Morizo's Long-Awaited Conversation with Jari-Matti Latvala - 40 Minutes of Smiles


During their chat, the pair arrange a driving duel in Japan and Finland. A win for Latvala may come with a bonus prize!

President Akio Toyoda is not shy about being a fan of a certain rally driver. He talks about it all the time, in fact.

“I need to catch up with him for a good chat – and hopefully you can put it on Toyota Times! It would be great.”

That long-awaited conversation finally took place in late 2021.

Akio’s rally-driving idol is none other than Jari-Matti Latvala. Joining Toyota on the team’s 2017 return to the World Rally Championship (WRC), his driving brought home a win in just the second round.

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 2022 team setup announcement featured a GR Yaris WRC Rally1 demo run by Akio (left) and TGR World Rally Team Principal Latvala (right) Photo: Noriaki Mitsuhashi/N-RAK PHOTO AGENCY

Having retired from driving, Latvala became the team principal in 2021. In that first year, he led Toyota to a clean sweep of the WRC, winning the driver, co-driver, and team titles.

“Hi, Jari-Matti!”
“Hello Akio-san!”
So began the pair’s conversation, with smiles all round.

After some 40 minutes, the conversation turned to an interesting wager.

The pair would face off in two driving duels in 2022, in Finland and Japan. A win for Latvala would allow him to return to WRC driving. He would also take home the very same Yaris WRC car he once drove in competition.

Akio explains in the video:

We’ll share this around the world via Toyota Times, so stay tuned. How will the showdown unfold? Will Jari-Matti beat Morizo and reclaim the driver’s seat? And will he be able to display the bonus-prize WRC machine in his personal museum? I want everyone to enjoy following the action throughout the year!

Morizo vs. Jari-Matti Latvala. At Toyota Times, we’re certainly keen to see this project underway!

We hope that our readers will watch the video and share the excitement about making this showdown a reality.

If you make your voices heard, these plans made partly in jest have a real chance of coming true. Akio is one to make such things happen.

Be sure to check out the video!