Toyota Vios Challenge celebrity racers trying their hand at the simulated race of the Toyota Velocity eSports championship.
SHAH ALAM: UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd is calling all virtual racers to participate in the second phase of its Toyota Gazoo Racing Online Challenge.
“The COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted the physical aspect of motor-racing but there is no reason why the spirit of competition cannot continue virtually. Gazoo Racing is a philosophy that extends beyond the racing track and that was precisely why we pursued an online presence,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia’s chief motorsports officer Akio Takeyama.
Takeyama, who is also deputy chairman of UMW Toyota Motor said that the Toyota Gazoo Racing Online Challenge was also a natural extension to the company’s existing Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship and underlines the company’s commitment to not only bring motorsports to the masses but to make it more accessible and affordable.
The second phase of the online challenge, which is also the finale, will be held on July 12 and will see the top challengers from the first phase go head-to-head for a final showdown to become the fastest sim-racers in the country.
The final challenge will be a mini four-round championship and each round will feature iconic race cars that include the Gran Turismo exclusive Toyota GT86 Gr. B Rally Car.
Top sim-racers will face each other in a reverse-grid format at some of the world’s iconic circuits including the Red Bull Ring as well as the Autodromo De Interlagos.
As for the remainder of year, the company is currently in the planning phase of the third instalment of the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship which will take place sometime between August and September this year (confirmed details to be announced soon).
Additionally, in October, Toyota Motor Asia Pacific will also be organizing its inaugural GR Supra GT Cup Asia 2020 regional esports competition.
The GR Supra GT Cup Asia 2020 will see qualifying rounds held in Malaysia (through the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship), Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines and India from
July to September to select the top three virtual racers who will represent their respective nations at the regional finale.
The first competition phase was held from April 23 to May 21 as virtual racers engaged in heated wheel-to-wheel exchanges on Sony Playstation's popular racing game - Gran Turismo Sport which had prize monies amounting to RM7,500 spread throughout five different international virtual circuits.
The company's redirected its efforts to virtual racing due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic which caused the Movement Control Order to come into effect on Mar 18 - causing the fourth season of the Toyota Vios Challenge one-make race series to be all but abandoned.
UMW Toyota Motor president Ravindran K said that the pandemic had presented both challenges and opportunities which has propelled e-sports to the forefront at an unprecedented scale and has fuelled the company's momentum into pursuing an aggressive e-sports agenda in the country.
“Simulator racing has had a profound impact on Malaysian e-sports, appealing to both gamers and racing drivers proving that it is an excellent conduit between the virtual and physical realms in motor-racing. As an automotive brand, Toyota in Malaysia is today in a position of strength being in the forefront of both spectrum - with a strong virtual racing presence,” said UMW Toyota Motor president Ravindran K.