Al-Futtaim Toyota: Best Innovative Sports Brand, MENA Sports Industry Awards 2023

Al-Futtaim Toyota Motorsport Academy nominated for three awards – Best Innovative Sports Brand, Best Event and Best Sports Marketing Campaign

Al-Futtaim Toyota has been recognised for its outstanding achievements in the MENA region’s sports industry with the receipt of the Gold Award in the category of the Best Innovative Sports Brand of the Year award at the 10th annual Sports Industry Awards for 2023, a night that celebrated the best talent and efforts from across region in a glamorous gala ceremony at Atlantis, The Palm.

Chosen by a resounding public vote, the award was presented in recognition of the successful staging of the Toyota Motorsport Academy, a ground-breaking grassroots initiative from Al-Futtaim Toyota. The Academy brought the UAE’s automotive and off-roading communities together in a first-of-its-kind driver development programme designed to enhance their sporting skills and talent, and give one participant the chance to become the 2023 Al-Futtaim Toyota Gazoo Racing Off-Road Ambassador for the UAE. All the heart-racing excitement and passion of the Toyota Motorsport Academy is now streaming on Shahid, as the region’s first homegrown motorsports reality TV series.

Al-Futtaim Toyota was also nominated for two other awards on the night in the categories of Best Event and Best Sports Marketing Campaign.

Established in the Middle East in 2012, the Sports Industry Awards series is the official celebration of the leaders, decision-makers, organisations, facilities, and campaigns that have contributed to the development of sport in the Middle East.

Commenting on the occasion, Jacques Brent, Managing Director, Al-Futtaim Toyota & Lexus, said: “Al-Futtaim Toyota is deeply committed to supporting the sporting community and upholding the spirit of adventure, fair competition and the pursuit of excellence that are found in both amateur and professional sports events. We are therefore extremely proud to receive the award for Best Innovative Sports Brand, which recognises the incredible efforts the team at Al-Futtaim Toyota and their partners put into hosting this hugely successful first edition of the Toyota Motorsport Academy. We are thrilled at this overwhelming recognition, which is a culmination of Al-Futtaim Toyota’s decades-long commitment and support for the region’s sporting industry. Through our partnership with the Sports Industry Awards, as well as initiatives such as the Toyota Motorsport Academy, we can further develop this culture and our historic ties with the region’s sporting community, and engage and give back to them by recognising, and rewarding the highest achievers in sports in the MENA region.”

Katib Belkhodja, Customer Centricity Director at Al-Futtaim Automotive, added, “Being named the Best Innovative Sports Brand in the region is a proud and humbling moment, and certainly a strong endorsement of our strategy from the region’s motorsport industry and community.  While we sponsor major sporting events in the UAE (Dubai Baja and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge), we wanted to develop a programme where we put our customers and motorsport fans at the centre of all the action, by giving them a chance to compete and achieve their sporting dreams. This inspired the launch of the new Toyota Motorsport Academy, which added a new dimension to our customer engagement, both offline and online, and this is something that only the most popular automotive brand in the country could make happen – Al-Futtaim Toyota. From the beginning our mission has been to own the motorsports territory, and this has been clearly reaffirmed by the award.”

Building on our 50-Year Motorsports Heritage

Globally, Toyota has an illustrious sporting history spanning five decades of successful participations in the World Rally Championship, Formula One, FIA Cross Country World Cup and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. From the championship-winning Toyota Yaris GR WRC to the Toyota Hilux that has enjoyed huge success in the Dakar Rally, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and the Dubai Baja, Toyota vehicles have championed the spirit of motorsport at the highest level, both on and off the road.

Within the UAE, Al-Futtaim Toyota is committed to supporting the motorsports industry, with sponsorship of iconic home-grown sporting events including the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and the Dubai Baja.

January 2023 witnessed another exciting chapter in the motorsports heritage of Toyota with the launch of the UAE’s first Toyota Motorsport Academy, offering the off-roading community a chance to hone their skills and become serious contenders within the arena. The programme initially received an incredible 1200 applications, shortlisted to the top 150 with participation from 13 different nationalities, with a strong showing from UAE nationals and women racers – a remarkable achievement for the first edition of the Academy.

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