Event>> Gazoo Racing Festival 2011

This past Sunday was hectic to say the least. Most of the day's schedule was going to be taken up by the 86 drive that Toyota had organized, but what about the Gazoo Racing Festival that was being held at Fuji Speedway at the same time? Surely I couldn't just show up there and ignore all the goodness that was on display. My plan of attack called for a very early start in order to cram as many shots in as I could possibly manage before the 86 press presentation and test drive commenced. So armed with my cameras I covered the whole pits and paddock in a fraction of the time I usually take at events like these. 

So apologies if the pictures look a little rushed…

…but you will hopefully find a good selection of cars to kind of give you an idea of the utter scale of this gathering.

Even by 7:30 am the track was full of people, ready to get a glimpse of their favorite Super GT and Formula Nippon race cars not to mention being present at the world unveil of the Toyota 86, as you can see in the opening shot.

And talking of the 86 here is a development car sitting in the pits. This car has seen its fair share of the Nordschleife!

No matter how many of these race LFAs I see I can't get over…

…how much presence they ooze!

Curious looking thing right? This is the second version of the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept. I drove the first version of this car last year and it was very much a work in progress. Now it not only gets a much cleaner and modern body but an upgraded drivetrain and hybrid system. Could this potentially be the next generation MRS/MR2? I wonder.

The MC/RT-16 GT300 Super GT racer being pushed out of the pits. I hear that with the new GT regulations (similar to FIA GT3) the car will be unable to enter next year.

What a surprise! The new STI S206 Impreza sedan along side the STI Impreza tS that raced at the Nurbugring 24h this year. This S206 was also fitted with the optional NBR Challenge package which adds 19-inch STI wheels, a carbon roof and a carbon rear wing. The car isn't due to go on sale until May next year but I herd that more than half of the 300 planned cars are already sold! Yes it's a Japan-only model as usual! 

Super GT perfection.

Zent GT500 SC430.

Seeing racing versions of the 2000GT is always a true pleasure. Look at those lines! 

The 1970 Toyota 7. 650 Kg, 600 HP. Enough said!

JGTC Supras bring back a lot of memories back form the heyday.

It's very cool to be able to hear these beasts in action or even being warmed up in the pits.

But not as much as hearing Nakajima's F1 car!

Each prod of the throttle released smooth blue flames from the ridiculously short exhausts…well headers really, as there are no exhausts!

And one for rally enthusiasts out there.

Toyota as ever invited a few D1 drivers to come along and show off their skills, guys like Saito, Orido and Tokita.

Unlike some Japanese manufacturers, Toyota really emphasizes how it really backs the tuning industry. 

There were tons of VIP and performance tuned cars on display on the paddock…

…as tuners and parts manufacturers were invited to show off their latest demo cars. 

Sessions Aristo. Very nice.

Pick your LFA!

Looks menacing in black.

Before all the historic cars took off for some parade laps around the track I managed to grab some shots of what has to be…

…one of the most mouthwatering lineups anyone could imagine.  

I really did loose count but there were probably more than forty 2000GTs, all privately owned and driven to the event. 

Matching number plate.

Prior to the 86's unveiling Toyota was obviously trying to show off its sports car heritage. Behind the 2000GTs were the Supras…

…and then the Hachirokus…

…not forgetting the Sport 800s or "Toyohachis."

All these cars drove off in convoy…

…slowly driving along the access roads ready to…

…enter the pits.

A few 800s waiting to head out on track.

How cool is the widebody GRMN iQ Racing! 

Great stance…

…but I preferred this red example. Which would you choose this, or the Aston Martin Cygnet?

After the Toyota 86 press briefing and presentation all the media was asked to move onto the main straight where Akio Toyoda was going to drive up in the new car.

This is the first glimpse of the 86 everyone got.

Here is Toyoda-san shaking hands with the chief engineer of the 86 project Tetsuya Tada.

The media couldn't keep away!

So that's pretty much how the TGRF unfolded. There was plenty of on track action but I was on the other side of the grounds shooting and driving the 86 so I could report back to you all what a great car it is!

Toyota Japan

Gazoo Racing 

-Dino Dalle Carbonare