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How Walter Boyce scored Toyota’s first WRC victory

Over more than two decades, Team Toyota Europe (the precursor to Toyota Gazoo Racing) established the brand as a force in the World Rally Championship (WRC), beginning with Hannu Mikkola’s 1975 victory in Finland. Less widely known is that Toyota’s first WRC win was achieved by two Canadians rallying in the USA, in the very…

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Over more than two decades, Team Toyota Europe (the precursor to Toyota Gazoo Racing) established the brand as a force in the World Rally Championship (WRC), beginning with Hannu Mikkola’s 1975 victory in Finland. Less widely known is that Toyota’s first WRC win was achieved by two Canadians rallying in the USA, in the very first year that the World Championship was contested. At the Press-on-Regardless (POR) Rally in 1973, Walter Boyce and co-driver Doug Woods steered their privately entered Corolla 1600 Coupé to victory on the roads of Michigan.

Walter had already won the first of five straight Canadian national rally championships when in May 1971, he bought a Corolla from Toyota Canada to compete in the British Columbia Centennial Rally. He retired from the gruelling Trans-Canada event after a problem surfaced with the engine mounts, but fixed the issue and won the Canadian championship for Toyota that year.

As a privateer, Walter and his crew prepared the car themselves, using the facilities of local Toyota dealer, Jacquot Motors. By 1973, Walter had his second Corolla and had upgraded the engine to a 2T-B with twin downdraught carburettors, added a fifth gear and modified the front suspension. The finishing touch was a wider set of steel wheels from an early Chevrolet Corvair.

Walter and Doug were fresh from victory on the Critérium du Québec when they headed south of the border for the ’73 edition of the prestigious POR, where they had competed each year since 1969.

Work commitments kept Walter away from the recce, during which Doug made pace notes with another Canadian driver, Randy Black, who would later win two Canadian championships of his own. Doug was familiar with pace notes from having rallied in Europe that summer but remarkably, when Walter took the POR start on Halloween in Detroit’s Belle Isle, it would be the first time he had used them.

The Press-on-Regardless rally was a World Championship event, but of the European-based factory teams, only the Polski-Fiat outfit made the transatlantic trip. A win was there for the taking, but far from assured on the tough road conditions of Lower Michigan and its Upper Peninsula.

Read more Toyota’s 1970s rallying legacy

“The Michigan truck trails were opened for the logging industry,” Walter remembers. “They were natural roads and had some extremely sandy spots, usually in Lower Michigan. You always wanted to put those soft sections behind you because they could be challenging, but I didn’t mind the sand. If you came across a really deep rut, then you just didn’t put your wheels in it. And you didn’t lift off. The ruts could be rails to keep you on the road!”

The 1973 POR was a test of endurance as well as speed. Crews had to tackle no fewer than 80 special stages over four days of competition and a 1,700-mile route. The previous year’s rally had been won by a four-wheel-drive Jeep Wagoneer, but this time both of the works-supported Jeeps retired.

“Doug assured me that we were going to win,” Walter continues. “He was an outstanding mentor, team manager, coach, and co-driver. He had every confidence that I could do as he directed through the pace notes, keep us both safe and go like hell!

“The POR had a reputation for biting people, and it was not until after the very last stage of the rally that I started to feel comfortable. All we had to do was complete the road section to the finish, but then we had a problem when a small, $2 heater hose failed. My crew chief, Robin Tyler, had trouble getting the hose on. In the end, I just jammed it on.”

The #110 Corolla survived, and Walter and Doug took the victory ramp to claim theirs and Toyota’s first WRC victory.

“We had achieved something unique,” says Walter Boyce. “Almost immediately I received a congratulatory telegram from Toyota in Japan. My wife Leslie and I enjoyed a wonderful couple of weeks there as Toyota’s guests. I’m not sure why Doug wasn’t invited, but he should have been – my success at the POR could not have happened without him. I remember struggling home through customs with about 40kg of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) parts in each piece of hand luggage!”

In a contemporary event report, Motor Sport magazine said of Walter Boyce’s performance on the 1973 POR: “Boyce is no big fish in a small pond; he is a smooth, tidy, fast driver who ought to do very well indeed if given the opportunity to broaden his horizons and pit his ability against that of European professionals.”

Walter never got his chance in a works car against the world elite, but for ’74 he built a twin-cam Toyota Celica with which he contested the two North American rounds of the WRC – the POR and Canada’s Rally of the Rideau Lakes. At the latter, he and British co-driver Stuart Gray finished third behind rally greats, Sandro Munari and Simo Lampinen.

Walter later sold the custom-built Celica to Toyota Canada, for whom Taisto Heinonen won Canadian championships, before rallying a number of different machines on both sides of the border. In 1986, his last season before retirement, Walter won Group A of the US-based SCCA Pro Rally Championship and a Group A North American Championship. He was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2003.

Speaking to us from his home in Ottawa, Walter Boyce looks back on his time rallying Toyotas with great fondness.

“The Corolla was a very balanced car, very responsive, and the quality of assembly was very high,” he says. “The car was overbuilt – you could put 50% more horsepower or stress through any component it without concern about lubrication, or a connecting rod issue, or weakness of anything at all. The clamshell T-type transmission was also the nicest I’ve ever worked on, so much so that we used it in the Celica as well.

“When a car comes out of the garage and goes to the rally, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t finish if you’ve done your work right. Sometimes you need a little bit of experience and luck, but the Corolla was a very sturdy platform, even though it was basic by modern standards. I’ve seen a vintage Corolla driving around Ottawa in recent years and I can’t believe how small it is compared with today’s cars!”

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Mountain bike bravery with a Proace

Perched on a blustery granite outcrop, Derek Evans sits astride his mountain bike and surveys the scenery. A few miles to the north he can see the Bristol Channel shining dark blue. Further to the south, he can just make out the English Channel through the midday haze. Fifty yards behind him a Victorian folly,…

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Perched on a blustery granite outcrop, Derek Evans sits astride his mountain bike and surveys the scenery. A few miles to the north he can see the Bristol Channel shining dark blue. Further to the south, he can just make out the English Channel through the midday haze. Fifty yards behind him a Victorian folly, hewn from the same stone, juts out abruptly from the scenery. And just below him, an unmade track winds its way through clumps of yellow gorse and past a white van.

There are many routes down from this 738ft high summit on Carn Brea near Redruth in Cornwall. Derek is spoiled for choice. But one thing is for sure – his descent will be fast. “I’ve ridden bikes off-road for as long as I can remember – since I had stabilisers!” laughs Derek as he dances his mountain bike onto its front wheel. 

He’s riding a very smart full-suspension, mountain bike which he built himself around a custom-made black carbon fibre frame. “I ride all over the country – often in the Surrey Hills and the Brecon Beacons in Wales. I’ve also cycled in Les Gets and Morzine in the French Alps” explains the 41-year-old vehicle technician.

His bike’s chain and gears clatter and click as he points his bike down the yellow stony track towards the van. The smart white Proace Compact is his. Perhaps he’s going this way so he can look at his van on the way down. “I love vans,” he said. “I always have done. I’ve always had a van. But I’ve been without for two years. 

“I bought this one from Parklands Toyota at Carland Cross in February after my girlfriend spotted it. Other manufacturers have a string of issues and are very expensive. This is the small Compact version. It suits me well with all the little country lanes around here.

“My dad was a car-nut and got me into Toyotas. I’ve always liked their technology. He imported a Mk 4 Supra from Japan about 20-years-ago. He drove it to Spain and all around Europe and I used it to go out on dates.

“I really like the look of the Proace. I’m going to make a few cosmetic modifications, and turn it into a proper day van so I and my girlfriend can both take our bikes out, have adventures and picnic in it. I’ve already fitted insulation so I can carpet it floor-to-ceiling. I’ll probably put 20-inch alloys on it and maybe a spoiler and splitter, but I don’t want it to be too showy.”

Derek’s Proace is an L1 manual in Comfort spec with leather seats. He paid £12,500+VAT for his immaculate three-year-old van with 80,000 miles.

As he loads his bike back into the van after an afternoon on his mountain bike, he looks fondly at his van and says: “I don’t see me ever getting rid of it”

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World Premiere of the New Lexus “UX” | Lexus | Global Newsroom

Lexus globally announces the new UX 200/250h. The vehicle is scheduled for summer 2022 launch. Introduced to the Lexus lineup in 2018 as an urban compact cross-over, the UX uses the “Creative Urban Explorer” concept, with the aim to be the “CUE” to exploring a new lifestyle. The muscular body exudes toughness and strength, while…

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Lexus globally announces the new UX 200/250h. The vehicle is scheduled for summer 2022 launch.

Introduced to the Lexus lineup in 2018 as an urban compact cross-over, the UX uses the “Creative Urban Explorer” concept, with the aim to be the “CUE” to exploring a new lifestyle. The muscular body exudes toughness and strength, while the flared fenders evoke agile driving in order to create a bold and refined exterior. The interior cockpit combines a sense of driving excitement with a visually expansive space. In addition, we have pursued excellent steering response, handling stability, and refined ride quality.

Since its launch in 2018, a cumulative total of approximately 240,000 units have been sold in more than 80 countries and regions as of the end of March 2022. The expanding lineup of electrified vehicles of Hybrid (HEV) and battery EV (BEV), achieved the percentage of electrified vehicles of approximately 80% of sales globally, making it the leading model in the Lexus electrified lineup. Going forward, we will continue to contribute to the practical spread of electrified vehicles toward the realization of a carbon-neutral society, while tailoring to the diversifying needs and lifestyles of customers.

Based on the “Always On” philosophy of continuous improvement through agile development, the new UX200/250h has further refined and exhilarating driving performance, enhanced its advanced safety systems by expanding the preventive safety technology functions and added the latest multimedia system.

To enhance the driving experience, structural rigidity was improved by adding 20 spot welding points on the body and the EPS and shock absorbers tuning was performed accordingly. It achieved refined and exhilarating performance and to further improve the refined, direct feeling and response through extensive testing at Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama.

For advanced safety system enhancements, we aimed to make driving safer and more reassuring by enhancing the functionality of the “Lexus Safety System +” preventive safety technology. The UX also features a new state-of-the-art multimedia system with a larger/higher-resolution touch screen display. Usability has been improved by optimizing the shapes and switch layout of the instrument panel and console area. Two USB charging connectors (Type-C) have also been added in the front of the console.

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LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022 Grand Prix Winner Announced | Lexus | Global Newsroom

TOKYO, Japan (May 12, 2022)―Lexus announced today that “Rewind” by Poh Yun Ru has been selected by the judging panel as the Grand Prix winner of the 2022 LEXUS DESIGN AWARD, the award’s tenth edition, which drew 1,726 entries from 57 countries and regions. The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD was established in 2013 with the mission…

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TOKYO, Japan (May 12, 2022)―Lexus announced today that “Rewind” by Poh Yun Ru has been selected by the judging panel as the Grand Prix winner of the 2022 LEXUS DESIGN AWARD, the award’s tenth edition, which drew 1,726 entries from 57 countries and regions.

The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD was established in 2013 with the mission of supporting and nurturing creators early in their careers to help shape a better future and enhance the happiness for all through design, while articulating the Lexus brand’s three core principles: Anticipate, Innovate, and Captivate. The Grand Prix winner “Rewind” contributes to a better tomorrow by using technology to help people stimulate their memories when their recall ability is challenged, for example by dementia.

The six finalists selected this January spent three months developing their original proposals and creating prototypes under the enthusiastic and highly skilled guidance of Sam Baron, Joe Doucet, Yosuke Hayano and Sabine Marcelis. Mentoring by the world’s leading creators was a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for these young talents. This process facilitated the impressive evolution of the finalists’ projects, not to mention that of the Grand Prix work, “Rewind.”

Poh Yun Ru commented: “I feel immensely grateful that Rewind is now a step closer to improving the lives of more people. This couldn’t have happened without the unwavering support of my mentors, my team of dedicated engineers, programmers, healthcare experts, and users. This opportunity from LEXUS DESIGN AWARD to turn a project into a real-world product felt nothing short of amazing, and I feel heartened to have met and learned from so many passionate designers from around the world. It has been such a rewarding and inspiring journey, and I am excited to continue designing for a better world and a better tomorrow for all.”

In a new benefit for 2022, the finalists met one-on-one with the design world’s elite panel of judges: Paola Antonelli, Anupama Kundoo, Bruce Mau and Simon Humphries following the 10th LEXUS DESIGN AWARD event. After the judging session, the finalists received not only direct feedback on their work, but also career advice and tips for improvement. This beta-feature of the 10th anniversary LEXUS DESIGN AWARD turned out to be an extraordinarily valuable experience.

After the judging session, all four judges provided comments.

Paola Antonelli told of the overall importance of design in today’s world: “The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022 finalists offer a wide range of products in different fields of design, employing different types of technology, but they all have one thing in common: care. Care for the environment, care for the elderly and differently able, care for the needs of families and communities, and more. They demonstrate that at a time of emergency in the world, design can offer suggestions that are poetic and beautiful, and also feasible and scalable. In the hands of great designers, doing the right thing―by society, the environment, the world―also becomes inspiring and elating.”

Anupama Kundoo and Bruce Mau commented on the Award’s feature of mentorship: “I particularly enjoyed the unique feature of the LEXUS DESIGN AWARD, namely, that the talented visionary designers are first identified, and then supported personally in their further development through dedicated mentorship.” Kundoo said, while Mau commented, “The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD’s process, where the finalists are connected to design mentors, is absolutely brilliant. And the impact was plainly evident in the final submissions.”

Simon Humphries praised all finalists for their creativity and imagination in addressing the judging criteria: “The power of creativity and its ability to enrich people’s lives never ceases to amaze me and this year’s entries only reinforced this further. Congratulations to all the finalists who showed such imaginative insights into challenging problems that many just take for granted.”

The six LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022 finalists’ projects will be shown at Lexus exhibit during Milan Design Week 2022, the world’s largest design event, to be held in June.

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