Toyota boss Koji Sato suggests sports car fanatic and ex-CEO Akio Toyoda now has “a lot more time” to develop sports cars.
New Toyota president Koji Sato has hinted that high-performance Gazoo Racing (GR) cars will continue to be launched under his leadership – suggesting that the momentum of development could even accelerate.
Sato took on the role of president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation in January, replacing Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the founder of the company, who moved to become chairman.
Toyoda founded GR and was a staunch supporter of the firm’s world endurance and rallying campaigns as he sought to underpin it’s technical expertise and express a fundamental deep-rooted love of cars. A keen driver and competitor, his job title at the firm was playfully ‘Master Driver’.
Speaking to UK media following Toyota’s one-two finish in the World Endurance Championship race in Spa, Belgium: Sato said: “The Gazoo brand will be acknowledged for the future – and maybe we can even speed it up.
“Our Master Driver was also president of the company at the same time as he had a steering wheel in his hand for Gazoo. Now he is only chairman maybe he will have a lot more time to develop cars for them?”
Toyota sports cars on sale today include the GR86, Supra, Corolla and Yaris. The firm has been tight-lipped on plans for future models in this performance line-up, but has said it is considering a sporting version of the electric Toyota bZ4X crossover and has publicly trialled the use of hydrogen as a means of running combustion-powered sports cars.
In 2021, Toyota briefly showed a compact, two-seat electric sports car concept bearing the GR emblem, which – if green lit for showrooms – could serve both as a halo model for an electric sports car family, and as a rival to the upcoming MG Cyberster, Porsche 718 EV and electric Alpine A110.