Toyota President Akio Toyoda appeared on the big screens at Suzuka Circuit on Fan Appreciation Day. Speaking as one of the fans, he shared an attachment stronger than most.
The Suzuka Circuit held its 60th Anniversary Fan Appreciation Day event on March 5 and 6.
The renowned circuit (operated by Honda Mobilityland) is in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, which is also home to a Honda plant, and was built by the company’s founder, Soichiro Honda.
The Fan Appreciation Day opening featured a video message from car enthusiast Morizo, alter ego of Toyota President Akio Toyoda.
Those who saw the message shared their thoughts on social media, saying things like, “He’s someone who truly loves cars and motorsports,” “It’s great to see the boundaries between manufacturers blurred like this,” and “That was a classy comment.”
Akio says that he comes to drive the Suzuka Circuit even when he’s not racing.
Why choose the Suzuka Circuit over Toyota’s own Fuji Speedway in Oyama, Shizuoka? Akio shared his reason in his message.
Below is the full text of the Toyota president’s message about the Honda circuit.
Good morning to everyone here at Suzuka Circuit. It’s Morizo.
On my seventh birthday, my father took me to the first-ever Japanese Grand Prix. That is my earliest memory of visiting Suzuka.
It was probably a birthday present from my father—a present filled with the noise of loud engines and the smell of gasoline.
All the adults running around the paddock that day seemed to be having a great deal of fun…
Those first sensory experiences have lived within me since then, helping to create the petrolhead Morizo of today.
I’m sure there are also many children here today with their fathers and mothers.
I hope this day creates unforgettable memories for those children, as well.
I know it’s a little late, but congratulations to Honda on winning last year’s F1 championship!
That final lap by drivers’ champion Max Verstappen was truly something to behold! I also look forward to big things from Yuki Tsunoda (the only Japanese driver currently competing in Formula 1, and a Honda supported driver)!
It was unfortunate that Tsunoda couldn’t race in the Japanese Grand Prix last year. Our rally driver Takamoto Katsuta also missed out on Rally Japan (scheduled for late last year, but canceled due to the pandemic).
If the Olympics (five rings) are possible, why not two or four rings (or rather wheels)? Let’s hope for spectacular races in Japan this year.
I am actually a member of the Suzuka Motor Sports Club, the SMSC. Why? Because it’s the nearest circuit to my home.
Suzuka is a really challenging course. Nowhere else am I so afraid to step on the gas.
It feels as though the course’s creator, Soichiro Honda, is telling me, “You’ve still got a long way to go.”
This year’s Super Taikyu Series starts and finishes in Suzuka. I certainly need the practice, so I hope to sneak in some more Suzuka sessions before then.
To Honda and Mobilityland, I thank you for always welcoming me here at my local circuit. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it in person today.
To all the car fans, motorbike fans, and of course Suzuka fans who have come out today, let’s enjoy another great year of motorsports!
On behalf of my fellow SMSC members, that’s all from Morizo.