Toyota Gazoo Racing Rakes in World Championships

Toyota Gazoo Racing experienced a stellar year across the international motorsport formulas and disciplines that it competes in. A brainchild of Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda, Toyota Gazoo Racing has evolved from a ‘passion project’ to a global motorsport powerhouse. Competing in an array of motorsport championships - ranging from rally to endurance and off-road - Toyota Gazoo Racing has clearly demonstrated the company’s sheer versatility and technical capability.

World Rally Championship (WRC)

Campaigning the #69 Toyota Gr Yaris, Kalle Rovanperä became the youngest-ever WRC champion at the age of 22. Having won six of the 13 rally events on the calendar, the Finnish rally sensation clinched the WRC title with a 50-point lead over his nearest rival. The GR Yaris Hybrid proved once again to be a phenomenal rally car – giving Toyota Gazoo Racing their second win in a row and 6th WRC championship in history. The sister cars of Evans, Katsuta and Ogier finished in positions four to six respectively.

Akio Toyoda (Team Founder):

“Congratulations to everybody in the team! I’m really happy that the team achieved all three titles: drivers’, co-drivers’ and manufacturers’ just as last year. And above all, I’m so glad that the GR Yaris has become a triple champion car. My sincere thanks to all of the team members.”

Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car #69):

“A huge congratulations and thank you to the team. I think this year we really showed how talented this team and our people are, to be able to make this new car the strongest and the fastest and the most reliable, so thank you to everybody. It’s especially nice this season as I think we have done our part quite well and brought many points for the team. We can all be really proud of what we have done.”

World Endurance Challenge (WEC)

Spearheaded by the Le Mans 24-hour victory, the WEC teams too had a successful year. The #7 car of Hartley, Hirakawa and Buemi took top honours in the WEC championship log with 149 points over second-place rivals in the #36 Alpine. The #8 GR010 (Conway, Kobayashi & Lopez) clinched the 3rd championship position after bringing their car home in 1st place in the 8 Hours of Bahrain season finisher – making it a 1st and 3rd for Toyota Gazoo Racing at the end of the season. This marks the 4th consecutive championship for the TGR team.

Kamui Kobayashi (Team Principal and driver, car #7): “We achieved a one-two, Séb, Brendon and Ryo won the drivers’ title, and we won the manufacturers’ championship, so we hit all our targets for this race. I am really pleased with that. Thanks for all their support, as well as the support from our colleagues in Japan and our partners who have helped us all through the season.

This year we faced strong competition and we finished with the best possible result. It’s a great feeling to end with a win; Mike and José drove a strong race and the crew performed well as they have done all year. On our car, we missed the drivers’ title but car #8 really deserved it and I am happy for them. All season the team and drivers have worked really hard, with a great team spirit, so I hope everyone can enjoy this moment and celebrate the titles.”

W2RC and Dakar

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing sealed the inaugural World Rally-Raid Championship in mid-October when Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel brought the team’s Dakar-winning GR DKR Hilux T1+ home in second place overall at Andalusia Rally. This was the final round of a season that started with the TGR crew taking victory at the Dakar Rally in January 2022, and culminating with the team winning the driver’, navigator’, and manufacturer titles in the first-ever W2RC.

The proudly South African-built DKR Hilux T1+ demonstrated impressive durability and reliability (paramount to rally-raid racing), providing a rock-solid platform for the team to base their 2022 campaign on and emerge victorious with a 20-point lead over their nearest rivals (169 vs 149). The DKR Hilux T1+ is the ultimate evolution of what began as a Toyota South Africa initiative to take Hilux to Dakar in 2012, and the brainchild of Midrand-based team principal, Glyn Hall.

Countless hours of testing, data analysis and improvements have culminated in a vehicle that has won the toughest race in the world twice, plus a multitude of podium finishes – and is adept at tackling the harshest terrain and fiercest competitors.  

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “To me, winning the first ever W2RC is a special achievement. After years of competing in the FIA’s World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, it is fantastic to finally have our own championship. And to be able to be crowned as the winner of the first edition is something that I will cherish for ever.”

Mathieu Baumel: “We’ve certainly faced some challenges this year, but in the end, we prevailed to take the title. I’m extremely proud of what we did this year, starting with our victory at the Dakar Rally in January. Now, months later, we’ve come full circle – the title is in the bag, and we’re already preparing for the next Dakar.”