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Our Story

Pushing the limits for better

embodies TOYOTA’s commitment
to overcoming every limit
to make "ever-better" cars.

To forge new technologies and solutions
under the extreme conditions of motorsports,
we will never stop innovating.

We race our cars
to push ourselves
to learn from the toughest challenges.

Competing on every kind of road,
no matter what the challenge,
inspires us to build "ever-better" cars.
We're engineering TOYOTA's future DNA.

We'll keep competing
to bring the freedom, adventure and joy
of driving to everyone.

Our Story

The story of Gazoo is one that has its roots, like Toyota itself, in Japan. Decades ago, at the start of the Internet era, a popular website was developed to cater for motoring enthusiasts in Japan. The site initially showed information about modified cars, but gradually grew into a vibrant community where cars were sold or traded, spare parts we offered for sale, and many legends were born. So much so, that after some time, the word GAZOO became synonymous with motorsport in Japan - if a car was built absolutely perfectly, it would be ‘Gazoo’. And if a driver performed well at the highest level, he or she would be ‘Gazoo’. The website closed down shortly after the turn of the century, but the name lived on, especially in Japan.

In 2007 two used Altezzas were entered in the Nürburgring 24 Hours race, with a team of mechanics from various departments within Toyota making up the support crew. This community effort was directly in line with the community of Gazoo, and so they were entered as Gazoo Racing. At the same time, Toyota still used entities such as Toyota Racing and Lexus Racing - but in April 2015, the company united its motorsports activities into Toyota Gazoo Racing.

Interestingly, the official name was first used prior to that date, as a special dispensation to Toyota SA Motors, who entered two South-African built and developed Hilux race vehicles in Dakar 2015. In the hands of former Dakar winner Giniel de Villiers (partnered by Dirk von Zitzewitz), and local legend Leeroy Poulter (with Rob Howie beside him), the team was entered as Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa - a name it retains to this day. Since then, Toyota has amalgamated its World Rally Championship and World Endurance Championship campaigns under the same umbrella, as we are proud to form part of the global Toyota Gazoo Racing family.

Toyota has a long and proud racing history in South Africa, with many championship victories on the track, rally stages and cross-country races. Names like Serge Damseaux, Apie Reyneke, Kassie Coetzee, Mike White, Steve Wyndham, Charl Wilken and Duncan Vos are inexorably linked to Toyota SA Motors’ racing history. More recently, champions like, Anthony Taylor, Giniel de Villiers and Leeroy Poulter have been flying the flag for Toyota, ensuring multiple cross-country and rally championship titles.

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA continues to campaign cars in the South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS), as part of its development strategy for international races, such as the grueling Dakar Rally. At the same time, Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle compete for Toyota Gazoo Racing SA in the new-look South African National Rally Championship in their Toyota Etios R2. Toyota Gazoo Racing SA has its headquarters in Barbeque Downs, near the iconic Kyalami International Race Circuit.

Our Story

Kiichiro Toyoda (1894 - 1952) Toyota's founder

“In an ideal world, machines work as we intend them to, but when we actually try to run them, unforeseen results prove our human logic exceedingly shallow, time after time. And there is no better way to demonstrate this and improve, than by auto racing.

Similar to Olympic athletes who give very last drop of effort to test their strength, in racing, automobiles are pushed to the limit—a point that is contested through progressive improvements, and lights up the hearts of motor racing fans.”