Mini engineers go for big dreams
Catherine Marchal

24H du Mans 2015 practice 2

‘Galapiat’ is a French word, often used in the south of France, which means a ‘turbulent child’ (Larousse dictionary).

The Galapiats, which we will be talking about here, is an association of 35 children, aged 10 to 16, in Grenoble, France.

Helped by 15 adults and volunteers, they spend their Wednesdays, Saturdays and school holidays developing and constructing, from the scratch, vehicles inspired by race cars, adjusted to their scale.

Yves Anelli, president of the association, says: “The team Galapiats is specifically for young children, who are passionate about mechanical engineering in general, and especially, automotive engineering.”

The Galapiats aim to develop in two directions: technical and human. The children are initiated to different techniques used in automotive production, and working in teamwork and with respect of others. “The ultimate goal is to stimulate development of the youngsters’ ability to run a project through to its goal.”

24H du Mans 2015 practice 2

The Galapiats’ activity encompasses the entire production process – chassis welding, making bodywork in composite materials, engine and gearbox, adapting elements for mass production and, finally, assembling. After production, comes driving: they regularly do demonstrations on open race tracks.

Attracted by human values of the Galapiats that correspond to Toyota’s DNA, Toyota Motor France took up a partnership with them in 2005. Toyota provided the team with seven 1.0 litre 4 cylinders engines made for Yaris at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France; the young engineers made two small F1 cars after five years’ work.

For 2015, Team Galapiats and Toyota targeted to produce “MP 11” – a new 2/3 scale prototype, always inspired by TS040 HYBRID and equipped with the Yaris engine – and present it on the track of the 24 Hours Le Mans.

24H du Mans 2015 practice 2

The Galapiats made it – their mini TS040 was inaugurated at this year’s Le Mans, in presence of the six drivers of Toyota Racing. Their Facebook post reads*: “our TS040 posed next to its big sister!”

Besides this, the youngsters displayed ten vehicles on their own stand, participated in the drivers’ parades on streets of Le Mans and on the race track, as well as in the pit stop challenge. They also met with Didier Leroy.

Pascal Ruch, president of Toyota Motor France says: “This partnership with the young Galapiats harmonizes perfectly with the spirit of Toyota’s social responsibility. We deeply appreciate these little engineers’ passion and teamwork, as well as the value of transmission of knowledge that helps them develop further.”

See Galapiats at work : development of MP 11 – Toyota Le Mans


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