On Saturday, September 7, Akio Toyoda donned his Morizo uniform as he participated in the Mazda-backed "Media Roadster 4 Hours Endurance Race."
As the name suggests, the race is known for allowing only one type of vehicle – the Mazda Roadster (known as the MX-5 in some markets).
The race participants are all "motor journalists," people who report on vehicles for a variety of media such as magazines, online news sites, or broadcast/radio. The race is exclusive, and by nature of the event, people other than motor journalists are not allowed to participate.
This race also has a long history. It started from birth of Mazda’s Roadster in 1989, marking its 30th anniversary this year.
The truth be told, Akio had been aware of this race for many years, and has always secretly wanted to join it. He refrained, however, because he belongs to a different, non-media company.
However, this year, in January, the company launched Toyota Times.
Toyota Times is an owned media channel that covers Toyota’s activities and news.
With the start of this media channel, Akio thought that it might finally be possible to join this race, that is if they could do it as a Toyota Times team.
It was right around that time that an offer came from Mazda. Mazda was hosting a special event in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the race.
Upon seeing their invitation, Akio said: "We have no option to decline their offer!"
In other words, he accepted their offer with no hesitation!
After accepting the offer, on the day of the event, Toyota Times was on-site to cover the President of Toyota driving a Mazda Roadster in the race.
Prior to starting the race, when asked what his goal for the race is, Morizo said, "I intend to be a driver!"
Later on when asked about this statement, he mentioned that he made the remark, a phrase used often by Mazda in their communication in Japan, as a way to show his sincere gratitude to all the members of Mazda.
To everyone at Mazda – thank you very much indeed!