Full throttle

The brand-new Gazoo Racing headquarters opens at Zwartkops Raceway.

The Gazoo Racing Headquarters space, which had mainly been used to store vehicles, was given a complete overhaul by Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) to offer an exciting new hub for motorsports enthusiasts.  

“Toyota as a brand has a long and proud racing history, so it’s fitting that the new Gazoo Racing Headquarter’s home is at Zwartkops Raceway – a true icon in the local racing scene. Gazoo Racing as a brand, has continued to grow under the guidance of ex-Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda – who like me is an avid petrol head. GR is not only about creating excitement for the Toyota brand, but also about applying learnings and technology derived from racing to our road cars,” says Leon Theron, Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing. 

“The GR HQ concept came about due to the need to integrate the various elements within the ever-expanding GR brand,” explains  Glenn Crompton,  Vice-President Marketing.  “Not only does it reinforce the GR brand, but also provides a space for GR fans to enjoy all GR activities under one roof: GTC (Global Touring Cars), GR Cup, GR Junior Academy and the GR Driving Academy (previously Toyota Advanced Driving).” 

While Toyota Advanced Driving has offered advanced driving courses for the past 17 years, the opportunity to integrate the newly-renamed GR Driving Academy with the other GR elements, and the ideally located GR HQ facility, provided perfect synergy, says Paul de Vos, Managing Director of GR Driving Academy. “The Academy offers a full suite of advanced driving courses from high-performance driving to defensive and off-road, which customers can complete in a variety of Toyota and/or GR-specific models. We’re also very excited to have all three GR flagship models (GR86, GR Supra and GR Yaris) in our fleet.” 

“Toyota as a brand has a long and proud racing history, so it’s fitting that the new Gazoo Racing Headquarter's home is at Zwartkops Raceway – a true icon in the local racing scene."

Leon Theron, Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, TSAM

“You couldn’t ask for a better location for the GR brand than this prime position at Zwartkops,” says Riaan Esterhuysen, Senior Manager, Product PR & TGR at TSAM. “It won’t just be used for weekend activity, but also as a functioning venue space for training, product launches and corporate events and it gives GR fans a place to ‘call home’.” 

GR HQ hosted its first official event in February with the launch of the 2023 GR Cup, which includes the GR86 and GR Yaris leagues. “Introduced by Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa (TGRSA), the GR Cup is a racing series which pits six journalists from six different media houses of varying backgrounds and racing experience, against each other in seven calendar races,” explains Esterhuysen. “It forms part of the National Extreme Series, which is the Premier Circuit racing series in South Africa.” 

The GR HQ also enables TSA to give the GTC cars a prominent home. “It allows the technicians to work on the cars in a clean, dedicated area,” says Esterhuysen. “And, of course, there’s no better eye-candy in motorsport than having actual race cars on the floor.” 

While GTC has fielded Corolla models in this race championship for a couple of years, Corolla hatches take to the track this season.  

Fans can also expect a lot of action from the exciting GR Junior Academy, a racing mentorship and training programme started by motorsport driver Leeroy Poulter. “What’s exciting from a development point of view is that many of the younger participants have come from the Academy, which shows the progression – having a mentor there on the karting side has really worked,” says Poulter. 

Living the Brand

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Andrew Kirby, CEO of Toyota South Africa Motors, puts on his helmet for the GR Cup.

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