TOKYO, Jun 25, 2019 – (JCN Newswire) – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) entered the Lexus LC and GR Supra(1) in the 47th edition of the 24 Hours of Nurburgring, which was held at N?rburgring in Germany from June 22 to 23, 2019. The GR Supra completed the race in 41st place overall and third in its class, with the Lexus LC finishing in 54th place overall, and first in its class.
The qualifying sessions were held on June 20 and 21. Although this year’s first qualifying session suffered a sudden thunderstorm, the weather cleared yet high temperatures brought on severe conditions for cars and drivers. The Lexus LC aimed to participate in the “Top Qualifying”–which the Lexus LC missed out on last year–while the GR Supra aimed to promote further development by competing with rivals. The Lexus LC started in 35th place overall on the grid, unfortunately, with the GR Supra in 99th place overall.
On the grid, 158 cars lined up for the race, which started at 3:30 p.m. on June 22. Gamo was the starting driver for the Lexus LC, and MORIZO, president of Toyota Motor Corporation, was the starting driver for the GR Supra.
The Lexus LC, which started in the top group, continued running well and maintained a position of 30th overall. The GR Supra, which started at the end of same group, also made a good start and gradually raised its position. However, high temperatures caused the drivers to lose concentration and had a negative impact on the cars, resulting in multiple collisions across the course. The race became one of survival.
TGR, like the other competitors, also met with severe conditions. About eight hours after the start, oil leaked from the Lexus LC transmission. Choosing to replace the transmission, the Lexus LC was forced to take a pit stop for more than two hours. At the same time, the GR Supra, which was running well, made contact with the top car at that time. Fortunately, the GR Supra was able to continue driving, but the drivers remained anxious.
The next day, Sunday, June 23 is a day TGR will never forget. It was the day that Mr. Hiromu Naruse, the master driver of Toyota who co-launched “GAZOO Racing”–the origin of TGR–and MORIZO’s driving teacher, passed away suddenly on the outskirts of Nurburgring, nine years ago.
This year’s 24 Hours of N?rburgring, and June 23 in particular, became a special day for Toyoda and the team as running with the new Supra was Toyoda’s dearest wish.
Toyoda–who was vice president at the time–established GAZOO Racing with the goal of making “ever-better cars,” started his driver training at Nurburgring in 2001. The following year, production of the Supra was discontinued. For several years after that, Toyota did not release any sports cars, which many manufacturers use to test prototypes before they go on sale. For a long time, Toyoda and Toyota’s test drivers had to drive second-hand versions of the Supra, productions of which had already ceased; “At a place where other manufacturers are refining cars they will release to the world in a few years’ time, Toyota could only drive a second-hand Supra.” This was a source of great regret for Toyoda, and he determined one day to revive the Supra, refine it on the rigorous N?rburgring roads, before launching it into the world.
The GR Supra continued to run smoothly even after dawn as if there had been no accidents. After changing the transmission, the Lexus LC continued to drive smoothly, and at 3:30 p.m., the GR Supra received a checkerboard at 41st overall (SP8T class 3rd) and the Lexus LC 54th overall (SP-PRO class 1st).
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s 13th participation at the 24 Hours of N?rburgring has finished. However, the company will continue to refine both its people and its cars at Nurburgring, in pursuit of its goal of making “ever-better cars.”
(1) Name used for marketing and other promotional communications.
About Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) is the global mobility company that introduced the Prius hybrid-electric car in 1997 and the first mass-produced fuel cell sedan, Mirai, in 2014. Headquartered in Toyota City, Japan, Toyota has been making cars since 1937. Today, Toyota proudly employs 370,000 employees in communities around the world. Together, they build around 10 million vehicles per year in 29 countries, from mainstream cars and premium vehicles to mini-vehicles and commercial trucks, and sell them in more than 170 countries under the brands Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino. For more information, please visit www.toyota-global.com.
Public Affairs Division Global Communications Department Toyota Motor Corporation Tel: +81-3-3817-9926
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