Bringing Toyota's Best to the Nordschleife
Earlier this year I started my work for Toyota Germany in the public relations department. Being open minded with my expecations, looking back at the first months, it definitely ticked all the boxes you could have.
The first event I attended was the Nurburgring 24 hours race. To represent Toyota as a brand, my boss had the idea to have a formation run with the new A90 Toyota GR Supra which, you all know, launched this year. But since Toyota Germany holds onto a classic car collection, we added a JZA80 Supra and not one, but two 2000GT's to the run. By sticking white letters on our red cars, the aim was to create the T O Y O T A -lettering from a bird's-eye view.
Ready for the press-photoshooting
In preparation of the actual event, we lined up all the cars in front of our entrance to shoot some press photos. Because I was supporting the photographer, I had not only the opportunity to take my own pictures, but to actually drive all the cars to line them up properly. And the first time you drive a Toyota 2000GT - let alone two - that's a moment you will never forget.
When my boss got a call that Akio Toyota, president of Toyota Motor Corporation, who drives during the 24 hour race himself, wants to visit the Toyota stand and take a look at the cars, everything had to be accelerated. Since the JZA80 Supra and one of the two 2000GT's were still in Cologne and a closed transport would take too much time, the easiest solution was choosen: Me in the JZA80 and my colleague in the 2000GT packed our bags to take on the 100km drive to the Nordschleife.
The JZA80 I took to the Nürburgring
It was a drive to remember. Following Japans most beautiful car in the most iconic Toyota ever built to date - while listening to the glorious straight six sound of Yamaha's 2 liter masterpiece, spitting flames and making pops and bangs. Since I was driving a stock Supra out of our own oldtimer collection, it was pretty quiet until the boost of the twin turbos kicked in, catapulting the ultimate 90's GT under loud swooosh noises forward. My colleague later told me that when I overtook him, he spotted in his rear view mirror how the front spoiler of the Supra deployed, before the red car with the giant wing sprinted past the 60's GT.
The cars right before they hit the track
Sadly though, Akio Toyoda couldn't to join the formation run around the Nordschleife. However, other famous Toyota representative attended, including the Toyota GR Supra chief engineer Tetsuya Tada-san.
I wasn't attending the run itself, because I kept a red Toyota 86 with a giant "O" on the roof ready, in case a 2000GT decided not to work - they are old cars at the end of the day. However, in classic Toyota fashion, not only the cars, but also the formation run worked without any problems, even though the Döttinger Höhe becomes quite narrow when driving six cars next to each other.
Morizo in the GR Supra on the second day of the 24 hour race
After finishing our formation run, it was time to begin enjoying the event. This was my fist live spectating of the 24 hour race and what and experience it was. Every petrol head should be one time in his life on the big grandstands of the start finish line when the the lights turn green. I used the oppotunity to take some pictures of the GR Supra GT4 which was piloted by Akio Toyoda under his synonym "Morizo". Acutally, the car was still a GT4 prototype with a very different interior. The customer race car was released later this year and can be yours with the right amount of spare money.