Interview Driver


Describe NEW GR Supra in one word,
its an amazing sports car for everybody

Q.What is the purpose of the NEW GR Supra at the Nürburgring 24 hours Race?
From our side, we supposed to make better cars. It is a chance to make a proper NEW GR Supra race car.
TOYOTA has much more quality than other brands. TOYOTA make street car first, and then develop racing car. Other companies are doing the opposite way. So first they make a proper race car, and then they go to the street car.
Q.Can you describe your own passion to drive the NEW GR Supra?
The passion for me is the dream to race for GAZOO. That’s number 1. Next is love for TOYOTA and Lexus. In addition to these, drive beautiful looking car to race on Nordschleife. That’s the dream.
Q.What is your favorite part of NEW GR Supra after you drove it?
My favorite part is the looks of the car. It looks very sporty but has a completely new design. It's not like a super sport car, but it developed by mixing of various car element. That is also my favorite part. When I see that race car with rear wings and front spoilers it looks like a middle-class sporty car. It’s very nice to looks and the touch. It is completely new model.
I did some laps today and yesterday and thought it is brilliant. Maybe needs some small work in the setup for breaking and tires. It is very easy to drive. It is made for customer racing I would say. It's comfortable and easy to handle. I think it is normal race driver friendly car. It's really easy to drive with this kind of engine power and control, the gear shifting.
Q.If you could describe NEW GR Supra in one word, what would that be?
An amazing super sports car for everybody.
Q.Why do you think it’s for everybody?
I think if you talk about super sports cars like Porsche or Ferrari, you need a big budget for that. So it will be a dream for everybody but it's not possible to buy the kind of cars for everybody. In this price range, everybody can buy NEW GR Supra. It’s not so expensive for a super sports car, but it's a super sports car.
Q: Do you think that normal people could drive it as well?
Yes, it is very easy to drive. The main setup the TME did on the Nordschleife is amazing. Anybody can do it.
Q.Do you have any memories with the old Supra?
Yes, a little bit. I didn’t have the budget to buy a car at the time. But, when the Supra came onto the market, there are no other car run faster than Supra. That’s what I remember.
Q.Did you want to own one?
Yes, but at the time, prices were so high and it was not possible to buy for me. Also, the steering wheel on the righthand side which made for left lane driving. This is not common in Germany. There were some UK and Japanese cars with steering wheel on the righthand side. However, many of those cars were over-tuned, not like the Supra. So yes, if I could have one, I would want one.

Nürburgring 24 hours race fascinating point is feeling of unity

Q.Are you quite familiar with the Nürburgring, have you raced many times here?
I’ve raced here for 20 years. It’s my home. when I drive other race tracks after 2 laps, I felt like “Ok, I want to move next”. But I never make a perfect lap on Nordschleife for so many years.
Q.What do you think the meaning of NEW GR Supra is with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing?
For me it’s the next step after the beautiful GT86. That was for me also one really nice street and racing car. And it is the next step to have a more sporty car. For TOYOTA it is important to have a car with emotions.
Q.The Nürburgring 24 hours race is called the harshest race in the world, how is it harsh?
First, it's a mix of the cars. It's the only race in the world that you have cars with 150 horsepower and GT3s with 500 horsepower. We have a mix of drivers, highly professional drivers and professional amateurs. Second is the area. The lowest point is around 300 meters and the highest is around 700 meters, course has huge different in height. Besides, weather in Nürburgring is quite unsettled and situation changes so many times during 24 hours race. There are no other places like here.
Q.What do you think the most fascinating point of the Nürburgring 24 hours race as a viewer is?
The feeling of unity. Here is a mix of the cars and a mix of the drivers, highly professional drivers and amateurs. It's like being with family. You can come into the pit, you can touch the cars. You can even talk to the drivers. People can feel like they are part of the team. No other race in Europe, cannot do it like this. Around the Nürburgring it's a real big party with barbecues, you can smell sausages. It's a mix of everything. It has worm atmosphere that you can feel the unity as if you were with your family. It's a family race. That’s the reason people like here.

Driving NEW GR Supra
on the Nürburgring was perfect

Q.How was it driving the Supra on the Nürburgring?
It was perfect. Normally, it is little bit difficult to drive in early development phase car. But I went out for laps, I found it was stable and so easy to control. I can push the car to the maximum limit so easily. I felt really good car was developed. It’s unbelievable for this kind of car.
Q.Do you think NEW GR Supra can drive in the 24 hours race?
Yes, I know it can. It’s a TOYOTA’s car.
Q.How do you feel it was different from other cars that you drove?
The basic setup was so easy. Normally when you bring a new car to the race track, it starts with a lot of work to setup and making small adjustments. With this car, we had less work, just sit in and go. It’s amazing what the basic setup can do. I checked some lap times and the car was very fast.
Q.We heard that you were saying TOYOTA developed normal cars first then make racing cars. Do you think doing something like this with Supra would be popular?
I think so. It will need some time. People today check before they buy a car for reliability. Supra has racing car ride quality and looks. It will be a nice product for customers who want to drive on track or race but also for people who only want to enjoy the same feeling at normal speeds.
Q.The Supra is coming back the Nürburgring for the 24 hours race. How do you want people to see the Supra?
First I think it is important that they can touch and feel the car and think “ok, this is my next car”. Also important thing is that they understand high quality Japanese product. If you look at other brands, they only try to sell as many cars as possible and lose the quality. But if you look at TOYOTA or LEXUS, it's completely different than the other brands. They understand it is important to take care of the customer. This is important point. The other point is people will recognize this car as next generation of sports car. If you look at a GT3 car today, it has nothing to do with a streetcar and people understand that. It is a proper race car for circuit but not the car they want. NEW GR Supra or GT4 is different. It is a race car but at the same time, people would image that they can be driven on the highway.
Q.Do you think the viewers will see that quality while the car is being driven at Nürburgring?
Yes, 24 hours race is most severe race in the world. To finish the race, the product has to be really good, everybody around the world understand it.
Q.Fans from Japan came to watch 24 hours race, do you have a message for them?
The Japanese are always welcome in Germany. For Germany, Japan is like a brother country. We hope that the Japanese enjoy Germany and the 24 hours race. We want you to feel how we enjoy racing and race cars.