F1 fans bid farewell to Toyota racing cars

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Fans of Formula One racing gathered Sunday at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture to bid farewell to the cars of Toyota Motor Corp., which will withdraw from the high-speed sport at the end of the 2009 season.

Fans applauded and took photos of the two F1 cars as they roared around the circuit.

“We are sorry that we could not meet your expectations” in F1 racing, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at the opening ceremony for the farewell event.

Toyoda later took to the circuit in an Lexus LFA, showing off the premium two-seat sports car ahead its debut in late 2010.

“The withdrawal (from F1) is quite regrettable as I had hoped for a good performance next year and thereafter, but I’m glad I could see the last run,” said Masanori Ii, 37, who came to the circuit from Kawasaki with his family.