Inaugural Mazda participation in TOYOTA GAZOO Racing FESTIVAL
TGRF is sponsored by the Toyota Motor Corporation, with the purpose of encouraging motorsports beyond the brand, and Mazda also participated for the first time together with other automaker brands. The demo runs on the racing course saw various contents such as a rally car demonstration carried out on a prepared dirt road. At the “Classic Le Mans Corner” the Mazda 787B was on display, and at the All Japan Motor Sports Corner, Super Taikyu roadsters and Demios could be seen. 10 “Roadster Party Race” cars also participated in the 86/BRZ exhibition race.
To begin with, a welcome ceremony was held, where all the participating drivers were present. Here, Yojiro Terada, who was driving the Mazda 787B, and Hiroyuki Murakami of Super Taikyu fame, along with Soichiro Yoshida participated, and there were nearly 80 drivers and team principals, including Tsugio Matsuda, Kazuyoshi Hoshino, Masahiko Kondo, and Eiji Tatsumi of Subaru. Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota, who was unable to participate due to a sudden business trip to Thailand, sent a video message stating that this year’s event was now an all-Japan racing festival and no longer just the TGRF. This prompted a big applause from the crowd. Shigeki Tomoyama, President of Toyota Motor’s GAZOO Racing Company, then called out “Start Your Engines”, at which point participating WR, Super Formula, GT500 and Nurburgring cars, ignited their engines at the same time. The symphony of exhaust sounds signaled the opening of the day’s fun.
After that, the long awaited “Classic Le Mans” rendezvous run was carried out by two cars, the Mazda 787B, which won the 1991 Le Mans and the Toyota TS010, which finished second in the 1992 Le Mans. Neither car ran at Le Mans at the same time, but the TS010’s debut was at the domestic final round of the 1991 SWC at Autopolis. At this time the Mazda 787B was also participating, so they ran on the circuit at the same time. However, the two cars that ran at Autopolis then were the No. 58 and No. 18 cars that were newly manufactured to JSPC specifications. Therefore, this was the first time that the TS010 would run at the same time as the Le Mans winning No. 55 car. While driving for about 15 minutes, drivers Terada and Masanori Sekiya sprinted over Fuji while changing positions alternately. On the straight, they pushed the 4-rotor RE and V10 engines to their limits, and the crowd was enraptured with the sound. After the demo run, many Mazda fans visited the 787B pit garage, and they could be heard saying “that was a dream collaboration,” “Thank you for the amazing sound”, “I came from afar to hear this.”
Next, in the Japan Motor Sports Parade, the Mazda 787B took the lead ahead of a Yaris WRC machine, KONDO Racing’s car, the Subaru Nurburgring racecar, GT300 machines, Dakar Rally cars, Super Taikyu roadsters, and Demios. After that, representatives of each company greeted the crowd, with Mazda’s Representative Director Kiyoshi Fujiwara, expressing thanks for being invited to the TGRF and stating a desire to work together to excite fans through motorsports.
Finally, the 86/BRZ+ Roadster exhibition race began. The Party Race top 10 winners of the North Japan Series, East Japan Series, and West Japan Series each competed for victory under the gaze of a large crowd. Victory was taken by East Japan Series champion Yusuke Tomibayashi. In the 86 / BRZ race, former 2018 Global MX-5 Cup winner Yuki Tsutsumi (CABANA Racing) climbed up from 6th in qualifying and won the race for the first time this year. Also, on the drift course, RE Amemiya Motor’s D1GP spec RX-7 also performed a demo and fans enjoyed the dynamic run. At TGRF, various events / contents using almost the entire area of Fuji Speedway are held, making it an extremely fulfilling event that attracts many motorsports fans. Next year is also sure to be a day not to miss.
Text and photos by MZRacing