Trulli and Glock unveil the Toyota iQ at Spa 06 Sep 2008
The Belgian Grand Prix is always a special race for Toyota, not least because the Japanese car manufacturer has its European headquarters in Brussels. As a result the team seems to make a habit of hosting special events at the Spa-Francorchamps Paddock Club. Last year it was a celebration of Toyotas 50 years in motorsport. On Friday evening it was a sneak preview of a very special new Toyota.
A revolutionary new small road car, the iQ combines limousine-like sophistication with the speed and handling characteristics of a family saloon - but boasts the measurements of a micro car. While the rest of the world will have to wait until the Paris motorshow in a months time to see the it, the lucky few at Spa got to check out the iQ early.
The guest list was something of a whos-who of Formula One racing, with those in attendance including Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone, Renaults Flavio Briatore, McLarens Ron Dennis, BMW Saubers Mario Theissen, Force Indias Vijay Mallya, Williams Adam Parr - and of course Toyotas John Howett with both his drivers, Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli.
There was an air of surprise when the covers came off the iQ. The question that immediately arose: is it really possible that four people can fit into such an apparently miniscule machine? It quickly became clear the answer is yes. And how does it feel to sit in the rear seat? Ecclestone was the first to give it a try. Plenty of space! he said. And not just for someone of my size - even Flavio would fit in perfectly. A very smart car!
Music for the occasion was provided by the Electric Quartet, four gorgeous and fashionably-attired young ladies, who played classical tunes that moved many, while the culinary side of the event was taken care of by Paddock Club catering. And the wine? That was supplied by none other than Jarno Trulli, who is an avid wine producer in his free time.
We are maintaining our tradition of adding a lifestyle component to the Belgian Grand Prix, commented Jozef Vandecruys, General Manager of Toyotas Marketing Operations Division. Watch out for what we have to show you in a year from now!