Toyota Owners Club

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  1. Toyota Gazoo Racing clinched the FIA World Endurance Championship teams’ title in a dramatic and weather-affected 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso delivered the points needed to claim the championship by winning the penultimate round of the 2018-2019 season. The trio in the No8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid also extended their lead in the driver’s title race to 31 points. The No7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López controlled the race from pole position until just before half-distance, setting the fastest lap before a sensor issue dropped them back down the order, ultimately finishing in sixth place. For the first time in the history of the championship, heavy snow fell shortly after the start. In spite of the conditions, the race was able to continue behind a safety car. Another safety car period following an accident triggered drama for Buemi who was forced to make a fuel stop while the pit lane was closed; WEC regulations meant the team was only allowed to add five seconds of fuel. When he was able to make his regular, full refuelling stop, he had lost around a minute and was running in 10th place, but a battling drive saw him up to second by the two-hour mark. Further snow and a hailstorm added to the challenging conditions as the final third of the race got underway. By the last hour, López was up to sixth while Alonso had extended the No8 car’s advantage to more than a lap over the field. Again, the weather intervened, prompting further running behind the safety car before the race was brought to a halt a few minutes early because of the worsening conditions. At that point, Alonso was one lap ahead of the second-placed No3 Rebellion car. The No11 SMP Racing car was third. After the race, Alonso said: “That was definitely not an easy race, with a couple of issues in the first part in addition to the weather. So it was up and down in terms of emotions. The most important thing today was securing the teams’ World Championship. I am extremely happy that we scored enough points to become World Champion; a massive well done for everyone in the team. It has been an amazing season for us and hopefully in Le Mans we can have the final, nice touch with the drivers’ title.” The team now head for France and the Le Mans 24 Hours, the culmination of the season on 15-16 June
  2. Toyota Gazoo Racing are targeting a title triumph this weekend as they make the short trip from their Cologne base to Belgium for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the penultimate round of the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship. The team lead the championship standings by 53 points, so can secure victory by scoring 12 points, or if their nearest rivals, Rebellion Racing, fail to finish on the podium. The season began at Spa in May last year and since then Toyota Gazoo Racing have claimed five one-two victories in six races, most recently at the 1,000 Miles of Sebring in March. While the teams’ World Championship is close to a conclusion, the drivers’ title battle remains very much open with two races and 65 points available. Following their Sebring victory, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso in the No8 TS050 Hybrid hold the upper hand, leading the standings by 15 points from the No7 crew of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López. Conway said: “Spa is one of my favourite races so I am looking forward to getting back. We have been unlucky there a few times when we had the chance to win but it hasn’t worked out. We had a really quick car at Spa last year but started one lap down due to the penalty; we still came through and nearly won. So we need to pick up from there and we will be in good shape. I’d love to win at Spa and that will be my target.” The 7km spa circuit is the second-longest on the WEC calendar (after Le Mans) and is considered one of the two home tracks for Toyota Gazoo Racing – the other being Fuji Speedway in Japan. The team recently completed a 4,000km test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, running the TS050 Hybrid in low-downforce trim in preparation for both the Spa race and the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. The action at Spa begins tomorrow (Thursday) with two 90-minute practice sessions. Qualifying will take place on Friday for the 35-car grid. The race will get under way at 12.30pm UK time on Saturday.
  3. Toyota will take the wraps off a revised top-of-the range version of its legendary Hilux pick-up at the Commercial Vehicle Show at the NEC, Birmingham, on 30 April The revised Hilux Invincible X sports design enhancements, with a dark grey and black theme. Available in the UK exclusively in Double Cab form, it features a grey smoked chrome finish for the upper front grille surround, fog lamp bezels, door and tailgate handles, door mirror casings, front and rear under-runs and rear bumper corners. The specification includes 18-inch alloy wheels, too, with a two-tone machined finish. The cabin has an all-black look, with the sense of quality reinforced by chrome instrument panel detailing and piano black inserts on the dashboard, door trims, steering wheel and gear shift. The driver’s instrument binnacle has a striking dial design with a white background and a central TFT multi-information display which presents a Hilux animation when the ignition is switched on. Even the key is specific to the model, featuring a silhouette sketch of the pick-up’s frontal design. For 2019, all Hilux models will be available with an enhanced Toyota Safety Sense package of active safety technologies. This includes Pre-Collision System with day and night-time pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection, high speed range Adaptive Cruise Control, Road Sign Assist and Lane Departure Alert with brake-induced steering assist (as Hilux uses a hydraulic power steering system, line corrections are applied by separate braking of the front/rear and right/left wheels). The 2019 Hilux model range will be on sale from August this year. UK pricing and further details will be launched nearer the on-sale date. Next week’s Commercial Vehicle Show will also feature the world debut of the all-new Toyota Proace City compact van.
  4. Rally Argentina opens a South American double-header this week (25 to 28 April), with each of Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team’s three drivers looking to repeat their past wins on the gravel event. It will be followed by the first WRC event to take place in Chile (9 to 12 May) The fifth round of the 2019 WRC, Rally Argentina is one of the calendar’s classic events, taking place on widely different gravel surfaces, from sandy valley roads to rocky mountain tracks. Watersplashes are common at river crossings, while fog can be a hazard on the higher routes. Kris Meeke, the Briton who scored his maiden WRC victory on the event in 2015, said: “I’ll be hoping to try and have a clean rally. Mexico and Corsica could have been a lot better for me, so I’m definitely looking to have a top result. I had three days of testing on gravel in Portugal last week and I think we’re in good shape for Rally Argentina. We’ve got five gravel events in a row coming up and they’re all rallies I go well on, aside from Chile which is new for everyone. As drivers, we won’t know exactly what we’re facing until we get to Chile and do the recce, but events in South America are always really well-supported with a great atmosphere, and I’m sure this one will be no different.” Meeke will be joined by his regular team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tänak. The rally follows its established format, based in the lakeside resort of Villa Carlos Paz, where the action begins on Thursday night with a Super Special stage. Most of Friday’s action is to the south in the Santa Rosa de Calamuchita Valley, while on Saturday the trio of Yaris WRC cars will move north-west to the Punilla Valley. Sunday’s route takes in three stages in the Traslasierra mountains, including two passes of the famous El Cóndor – the final one being the rally-ending Power Stage. Chile’s first WRC round will be based in the port city of Concepción and feature medium-fast stages on smooth and compact gravel roads through forests, together with some more open sections with views of the Pacific Ocean. Crews will have to make a full set of pace notes from scratch during the pre-event recce, and decide on a car setup without testing in Chile, in line with championship regulations. Rally Chile’s opening day will include two loops of three stages south of Concepción and will end with a stage through the city streets. A compact second day features three stages each run twice closer to the city. Sunday’s action comprises four stages, starting and finishing with a stage that begins by the Bio Bio river and ends at the Pacific coast. With a gap of less than two weeks between the two South American events, the team’s preparation is more complex and must take both rallies into account. They are defined as ‘linked rallies’ by the regulations, meaning that for cars classified in the final stage in Argentina, the same chassis, engine and transmissions (including spare transmissions) must also be used in Chile. Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal, said: “We didn’t get the results that we hoped for in our last rally in Corsica, but confidence in the team is high going into the next two events in South America. Argentina is, of course, a rally that everybody knows well, including our drivers. Ott was very strong there when he won for us last year, and I think he is feeling good about his chances again. I know it’s a rally that both Jari-Matti and Kris enjoy too. Chile is a bit of question mark for all the teams, but we understand that the road conditions should be very smooth, and I believe it should suit our car.”
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  6. More than 12,000 motorists have made the switch to a new Toyota by taking advantage of a generous scrappage scheme to dispose of their old vehicle and gain big savings on a cleaner, showroom-fresh model Such has been the response to the offer, Toyota is extending it for a further three months, giving customers more time and more opportunities to save up to £2,500 on a brand new car. For the coming quarter, the scheme focuses on the Aygo city car and petrol versions of the Yaris supermini with respective price tag savings of £2,000 and £2,500. Purchase is made even easier thanks to current finance offers for the Aygo x-trend and Yaris Icon Tech with nought per cent APR representative*. In outline, the scrappage scheme enables owners of cars and small commercial vehicles – both petrol and diesel – registered up to and including 30 June 2011, to trade in their vehicle against a qualifying new Toyota Aygo or petrol-engined Yaris. Customers must have owned their vehicle for a minimum of six months. Other terms and conditions apply; full details are available at or from Toyota retailers. All vehicles taken off the road through the Toyota scrappage scheme are processed at authorised treatment facilities managed by Autogreen. After the safe removal of all pollutants and the recovery of retrievable parts, shredding and recovery is handled by EMR. Together these processes meet the legal requirement of a minimum 95 per cent recycling by vehicle weight. *Subject to status, available to over-18s. Indemnities may be required. Terms and conditions apply, for full details go to or . Toyota Financial services.
  7. Toyota Gazoo Racing driver Fernando Alonso has completed a two-day evaluation test of the Dakar-winning Toyota Hilux Alonso, who currently leads the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) drivers’ standings alongside team-mates Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, spent two days learning the specific demands of rally raid during an exclusive test in the Kalahari Desert. Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa organised the test, in which Alonso tackled two routes in the Kalahari Desert, experiencing rally-raid driving for the first time. He was given expert guidance from Giniel de Villiers, a former Dakar winner and regular competitor for Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa. The Toyota Hilux which won the 2019 Dakar Rally, in the hands of Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel, is powered by a five-litre V8 engine that produces 380hp and 620Nm of torque. Alonso commented: “I followed the Dakar and thanks to Toyota Gazoo Racing I had the opportunity to come to South Africa to test the Dakar-winning Hilux. I have tested different series and different cars this past couple of years and this was a great chance. “It has been fun; certainly different to what I am used to driving, but very interesting. We built up speed slowly, learning lap after lap. It’s not easy to read the bumps and to know how much speed to carry but I became more confident each time. “The Hilux feels great; it has good grip and balance, lots of power and impressive braking. It felt incredible to drive this car.” Glyn Hall, Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa team principal, said: “It has been a fantastic experience for the team to work with a driver of Fernando’s calibre. It’s easy to see why he has enjoyed so much success in circuit racing; he was very well prepared for this test and made a huge effort to learn as much as possible in the two days. “Rally raid is a totally different discipline compared to circuit racing but Fernando made impressive progress and looked like he had a lot of fun in the process. I am proud that he chose to test a Toyota Hilux in South Africa and I hope it was a worthwhile experience for him.”
  8. Speed limiting technology looks set to become mandatory for all vehicles sold in Europe from 2022, after new rules were provisionally agreed by the EU Do you agree with this or not, will it save lives? Have your say in the poll 
  9. Speed limiting technology looks set to become mandatory for all vehicles sold in Europe from 2022, after new rules were provisionally agreed by the EU The Department for Transport said the system would also apply in the UK, despite Brexit. Campaigners welcomed the move, saying it would save thousands of lives. Road safety charity Brake called it a "landmark day", but the AA said "a little speed" helped with overtaking or joining motorways". Safety measures approved by the European Commission included intelligent speed assistance (ISA), advanced emergency braking and lane-keeping technology. The EU says the plan could help avoid 140,000 serious injuries by 2038 and aims ultimately to cut road deaths to zero by 2050. EU Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said: "Every year, 25,000 people lose their lives on our roads. The vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error. "With the new advanced safety features that will become mandatory, we can have the same kind of impact as when safety belts were first introduced." What is speed limiting technology and how does it work? Under the ISA system, cars receive information via GPS and a digital map, telling the vehicle what the speed limit is. This can be combined with a video camera capable of recognising road signs. The system can be overridden temporarily. If a car is overtaking a lorry on a motorway and enters a lower speed-limit area, the driver can push down hard on the accelerator to complete the manoeuvre. A full on/off switch for the system is also envisaged, but this would lapse every time the vehicle is restarted. How soon will it become available? It's already coming into use. Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot-Citroen, Renault and Volvo already have models available with some of the ISA technology fitted. However, there is concern over whether current technology is sufficiently advanced for the system to work effectively. In particular, many cars already have a forward-facing camera, but there is a question mark over whether the sign-recognition technology is up to scratch. Other approved safety features for European cars, vans, trucks and buses include technology which provides a warning of driver drowsiness and distraction, such as when using a smartphone while driving, and a data recorder in case of an accident. What does it all mean in practice? Theo Leggett, business correspondent The idea that cars will be fitted with speed limiters - or to put it more accurately, "intelligent speed assistance" - is likely to upset a lot of drivers. Many of us are happy to break limits when it suits us and don't like the idea of Big Brother stepping in. However, the new system as it's currently envisaged will not force drivers to slow down. It is there to encourage them to do so, and to make them aware of what the limit is, but it can be overridden. Much like the cruise control in many current cars will hold a particular speed, or prevent you exceeding it, until you stamp on the accelerator. So it'll still be a free-for-all for speeding motorists then? Not quite. Under the new rules, cars will also be fitted with compulsory data recorders, or "black boxes". So if you have an accident, the police and your insurance company will know whether you've been going too fast. If you've been keeping your foot down and routinely ignoring the car's warnings, they may take a very dim view of your actions. In fact, it's this "spy on board" which may ultimately have a bigger impact on driver behaviour than any kind of speed limiter. It's easy to get away with reckless driving when there's only a handful of traffic cops around to stop you. Much harder when there's a spy in the cab recording your every move. All of this may well reduce accidents, but it won't eliminate them. You can force people to slow down, you can watch what they're doing, you can help them with emergency braking - but you can't get rid of basic bad driving. Unless, of course, you have self-driving cars. How has the idea been received? The move was welcomed by the European Transport Safety Council, an independent body which advises Brussels on transport safety matters. But it said it could be several months before the European Parliament and Council formally approve the measures. The European Parliament will not be able to consider the provisional rules until after its elections take place in May. UK statistics show more than 1,700 people are killed on UK roads every year, while Brake says speed is a contributory factor in about a quarter of all fatal crashes. Brake's campaigns director, Joshua Harris, said: "This is a landmark day for road safety. These measures will provide the biggest leap forward for road safety this century." The UK's Department for Transport said: "We continuously work with partners across the globe to improve the safety standards of all vehicles. These interventions are expected to deliver a step-change in road safety across Europe, including the UK." The Association of British Insurers held out the possibility that premiums could be reduced as a result. It said: "Motor insurers support measures aimed at improving road safety. Any steps that can be shown to make our roads safer, reducing road crashes and insurance claims, can be reflected in the cost of motor insurance." HAVE YOUR SAY - VOTE IN THE POLL NOW!
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