Toyota celebrate 50 years in motorsport 16 Sep 2007
Half a century in motorsport is an impressive achievement. And on Saturday evening Toyota celebrated it in style, as Spas Paddock Club turned back time with a fantastic party, graced by Toyota heroes of the past and drivers of the present.
As the Japanese companys historic racing machines glistened under spotlights outside, inside Toyotas rallying history - with the likes of Ove Andersson and Bjorn Waldegaard - joined a whos who of Formula One, headed by Bernie Ecclestone, Renault team boss Flavio Briatore, Toyotas own John Howett, Red Bulls Christian Horner and Spykers Colin Kolles to share their views of Toyotas epic anniversary.
Tadashi Arashima, President of Toyota Europe, who flew in for the evening from the Frankfurt motor show, commented: Cars are objects of passion - and racing is the catalyst of that passion. That is why weve been committed for 50 years, and we are here to stay. Formula One is the pinnacle of that sport with its trendsetting technology and drive for precision. I will not promise another 50 years, but I can promise that we will stay until we have reached our goal.
Bernie Ecclestone added: I am delighted that Toyota is part of the Formula One family - and that they are committed to staying with us. And these 50 years that we celebrate tonight are significant proof of that commitment.
With the speeches and congratulations complete, the music took over and the guests retreated to more informal chat. The team principals made for a quite corner of the venue - discussions on 2008 driver line-ups perhaps?