Power performance by TGRSA’s GR Cup crews at Killarney 9-Hour
  • 3rd in Class D for first GR Cup Toyota GR Yaris
  • 1st place in Index of Performance for first GR Cup Toyota GR Yaris
  • 4th in Class D for second GR Cup Toyota GR Yaris
  • 2nd place in Index of Performance for second GR Cup Toyota GR Yaris
  • 8th and 11th overall for the two TGRSA entries
  • Both production cars completed full 9-hour race

The 2022 Killarney 9-Hour brought rich rewards for the two TOYOTA GAZOO Racing-entered GR Cup Toyota GR Yaris cars this weekend. Both entries completed the full 9-hour race, despite their status as production cars, underscoring Toyota’s reputation for quality, durability and reliability.

The first car, crewed by four of the country’s foremost motoring writers, who were all regulars in 2022’s inaugural GR Cup, showed their experience by besting their sister car, which had two top executives from Toyota SA Motors (TSAM) behind the wheel, as well as one motoring writer and one former racing driver.

Newly minted GR Cup champion Ashley Oldfield partnered with Jeanette Kok-Kritzinger, Thomas Falkiner and Mark Jones in the motoring writers’ entry; while the TSAM car saw Leon Theron and Anand Pather go into battle together with Mario de Sousa and Sean Nurse.

The two standard GR Yaris entries competed in Class D of the South African Endurance Series (SAES), with the first car finishing in 3rd place after 9 hours of racing. This also secured the first place in the Index of Performance, which rewards consistency in terms of lap times over the course of the race. Impressively, the crew brought their GR Yaris home in 8th place in the overall standings, despite facing up to some serious, purpose-built machines.

The TSAM-crewed car finished in 11th place overall, 4th in Class D and 2nd in the Index of Performance, with Riaan Esterhuysen of TSAM driving the final two-and-a-half-hour stint of the race. The consistency of the two TGRSA entries throughout the weekend showed the power of the GR Yaris, which offers buyers the chance to own a thoroughbred performance hatch, which can be used both as daily transport and – as seen at the 9-Hour – a fully-fledged race car. To further emphasise the reliability of these cars, both were used throughout the year in the 7-round GR Cup, in addition to the 9-Hour.

“While it was certainly exhilarating to take part in the 9-Hour race at Killarney this weekend, I was simply astounded by the GR Yaris as a race car,” said TSAM’S Senior Vice-President for Sales and Marketing, Leon Theron, after the race. “I’ve driven the car quite a lot in the past, but never in a setting like this, and I have to admit that I now have even more respect for the GR Yaris. Would I do it again? Absolutely!”

The power performance at the 9-Hour capped a highly successful year for TGRSA, who also won the 2022 South African Rally-Raid Championship with the Dakar-winning Toyota Hilux T1+. Newly crowned SARRC champion, Giniel de Villiers, will be heading to the Dakar Rally at the end of this month, together with co-driver Dennis Murphy and teammates Henk Lategan, Brett Cummings, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel.