In 2017, Toyota’s Thai division made the bold decision to race at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, a gruelling endurance race even for the most seasoned teams. The Toyota Team Thailand, as it was known back then, did complete the event – an impressive feat in and of itself, even if it did finish last in its Super Production 3 (SP3) class and second to last overall.

Over the next few years, the outfit, now called the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Thailand, improved its competitiveness and began to climb the standings, finishing on the podium in 2016 and 2019. Last year, it achieved a breakthrough by clinching not only its first victory but also a 1-2 finish in the latest Corolla Altis.


The team repeated its success at last weekend’s race, with the #120 car driven by Taiwan’s Chen Jian Hong, Japan’s Naoki Kawamura and Thai national Grant Supaphongs taking the class win and finishing 79th overall. The all-Thai team of Nattavude Charoensukhawatana, Nattapong Hortongkum, Manat Kulapalanont and Suttipong Smittachartch took the final step of the podium in the #119 car, two laps down in 87th overall.

Granted, there were only five entrants in the class (one of which was the legendary Opel Manta “Flying Fox” that crashed out of the race), which permits cars with naturally-aspirated engines between 1,750 cc and 2,000 cc. But a win is a win, something that is hard to achieve in the tricky conditions at the Green Hell.

The fact that the team from the Land of Smiles has done it twice in a row is even more commendable given the Japanese TGR team‘s own struggles in the past. In case you were wondering, Toyota decided not to participate in the two most recent editions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 race saw particularly treacherous weather due to rain and fog, the latter causing a lengthy 14-hour overnight stoppage that resulted in the event’s shortest running yet. Just 59 laps were completed by the overall winning team of Matteo Cairoli, Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre in the Manthey Racing #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R.

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