Toyota GR86 to launch in Malaysia soon? Toyota Gazoo Racing returns for Season 5

UMW Toyota Motor has announced that the Gazoo Racing Festival will be returning for its fifth season this year, with even more races – both virtual and offline – to offer for the motorsports enthusiasts.

But hidden away deep in the press release was a very interesting nugget of info, which might be even more mouthwatering for the regular car nuts – UMW Toyota has confirmed the introduction of “several GR and GR-Sport models” here in Malaysia, “soon”.

For the full-fat GR model, it’s pretty much without a doubt in reference to the all-new Toyota GR86, which made its global debut last year. As the successor to the Toyota 86 (which was launched here in Malaysia back in 2012), the all-new GR86 retains many of its hallmark features that made the model such an incredible success globally.

That means rear-wheel drive, manual six-speed transmission, and raw unadulterated fun. The all-new Toyota GR86 also benefits from a revamped 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated boxer engine that now makes 235 hp and 250 Nm of torque.

As for the GR-Sport models, UMW Toyota will have a vast array of options to choose from its global vehicle line-up, ranging from the Yaris to the Corolla Cross, and even the Hilux. Like the Toyota Vios GR-Sport launched here last year, these models aren’t purpose built from the ground up, but rather modified from their base models to make them look and/or drive the part.

We’ll still have to wait for a while more to find out exactly which models will be making their way onto our shores, but we do know that the company is committed to expanding its network of dedicated GR Garages around the nation, where they’ll be offering a “comprehensive” list of aftermarket parts, alongside merchandises for GR and Toyota owners.

Additionally, the company will also be organising a whole swath of events for GR owners, including GR driving clinics and experiences, intended to equip the owners with the necessary skills to take full advantage of their vehicle’s potential safely.

Back to the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival; like before, the fifth season will continue to be anchored by the Toyota Vios Challenge one-make race series, featuring three rounds of events consisting of six races in total.

The season kicks off with Round 1 in from March 18-20, followed by Round 2 from June 24-26, and finally Round 3 from September 23-25. Two of the rounds will be held in the Sepang International Circuit, while the other is planned as a street race.

As before, the series is divided into four classes: the Promotional Class for local celebrities; the Super Sporting Class for elite and professional drivers; the Sporting Class for amateur and gentlemen drivers; and last but not least, the Rookie Class for young drivers.

The drivers will be racing for more than a half a million Ringgit in prize monies in total, including a RM70,000 and RM50,000 grand prize for the overall champions of the Super Sporting and Sporting Class respectively, making the Vios Challenge the most lucrative motorsport event in the country for the last five years.

This year’s Gazoo Racing calendar will also see the addition of the Vios Sprint Cup, which is run independently of the Vios Challenge, and will feature two rounds (with two races each) scheduled for April and July in tandem with the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS).

A total of more than RM200,000 in prize monies up for grabs, providing even more racing and rewards for participating drivers, teams, and dealers already signed up to compete in the Vios Challenge.

Beyond that, the company will also be participating in the Sepang 1,000 km Endurance Race (S1K) in November. The race will also see the second running of the Vios Enduro Cup, with RM30,000 in total prize monies to be won.

As for those with a simulator rig at home, the GR Velocity Esports Championship will also be returning for its fifth season this year. First held in 2018, the virtual race now attracts close to 1,000 participants each year, with more than one million online spectators according to UMW Toyota.

“Racing has opened up a multitude of opportunities for Toyota domestically, and we will continue to build on this strong momentum to drive both the Toyota and Gazoo Racing brands ahead with exciting activities as well as products,” said UMW Toyota Motor, President, Ravindran K.

“Overall, the objective of our racing activities is to contribute to the growth of Malaysian motorsports from all aspects – to not only provide an affordable platform for competition; to grow awareness and appreciation for motorsports amongst the masses; and to uncover, develop and provide a conducive platform for the nation’s next generation of young and talented drivers to step up in motor-racing,” he added.


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