Toyota receives Autosport’s Pioneering and Innovation Award

Toyota and its chairman Akio Toyoda have won the Pioneering and Innovation Award at the 36th Autosport Awards in London, for their work on hydrogen power in motorsport.

GR H2 Racing Concept

Part of a new B2B section of the Awards designed to reward high achievers from across the wider motorsport industry, the shortlist for the Pioneering and Innovation Award featured entries from F1, the World Endurance Championship and F2.

The nominees alongside Toyota were McLaren Racing for their innovative ‘circular car’ concept and its method of recycling carbon composite, Lewis Hamilton’s Mission 44, which broke new ground in the drive for greater accessibility and minority representation in motorsport, and the FIA F2 car, with new features that encourage greater female participation and set new standards for supports categories.

The judges were impressed by all shortlisted nominees, but Toyota edged it due to the belief in the future of hydrogen in motorsport and its vanguard approach to developing the racing technology.

Toyoda has put his full support behind the project, to the extent that he regularly drives the prototypes and raced a liquid hydrogen fuelled Toyota in a 24 Hour race at Fuji.

Kamui Kobayashi on the red carpet

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

Kamui Kobayashi on the red carpet

Kamui Kobayashi, who accepted the award on behalf of Toyota, said: “I think the project started my new job in Toyota. Three years ago, Toyoda and I had a long night to discuss it and the day after, at breakfast he asked if we could drive the car together. It sounded like a normal combustion engine but then when we finished he opened the boot and he showed me the big tank. I wanted to try to race it.

“At Le Mans this year we announced we want to race it, 2026 or 2027, racing the hydrogen, so I hope to race with this car.”

The Award was voted on by a panel of six judges drawn from across the motorsport industry, chaired by former Alpine and Aston Martin F1 team principal Otmar Szafnauer. The panel included motorsport sponsorship experts Matthew Marsh and Melissa Berry, former F1 executive Kate Beavan, now with More than Equal, research guru Nigel Geach and motorsport adviser and former CEO of FIA WEC Gerard Neveu.

Further awards decided by expert judging panels include the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award, the Autosport Williams Engineer of the Future Award, the Autosport Gold Medal incorporating the Gregor Grant Award for lifetime legacy, the John Bolster Trophy for technical achievement, the Brand Partnership Award, Moment of the Year, and Promoter of the Year.

To find out who our other Award winners are, go to

Previous article Silverstone wins Autosport’s Promoter of the Year Award
Next article Red Bull RB19 scoops Autosport's Competition Car of the Year award