Three car attack for Toyota

Off-road racing for 2020 powers up this weeken with Toyota Gazoo Racing fielding a three-car team for the season, lead by defending champions Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings.

The 2020 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS), starts with the Mpumalanga 400, based in the trout fishing town of Dullstroom.

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Lategan became the youngest SACCS champion when he secured the title in 2019 at the age of 25, and will be looking to build on the experience gained last year.

“Henk and Brett showed true class and amazing pace during the 2019 season, and we’re looking forward to more of that in the upcoming year,” says Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall.

Giniel de Villiers will also be returning to the squad for 2020, and will be partnered with Spanish co-driver, Alex Haro, for the season. The pair won their first International race together – the 2019 Rally of Morocco – and recorded a fifth-place at the Dakar Rally during January this year.

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“We are excited to have Alex in the team for the 2020 SACCS,” continues Hall. “Giniel and Alex quickly bonded during their first races together, and they will be building on this during the South African championship.”

The final car in the factory team will be driven by Shameer Variawa, who joined the squad in 2019. He will be partnered with former champion navigator Dennis Murphy, whose wealth of experience will be sure to benefit the talented Variawa, who will be fielding a newly-minted Toyota Hilux when the season gets under way in Dullstroom.

Toyota will also be supported by a number of Class T crews, including brothers Johan and Werner Horn, who finished the 2019 season as runners-up in their Malalane Toyota Hilux. Gary Bertholdt and navigator Siegfried Rousseau will also be gunning for glory in Class T, and Berthold will be hoping to improve on the third-place finish he recorded at the opening round of last year.

A qualifying race at 13:00 on Friday, February 28, will set the season in motion; with the main race following at 8am on Saturday, February 29. Fans can visit the Designated Service Park (DSP) and several spectator points free of charge, and follow the race live on the RallySafe application, which is available for both iOS and Android devices

Gold for Toyota at MOTY Awards

For the second year in a row Toyota has walked off with the Overall Gold at the annual Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (SAVRALA) awards.

SAVRALA – whose car rental and leasing members manage more than 400 000 vehicles a year in South Africa – hold its annual industry Manufacturer of the Year (MOTY) awards as a barometer of the relationship between the industry and itself.

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 Toyota placed first in both the Rental and Leasing categories, which also secured them the position of overall winner for the second year consecutively.  Hyundai and Kia came in second and third position respectively.

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For 24 years, the MOTY awards has aimed to reward motor manufacturers for the level of service and support provided to SAVRALA members.  At least 33 of the largest Rental and Leasing companies in South Africa complete two comprehensive surveys annually, assessing 38 criteria across various areas of their business, such as communication and contact with manufacturers, support on both a manufacturer and dealer level, maintenance issues, various financial aspects and B-BBEE compliance.

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To eliminate any personal bias when these surveys are completed, companies hold panel discussions involving employees who are knowledgeable about each criterion.

This approach ensures that an objective and company-wide perspective is obtained and that the results can be used by the manufacturers to identify and address any gaps in their service delivery to the Rental and Leasing industries.

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The results clearly show the bar has been raised yet again, with the Rental score rising to its highest level since 2011.  Leasing was not part of the MOTY process in 2015 or 2016, hence it is encouraging to see more emphasis being placed on this industry since its return.

Rental Results for 2019:

Toyota improved its Rental score by 3,7% and retained its winning position.  Renault continued its upward march by moving into joint second position, one position up from third spot last year.  For the first time in MOTY history, Kia broke into the top three by sharing the second position with Renault. Hyundai completed the podium positions by taking third.

Kia also received the award for the most improved Manufacturer, having improved its Rental score by 13,6% since 2018.

The Value award is presented to the automotive member that has scored the most combined points for the Financial section, and for the second consecutive year, Toyota has taken top spot.

The Tutuka award recognises the best scoring automotive member who supplies lower and niche vehicle volumes to the car rental industry. This year, the award went to Mini.

RENTAL WINNERS
Gold Silver Bronze
2015 Volkswagen Audi Toyota
2016 Volkswagen Hyundai Toyota
2017 Volkswagen Toyota Hyundai
2018 Toyota Shared BMW and Volkswagen Renault
2019 Toyota Shared Kia and Renault Hyundai

Leasing Results for 2019:

On the leasing side, Toyota is the winner for the third consecutive year, followed by Hyundai, who came second for the third consecutive year.

Nissan made a return to the podium.  The last time Nissan was in the Top 3 was in 2013, but it has managed to claw its way back in 2019 by taking the third position in the Leasing category.

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The award for the Manufacturer who improved the most since 2018 was presented to Datsun, who improved their 2018 score by 18,8%.

The Value award for the Manufacturer scoring the best for the Financial section on the Leasing survey was awarded to Toyota, who also won this award in 2018.

LEASING WINNERS
Gold Silver Bronze
2017 Toyota Hyundai Volkswagen
2018 Toyota Hyundai Volkswagen
2019 Toyota Hyundai Nissan

Best Representative Awards for 2019:

While success is seldom the result of the efforts of one individual, it certainly requires someone to ignite the spark.  For their part in maintaining a successful relationship between supplier and customer, the awards for the Best Account Executive for Rental goes to Queen Ramaliwa from BMW and for Leasing to Faan Fourie from Toyota.  The Best Technical Representative, as voted by both the Rental and Leasing participants, was once again awarded to Ramatjitla Penyane from Toyota.

Congratulating all the winners on their achievement, SAVRALA President, Winston Guriah, lauded Manufacturers on both the Rental and Leasing side for their commitment to true partnership.

“At a time when the economy faces what seem to be insurmountable challenges, it is reassuring to know we have customer-focussed partners on whom we can depend unwaveringly. My hearty congratulations to all the deserving winners today. Your efforts inspire continuous improvements, which bodes well for all customers, not just the members of SAVRALA. We are grateful for your commitment and support,” says Guriah.

MOTY helps each manufacturer identify their strengths and work on the areas of weakness as highlighted to them by their customers.  It is clear from this year’s results that the industry is prepared to award those that are willing to take up the challenge, lift their level of commitment and align their efforts with the needs of the industry.

 

Alonso impresses and Giniel wins

Despite a mid-event rollover, Fernando Alonso (with Marc Corma in the navigator’s seat) had a good outing in his first off-road race, finishing 16th overall in Lichtenburg while Toyota claimed a podium lockout.

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dennis Murphy claimed victory on the Lichtenburg 400, round 5 of the 2019 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS) at the weekend. At the same time, teammates Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings finished in second place, clinching the overall SACCS championship for 2019 in the process.

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Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable had plenty of reason to celebrate when their season-long dominance of the Class T Production Vehicle championship was rewarded with a second consecutive title in the highly competitive South African Cross Country Series (SACCS).

They were fourth overall behind the Hilux of Jason Venter and Jaco van Aardt.

“It was a close-run race in the end,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall, after the race drew to a close. “Initially it looked as if Henk had won the race by 11 seconds from Giniel, but most of the field was penalised for speeding in a controlled section. Unfortunately, Henk also fell foul to such a penalty, handing the victory to Giniel – but importantly doing enough to win the title.”

Lategan/Cummings were 23 points ahead in the overall championship going into the race weekend, with Ford’s Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable in second place. In the end, Lategan/Cummings earned 23 points for their second place; while Woolridge/Huxtable added only 12 points to his tally – giving the Toyota Hilux crew to margin they needed to clinch the title with one round in hand.

The weekend started perfectly for Lategan/Cummings, when they took victory in the 55 km-long Qualifying Race by 26 seconds over De Villiers/Murphy. An epic battle between the two Toyota Hilux crews ensued over the two loops that made up the main race, with De Villiers closing the gap to Lategan to just 11 seconds at the chequered flag.

“Then came the penalties, which saw all but three crews dropping down the order. Giniel and Dennis managed to avoid the penalties, and as a result they moved to the top of the standings,” explained Hall.

“We’re delighted regardless, since Giniel won the race for us; and Henk won the title. All in all, a great weekend for the team.”

At the same time, Shameer Variawa and Juan Möhr, in the third Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux, struggled with the setup on their car during the qualifying race; and was then hampered by dust due to their starting position. With that said, they caught up with the cars ahead of them on both loops, and were classified as the fifth-fastest Class FIA crew in the end.

The Lichtenburg 400 was also the first competitive outing for Fernando Alonso and navigator Marc Coma, as part of their continued training for a possible entry to the 2020 Dakar Rally. The pair set the third-fastest time during the qualifying race, but suffered a setback when they had a soft roll 27 km into the first race loop. They lost significant time dealing with a broken windscreen before returning to the DSP.

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The pair set out for the second loop with a new windscreen, but a bird strike shortly after the start of the stage saw them racing with a second broken windscreen. Despite these setbacks, they completed the race and were classified in 16th place.

Alonso/Coma showed their pace during the qualifier, and gained invaluable experience and seat time over the remainder of the event. They will next be in action at the Rally of Morocco, which takes place from October 3. Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa will also be fielding three cars at the event, with Dakar champion Nasser Al Attiyah; Giniel de Villiers; and Bernhard ten Brinke all taking part.

Although Friday’s short 55km qualifying session did not go the way of Woolrdige and Huxtable due to a small navigation error near the end of the stage – which dropped them to a fifth-place starting position for Saturday’s main race – the deficit was a mere 48 seconds to the leading pair of Gary Bertholdt and Geoff Minnitt (Toyota) and the Ford Ranger duo were determined to claw back the margin.

Their efforts were largely scuppered on the second half of the 189 km opening loop, though, as they were caught in the dust of one of the two-wheel drive special vehicles, with no way of getting close enough to find a way past. Nevertheless, they made up time on team-mates Marcos Baumgart and Kleber Cincea (T20) in the second Castrol Ford NWM Ranger to slot into fourth place.

The exceptionally fast and open terrain was tackled flat-out on many of the farmland sections, with the competitors often topping 180 km/h on the straights. The second loop was no different, with little opportunity for the reigning champions to make up time in the tight and twisty bits. They crossed the line fourth in class, only for a slew of penalties to be dealt out by the organisers for even the most marginal of speed transgressions on a last-minute change to the route, which included a short 500-metre deviation through the town of Coligny.

While they already had the Class T title in the bag with their fourth-placed finish, Woolridge and Huxtable were promoted to second place in the final results, thus adding yet another podium finish to their exceptional results this year.

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“It is a very special feeling to win the Class T championship this year on the back of four wins in a row,” an elated Woolridge said. “We’ve had a perfect car this season and the team has done a fantastic job. We were aiming for victory, but it just didn’t go our way during the prologue on Friday, and we were on the back foot from there.
“However, after last year when the championship went down to the wire, it is great to wrap this one up early and take the pressure off for the final race, so we can go and have fun and fight for another race win.”

Nail-biter for Lichtenburg

With just 23 points difference between the two top teams, the Lichtenburg 400 – round 5 of the 2019 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS) – is going to be a nail-biter with the added bonus for spectators of being able to see ex-F1 ace Fernando Alonso in action.

Victory on last month’s Bronkhorstspruit 400 moved Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Henk Lategan and navigator Brett Cummings to within a hair of winning the 2019 title. There is still some work to be done for the Toyota Hilux crew over the remainder of the season, and a good result in this weekend’s Lichtenburg 400 will be crucial to the pair’s success.

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Lategan/Cummings are 23 points ahead in the overall championship, with Ford’s Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable in second place. Toyota Gazoo Racing teammates, Shameer Variawa and Juan Möhr have moved up into third place, after recording consistent results in the four previous rounds.

However, with 30 points on offer for victory, Lategan/Cummings are not assured of the title just yet, and scoring maximum points in Lichtenburg will be their main aim this weekend.

Defending champions, Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy, driving an identical Toyota Hilux, find themselves in fourth place on the log, after disappointing results in the last three rounds. Their hopes of securing the 2019 title faded after the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, and were dashed after failing to score meaningful points in Round 4. A good result in Lichtenburg, however, could still elevate them in the overall standings.

“It will be an interesting weekend for the team,” says Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “Henk and Brett could potentially secure the championship; Giniel and Dennis need to push for maximum points; and Shameer and Juan could, with a bit of luck, move up to second place in the overall standings. So, there’s a lot going on for us this round.”

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Add to that the team’s preparations for the upcoming Rally of Morocco, where De Villiers will be competing alongside new navigator; as well as the overall preparation and testing of components for the 2020 Dakar Rally, and it is clear that the Lichtenburg 400 will be a busy round for the team.

As if the SACCS title chase, Dakar testing and Morocco preparations aren’t enough, the team will also facilitate a further training session for two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, reigning FIA World Endurance Championship title holder, two-time Formula 1 World Champion, and winner of the 24-Hours of Daytona, Fernando Alonso.

As such, Alonso and his navigator will be taking part in the Lichtenburg 400 as a non-competitive entry, in order to experience more varied terrain, as well as the pressure of a race.

Harrismith was originally scheduled for this fifth round, but exceptionally dry conditions and a high risk of fire in the area resulted in the organisers having to move the race to the North West town at short notice.

There has been a common thread running through the Class T championship this season, as the Castrol Ford Cross Country Team’s Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable have made the top step of the podium their own with a clean sweep of five victories (including the two separate races that made up the Botswana Desert Race in June).

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As the reigning champions, the crew has been untouchable in the Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) built and run Ford Ranger (T34), putting them on the brink of a second consecutive title this year. A finish in the points in either of the two closing rounds will hand them the Class T crown.

“We’ve had an amazing year so far, with Lance and Ward performing faultlessly throughout the season,” says NWM team principal Neil Woolridge. “The hard work that has been put into developing the Ranger this season has certainly paid off, and it reflects the long hours and dedication of the team as a whole.

“It’s a pity that we won’t be racing in Harrismith, as it is much closer to our home base and our many supporters from KwaZulu-Natal who normally come to the race, but the change in venue is completely understandable following an exceptionally dry winter.

“The sport relies on the support of local farmers for us to race on their land, and the potential of a fire would be devastating for their livelihoods.”

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Lance Woolridge

The race weekend will start with a qualifying race on September 13, from the Lichtenburg showgrounds, which also serves as the Designated Service Park (DSP) and race HQ. The main event will get under way at 8 am on Saturday morning. Fans can follow the race via the RallySafe application, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.

Bragging rights for Toyota and Ford

Both Toyota and Ford came away from the Bronkhorstspruit 400 – round 4 of the 2019 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS) – with bragging rights with Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Henk Lategan winning overall and the Castrol Ford Cross Country Team of Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable taking Class T honours.

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Lategan won the race overall, echoing his result from 2018, when he achieved his maiden cross-country victory at the same event. This year, however, he was partnered with navigator Brett Cummings, while Barry White read the notes last year.

Lategan/Cummings’ victory, in a time of 4hrs 37min 15sec, was the cherry on top of a class performance by various Toyota crews in Bronkhorstspruit. Teammates Shameer Variawa and Juan Möhr continued their good run, recording the third-fastest time in the overall standings, just behind the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux crew of Chris Visser and new navigator Danie Stassen.

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Visser recently won the 2019 Toyota 1,000 Desert Race, with Philip Herselman beside him, and finished the Bronkhorstspruit 400 7min 11sec behind Lategan/Cummings.

Unfortunately, Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy failed to score meaningful points, after a disappointing qualifying race on the Friday of the event.

“I am not sure if I missed the call, or it just did not register, but I arrived at a rough section early in the loop way too fast,” said the defending champion after the dust had settled over the qualifier. “We hit a rock at pace, breaking the wishbone on the left front suspension. We couldn’t continue, and were forced to start the race from the back of the grid.”

The dream season continued for the Castrol Ford Cross Country Team of Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable when they won their fifth race in a row.

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The reigning Class T champions qualified sixth fastest during Friday’s 66 km prologue in their Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) built and run Ford Ranger, after a cautious initial outing in the extremely dry and dusty conditions that are typical of the Highveld in winter.

Proving just how competitive the field is, the KwaZulu-Natal duo were within 28 seconds of the second-placed team, which set the scene for a thrilling main race on Saturday.

However, they were imperious in the main event, and surged to the front of the Class T field on the first 172 km loop with a much quicker pace than their rivals, with several of them losing time due to punctures.

Setting out on the second loop, Woolridge and Huxtable held a 52-second lead over Johan and Werner Horn (Toyota). Despite the best efforts of the Horn brothers, who eventually finished third, and runners-up Gary Bertholdt and Geoff Minnitt (Toyota), the Ford Ranger crew never put a foot wrong and retained their lead through to the finish of the race with a faultless drive that further extended their advantage at the top of the championship table.

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“To get a win like this was fantastic and is exactly what we wanted, but after Friday’s qualifying session we weren’t all that confident, as Lance and Ward were sixth in class and 12th on the road,” said team principal Neil Woolridge. “Lance was not quite himself as he’s had a bit of flu and we have been extremely busy at work building new race cars, but he had a good sleep on Friday night and he was on it today.

“He and Ward had a clean run with no punctures and made no mistakes, and their Ranger was perfect. This is great for the championship with five wins from five races – it cannot get any better than that,” Neil added.

The next round of the 2019 SACCS is the Harrismith 400, which is set to take place on 13 and 14 September. However, Toyota Gazoo Racing SA will be turning their attention to the Dakar Rally, with a test session planned for later in August.

 

Supra is back

Toyota South Africa has launched the Z4….err, Toyota Supra in a four variant spread that also marks the first global GR model from Toyota Gazoo Racing and the fith iteration of the famous name.

Motive power comes from a BMW 3,0-litre straight six engine and the entire car was designed in conjunction with BMW around the Z4 the Munich company is offering – the latter as a soft-top sportster while Supra is a hard hat design.

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The fifth generation Supra is assembled alongside the G29 BMW Z4 in Graz, Austria by Magna Steyr.

While purists might rock back gently on their heels and bemoan the loss of the naturally aspirated Toyota 2 997 cc 2JZ-GE engine (164 kW) or the twin turbo-charged Toyota 2JZ-GTE (206 kW) version from the previous generation Supra and the particular rasping sound they made climbing into the higher rev range compared to the flatter, lower note of the BME engine, the increased grunt at 250 kW and 500 Nm should provide compensation.

In the modern age, collaboration between automakers on developing projects is not only commonplace but is vital in terms of reducing the cost of the process as well as the on-road cost of the car by commonising parts into much larger global production runs.

Also, it is not a new venture for Toyota – the GT86 having been a collaboration with Subaru and even the previous generation Supra was based on the company’s own Soarer.

Colleagues attenting the launch event were largely unanimous in praising the loooks, handling, agility, ride and overall feel of the car – so to borrow some historic phrasing, everything keeps going right, Toyota.

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Going back in time – the Supra production first began in 1978 with manufacture of the fourth generation ending in 2002. The production of the fifth, current generation began in March 2019.

The styling of the Supra was derived from the Toyota Celica, but it was both longer and wider and from mid-1986, the A70 Supra became a separate model from the Celica. The Supra also traces much of its roots back to the 2000GT owing to an inline-6 layout. The first three generations were offered with a direct descendant to the Crown’s and 2000GT’s M engine.

The Supra has appeared in numerous video games, movies, music videos and TV shows. Some of the most notable appearances include the Initial D Arcade Stage, Initial D, Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport, Sega GT, Assetto Corsa, Tokyo Xtreme Racer, Need for Speed, Midnight Club, Wangan Midnight, Asphalt and Forza Horizon video games and The Fast and the Furious film series.

“Being asked to make a sports car that offers the ultimate, pure driving pleasure felt like a mandate from heaven, telling me to ‘make a Supra’, says Tetsuya Tada, Chief Engineer of the Toyota GR Supra.

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“The GT86 helped broaden the scope and appeal of Toyota’s sports cars. Next, I needed to deliver a car that offers a seemingly limitless sense of control, a car that will meet expectations and delight even hardcore fans.

“In making Supra, I insisted on visiting enthusiasts’ clubs around the world to talk to owners of previous models. I asked them what they thought the minimum requirements should be and the response was always ‘a straight-six turbo and front engine/rear-wheel drive configuration’. It was pretty clear and I had more or less anticipated this. The key point was to keep that combination intact.

“The new Supra is not simply a revival, though; only those core engine and rear-wheel drive elements have been carried over. As the name Supra suggests, I was determined to deliver a ‘supreme fun-to-drive’ car that could only be made in the modern era.

“With the new Supra we did everything that could be done with front engine/rear-wheel drive packaging. For example, the speed through a slalom course is about 20% faster than our original target time. And it is not just a fast car, it i’s exhilarating.”

The design influence of the landmark 2000GT is particularly evidenced in the long bonnet, compact body and double-bubble roof, while the distinctive look of the fourth generation Supra is captured in both the front and rear styling – notably in the rear wings and the arc of the integrated spoiler.

The Toyota GR Supra’s design theme was first previewed in the dramatic FT-1 concept car, styled at Toyota’s CALTY studio in California and revealed in 2014 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Toyota GR Supra Chief Designer Nobuo Nakamura says: “With Chief Engineer Tada pursuing driving pleasure, I knew that my mission was to create a design that would be visually and physically exciting to sports car fans. By using a straight-six front engine/rear-wheel drive layout – something rarely seen in cars today – I was able to reach something beyond Toyota’s boundaries.”

The frontal design was inspired by the fourth-generation Supra, while the headlight units draw inspiration from the Mk4 Supra (JZA080) shape and feature a six-lens LED arrangement that incorporate both the turn indicators and daytime running lights (DRL).

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Inside, the low, slim horizontal dashboard maximises the forward view through the windscreen, helping the driver place the car with precision in high-speed driving, while the principal controls are tightly grouped for quick and easy operation. The instrument panel, centre console and door trim are combined in a seamless design that gives the cockpit a strong, unified feel.

The seats have a racing-influenced design that ensures comfort at all times and excellent support, in particular if the car is being used on-track. Body-holding side bolsters are featured on the cushion and high back, and there is an integrated head restraint.

The upholstery specified for South African models comprises a combination of leather bolsters with a perforated Alcantara covering for the seat back and cushion with the choice between Black or combination Red and Black interior trim.

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The 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine is fitted with a single twin-scroll turbo-charger, high-precision direct fuel injection and continuously variable valve control that secure segment-leading torque performance from very low revs. The unit is powerful, well-balanced, smooth and free-revving, with an exhilarating acceleration feel and minimal vibration.

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The engine is matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission that provides driver control of gear changes via paddle shifts on the steering wheel with Normal or Sport driving modes to suit their preference and the conditions.

A Launch Control function enables acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h in 4,3 seconds. Engine sound and response, shift pattern, damping, steering and active differential performance are adjusted when the driver selects Sport mode. The Vehicle Stability Control has a special, selectable ‘track’ setting that reduces the level of system intervention, giving the driver greater control of the vehicle’s dynamic performance.

An active differential has been specified for the local market, which operates both when accelerating and decelerating and can seamlessly adjust from zero to full, 100% lock, with instant response.

High structural rigidity (greater even than the Lexus LFA supercar), a centre of gravity lower than the GT86 coupé and ideal 50:50 front/rear weight distribution were fundamental to achieving the car’s dynamic goals, and the desired weight balance was gained by moving the engine as far as possible rearwards, which itself introduced new production challenges.

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The suspension design comprises double-joint spring MacPherson struts at the front and a five-link system at the rear. The front suspension subframe and control-arm mounting points have been made extremely rigid to yield precise cornering characteristics, while the use of aluminium for the control arms and swivel bearings reduces the car’s unsprung weight.

The rear suspension benefits from a similarly lightweight design for the rigid subframe and the bracing that connects it to the body, helping ensure extremely precise wheel control. The 19-inch forged alloy wheels are fitted with high-grip Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres. These are slightly wider at the rear than the front (255/35R19 vs 275/35R19).

The Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) enhances performance with changes in the road surface, adjusting the shock-absorber force at each wheel to maintain a flat vehicle posture, excellent steering response and supple ride comfort. Sensors constantly monitor the way the car is being driven and the road conditions, controlling the damping force accordingly.

The electric power steering is rack-assisted and sports-tuned. Its characteristics are automatically adjusted in accordance with vehicle speed, reducing the level of effort needed at lower speeds and gradually weighting up to offer greater control and stability at higher speeds.

A sports braking system is fitted as standard with red aluminium Brembo calipers – opposed four-piston at the front and floating single-piston at the rear. The ventilated discs measure 348 x 36mm at the front and 345 x 24mm at the rear.

The GR Supra model line-up consists of two models, the GR Supra Track and GR Supra. The Track model is aimed at enthusiasts wishing to use their vehicle predominantly for performance-orientated driving and prioritises vehicle dynamics over convenience specification.

The ‘normal’ GR Supra adds a raft of comfort and convenience specification – to truly offer an all-encompassing package.

The Track grade includes dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, smart entry with push-button start, leather-trimmed steering wheel with thumb-mounted switches and a digital instrument cluster. LED technology is used for the adaptive headlights, rear lights and daytime running lights and the mirrors (door mirrors and rear-view mirror) are all auto-dimming. Further convenience is provided by rain-sensing wipers and a rear-view camera.

The infotainment specifications feature a 10-speaker audio system with 6,5-inch display with Bluetooth and USB port.

The GR Supra model receives an upgrade to 8.,-inch infotainment system with built-in satellite navigation and 12-speaker JBL audio system with mid-mounted subwoofers for superb acoustics. The sports seats are upholstered in a combination of leather and Alcantara (Track model features fabric seats) and are power-adjustable (including lumbar support), with integrated heating and memory functions.

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Wireless charging, Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Park Distance Control (PDC) and Heads-Up Display (HUD) add to the convenience spec tally. The Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) forms part of the higher-grade feature list.

Another key differentiator between the Track and ‘normal’ GR Supra models is the Toyota Safety Sense system that includes include a Pre-Collision System with a pedestrian detection function and the ability to recognise cyclists during daytime driving; Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with steering assist; Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Automatic High Beam (AHB); Adaptive Front-light System (AFS), which adjusts the headlight illumination in line with the car’s steering angle and Road Sign Assist are all included.

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MODEL LINE-UP & PRICING
Toyota GR Supra Track* – R 953 000
Toyota GR Supra (Prominent Red) – R 1 072 300
Toyota GR Supra (Metallic) – R 1 082 300
Toyota GR Supra (Matte Grey) – R 1 092 300
*Available in Prominent Red paintwork only

A 4-services/80 000 km service plan is provided as well as a 3-year/100 000 km Warranty.

Hilux turns 50

It scarcely feels as if 15 years have rushed by since the first Toyota Hilux Legend appeared in 2004 to celebrate what was – then – a true milestone in local automotive history, namely 35 years on the market and now, there is Legend 50!

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The Legend 35 was followed by the Legend 40, built on the global IMV platform and Legend 45 in 2009 and 2014 respectively.

The Toyota Hilux sealed the second quarter of 2019 with its highest ever recorded monthly sales total in South Africa. The June total of 4 770 is 35 units more than the previous highest total of 4 335 which was recorded in 2011. Of the Hilux models sold last month, 1 885 were double cabs, 1 648 Xtra cabs and 1 237 single cabs.

Cause to celebrate indeed and the new Legend 50 sees the front upper and lower grille getting the full black-out treatment (in gloss finish), with matching stylised fog-lamp surrounds. A stylish silver accent line frames the vertical fog-lamp garnish with matching silver lower bumper guard. Legend 50 badging, offset to the left, rounds off the front façade, complemented by the LED headlamps incorporating daytime running lights (DRL).

The side profile is enhanced by black side protective mouldings (X/C and D/C), chrome exterior mirrors and door handles as well as black side steps. A customised rear styling bar with matching Legend 50 badging and a textured, heavy-duty tonneau cover add rugged appeal. Sleek satin-silver roof rails (X/C and D/C) elevate Legend 50’s presence.

At the rear, a black rear bumper, smoked taillamps and tailgate badging, complete the visual package. A low-profile towbar is fitted as standard.

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The wheel and tyre package consists of Legend 50-specific two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 265-60-R18 all-terrain tyres.

The interior space sees Black leather trim (on X/C and D/C) with blue perforationl. A chrome accent strip runs across the dashboard, offset by gloss-black panel trim. Branded silver door scuff plates and carpet set, lend both a protective and aesthetic hand.

The instrument cluster features white-faced dials with orange needles and a cog-shaped motif. A 4,2-inch TFT Multi-information Display with steering wheel control, relays a variety of information to the driver (including audio, compass, navigation prompts, trip info and fuel consumption).

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The infotainment system has also been upgraded, featuring an enlarged 8-inch display (now flush mounted and integrated into the dashboard) with additional rotary dials for volume and tune functions. The unit also features key-function shortcut buttons, touchscreen interface, on-board satellite navigation, DVD, USB, Bluetooth and Aux interfaces. Steering wheel operability and a reverse camera adds comfort and convenience.

All Legend 50 models are based on the Raider specification grade and feature smart entry (keyless) and push-start ignition functionality now join the specification inventory on Xtra Cab and Double Cab Legend 50 models.

All Legend models come with a full suite of active and passive safety features – including driver, passenger, knee and curtain crash bags (body-type dependent), anti-lock braking, VSC, EBD, Brake Assist and Hill-assist Controls.

The Legend 50 package has been applied to all Raider models across all three body shapes (Single, Xtra and Double Cab). All S/C and X/C Legend 50 models are powered by the 2.8 GD-6 engine delivering 130 kW and 420 Nm. These can be paired with both 4×2 (Raised Body) or 4×4 drivetrains.

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Double Cab Legend 50 models are available with either the 2.8 GD-6 or 4.0 V6 (exclusively 4×4 auto) powertrain, whilst the diesels can be had in either 4×2 or 4×4 configuration.

All Hilux models come with a 3-year/100 000 km warranty. A 9-services/90 000 km service plan is standard on all models.

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