• Season 5 of the Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival to make an even greater contribution to Malaysian motorsports with on track and online racing
• New GR models bound for Malaysia in 2022
• Expanding its network of GR Garages and offerings to better serve customers
Shah Alam, 7 March 2022 – Six years after its introduction in Malaysia in 2017, GAZOO Racing will ride on strong public awareness and acceptance to make an even bigger and impactful contribution in 2022.
GAZOO Racing’s activities in 2022 will focus on four key areas, central to which are the racing activities both on the track and as well as online, via the Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival and the GR Velocity Esports Championship respectively.
“Racing has opened up a multitude of opportunities for Toyota domestically and we will continue to build on this strong momentum to drive both the Toyota and GAZOO Racing brands ahead with exciting activities as well as products,” said UMW Toyota Motor, President, Ravindran K.
Focus will also continue to be on the introduction of new GR and GR-Sport models throughout the year and enhancing its GR Garage network and activities nationwide.
TOYOTA GAZOO RACING FESTIVAL AND MOTORSPORTS TO RETURN TO A FULL CALENDAR OF RACING
Season 5 of the Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival will continue to be anchored by the Vios Challenge one-make series which will feature 3 rounds and a total of 6 races with Round 1 kicking off in March (18-20), followed by Round 2 in June (24-26) and the third and final round in September (23-25). Out of which, two of the rounds will be held in Sepang International Circuit with one street racing planned.
Racing will once again be divided into 4 classes: the Promotional Class for local celebrities; the Super Sporting Class for elite and professional drivers; the Sporting Class for amateur and gentlemen drivers; and the Rookie Class for young drivers. In total, more than a half a million ringgit in prize monies is up for grabs, including RM70,000 and RM50,000 which will go to the overall champion of the Super Sporting and Sporting Class champions respectively making the Vios Challenge the most lucrative motorsports event in the country for the last 5 years.
In 4 seasons of the Vios Challenge so far, the Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival and Vios Challenge has successfully attracted more than 8 million spectators and online viewers, garnering a social media reach exceeding 19 million, to make it one of the most watched domestic motor-racing events.
GAZOO Racing’s journey in Malaysia began in 2017 with Toyota wanting to have a bigger presence and to make an impactful contribution to local motorsports when it started organizing the Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival and Vios Challenge one-make race series. Breaking tradition, and in order to bring racing to the masses, racing was no longer confined to only being held at a permanent circuit but on specially-built temporary tracks in publicly accessible locations at stadiums, parking areas, and even at a decommissioned airport and the confines of a convention centre.
The format of a one-make series in the Vios Challenge meanwhile, made it attractive and affordable for not only amateur racers, but also the elite and professionals. Affordability and the level playing field it created also began attracting young drivers to participate and in Season 3, a 16-year-old was remarkably crowned the overall champion in the Sporting Class. Today, the series has grown to include even talented rookies competing under the GAZOO Racing Young Talent Development Program which is envisaged to provide more young drivers between the ages of 16 and 20, an impactful and affordable platform to transition into saloon car racing in Malaysia. The Vios Challenge is also the only one of its kind to feature local celebrities racing.
New to this year’s GAZOO Racing calendar will be the Vios Sprint Cup, which is run independent of the Vios Challenge, and will feature 2 rounds scheduled for April and July in tandem with the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS). Each round will feature 2 races with a total of more than RM200,000 in prize monies at stake. The event will provide even more racing and rewards for participating drivers, teams and dealers already signed up to compete in the Vios Challenge.
GAZOO Racing will also continue to make its presence felt in the national series by once again participating in the prestigious Sepang 1000KM Endurance Race (S1K) in November. The race will also see the second running of the Vios Enduro Cup which will put up RM30,000 in prize monies.
“Overall, the objective of our racing activities is to contribute to growth of Malaysian motorsports from all aspects – to not only provide an affordable platform for competition; to grow awareness and appreciation for motorsports amongst the masses; and to uncover, develop and provide a conducive platform for the nation’s next generation of young and talented drivers to step up in motor-racing,” said Ravindran K.
MORE ONLINE RACING PROMISED
Racing will also continue online with the 5th season of the GR Velocity Esports Championship. Billed as one of the most lucrative local online racing series in the country, the Championship which was first held in 2018, today attracts close to 1,000 participants with more than 1 million online spectators. UMW Toyota Motor continues to have the distinction of becoming the first and the only Malaysian car company to be directly involved with E-sports motor-racing activities.
NEW GR PRODUCTS SET TO THRILL MALAYSIANS
Toyota and GAZOO Racing will be introducing several GR and GR-Sport models soon, and will be paired with the organizing of GR driving clinics, experiences and activities for the respective owners to equip them with the necessary experience and skills to be able to safely take full advantage of their vehicle’s potential.
2022 will be an exciting year for GAZOO Racing customers, enthusiasts and potential vehicle owners who seek performance-engineered models from Toyota. The roll out of these vehicles will be accompanied by numerous activities, namely at enabling owners to fully immerse themselves and to get the most from the experience of owning a GR vehicle.
Current models made in available in Malaysia include the GR Supra, the GR Yaris and the GRSport Vios. The GR-Sport Vios, built at UMW Toyota Motor’s state-of-the-art plant in Bukit Raja as a tribute to the Vios Challenge racing cars, is also the very first ASEAN-manufactured vehicle to proudly wear the GR badge.
GR GARAGE, PARTS AND MERCHANDISES
Efforts are already underway to enhance and expand on UMW Toyota Motor’s network of dedicated GR Garages nationwide. This will include offering a comprehensive aftermarket parts list as well as merchandises for GR and Toyota owners.
GAZOO Racing also announced the continuation of three-time Vios Challenge Super Sporting Class champion Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel as its Malaysian Ambassador. Tengku Djan was also instrumental in assisting to develop the GR-Sport Vios.
Meanwhile, Akio Takeyama, Chief Motorsports Officer who is also Deputy Chairman of UMW Toyota Motor, and has been racing in the Vios Challenge over the last four seasons, also announced the end of his tenure in Malaysia and will be taking on a new responsibility in Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan. His role will be replaced by Takashi Obata, the newly appointed Deputy Chairman.
“I would like to record my excitement and commitment to chart the way forward for GAZOO Racing to continue to make an impactful and valuable contribution to Malaysia – via our involvement in motorsports and the development of young talent, through more GR experiences and touchpoints through our GR vehicles, the assembly of GR-Sport vehicles in Malaysia, the expansion of the GR Garage network and the offering of performance parts and merchandises for Toyota and GR customers,” said Obata.