From here on in, any racing that was done under the Toyota Racing, Lexus Racing or Gazoo Racing banners will now be united under the latter. That includes the LFAs it races around the Nürburgring, the TS040 Hybrid it fields at Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship, the Yaris it will soon throw at the World Rally Championship, the Lexus racers that compete in the Super GT championship back in Japan... the works.
The move does not appear to affect Toyota Racing Development, the automaker's American arm that handles its NASCAR racing activities, but from here on out, any Toyota or Lexus you see racing on most anything but a speedway will be competing under Gazoo Racing.
The move appears to be more than symbolic and semantic, putting its racing vehicle development, technical support and marketing activities in the hands of the new Motor Sports Group. In announcing the consolidation, Toyota highlights in particular the benefit its various racing programs bring to its talent pool, if not the direct effect they have on the company's vehicles themselves.
Toyota City, Japan, April 9, 2015-Starting April 11, Toyota will unite all motorsports activities under GAZOO Racing. The move will clarify the role of Toyota's motorsports in its efforts to make ever-better cars and foster new generations of car enthusiasts.
Until now, Toyota has participated in competitions around the world-including the World Endurance Championship (WEC), the Super GT in Japan, and the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race-through the separate Toyota Racing, Lexus Racing and GAZOO Racing teams. Of those, GAZOO Racing in particular was created to expand the role of promoting motorsports beyond that of traditional automakers, and carry out grassroots activities aimed at creating new and ever-growing generations of car enthusiasts.
Concerning today's announcement, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said: "Our founder Kiichiro Toyoda once said that motorsports are vital to the evolution of car making and the entire auto industry. With this in mind, GAZOO Racing has carried out activities aiming to nurture our people, develop our cars, and inspire new car enthusiasts, under the belief that the roads build the people, and the people build the cars."
Toyota will participate in races and rallies under the team name Toyota GAZOO Racing. The first event Toyota GAZOO Racing will participate in will be the Motor Sport Japan 2015 Festival in Odaiba, to be held by the Japan Motor Sport Promotion Organization on April 11-12, 2015 in Tokyo.
In private races such as Super GT where Lexus-brand vehicles are used, the Lexus GAZOO Racing logo will be displayed.
In the same way as the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race was used to refine the Lexus LFA, Toyota plans to promote the hands-on, boots-on-the-ground methods of training its mechanics and engineers. The knowledge acquired during the development of the TS040 Hybrid for WEC is already being utilized in the development of future hybrid vehicles. Through initiatives such as these, the knowledge gleaned through motorsports can be used to support progress in all areas of the automotive industry.
Toyota will also integrate its motorsports-related marketing, vehicle development and technical support functions, previously managed by different divisions, into the new Motor Sports Group established on April 1, 2015.