Toyota Boss to Race at the 2013 Nürburgring 24-Hour Race

Akio Toyoda, the CEO of the world’s largest automaker, will drive a Toyota at the Nürburgring 24-hour race later this month, a company spokesman said, according to the Japan Times.

It won’t be the first time he races on the notorious Nordschleife track, as he entered the world-class event twice before, in 2007 and 2009. However, there’s a big difference between 2009 and 2013: back then, Toyoda was the vice-president of Toyota Motor Corporation while now he’s the big boss.

Known for his passion of motor sport, Toyoda will be one of a team of four driving a Toyota car at the Nürburgring circuit on May 19 and 20. At his first participation since becoming Toyota CEO in June 2009, Toyoda will not race for his own enjoyment only.

“It’s not merely a private activity,” the spokesman said, according a report from the AFP. “This is part of the company’s effort to produce good cars by judging the performance of our production under such severe conditions.”

While this is clearly a PR stunt, it’s a natural one given Toyoda’s genuine passion for racing. In 2009, his team finished the race in 87th place in a field of some 170 cars. While the car Toyoda drove four years ago was a wild Lexus LF-A supercar, this year, he may settle for something more down-to-earth. We don’t know yet what model he’ll get to drive, but a Toyota GT-86 should be good enough.

By Dan Mihalascu

PHOTO GALLERY

Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation, enjoys one of the questions brought to him while speaking at the Center of Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, MI, Wednesday August 5, 2009, said “we must reinvent the automobile.” Toyoda, whose grandfather founded the company, will launch a plug-in hybrid late this year followed by a pure electric vehicle in 2012. Photo: Joe Polimeni/Toyota
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