Mon 06 Mar 2023

FORUM8 Rally Japan explores stadium stage as Toyota City return confirmed

Spurred on by the success of the Athens Olympic Stadium super special stage at EKO Acropolis Rally Greece in 2022, FORUM8 Rally Japan organisers are exploring a similar concept as part of the 2023 season finale.

Having been confirmed as the 2023 host city, Toyota City Mayor Toshihiko Ota outlined plans for this year, ahead of the region hosting the JRC's Shinshiro Rally over the weekend. He confirmed FORUM8 Rally Japan is once again set to take place in the mountainous Aichi and Gifu Prefectures while the service park will return to Toyota Stadium in the heart of Toyota City.

As part of last Friday’s presentation, Ota revealed plans to bring stages into and around the service park, exploring the use of the 45,000-seat stadium which makes up part of the service park, as well as a return to Okazaki for a repeat of the popular street stage from the 2022 edition of the rally.

It is a plan which received the support of Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda, who was attending the Shinshiro Rally, along with Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team principal Jari-Matti Latvala and driver Takamoto Katsuta. “A super special stage at the stadium will give you an unprecedented sense of being right by the action,” Toyoda expressed.

Putting a stage inside the Athens Olympic Stadium at EKO Acropolis Rally last year proved a major success, attracting 65,000 fans. FORUM8 Rally Japan organisers already made use of Toyota Stadium in 2022, hosting the start ceremony and ceremonial podium within the stadium, as well as streaming WRC All Live on the stadium’s big screen for every stage of the rally.

“At the super special stage held at the Olympic Stadium in Greece, the stands of the stadium were packed to capacity,” reflected Katsuta. “We watched from the car’s cockpit, but I can’t imagine the tension that the Olympic athletes must have felt as they were staring directly into the eyes of the spectators.”

In other notable announcements, the organisers also revealed three versions of the 2023 official rally poster.

FORUM8 Rally Japan will run from 16 - 19 November.

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