Toyota continues its ongoing exploration into integrating blockchain technology within its corporate and developmental ecosystems.
The Toyota GR Cup, a North American racing series held by Toyota Gazoo Racing, recently announced it would start awarding digital trophies and record driver performances on the Polygon blockchain.
Per a press release, the new on-chain awards system will include digital trophies for podium finishers (drivers who take first, second or third place in a race). The ledger entries will also include statistics about the race and the driver's performance.
According to Jack Irving, executive commercial director for Toyota Racing Development (TRD), the point of the program is to put drivers’ accomplishments on-chain so fans can interact with them:
“Blockchain helps us keep a permanent digital record of drivers’ achievements that they can share with their friends, family and fans. It also allows us to develop new opportunities to introduce race fans to our partners.”
Toyota’s Gazoo Racing league and the GR Cup were designed as a fan-forward series of events. Much like the gameplay arc of many of the most popular current racing video games, real-world GR Cup drivers all start off with a stock vehicle (in this case, a Toyota GR86) featuring only factory-available options.
The driver’s vehicle is then sent to a TRD garage — the term “gazoo" means “garage” — where it’s fitted with official Toyota racing gear. This puts drivers on equal footing when the race starts, as their hardware is standardized across the grid.
Toyota’s been involved in the blockchain space since at least 2016, when the company joined the R3 Consortium in a partnership to research and develop blockchain technologies. The company subsequently established its Toyota Blockchain Lab in 2019.
It’s unclear at this time whether fans will be able to interact directly with digital trophies or if the company intends to mint any form of digital collectibles. TRD did not immediately return a request for comment.
According to the press release, drivers will be able to access their previous accomplishments “quickly and easily” before and after events. The next races in the series take place at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tennessee from Aug. 4-6.