Challenging Together as an Official Partner of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

Challenging Together as an Official Partner of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

Motor sports can be described as a sport that challenges the limits of people and cars. Toyota Motor Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “Toyota”) is a leading automaker in the global automotive industry and has been competing in various categories of racing and manufacturing innovative vehicles for more than half a century. Motorsports is a testing ground for Toyota to train people and cars, and Toyota continues to innovate and take on challenges in the field of motorsports to pioneer the future. Fujitsu is strongly impressed by Toyota’s vision and sponsoring TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) in the World Endurance Championship starting from the 2022 season, and this year marks the second year.
What is Fujitsu’s intention in participating in this project and how will Fujitsu pioneer the future? We interviewed Masatake Hirahara, Yumi Kashiwadate, and Zhao Ruiwen of the Motorsports Team, Toyota Unit, Global Customer Success BG, Fujitsu Limited, who were involved in the project from its launch as business producers, about their thoughts and their expectations for the future.

Table of Contents
  1. Challenging together in TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
  2. Contributing to a sustainable world through mobility

Challenging together in TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

――What is the Motorsports Team and what kind of activities does it do?

Kashiwadate : Motorsports Team supports TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in the World Endurance Championship and aims to contribute to motor sports using our technology. Specifically, we have defined three themes and are working on them: “for the Win,” aimed at contributing to the development of fast and strong cars and exciting races; “for the People,” aimed at increasing the number of motorsports fans and fan engagement; and “for the Society,” aimed at contributing to sustainability in the areas surrounding circuits and in all domains related to motorsports.

――This year marks the second year that Fujitsu has sponsored TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. Please tell us about your visions on sponsorship.

Hirahara : In 2019, Fujitsu has stated its intention to transform itself from an IT company to a DX company. As the company is transforming drastically, I sympathized with Toyota’s aspiration to train people and enhance technology through the extreme conditions of motorsports, and to pioneer a bright future, including the realization of carbon neutrality, through passion and action, because Fujitsu’s Purpose (Make the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation) had something in common. In addition to being involved in motorsports, which requires a high sense of purpose and passion to take on challenges, we have been working on initiatives that will lead to the realization of Purpose and our growth by continuing to actively take on challenges on our own. This is the second year that we have been a partner of Toyota for various reasons. We are taking on challenges in the field of motorsports and giving back to society what we have gained from these challenges. I am convinced that this is one of the ways to realize a sustainable society, and something that Fujitsu can work on as it undergoes reform.
What can we do in a technological aspect to create the best cars and a better future? What domains can we contribute our technology to? Since the beginning of our sponsorship, we have explored domains based on a variety of hypotheses. During that time, we have increased workers onsite, and now the entire company, including the executive director in charge of technology, the technology development department, and the design department, is ready to challenge together.

Masatake Hirahara, Toyota Unit, Global Customer Success BG Masatake Hirahara, Toyota Unit, Global Customer Success BG

Kashiwadate : Our motorsports team’s Purpose is a combination of “producing happiness for all (Toyota’s mission)” and “making the world more sustainable (Fujitsu’s Purpose).” Last year was a period of exploring what challenges Fujitsu could take on. This year, with this Purpose in mind, I would like to focus on the realization of a sustainable society through motorsports.

――What does Toyota actually expect from Fujitsu?

Hirahara : As companies representing Japan, I believe that Toyota expects us to compete in the world’s toughest race together with Fujitsu’s cutting-edge technology and win the race. I believe that our goal is to spread the technology and techniques that will be further refined in the race throughout the world. To realize this, we need new teams and activities that Fujitsu has never had before. I feel that there are high expectations for such internal reforms and for gathering colleagues within and outside the company.

Kashiwadate : In my past communication with Toyota, I felt that they expected us to work together with passion as a member of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. Above all, we think about winning races. We also think about what we can contribute in terms of entertainment, and we work hard to challenge together.

Zhao : Yes, that's right. We look forward to working together to achieve global carbon neutrality in the future.

Yumi Kashiwadate (left) and Zhao Ruiwen (right), Toyota Unit, Global Customer Success BG Yumi Kashiwadate (left) and Zhao Ruiwen (right), Toyota Unit, Global Customer Success BG

Contributing to a sustainable world through the mobility field

――I understand that both Ms. Kashiwadate and Mr. Zhao were recently transferred to the current position using the posting system*. What were your thoughts at that time, and what are your thoughts now that you have been in your current position for a few months?

  • *Posting system :
    A system within Fujitsu that provides employees with opportunities for autonomous career development. Employees can take on the challenges of desired positions, not only domestically but also globally.

Kashiwadate : When I was starting to feel that I wanted to change myself by taking on new challenges, I came across an exciting and challenging position with a motorsports team. I was very hesitant before applying because I had absolutely no experience in this field. Now, six months after my transfer, I have come to understand the excitement and difficulty of starting a project from scratch, and I am enjoying everyday life to the fullest.
I was impressed by the energetic atmosphere of the people from Toyota I met at the technical discussions and workshops I participated in after my transfer. Not to be overwhelmed by their energy, Fujitsu also has many related departments participating in each project. I would like to express my gratitude once again to everyone in the related departments and to my supervisors as well as team members for their support. I would also like to grow with the help of everyone involved.

Zhao : I applied for this position because I wanted to push myself beyond my limits. I have been a motorsports fan for a long time, so I was both nervous and excited when I was appointed to this position. I am discovering issues together with Toyota’s engineers who are challenging at the forefront of racing. Although there are no correct answers, I am thinking about what Fujitsu technologies can be used to solve such issues together with my team members.
In the explanation of the new organization announced recently, Toyota mentioned that “motorsports is a testing ground for the realization of carbon neutrality.” I am once again aware of the connection between motorsports and the realization of a sustainable society. I would like to contribute to the realization of carbon neutrality in motorsports by utilizing Fujitsu’s technology and the knowledge of environmental studies that I learned during my graduate school days.

Yumi Kashiwadate (right) and Zhao Ruiwen (left) Yumi Kashiwadate (right) and Zhao Ruiwen (left)

――Finally, please tell us your aspirations for the future.

Hirahara : I am currently working as a member of the marketing team in Japan Race Promotion Inc. as secondment in order to promote Super Formula—the most prestigious race in Japan. While experiencing the current state of motorsports on the front lines, I would like to gain a deeper understanding of the field and find out if there is anything more that Fujitsu can contribute in the motorsports field. I am still inexperienced, so I need to learn more every day, but I would like to work with Kashiwadate and Zhao to make motorsports a meaningful challenge for Fujitsu and to further increase the number of people who challenge with us.

Kashiwadate : I would like to continue our activities so that more people can experience the joy of motorsports. I would also like to enjoy working with everyone involved to realize a carbon-neutral world through motorsports.

Zhao : I would like to bring the excitement of motorsports to people around the world by utilizing Fujitsu’s technology, my expertise, and passion.

Toyota Unit (Motorsports Team), Global Customer Success BG

Motorsports team supports TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in the World Endurance Championship and aims to contribute to motorsports through technology.