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Heritage Supras celebrated at Toyota Festival

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With a much-anticipated fifth generation Toyota Supra on its way, Toyota took the opportunity at its recent Toyota Festival to celebrate the previous four Supra generations.

Hundreds of Toyota fans and Supra owners descended on north Waikato’s Hampton Downs Motorsport Park on 30 March to celebrate the 2019 Toyota Festival.

Among them was Ralph Veneracion who has owned his 1986 Toyota MA61 Celica Supra P-Type for almost eight years. Ralph’s white Celica Supra was a pre-cursor to the famous Toyota sportscar with an inline six-cylinder turbo-charged engine in the front and Supra badge on the back.

Bringing his classic car to the Toyota Festival paid off for Ralph as a photo of him with his pride and joy was voted best in an online poll. This won him a ticket to the 2019 Toyota Supra launch later this year.

Ralph has been a Toyota fan for as long as he can remember. His dad has owned a rare New Zealand-built 1986 Corolla AE82 GT since 1991. He now cherishes that Chris Amon-inspired Corolla although as a kid he loathed its leather seats which were cold in winter and hot and sticky in summer.

“To reflect on the Supra; to have a car that can trace its heritage back to the 2000GT and embody performance and that Toyota reliability is amazing. For a 30+ year old car, it still turns heads and excites me and the people that see it,” says Ralph, who will keep it for his two-year-old son to drive one day.

Although, maybe by then Ralph will be in a fifth generation Supra. The knowledge and know-how Toyota has built up over the years have been funnelled into bringing the Supra back to life in the form of the GR Supra, as a car that people the world over will find fun to drive.

Ever since the Supra's inception in 1978, all generations have been front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicles powered by an inline six-cylinder engine. The latest rendition is no exception. This time around, extensive attention has also been paid to the three fundamental elements of wheelbase, tread, and centre of gravity, thus achieving handling performance befitting a pure sports car.

Now in its seventh year, the Toyota Festival has become an annual highlight for enthusiasts of the company and its wide variety of sports and performance models, 4WDs, SUVs and even humble previous generation bestselling models in mint condition like the Corolla.

“The Festival is our way of saying thank you to the wider Toyota family for supporting us and giving something back to them,” says Andrew Davis, Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Marketing.

“The variety of models they bring along seems to increase every year. And with the passing of time we inevitably are getting a small number of older and increasingly rare models.”

A variety of activities were available for enthusiasts including laps of the track in their own Toyota, track sessions and tuition with Toyota Racing New Zealand expert drivers, or drift sessions on the club circuit.

The popular off-road course gave 4WD owners a chance to try out their vehicle with expert tuition.