It’s quite clear that in the UAE, we are passionate about our motorsports. The thought of becoming a pro off-road racer and taking part in some of the most gruelling sports events on the planet attracts the brave, the ambitious, and the driven to compete at the highest level.
To help the next generation of racing celebrities achieve their dreams, Al-Futtaim Toyota has initiated the ground-breaking Toyota Motorsport Academy, which has been so successful in its inaugural registration process that places are already filled. Over 1,200 hopeful candidates applied, but only 150 were chosen for the first round of selection processing. That’s how popular and how stiff the competition was in the Academy’s inaugural year.
The Academy has been designed to engage with the automotive and off-road communities in the UAE and introduce an exciting program of off-road training, trials and competitive driving skills to encourage the next generation of champion drivers. Drawing on Toyota’s 50-year heritage of motorsports and their well-established credentials for off-road competition in the UAE, the Academy has plenty to offer the potential champions of tomorrow.
However, don’t worry if you missed the first round as the Academy will be repeating the process in the future. So while you practice and hone your skills, here’s what the lucky few who are selected can expect.
The program will cover a total of three stages, Recruitment, Development, and Finals.
Stage one provides ‘try out’ slots at the Academy for those who have registered, where professional instructors will assess each candidate based on their driving capability, their communication skills and ability to work with the media, and their physical fitness and endurance.
The reason the communications and media section is included is that the successful candidate will be an Ambassador for the program. They will need to be able to interact with the media and present the Academy in the best possible way during their tenure.
During stage two, 24 candidates will advance to the development phase. During this time they’ll work with our professional instructors for one month to develop their off-road driving, media and physical skills.
Finally, stage three sees eight candidates go forward to the final selection process, where one will be chosen as the Toyota UAE GR Ambassador.
The UAE is the perfect training ground for desert rally driving, with huge dunes, wide-open spaces and extremely challenging terrain. It’s a natural arena for Toyota, who have been operating in this region for decades.
If you’re successful in the next round of registration for 2024, you won’t need to supply your own vehicle, as Al-Futtaim Toyota is stepping up to provide cars for candidates. Instructors will be familiar faces to the off-roading community and anyone passionate about motorsports in the UAE and are all pro drivers and highly experienced competition winners in their own right.
And the best bit? To make sure this opportunity is open to everyone from any background, registration is free.
Out of the hundreds of initial candidates, there can only be one winner. The chosen candidate has the privilege of becoming the Toyota UAE GR Ambassador for a year and will be given a Toyota Gazoo Racing vehicle to drive during that period. They’ll receive an all-expenses-paid trip to a global racing event that Toyota is competing in as the representative of the Academy. And they’ll also get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in the FIA Cross Country Challenge.
Al-Futtaim Toyota is incredibly proud to be associated with this program. The aim is to help the next generation of young racers acquire the skills they need to compete at the very highest level, providing them with world-class desert-rally driving instruction.
Using competition-proven rally driving techniques, the academy will teach drivers to push well beyond what they thought their limits were and into a whole new level of excellence. Unique, one-to-one tuition is tailored specifically to the skills and capabilities of each driver. Open to both men and women, it’s the chance of a lifetime to learn, grow, and progress as a rally driver.
While not everyone is cut out to be a Dakar champion, Team Toyota is still here for weekend warriors and dune bashers who love to explore the challenges of desert terrain. With off-road capable vehicles like the FJ Cruiser, the Fortuner and the legendary Land Cruiser to choose from, you can prowl the urban landscape during the week, and head to the nearest dry wadi or towering dune at the weekend. Take a look at what’s on offer at Al-Futtaim Toyota today.