Toyota Festival, hosted by none other than Toyota New Zealand themselves, is the biggest single-manufacturer track day of the year, and one of the only events that you’ll find an old KP Starlet on track side-by-side with the Lexus LFA.
After shifting base down to Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell for the 2016 date, the Festival returns to the north at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park’s International Circuit for the April 1 event.
The twist this year is that the event will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Toyota Corolla in New Zealand — Toyota New Zealand has invited the entire Corolla family, and all other Toyota enthusiasts, to get out for track and drifting sessions, car displays, giveaways, 4x4 driving, competitions, and a dedicated area for Corolla owners to display their vehicles.
You know what that means, right? Rows upon rows of AE86s, FX-GTs, Levins, Truenos, and all the other badass models within the family.
“Over the years we have been fortunate enough to have Toyota models that have appealed to New Zealand motorists who have ultimately become enthusiasts … from the legendary AE86, MR2, Celica to the new 86,” said Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Used Vehicles and Marketing, Andrew Davis.
“The Toyota Festival lets us celebrate these models, our customers, and is our way of saying thanks and giving back to those drivers.”
Toyota are also introducing a Motorkhana comp for the first time this year. The timed, skill-based run will be around a tight-coned course, so as not to reach silly speeds, but a good level of driver skill will still be required.
The 2.9km national circuit — which most of you will already be aware, is used for most big-time race meetings, which include the likes of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series and the Toyota Racing 86 Championship — will be used for the track-attack sessions, while those who have their heart set on drifting can make good use of the 1.2km club circuit.
For those lucky enough to be selected, a limited amount of exclusive laps will be on offer for ‘yota owners to get out on the 3.8km International Circuit.
Don’t sweat it if you ain’t into the high-speed carry-on, as the crowd favourite show & shine comp also returns to pick out the best of the best. Toyota’s legendary four-wheel drives aren’t forgotten either with a 4x4 course for those who want to get down and dirty.
Coming into the festival's fifth year, after being started in 2013 by a group of Toyota 86 owners as a track event for club members, it has quickly grown into the biggest individual marque track day of the year — last year more than 400 ‘yotas attended the Highlands event!
Registration is available online with full event information. Entry and parking is free and all entrants are eligible to win a prize — register here.