Like many other manufacturers, Toyota has a sports car development centre at the Nürburgring circuit in Germany. However, the President of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio 'Morizo' Toyoda, always wanted his own test track for sports and racing cars in Japan.

His dream has just been fulfilled with the opening last week of the brand new Toyota Technical Centre Shimoyama: "It's about driving on the roads, breaking and fixing... doing that over and over again is the way to make better cars," Toyoda explained. And he debuted it by flipping a GR Yaris

Inspired by the Nürburgring circuit, the Shimoyama complex has tracks of all kinds: a five-kilometre straight to test top speeds, a street circuit designed to test autonomous vehicles, road sections that simulate the asphalt of different parts of the world, and even a rally circuit for driving on dirt. That's where Toyoda rolled over (see video below).

Gallery: Toyota GR Yaris 2024

The facility was built in cooperation with Toyota and the city of Okazaki in Aichi Prefecture. The first dirt track of the complex was built in 2019 and the first test track was completed in 2021.

The first to use the complex were engineers from Lexus and Toyota Gazoo Racing, for the development of their sportiest models. The inauguration included a display of the vehicle overturned by 'Morizo'.

"The cars are driven around the test track and return to the workshops when they break down. The engineers run down from the first floor and everyone discusses how to fix it. Having everyone in one place means more agile development," Toyoda explained.

"Opening the Shimoyama complex is not a goal. It's a start. This is where we can do what we always wanted to do, but couldn't do because we had to travel too far with our models and engineers, so this is where we start to figure out how to use this facility," added Morizo.

The video of the inauguration of Shimoyama can be seen below.