Toyota’s GR family roars on Clark Speedway

Published August 5, 2022, 9:18 AM

by Neil N. Pagulayan

Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival

Toyota’s Gazoo Racing offerings are growing, and to show us just how exciting each one can be, a track day was in order to experience each of their features.

That track was the Clark International Speedway, home of the Vios Racing Festival, to experience their GR Supra and GR Yaris on the racetrack.

There are already a number of Gazoo Racing models, but little did we know Toyota would reveal yet another addition to their GR line up, the much-awaited GR 86. More info will be provided soon, but it was nice to see the latest member of the family there already.

The GR family

Our first drive of the day with the OMR Vios, to get a feel for it on a slalom course. These Vios race cars are the CVT variant of the 1.5L Vios you find in the showrooms. To make it race ready, it got some upgrades to the air intake, exhaust system, suspension, tires, brakes, roll cage, racing seat, four point harness and fire suppression system. The interior was cleared of rear seats, carpeting and other items to save weight.

We did two runs on the slalom course to familiarize ourselves, and our final run was timed, just to see who ran the course accurately and was the quickest. 

The next activity was a “follow-the-leader” drive around the whole race track following an instructor in a lead car, which was a stock Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 V GR-S CVT.

I’d driven around this racetrack in different cars in the past and it had been years since the last time we got to do this since the pandemic pretty much stopped everything. We did about five laps. And it took two laps to shake off the rust. By the third lap, we were going fast, close to each other and putting power in the turns and giving the tires a proper workout. It was a lot of fun. 

Not long after that, and we’d had a chance to catch our breath, we all had to do two runs of a timed drag race or quarter mile. Compared to our first two activities, this seemed like the easiest of all.

The best part followed the quarter mile activity, we got to experience the race track at proper speeds, in the passenger seat in two of Toyota’s hottest locally available cars, the all-wheel drive GR Yaris. It’s powered by a three-cylinder, 1.6 liter turbocharged gasoline engine which puts out 260 hp at 6,500 rpms with 360-Nm of torque between 3,000-4,600 rpm. It’s mated to a six-speed manual transmission, with race driver, Ferdie Ong, behind the wheel.

The car we lined up to get a ride in was the GR Supra. This true sports car is powered by an inline six-cylinder 3.0L twin-scroll turbocharged gasoline engine which puts out 335-hp between 5,000-6,500 rpm with 500-nm torque between 1,600-4,500 rpm. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission which powers the rear wheels, driven by race driver Marlon Stockinger. A “hot lap” or two, in these cars with professional race drivers made all the difference, showing us the capabilities of these vehicles in stock form. We held on for dear life, as they casually “showed us” how Clark International Speedway should be driven, where to brake, where to apply power. It was pure adrenaline for us, and another day at the office for them.

This event showcased Toyota’s Gazoo Racing family, both the stock, track-ready cars, and the humble Vios modified to a One Make Race spec, can offer an exhilarating drive on track. When Toyota boss, Akio Toyoda, decreed that they’d make “no more boring cars”, they obviously got their act together and we’re finally reaping the benefits as seen in their locally available lineup.

Always remember, if you want to experience your vehicle’s potential, do it on a racetrack, and learn from professionals, This activity was held under the strict supervision of instructors from Tuason Racing School.