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Witness Toyota’s Chairman Crashing and Flipping a GR Yaris

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Akio Toyoda, the chairman of Toyota and former president and CEO, is known for his hands-on approach to performance vehicles. He has even raced under the pseudonym “Morizo” in numerous events. Despite his busy schedule, Toyoda remains actively involved in the company, as evidenced by a recent incident where he crashed a rally version of the GR Yaris while driving on the Shimoyama course in Japan. The Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama, where the crash occurred, was fully operational in April 2024 and serves as the company’s R&D facility, resembling the Nürburgring pit lane.

Onboard footage of the crash shows the moment when the rally car hit a mound and overturned, leaving Toyoda and his co-pilot, Norihiko Katsuta, unharmed. Despite the accident, Toyota chose to publicly display the heavily damaged GR Yaris during the facility’s opening ceremony to demonstrate the company’s commitment to rigorous testing and development. Toyoda is a key figure in the development of Toyota’s GR cars and has been involved in the creation of special models such as the one-off GRMN Century. As a Suzuki Jimny owner, Toyoda advocates for the continued development of internal combustion engines, arguing that EVs will never exceed a 30% market share.

Toyoda’s influence can be seen in the decision to use the three-cylinder turbo engine found in the GR Yaris and GR Corolla in a future Lexus model, the LBX small crossover. The engine is expected to deliver around 300 horsepower, showcasing Toyoda’s commitment to performance and innovation in the automotive industry. Despite the crash, Toyoda and Katsuta emerged unscathed, reinforcing the importance of safety in high-performance driving. The incident serves as a reminder of the passion and dedication that Toyoda brings to the world of motorsport and performance vehicles.

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