The other day, I participated as Morizo in the Nürburgring VLN 4-hour endurance race.
In fact, it's been a long time since Morizo drove on the circuit. Since leaving the circuit three years ago, I've been participating in rallies only.
As the new Supra entered the final stages of development, someone suggested I do a test drive on the circuit, so I took it for a drive at Nürburgring in July and started preparing myself. Come to think of it, 20 years ago, when Naruse san extended an invitation to me to start my driving training, the car I drove was a Supra (A80).
When I first drove at Nürburgring, I still remember clearly how desperate I felt when I finally made it to the pit, after constantly looking at the tail lamp and rearview mirror of Naruse san's car driving in front of me.
"Even if you participate in the race, don’t ‘race’.” These were the words Naruse san said to me before the race.
At Nürburgring, where various vehicles with different specifications race, in order to safely conduct vehicle development tests, the ability to successfully allow others coming from behind to “overtake” you becomes important.
Twenty years ago, Naruse san taught me this skill thoroughly. At that time, there is something that Naruse san told me during our training at Nürburgring:
"Look at the German vehicle manufacturers. They are testing their new cars under development on the Nürburgring circuit. On the contrary, Toyota is using a Supra that has already had its production ended.
Someday, I want to try out a machine that is under development at Nürburgring.”
Naruse san, I have finally come to Nürburgring with the new Supra. All your team members are here together. With that in mind, I will drive and try out the new Supra.
Just as you taught me, I will let the vehicles coming from behind overtake me, without changing my speed or route. Even though I am in this race, I will not “race.” Naruse san, there is one more thing I want to report…
During this race, grease leaked from the drive shaft of the Supra in the last hour of the race.
The team members that you, Naruse san, raised desperately helped to repair the car.
Now, because they are hardened veterans, their attitude when they handle the car is unchanged from the days under your tutelage. They continue to set a great example for younger mechanics.
We are all running this race with the aim of “creating ever-better cars,” with our hearts as one. Having returned to Nürburgring after a long absence, there is one thing I felt again.
I was reminded that it is impossible to make ever-better cars unless we are put in an extreme situation.
Also, I realized once again that as a master driver, Nürburgring is one road that no one should avoid.
I think that is why you, Naruse san, asked me to race at Nürburgring. Naruse san, you continued to drive on and learn from Nürburgring until the very end.
As Morizo, I am also committed to continue driving on and learning from this road with our friends. Nürburgring reminds me of our founding principles of making ever-better cars.
*This content was posted on the company intranet on October 31, 2018.