|Toyota´s Giniel de Villiers honoured at Goodwood Festival of Speed.|
Taking the honour of honours amongst a full house of legendary drivers, Giniel de Villiers and his Dakar Racing Toyota Hilux was honoured with the Driver's Award at this year's "Goodwood Festival of Speed". It was the 20th time that this legendary event was held in England.
De Villiers (41) drove the Hilux on hot laps on the 4 km Goodwood forest stage and was chosen by marshals and the clerk of the course as the most exciting driver on the weekend. This award would have surprised few as Giniel and his special red-painted Hilux was fourth fastest of all contenders on the forest stage and was only beaten by three World Rally Championship (WRC) cars.
"The guys really liked the bakkie," says Giniel of the spectators and the handful of co-drivers lucky enough to make it into the Hilux. "I had the Hilux on two wheels on Friday and I guess that people really enjoyed that."
Giniel returned to Goodwood after a first taste in 2012. "We come here to have some fun and showcase the Dakar Racing Hilux, yet in some sense it is also the spiritual start to our Dakar campaign, which will start in full force at the end of this month in the Namib desert," says Giniel.
Toyota Imperial South Africa Dakar team principal Glyn Hall was on hand to monitor Giniel's driving. "Giniel's driving at Goodwood makes me very excited about our upcoming tests in Namibia. We have a large number of changes and improvements to test and it will give us a good idea of what our chances are in the 2014 Dakar."
While the Hilux conquered the famed forest stage, Toyota showcased its rich racing heritage on tarmac as well. Featured amongst the line-up of great racing cars and drivers were all three recent generations of Toyota's works Le Mans racers, notably the TS030 Hybrid that finished 2nd in this year's gruelling 24 hour race. Drivers Alex Wurz and Anthony Davidson were on hand to pilot this racing car up the famed slopes of Goodwood.
Other Toyota legends included the GT-One Le Mans car of 1998 and 1999 that was reunited with drivers Martin Brundle and Emanuel Collard, several racing Celica models, the last works-entered Toyota Corolla WRC and a classic AE86 to stand alongside a special Toyota 86 model – the FT86 Open concept.
"The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an amazing show," says Giniel "So many great and historic racing cars and drivers are on hand and the atmosphere is incredible. If you love cars, you have to attend this festival at least once in your life." An estimated 150 000 people attended the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
2013/07/17 | 19:58 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/JACKSON