Join us in the Toyota GR Supra as we drive across Europe to Rallye Monte Carlo, in order to find out all about Toyota’s new performance brand.

Autocar UK, By Steve Cropley


© Image credited by Haymarket Media Group | Toyota GAZOO RACING: the road to Monte Carlo


Welcome to day one of our Toyota GAZOO Racing blogs. We’re driving the Toyota GR Supra across France to the season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo. Our quest: to learn all about Toyota’s new GAZOO Racing performance brand.
On the way, we’ll explore Toyota’s impressive and enviable motorsport heritage – learning how GAZOO Racing is taking knowledge gained from the world’s toughest sportscar races and the most grueling rallies, and applying it to make a new “ever better” breed of Toyota GR performance road cars.
We’ll also tell you what it’s like to drive the Toyota GR Supra across France – proving that GAZOO Racing’s race and rally-bred underpinnings make the GR Supra the perfect two-seat ‘grand tourer’ for crossing Europe in comfort, pace, and style. So, keep checking back to see the latest updates from what should be an amazing journey.
Joining us on our journey to learn more about Toyota GAZOO Racing is a former rally driver turned World Rallycross commentator Andrew Coley, who will act as our guide and all-round guru behind the scenes at Rallye Monte Carlo. As we graze the breakfast buffet on the ferry, fuelling ourselves for the journey ahead, perhaps the most pertinent question is: “What is GAZOO Racing”. 
Well, it all stems back to the early days of the internet and a Toyota e-commerce site for used cars – named gazoo.com, after the Japanese word for picture ‘gazo’. Toyota’s engineers picked up on this, using ‘Gazoo’ to describe all of the different and unique performance cars, each sitting in individual ‘garages’. The GAZOO Racing name stuck when Toyota was looking to brand its new performance arm, with GR and GR Sport used to designate race-bred, performance-tuned Toyotas.
As we wait for our ferry, there’s time to admire the GR Supra. This dramatic fifth-gen re-imagining of Toyota’s sports car icon is perfect for this trip. As a two-seat, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive ‘grand tourer’, it boasts the sort of style that turns heads on the autoroute and the Riviera, as well as handling and power that thrill on winding Alpine roads. Inside, there’s room for a weekend’s luggage, behind a two-seat cabin that is as cossetting on long journeys as it is driver-focused on the twisty bits.
On the outside, the GR Supra offers a powerful modern take on classically pure sportscar style. Its low-slung profile – the long bonnet that masks a powerful straight-six 3.0-litre turbo blending into a pushed-back two-seat cabin with a double-bubble roof – is pure 2000GT. (Yes, that's the iconic 1960s sports car that Toyota had to chop the top off in order to fit the daunting 6ft2in Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice). 
The distinctive front grille evokes classic Supra styling, while the muscular haunches that frame the imposing 19” forged alloy wheels blend into a sharp-edged rear. Not all of the design decisions were about aggressive modern looks or iconic nods to the past, though. Each and every curve of the GR Supra has been designed to boost aerodynamic performance, with the double-bubble roof minimizing drag towards the large flick-up rear spoiler, while also creating more headroom inside. Clever stuff.
It’s a cold January morning, but a new dawn is breaking for Toyota. We’re in Dover, with the keys to the Toyota GR Supra in our hand – ready to drive across Europe to join Toyota GAZOO Racing at Rallye Monte Carlo.
As Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda once said: “To test the durability and performance of their cars, companies ought to participate in auto races. Such races must not be regarded as a simple matter of curiosity. They are indispensable.” So, the idea of driving the GR Supra across Europe to one of the world’s most iconic motorsport events feels like an indispensable way to satisfy our curiosity about Toyota’s new GAZOO Racing performance brand.
This article was originally published in Autocar UK.
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