. American car manufacturers might actually have to build good cars if they had to race real cars in stock car racing again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As far as F1 goes you are not going to get more advertisment from any single motorsport compared to F1. Not even close. Toyota isn't the strongest example in China where F1 is marketing hard and like already said F1 one race attracks +600 million viewers globally.
        There's couple of sport events i know i might see in local bar no matter what country i'm in: UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Cup and F1 race(granted F1 being the least popular).

        All that said i'm not saying Toyota should have stayed in F1. I think it was time to leave at that point as they where not getting results and use the one season money used for F1 for other motorsports or fix those cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I would say McLaren, Ferrari nowadays their brand is linked to F1. Renault could evaluate it's brand value hugely in example some emerging market because it's in F1. It's not really about selling car that runs around the track, but selling the brand.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I apologize if I misunderstood your post, but:

        Racing the way it's done in both F1 and Nascar are about the giant logos on the cars, the manufactures, and the drivers, not the cars themselves. I can't saunter down to Mercedes, BMW, or Ferarri and buy one of... yeah they aren't even racing real cars. That's chassis #0001 or whatever and they aren't making another. Nascar is worse (a tangent I know) as I have to squint to figure out which car the stickers on the "Tide" car are supposed to make the tube frame resemble. (Does Tide still sponsor a car? Does anyone know which model the tube frame is supposed to approximate?)

        In contrast, I can take a look at a Speed GT or ALMS race and instantly recognize each model. And, with enough cash in hand, go down and buy one tomorrow. (The only reason I'd consider a Cadillac is the CTS-V).

        F1 has 600 gazillion viewers, sure. And the majority of them probably know who's racing which manufacturer's car. But, to me, they aren't cars. They are race tools. A means to propel names and logos around a track.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Elitist or not, i love F1. Bernie should be reined in though.
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