Interview with Toshio Sato – President of TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH

Toshio Sato (52) since 2015 President of TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH in cologne. He joined TOYOTA in 1987 and has gathered diverse motorsports experience in a variety of functions. Now he visited a race of the TMG GT86 Cup at the Nürburgring and was impressed. The TMG President in an interview:

1. What is your background in motorsports?

Before I became President at TMG I was working in several departments at Toyota Motor Corporation, firstly related to engine and then hybrid development. But motorsport has been a big part of my career and I am proud to have worked on several different projects, including Le Mans cars as an engine designer on the TS010. I enjoyed working in the United States as part of TOYOTA’s Champ Car programme and I also previously had an assignment here at TMG, during Formula 1 times. 



2. Are you in general a fan of motorsports?


I like endurance racing a lot.  I am a big fan of this since the time when I started my endurance engine development job in Toyota in 1987. In private I really like watching motorsport; I enjoy Le Mans, F1, Moto GP. But I am really busy now so sometimes it is hard to watch all the different series. If I have the chance I like following motorsport, especially series where TOYOTA takes part.  I also like to be at the track and driving on my own.  One time I’d like to drive at the Nürburgring Nordschleife; but it would have to be with a good car. Maybe the new CS-Cup could be fun!



3. What are your impressions of TMG GT86 Cup?


The Nürburgring is a really nice and famous track in Europe and it’s good to see that everybody can drive there. For me it means that those cars and our Cup in general is part of a great series at an amazing track. I like seeing the TMG GT86 CS-V3 running at this track and that they are pretty quick and competitive.  I am very happy that our GT86 CS-V3 is providing the opportunity for enthusiasts to race in the entry level. This is a very important role to raise the excitement for Toyota cars. 



4. What are your impressions of the CS-V3 car?


Seeing so many CS-V3 cars at the track shows me that the car is popular and suits the needs of the customer. It offers great value for money and is still able to drive on the Nordschleife easily under 10 minutes – which is really impressive.



5. We have an own team in the VLN – TMG United – what do you think about the engagement of this guys?


As a motorsport company this is really good. The people in our company obviously love motorsport and not only those who are fighting in the works team in the World Endurance Championship. I find it really inspiring that some of our colleagues give up their time for this amateur motorsport and do everything on their own. The great part is that the TMG United members are not normally at the race track in their professional life, but they do such a great job at VLN races. They combine passion and commitment, which is a great mixture. 



6. Why is customer motorsport important for TMG?


In TMG our major job is fighting in works motorsport at the top category. But the purpose of Toyota’s motorsports activity is not just to win; we would like to create new fans and ever-better cars.  In customer motorsport it is nice to give everybody the possibility to drive a great car and also to tune the road car to be quick and fun. We want to make motorsport enjoyable not only for the top level of motorsport but for every enthusiast.