Toyota President Akio Toyoda is on hand for the completion of a 72-day, 12,500-mile (20,000-km) fleet test drive through Australia intended to help the automaker develop future generations of vehicles.

Toyoda calls the 10-week test drive an invaluable learning experience, allowing employees and executives involved in global development of Toyota vehicles to refine their skills so they can create ever-better cars.

“In fact, after driving on so many roads, our team members’ expectations for future test-car courses will never be the same because of all the stark realities that they experienced,” Toyoda says in a statement.

These included being forced to change five tires on a single day, driving over severely corrugated surfaces and even taking detours due to bushfires.

“Touring Australia reminded us that cars are vital partners in our lives,” Toyoda says. “Any breakdown in the outback has the potential to be fatal.”

It was a perfect testing ground, he says, as Australian roads represent 80% of the world’s driving conditions.

“Throughout the entire project, each and every member of the team was able to learn new things from listening to the cars and roads. We can’t wait to share these new cars with you, and the lessons we have learned, in the near future.”

Toyoda took part in the round-Australia project by driving a specially prepared Toyota 86 rally car on challenging roads near Coffs Harbour on the north coast of New South Wales, about 340 miles (540 km) north of Sydney.

He also demonstrated the car’s capabilities in local conditions before hundreds of Australian employees and dealers in Melbourne at a ceremony to mark the end of the test drive.

Toyoda likens the Coffs Harbour drive to his frequent participation in the Nürburgring 24-hour race in Germany and his passion to develop cars that are fun to drive.

“This challenge helps me deeply with my car-making intuition,” Toyoda says.